Act-On tracking is based on cookies.
Cookies are tiny files which are stored on a user’s computer. They are designed to hold a modest amount of data specific to a particular client and website, and can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer. This allows the server to deliver a page tailored to a particular user, or the page itself can contain some script which is aware of the data in the cookie and so is able to carry information from one visit to the website (or related site) to the next.
Everything in Act-On can drop a cookie in the browser.
- Anonymous website visits
- Form views
- Landing Page views
- Media Downloads
- Media Link clicks
Basically, if you can create a Scoring Rule for it, it can cookie you.
One Cookie Per Browser
Lets says Anonymous A visits a webpage with the tracking code on it in Chrome on their desktop. They get a cookie the moment they load the first page, and it persists as they click around the site. This cookie stays on their desktop browser.
Three days later, on their phone, they see a post about the company on social media, so they go back to the site, this time on their phone’s browser. Their phone and desktop browsers now have ONE cookie EACH.
The Magical Conversion Moment
Email clicks and form submissions are the two events that are most commonly talked about with tracking – these are our conversion points. This is because when someone performs these actions we can finally tie their email address to their activity history, and we know exactly who that anonymous cookie belongs to.
I changed a record’s email address, and their Activity History disappeared!
Activity History is tied to email address. As far as the system is concerned, even one letter different means that those two emails are completely different people.
I changed my CNAME and now I’m not seeing as many Known visitors.
Cookies are also tied to the account CNAME – this is how we keep cookies for multiple Act-On customers/accounts separate. When the CNAME is changed, Act-On stops looking for and planting the old cookie completely. It is strongly recommended that customers NOT change their CNAME, but sometimes a fresh start is the right way to go.
I visited the site from my phone/home computer/etc and it didn’t show up in my Activity History! Is it broken?
No, you most likely haven’t converted (clicked an email link or submitted a form) on that particular device/browser yet. Once you do one of those things, the activity you’ve done on that other device will also be tied to your email address, and show up in your Activity History.
Person X’s activity is showing up as Person Y! Why?
Someone crossed the cookies. Crossing the cookies is bad. What usually happens here is that Person X has submitted a form on behalf of Person Y – so now X’s cookie is tied to Person Y’s email.
Another possibility is that Y forwarded an Act-On email to X, and X clicked on it. Since every link in an Act-On email carries a unique ID, specific to the intended recipient, X’s cookie is again tied to Y’s email address.
To fix this, person X will need to submit a form or click on a link in an email that was sent directly to them. This will once again overwrite their cookie, with their own email address this time. Person Y needs to fill out their own forms from now on, and stop forwarding Act-On emails.
Moral of the Story: Don’t forward Act-On emails. Don’t cross the cookies.
We recently had a tradeshow where people filled out a form in our kiosk/our Sales people fill out forms on behalf of our customers and <weird Activity History stuff happening>.
This is cookie-crossing again, but this can actually be prevented by suppressing cookie logging on forms that are intended for internal or tradeshow usage.