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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).
What are the data collection scripts?
The Emarsys data collection scripts collect data from multiple sources: your product catalog, 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 recognize all contacts recorded in the contact database.
The website interactions of these known contacts are synced by the data collection scripts with the contact database every few hours.
Watch this short short video introduction about the Emarsys data collection scripts!
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 Analysis > 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.
- The personalized shopping assistant Discovery also uses the data collection scripts to learn about the browsing context of visitors.
How are contacts identified?
- 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 pseudonomized identification of website visitors. The cookie at this point is not yet linked to a specific contact in Emarsys.
- 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 contactDB for each contact, and maintain this list through the contact import API.
- 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.
- The same explicit identification happens when a contact clicks through via an email link (Emarsys attaches a pseudonomized contact identifier to all email links).
- The data collection scripts will then try to match these explicit identifications to the contacts stored in the contact DB.
- When a website user is successfully matched to a contact, the data collection scripts will update the behavior fields. At this point, pseudonomized cookie information is linked to a specific contact in Emarsys.
- Any future interaction of this contact with the website will be logged and synced with the contactDB, 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.
- 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.