A.I. & Optimization

Advanced Machine Learning, Data Mining, and Online Advertising Services

Extractng Companies B2B Firmographics from IP Addresses



Detecting a B2B company's website visitors is an important feature that marketers normally expect any B2B marketing platform to support these days. In this article, we compare two marketing platforms: Act-On & Marketo and dig into their website prospecting features.

Why Identifying Website Visitors?

If you're a B2B company selling your product to other companies, you want to get the highest level of transparency and insights from people who visit your website. Especially you want to identify who is the visitor and identify their company firmographics (i.e company features such as its industry, size, annual revenue, location etc). This allows you to close the optimization loop and personalize your B2B marketing/advertising efforts.

Identification
Fig 1. - Identifying anonymous website visitors (source: datafloq.com )

Act-On Visitor Tracking Revisited

Based on previous studies, more than 90% of B2B website visitors are anonymous meaning that they bounce before signing-up any form and pass their contact information to you! So, it's important to detect the companies that these anonymous visitors are coming from. Act-On detects anonymous visitors by trying to map visitors' IP addresses to company names. Below you see a few examples where Act-On mapped the website visitor's IP to their company name:

Act-On website prospectors
Fig 1. - Act-On in Action

As we see, Act-On successfuly mapped "137.144.102.114" to Schlumberger Limited name. However, Act-On could only identify the ISP behind "104.35.112.29" ip address: Time Warner Cable Internet. Here, you can read more about Act-On Website Visitor Tracking.

IP Intelligence

There are companies who have built their own IP address mapping database where they map IP addresses to company names. Using those API's, we can programmatically analyze IP's and extract high-level features from them. Check here for a simple script doing the mapping: IP Intelligence.

These API's provide a very basic intelligence around IP addresses using public data in Internet such as DNS entries. Let's analyze above IP's which Act-On mapped to company names and test how much information an open IP mapping API provides. See the following table for the results of running the IP mapping script:

IP address Geo-Loc Org Name
137.144.102.114 Houston, TX AS72 Schlumberger Limited
104.35.112.29 Beverly Hills, CA AS20001 Time Warner Cable Internet LLC

As we see, using a basic IP mapper API performs as accurately as Act-On website visiotr mapping. In other words, Act-On uses a very basic solution for IP mapping which unfortunately can often fail identifying anonymous website visitors especially when the size of company is small/medium.

The other tool we found useful is whois website which can be used to find out the range of IP addresses belonging to companies. For instance if you search "137.144.102.114" IP address on the website, it tells you that Schlumberger owns "137.144.0.0 - 137.144.255.255" IP range which can be a useful intel.

netFactor: VisitorTrack - B2B Website Visitor Tracking

Another company called netFactor also provides a visitor tracking solution (i.e. VisitorTrack) which can be integrated with CRM solutions for identifying anonymous visitors and extract company features. Based on their website they partner with ZoomInfo to provide detailed company and key contact info for B2B website visitors. It seems Marketo uses VisitorTrack solution from netFactor to identify website visitors and provide some high-level company firmographics.

Wrap-up

In the future, we have plan to test the Marketo and Hubspot platforms closely and analyze the quality of their website visitor tracking solutions. By then please stay tuned!

Please share with us if you have similar experience with B2B marketing platforms in the comment section below.

To learn more about our Online Advertising Services, contact us at: info@aioptify.com