How Clearbit reveal delivers reliable B2B IP lookup in the WFH era

How Clearbit reveal delivers reliable B2B IP lookup in the WFH era

September 12, 2022

In marketing, there is incredible value in knowing your audience. That's why knowing exactly who is visiting your website is critical to crafting the perfect messaging, delivering the optimal website experience, and most importantly, converting visitors into leads. Reverse-IP lookup tools make this possible.

Before the pandemic, matching an IP to a company was pretty simple. But, when remote work became the new normal, we had to adjust our approach to ensure you can still know your audience, whether they are working from home, a coffee shop, or using a mobile hotspot.

Clearbit Reveal has shown immense resilience and readiness to adapt to changes in the industry. In this piece, we share a bit about how Reveal works, explain the adjustments we made to address the difficulty of mapping IP addresses to companies in the work-from-home era and discuss the future of B2B IP lookup — including why Clearbit Reveal remains a good choice for long-term visitor identification.

Why do marketers need B2B IP lookup tools?

IP addresses identify devices on the internet. There are hundreds of billions of IP addresses in the world; for context, there are about 232, or 4.3 billion, IPv4 addresses and approximately 2128  IPv6 addresses. Without IP lookup tools, it is practically impossible to know who is visiting your website by looking at the quasi-anonymized internet traffic to your domain.

B2B IP lookup tools put some context around the gazillions of IP addresses by helping you pinpoint the IP data, including the IP address owner, hostname, and location of the device, among other things.

Many companies and organizations own allocations of Class B and Class C IP address ranges that are assigned to devices on the company’s network. A corporate IP range enhances cybersecurity for the company and ensures reliable network connections across the devices within the company.

With B2B IP lookup tools, you can match individual IP addresses to specific companies by checking to see if the IP address falls within the IP range of the particular company. Marketing and sales teams also use IP address lookup tools to populate their leadfeeder, for lead forensics, and to identify which companies are visiting your site from the otherwise anonymous website traffic.

The insights from the website visitor tracking tool are also valuable for personalizing your website, optimizing ads, doing account-based marketing, optimizing your CRM model, and more as part of lead generation and lead scoring efforts for your marketing and sales pipelines.

How Clearbit Reveal works as a B2B IP lookup tool

Public data sources provide information on what IPs are for mobile networks, cloud providers, internet service providers (ISPs), and large companies — this is the baseline for any successful reverse-IP lookup product.

Traditional reverse-IP lookup tools such as those that query the WHOIS database rely on the fact that large companies own IP address blocks, so it’s straightforward to recognize when an employee from Microsoft or LinkedIn is on your website, for example. But traditional IP lookup software limits your match pool to large companies. Companies that don’t have their own IP blocks are usually hidden behind ISPs, like Comcast, and these IP addresses often change.

Clearbit Reveal goes beyond the traditional model of IP WHOIS lookup, utilizing a proprietary visitor identification model to map a wide range of company domains to IP addresses.

First, Clearbit Reveal categorizes the IP address to detect if it’s an ISP, public Wi-Fi network (like a hotel, airport, coffee shop), or cloud provider. Accurate visitor identification is dependent on spotting the correct category of the IP address and cutting through the noise in internet traffic. It also helps us to segment the web visitors correctly and to provide useful information for improving your marketing strategy.

The Reveal algorithm then continues working to identify and validate matches, based on Clearbit’s processing and application of machine learning, to hundreds of millions of new data points each month, along with multiple signals from IP location, traffic patterns and geolocation data, manual QA, and more.

With this robust infrastructure and a real-time feed of data, the Reveal algorithm is continually learning how to better connect an IP address and a domain to enhance IP geolocation. In addition, our team is always working to increase Reveal’s value for our customers, from consistent QA and enhancement to creating new features, such as the forthcoming ability to better differentiate traffic from VPNs versus bots.

Want to use Clearbit's IP intelligence — for free? Install the Weekly Visitor Report and we'll send you a weekly update of companies visiting your site.

How Clearbit Reveal improves B2B IP address lookup in the WFH era

People were working from home before the pandemic. However, it was a smaller percentage of overall traffic. So, Clearbit Reveal and many other IP lookup solutions weren’t built to prioritize this use case. When the lockdown began and the number of people working from home drastically increased, the effectiveness of IP lookup algorithms took a dip.

To account for this significant shift from centralized office traffic to distributed WFH traffic, we fine-tuned our algorithms, retrained our machine learning models to teach them about “work from home” behaviors, and made adjustments for geography as different cities and states announced lockdowns or plans to reopen. Our team also created new proprietary approaches for matching domains to IP addresses.

Reveal also continued to do what it was built to — automatically learning and improving based on the flood of signals from new IP addresses. And, as always, Reveal was able to identify the employers for visitors who used a VPN when working from home.

The popularity of remote work meant that all the algorithms in the IP lookup industry were no longer as effective as they previously were. Still, we closed that gap quickly and continue to make improvements to Reveal so it performs well in our new reality.

Future-proofing intel on your site traffic

Clearbit Reveal is a safe bet as an IP intel solution for optimizing B2B sales in the long run.

The internet is phasing out third-party cookies as part of GDPR requirements and a broader trend to give consumers more power over their privacy. Over the last three years, Google, Apple, and Mozilla have all made moves to stop allowing third-party cookies to prevent contact abuse and give consumers more power to opt in or out.

While Reveal APIs use cookie data as one of the sources to help match IPs to domains, they do not depend on them — unlike some of our competitors. And Clearbit Reveal doesn't need to know who individuals actually are; it simply detects the company associated with each visit.

With this independence from cookies and adapting to the shift to remote work, we see Reveal as the smart and resilient technological choice for flexible, remote work. Our approach of continuous improvement means we can not only maintain Reveal’s performance during normal times but also adapt to novel events and keep building the best solution for customers to understand and act on their website traffic.

Clearbit Reveal helps transform website visitors into sales leads

Clearbit Reveal provides deep insights into your website visitors by using firmographic and technographic data to reveal their interests and show you the actions they take. These deep insights, in turn, optimize your B2B lead generation efforts by helping you to identify potential qualified leads, so you know where to focus your sales and marketing campaigns.

For B2B companies, Clearbit Reveal also empowers you to be intentional in your engagement with leads. For instance, you can leverage firmographic data to dynamically personalize your website to show relevant content to your visitors. You can also design unique conversion flows based on customer segmentation data that the company IP lookup provides about your visitors’ company name, domain name, size, industry, or technologies used.

When you integrate Clearbit Reveal into your marketing automation workflows, you can respond to your targeted audiences with a personalized experience. For instance, workflow integrations can send notifications to your account managers via Salesforce, email, or Slack when prospects engage with specific actions.

The world of work has changed, remote work is the new normal, and data-driven B2B marketing departments must actively explore solutions that help them cut through the clutter of anonymized web traffic to reveal high-value visitors.

🔎 Reveal high-value visitors on your website. See How Clearbit Reveal Works


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