How does the Visitor Identification process take place in Target?


How does Target identify visitors (i.e., which variables and in what order)?


  1. The visitor is identified based on mboxpcid or mcid or thirdpartyid.
  2. mboxpcid is basically generated by the Target tag on customer’s web page, and we write a cookie for that visitor, so we know that this visitor has fired a call to Target before or not.
  3. Similarly, mcid is created by visitor API on the page, and this ID is made available across marketing cloud solutions.
  4. The customers themselves provide thirdpartyid, so it depends on how they identify their visitors.
  5. On subsequent visits, the visitor may be identified as long as the cookie is not deleted or the profile doesn’t expire on our systems (based on time to live).
  6. Finally, in terms of reports, it is a very different solution, i.e., one may visit a page, and they may get counted as a visitor in analytics. However, in Target, we count visitors only in the context of the given activity (i.e., if the visitor qualifies for the activity and is served an experience pertaining to that activity).
  7. In A4T context :
  • “Unique visitors” include users’ activity once they’ve entered the test, even if they don’t interact with test content per session afterward.
  • “Visits” include user visits that do not involve seeing an activity.
  • “Activity impressions” increment each time a visitor sees the actual test content (basically, each server call from Target to Analytics counts)
  • “Instances” increment once per page when activity content is seen.
  • Impressions and instances are equal unless there are multiple mbox calls on the same page in the same activity, causing multiple impressions to be counted in a single instance.

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