Tracking prospect activity on your website is one of the greatest value-adds of marketing automation, especially if you can capture the sources effectively driving traffic to your website, pinpoint a prospect’s product interests, or notice when a dormant prospect becomes active again.
Website tracking is not always as simple as it sounds. With major browsers gradually blocking third-party cookies, marketers are increasingly turning to first-party tracking. First-party cookies are created by the website that you’re browsing, and will only track visitor behavior on that website (i.e. when a visitor leaves the website, they don’t continue to track their activity). This change has had implications on how completion actions fire for custom redirects; a prospect must be cookied on the current browser/device they are currently using in order for Pardot to apply the action to their prospect record.
Although you may have added the Pardot website tracking code, there are additional ways to improve website tracking with Pardot (Account Engagement), and in turn, improve the insight you’re gaining from your website visitors.
First up are Page Actions. Page Actions inject action into your page views because when a prospect visits a page Pardot can take an automated action – simple, but when planned out can be impactful.
- Completion actions: Apply actions when a prospect visits the page, e.g. update a field on their record.
- Score change: Define an additional score on top of your Pardot org’s baseline scoring model for page views. This means Page Actions stand out from normal page views.
- Activity callout: Page Actions also stand out from page views in Engagement History on leads and contacts in Salesforce. This is handy if you want to call out a specific web page in your prospect activity for the benefit of other teams, especially BDRs or salespeople.
Forms + Campaign Attribution
Let’s now look at attribution in order to achieve the holy grail of Pardot marketing.
You have a vested interest in content marketing and attracting quality leads. Several forms on your website capture these visitors, converting them into prospects, and subsequently updating their prospect record. These include ‘contact us’ forms, resource download forms for ebooks, on-demand webinars, and other gated content.
Which forms are your prospects engaging with on their first, second, and seventh touchpoints?
Whenever you create a new form in Pardot, ensure it’s associated with the correct campaign. Using connected campaigns means you would have organized your campaigns in a hierarchy structure, which will sync down to Pardot to be used for attribution.
Ensuring that each form submission a prospect makes is recorded as a campaign member in Salesforce will make tracking the effectiveness of your website’s content far easier. You may decide that the time, budget, and effort that you invested into creating that particular whitepaper wasn’t worth it. You would make that judgment based on the lack of closed business as a direct result!
This is a topic that can be controversial: how can the world have moved on to multi-touch attribution and AI-driven attribution models, yet still care about the Lead Source field?
The most basic way to describe the Lead Source field is as a Salesforce picklist field which records where leads came from. It will indicate which channels generate the greatest number of new leads.
In my experience, there becomes a tangle between lead source and conversion channel forms. When any new lead enters Salesforce, there are two data points you, as a marketer, are interested in.
- Source: Where the lead came from before landing on your website (what’s driving traffic to your site)
- Conversion point: Where the lead converted, back to point #2 (what’s driving conversions once prospects are on your site)
The truth is, the lead source field is an easy field for other people around the organisation to understand. Marketing can lay claim to it. Sales can stamp their mark on a lead. Regardless, it’s a simple picklist that people return to in order to get the high-level picture. Ensure that in your marketing, you are distinguishing between what’s driving traffic vs. what’s effective at converting people.
Custom Redirects aka. Marketing Links are similar to Page Action (point #1), except that these links can be placed anywhere, enabling you to track link clicks on your marketing content (not hosted in Pardot), on third-party websites, and other locations.
However, due to the changes in how cookies function with Pardot, a prospect must already have been identified on the particular browser they are using, i.e. been cookied with your Pardot tracking code in order for completion actions on custom redirects to fire. This means that you will need to think smarter about who custom redirects should be designed for (i.e. known prospects that interact with your brand consistently).
Improve your website tracking by starting to build a picture of which prospects have been sourced from, which social media account they’re engaging with, or which content they have downloaded from your content (when hosted elsewhere).
I couldn’t resist adding a note about Qualified into this post. It’s well deserved – after all, Qualified went out on a mission to bridge the gap between prospect website activity and sales teams.
Here’s a common story: the marketing team using Pardot will put effort in to cookie the prospect (which applies the Pardot website tracking), and capture enough field data to grade the prospect. In addition, a well thought through scoring strategy is a bonus (although the baseline works just fine).
The first time I saw a demo of Qualified, I was impressed because it shortens the lead-to-conversation time by using Pardot prospect data points (score, grade), to alert your sales team when a qualified prospect visits your website. Reps can start a conversation there and then, either through chat or a call.