Two Keys to Unlocking the Identity of Your Website Visitors

In the past few years, the marketing landscape has evolved at an incredibly rapid pace. From the evolution of artificial intelligence to the rise of virtual reality, there have been many exciting advancements for digital marketers to think about. But even with all the buzz surrounding these trends, not to mention the countless discussions on how they can be integrated into a greater marketing strategy, the venerable corporate website remains your most important marketing tool (at least for now).

Think about it. Your website may not be as sexy as intelligent chatbots, but it serves as the main entry point to your brand. From finding out about your company through a web search to speaking to a sales person at an event, these actions all lead to one destination – your website. After all, it’s the easiest way for someone to interact with your brand. On any given day, you could have thousands of visitors coming to your site to learn about your business; each one of them representing a potentially profitable new lead.

But what do you really know about them? Chances are, not much.

While data is making it easier to understand your web traffic, it’s typically a massive undertaking to discern accurate information from the sheer volume of data available. In fact, a whopping 98% of web visitors are anonymous. That’s an enormous amount of lost opportunities to market to an audience that is seeking you out!

On any given day, you could have thousands of visitors coming to your site, each one of them representing a potentially profitable new lead.

Sure, there have been some data points marketers have used to try and unmask their web visitors, but with little to no success. For example, solutions that use IP addresses as a sole identifier can only recognize 1.5% of companies in the US, with no specificity around which office location the visit is coming from.


Knowing what type of data to rely on can often be complicated.  What’s accurate?  What can you trust? At Dun & Bradstreet, we help companies identify who’s visiting their website by using two critical elements.

1. The Dun & Bradstreet D‑U‑N‑S®Number

While some believe IP address alone can be leveraged as a corporate identifier, it cannot offer the accuracy, integrity, and timeliness of a D‑U‑N‑S Number The D‑U‑N‑S Number is Dun & Bradstreet’s unique nine-digit identifier for businesses. It is used to establish a business credit file, which is often referenced by lenders and potential business partners to help predict the reliability and/or financial stability of the company in question. It is also leveraged by thousands of enterprises (large and small, commercial companies, and governmental bodies) to verify the existence of a business entity. D‑U‑N‑S, which stands for data universal number system, is used to maintain accurate and timely information on +250 M global businesses.

Often referred to as the “Social Security number for businesses,” in reality, it’s even more pervasive. The system is used in dozens of countries around the world and confers numerous benefits on businesses that participate. The business credit file associated with your business’s D‑U‑N‑S Number can help potential partners and lenders learn about your business and make informed decisions.

By matching IPs, cookies, and mobile device IDs to a proprietary business identifier like the D‑U‑N‑S, we’re able to unlock both company and persona data of visitors; acting as a persistent key across Ad Tech, CMS (Content Management Systems), MAP (Marketing Automation Platform), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and BI (Business Intelligence) platforms. It’s actually pretty simple to employ.

  1. An anonymous visitor arrives on your website
  2. A pixel we provide activates on your website
  3. Data is delivered to your Web Analytics or CMS

Through the D‑U‑N‑S, we’re able to unlock more than 75 percent of businesses through IP and cookie-based matching techniques, tying visits directly to an office location. The data is delivered natively to platforms like Adobe’s Marketing Cloud in milliseconds, with no impact on site load times. Additionally, if your offline data in your other systems, such as marketing automation or CRM, leverage the D‑U‑N‑S number, as soon the visitor is identified, his or her behavior is tied to your offline data for a 360 view!

 This has helped our clients:

  • Mine for Leads - Identify which location visitors are from, and route leads to the right sales teams through their CRM
  • Fuel Account Based Marketing - Tie the D‑U‑N‑S Numbers of visiting accounts back to MAP and CRM platforms for full-funnel attribution and closed-loop reporting
  • Analyze Audiences and Build Target Models - Use demographic and persona data of visitors to fuel improved programmatic and retargeting efforts
  • Personalize Sites - Deliver highly personalized content by persona and industry through a CMS
  • Fill and Append Forms - Drive higher conversion rates on web forms by requiring less work to fill in forms, auto-populate fields, and append persona and company information within their CMS
  • Tie Offline to Online Behavior - Create 360 customer views to architect the right experience for the customer

2. Deterministic Data

Many marketers rely on a ‘probabilistic’ approach to determining their web visitors. They use proxy models to define targetable prospects that they then feed into their marketing engines. Unfortunately, probabilistic can be problematic if proxies are based on incorrect assumptions. Conversely, there’s ‘deterministic’ data like demographics - data gathered from verified sources and vetted for quality. It’s not derived using models and assumptions; it is real user information sourced from real people, collected, aggregated, edited, and verified. This type of data plays a vital role in helping identify your website traffic and is what the D‑U‑N‑S delivers.

A good example of deterministic data is firmographic-level data. Firmographics are business-related criteria that can help you narrow down your audience to focus in on those organizations most likely to represent potential clients or customers.  The data sets can include everything from a company’s geography and employee size to the organization’s annual revenue and total assets.  These insights can help you understand where to spend time and money prospecting and upselling.

To learn more about how we’re helping improve the digital customer experience, check out this case study to see how we grew our own very own customer base by identifying the businesses coming to our site, the characteristics of those businesses, and the professional personas of our visitors. I’m confident that by applying these techniques as part of your own marketing strategy, your website will be the most talked about topic among your peers.