Web Extend is the Emarsys data collection module, which tracks visitor interactions on your website and processes this input to serve validated data to various Emarsys products (such as Revenue Attribution, the Automation Center, Smart Insight and Predict).
For details on how Web Extend processes data from a data protection standpoint, please see:
As a quick reminder, here is the onboarding video about Web Extend:
What are the data collection scripts?
The Emarsys data collection scripts collect data from multiple sources: your product data file, visitor interactions on your websites and historical and offline sales data. They process this input and feed validated data to other features in the Emarsys platform.
They track all users of the website, and sync the interactions of known contacts with your Emarsys contact database every few hours.
Watch this short short video introduction about the Emarsys data collection scripts:
This video is without commentary - no headset is required.
Why do you need data collection on your website?
- The data collection scripts collect website behavior data of users, and synchronize the collected behavior with the contact behavior fields in your Emarsys contact database. This synchronization happens every few hours. Many Automation Center programs are built on these fields.
- They track email campaign purchases and feeds this on a daily basis to to Analytics > Trends screens.
- They track and update revenue data in various Dashboards and statistical screens on a daily basis.
- They feed cleaned and validated product and sales data to Smart Insight to create customer lifecycle scoring.
How are contacts identified?
1. The data collection scripts track all visitors who interact with your website by dropping a visitor cookie. This is a first-party, one-year expiration time cookie. The cookie is used for pseudonymized identification of website visitors. The cookie at this point is not yet linked to a specific contact in Emarsys.
2. Now, Emarsys offers 2 alternative ways for explicit identification of website users (contacts):
- with the visitor’s email address: Emarsys will hash and handle the email address securely. Since all contacts in your DB have an email address, this method allows you to achieve a complete coverage of your contact database.
- with an external ID: this is the customer ID or user ID that your website currently uses to identify registered users. If you opt for using this as your Emarsys identifier, then you need to make these IDs available in the contact DB for each contact, and maintain this list through the contact import API.
- Please make sure that the contact identification method that you selected during the implementation is aligned with your Predict Settings. If you are unsure, please contact your Implementation Consultant or Emarsys Support.
You MUST use the same contact identification method in the Predict Settings and in the Web Extend events implemented on your website. Otherwise, the discrepancy caused by the different contact identifiers will lead to data quality issues in your Revenue Attribution reports.
- If you change the contact identification method from
setEmail(i.e. email hash) to
setCustomerID(i.e. customer ID) or the other way around in your Web Extend configuration, then your Web Channel audiences will be empty and the contacts who had previously entered your Web Channel Automation Center program will not be able to see your campaigns anymore.
Changing the contact identification method in Web Extend may break your Smart Insight integration if Smart Insight receives sales data via the Web Extend data collection scripts.
To avoid breaking your Smart Insight integration, after changing the contact identification method in Web Extend you need to modify your Smart Insight settings as described in Selecting contact fields for filtering.
3. When a visitor logs in to the website, the website will use one of the above IDs to explicitly identify the website visitor to the data collection scripts.
4. The same explicit identification happens when a contact clicks through via an email link (Emarsys attaches a pseudonymized contact identifier to all email links).
5. The data collection scripts will then try to match these explicit identifications to the contacts stored in the contact DB.
6. When a website user is successfully matched to a contact, the data collection scripts will update the behavior fields. At this point, pseudonymized cookie information is linked to a specific contact in Emarsys.
7. Any future interaction of this contact with the website will be logged and synced with the contact database, regardless whether the user was logged in or not. The data collection scripts will use the browser cookie to identify the user, and will infer the explicit identification from this.
8. If a user is explicitly identified on multiple devices (logs in on desktop and later clicks through an email link on a mobile device), then the visitor cookies of the two devices will be linked to the same explicit identifier, and all future visits of the user on both devices will be successfully identified and logged by the data collection scripts.