Ancestry.com Unifies Customer Data, Increasing Customer Reach by 60 Percent

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Tag management helps the genealogy site streamline its data.
Customer Experience

Family history site Ancestry.com serves more than 2.7 million worldwide subscribers who turn to the site to discover and share information about their lineage. Founded in 1983, the Provo, UT-based company has compiled a wide collection of user-generated content, including more than 60 million family trees and 6 billion profiles, in addition to receiving about 25 million unique monthly views on its site.

Two years ago, Ancestry.com moved its media and marketing efforts in-house. As part of that change, the company needed to become more nimble in streamlining its customer data and making it accessible, explains Mark Fiske, senior director of global digital marketing for Ancestry.com.

"We wanted to move and optimize as quickly as possible, but we had to change some things, such as our tag system [snippets of code embedded in a page that enable third-party tracking, analysis, and reporting]," Fiske says. "Previously we had to work with IT to get tags on our site which negatively affects the customer experience by slowing down our ability to process data."

Ancestry.com chose tag management company Tealium in fall 2012 to help it ramp up its audience and data analyses and other marketing functions. The company implemented Tealium's audience discovery and digital distribution platform AudienceStream to let marketers insert and manage the tags themselves.

Instead of manually coding a page, marketers can select and review tags on a dashboard. From there they can decide which tags they want to activate by setting rules to automate the process. As a result, the company was able to unify customer data across its advertising platform and search and email tools and provide a more consistent customer experience.

Within a few days after implementing the solution, Ancestry.com reduced its average data processing time from 24 to 48 hours to 3 to 4 minutes, allowing the company to send more timely targeted emails and display ads.

"For example, if we know someone already has a certain product, we can fire off tracking tags that allow us to change our ad copy based on what we know about that member," Fiske says. If you're a current member of Ancestry.com, we might invite you to try out our DNA test, instead of serving you a generic message."

In addition, Ancestry.com can deliver messages across channels based on a user's behavior. If a member, for example, placed a product in his or her shopping cart on Ancestry.com without completing the transaction, the company can send an email reminding the member about the product or recommend similar products.

By sending customers a reminder email in one hour or less using Tealium, Ancestry.com data shows that it can increase its reach to potential cart abandoners by 60 percent.The effectiveness of re-engaging those same customers drops to 5 percent after 24 hours.

Ancestry.com's next project is to better understand its mobile users. The company is in the early stages of implementing tagging technology within its mobile app, according to Fiske.

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