How identifying anonymous website visitors can increase your conversion rate

How identifying anonymous website visitors can increase your conversion rate

October 10, 2022

[UPDATED] Originally published on March 16, 2017

Your site suffers from survivorship bias.

That is, you’re only targeting the prospects who make it past the top of the sales funnel. Since the median conversion rate for SaaS today is 3%, your site is built for the 3 out of 100 customers who do convert.

This is to be expected, as they’re the only site visitors you really understand. You have data on those people — who they are, what they like about your product, what their needs and motivations are — so everything is skewed toward them.

This can lead to missed conversions, poor marketing attribution, and a generic digital experience for your inherently unique visitors.

Conversely, you can't build your site better for anonymous visitors because you have no data on them. To make sense of these anonymous visitors, you have two sparse choices:

  • General demographics from Google Analytics (GA) about location, referrer, and consumer interests, or
  • Demographics from lead generation forms where you offer some gated content in exchange for an email address.

General GA traits don't really offer much in the way of business insights for B2B companies. While lead gen can work, it still relies on your content appealing to them in some way.

This is the paradox of pre-conversion visitors. You need to understand who they are to offer what they need, but you can't offer what they need without data about them.

But you could learn more about them with website visitor identification software.

By identifying anonymous website visitors, you can tailor your site experience, leading to higher conversion rates and quicker buying cycles, and gain more insight into how the market engages with your business.

What is survivorship bias?

In the second world war, the Navy wanted to know where to put armor on planes to help them survive. Initially, they plotted all the hit marks on returning planes and suggested adding additional armor where there was damage.

But, as statistician Abraham Wald pointed out, these results were skewed by a bias toward surviving aircraft — survivorship bias. He advised the Navy to armor the parts where there was no damage. The returning planes had been hit in these areas and survived. That means these weren't critical areas.

Survivorship bias creates a perspective where we believe that because something or someone survived despite unfavorable odds, that person or thing is the rule, rather than the exception.

In the case of lead generation, skewing your results toward the prospects who get to the bottom of the funnel is a bit like armoring your plane to avoid non-critical damage. Instead, you need to reinforce the parts of your site that knocked your potential deal out of the sky.

Clearbit Reveal for your web traffic

(Source: wikipedia)

How does website visitor identification software identify anonymous visitors?

Website identification software dynamically matches the IP address of a site visitor with their company’s profile information.

For a B2B prospect viewing your site at their workplace, the platform identifies the company-specific IP address associated with their visit. So, if someone from Salesforce HQ went onto your site, the platform would tell you that you have site visits from, neatly located within GA.

If you follow this guide to setting up Reveal in Google Analytics, you'll be able to pull Clearbit company data into your analytics for companies that visit your site.

Two approaches to de-anonymize visitors and increase conversion rates

Website identification software like Clearbit Reveal can help you create targeted account-based experiences, connect with your high-value customers, identify intent from anonymous visitors, and access deep insights about your traffic.

Let's run through two simple approaches you can use with Reveal to identify anonymous visitors and tactics you can use to increase your conversion rates for them.

1. Discover which industries have high traffic but low conversion

With Clearbit Reveal, you can easily see your conversion rates for different types of industries. In Google Analytics, you can create a widget that will constantly update with the number of visitors from an industry, along with their conversion rate.

Clearbit Reveal for your web traffic

This shows data on all visitors, not just those that have converted. You can see the four different categories of visitors here, segmented by high traffic (>200 sessions) and high conversions (<6%):

  1. High traffic, high conversion: Software and hardware companies
  2. High traffic, low conversion: Advertising
  3. Low traffic, high conversion: Diversified capital markets, general internet, and consulting
  4. Low traffic, low conversion: HR, corporate, research, and payments

The companies in group 1 are the ones that already find value in your marketing efforts. These are the survivors. But they may survive to the detriment of the other categories.

“Advertising” is the best example from this group of industries. There is substantial traffic from this industry, but they don't have the conversion numbers of other groups. The fact that so many come to the site means they’re interested, but the fact that they don't convert shows dissatisfaction. It could be that the site is too geared toward software and tech companies and that advertising visitors can't find the right information to stay interested.

Now that you have this insight, you can personalize the site for the advertising sector with these two tips:

  • Change the copy on the page to be slightly less tech-heavy, or add copy that appeals to the target audience.
  • Include customer testimonials, case studies, or logos from the advertising industry.

These are changes that can be implemented in a day. Then you can run A/B tests and check if the changes had a positive effect on your conversion rates.

Greenhouse increased enterprise demo requests by 15% by personalizing its website with Optimizely and Clearbit Reveal.

You can then optimize for the two low-traffic groups, but off-site. “Diversified capital markets” and “consulting,” for instance, have the highest conversion rates. By targeting these groups, you can drive traffic to your site and increase conversions simply through increased numbers.

You can find out how to set up this segmentation with Clearbit Reveal here.

2. Learn when ideal companies visit your site and trigger campaigns

Using Reveal, you can learn when strategic or “named” accounts engage with you. You can generate a widget (like the one below) to see how key accounts interact with your site.

Clearbit Reveal for your web traffic by company

This shows you the de-anonymized page views on your site from different visitors. If these visits aren't leading to meaningful interactions, you can now use this intelligence to better target these accounts. Chargebee grew new pipeline by 300% by getting laser-focused on its ideal customer!

There are a few ways you could achieve similar success:

  • On-site case studies: Pick similar companies to those that are already your customers to study. Show these visitors exactly how they could be using your product. For instance, if you already have CRM customers, profile these to show Salesforce what you’re about.
  • Off-site marketing: If you’re running account-based marketing campaigns and sales, use this as a trigger to contact the company when people from your named accounts visit. Send them an email saying you learned that they looked at “X” resource and you want to help them find the information they’re looking for.
  • On-site customization: If you’re using the Reveal API, you can personalize your site in real time while key accounts are browsing. You could show a testimonial from a company in the same space or use the company’s name in your copy.

You can set up this segmentation with Reveal.

De-anonymize website visitors for free

Not all accounts are created equal. An increased conversion rate may not come with increased profitability.

So, is chasing new prospects at the possible risk of losing what already works for you worth it?

Find out with Clearbit’s Weekly Visitor Report.

You get a weekly dashboard to see which companies visited your site and learn their intent — for free. You can identify new prospects, notify sales of their intent, and learn whether your marketing efforts are bringing in qualified leads.

Explore a sample report or set up visitor tracking now.

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