6sense Match Rates, Explained: Capturing Intent and Identifying Accounts

6sense

With so many people working from home these days, there are bound to be changes to the patterns and insights we’ve come to expect from our data — and to our methods of data collection and application. Today, millions of people are spending their time online researching health and news updates locally and globally, as well as navigating the world of e-learning with kids.

For most of us, our everyday behaviors online and offline have changed. What we consume and the way we consume it is a new pattern that’s still emerging as we adapt to new realities at home and in business. For 6sense, it means adapting to changes in intent data and account identification so we can consistently deliver the highest match rates in the industry to our customers. And fortunately, 6sense is designed to adapt to continually changing data and markets, making it ideally suited to the work from home environment we all find ourselves in today.

Match rate: what it means and why it matters

Demand generation requires much more than hope and a form fill today. Accurately identifying accounts showing buying behavior is the essential factor in understanding the total addressable market (TAM) available to your business. When businesses evaluate account identification capabilities, whether with 6sense or a competitor, there’s often some confusion around the term “match rate.” In truth, a match rate is the measure of a vendor’s ability to match IPs and other digital signals to accounts.

Much like you’d think about a dating app: the higher the match rate, the better. It increases your likelihood of success because a higher match rate means you have more accounts to choose from and work. A high percentage for match rate is important to our customers because every percentage point less translates into hundreds or thousands of fewer accounts identified and fewer chances to engage.

Pandemic-driven changes to intent and account identification

With our patented Company Graph, we match buyer intent signals to accounts and buying teams, giving businesses more opportunities to engage buyers and generate revenue. And like the rest of us, the Company Graph is always evolving — adjusting to new inputs, learning new patterns, and filtering out noise to help our customers achieve business continuity.

In April, our Chief Technology Officer Viral Bajaria spoke about recent changes to intent and account identification and the relationship to our match rates: “We are seeing that overall business-related traffic is down by ~10% across the network of websites we monitor… There is higher consumption of news, healthcare, etc., of approximately 15-20%.”

“As greater numbers of people work from home, our Company Graph is analyzing new data and mapping new IP addresses to the appropriate work accounts,” Viral explained. “And sometimes, there is noise included in that data, like when more than one person is working from home using the same internet service to access different work accounts. When this occurs, our Graph uses probability to select the appropriate account to map.”

Accurate match rates uncover more target accounts, help optimize spend, and improve personalization 

Accurate account identification is central to account-based sales and marketing because the vast majority of buyer activity is anonymous. In her book No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls., 6sense Chief Market Officer Latané Conant details the value of accurate match rates when it comes to delivering custom messaging and experiences: “If an account is misidentified — say, Acme Industries is conducting the research but your tech stack thinks it’s Beta Company — you’ll end up wasting precious time and budget pursuing the wrong account. Plus, there’s nothing worse than personalizing a message or experience based on incorrect information. Acme Industries isn’t likely to convert or engage if they visit your website only to see the chatbot, content hub, or other elements personalized for their fierce competitor Beta Co.”

As a leader in the Forrester Wave for ABM, 6sense is designed to track buyer activity on an individual level, not simply by corporate IP addresses. There are three key factors: IP address, cookie, and advertising ID. We initially cookie people using the corporate IP address in order to then re-identify them when they work remotely.

You aren’t (always) your corporate IP address… and we can solve for that

If you’ve worked remotely for a long time, you may have done so from home, from a hotel, from a corner Starbucks — all of which involve different IP addresses. As Viral explained this past spring, “As a person moves around, their IP address changes. Our platform adjusts for these changes by pulling in several additional markers to help match signals to an account. For industries that traditionally haven’t had the opportunity for staff to work outside the office, our Graph typically mapped the account using primarily the corporate IP address. Now, with more variations in IP address data as remote working spreads across industries, our Graph deploys available secondary marker information, like cookies and mobile advertising IDs, to triangulate data connections… The Graph uses additional markers to sift through the noise so that confidence in the match rate remains consistent. Given the amount of signals we track, we don’t map every signal all the time, but we have observed accuracy over 85%.”

How we identify and re-identify people

Our Company Graph is designed for continually changing work environments. We’ve observed 40% more IPs showing intent across our network quarter over quarter, and in light of the pandemic, our Company Identity Graph has grown by over 6%. This presents an opportunity for us going forward: more account data to learn. Whether people are working from an office or at home in the future, 6sense can better uncover their activity and match it to the right accounts.

“Ours is a probabilistic graph. We do get false positives, but not a lot, and we have a confidence metric,” Viral explained to MarTech Today. “Previously you would not have had multiple people working from home. That wasn’t happening a lot. We had to make some changes to adapt to that, and change our confidence coding. When you are doing broad-based advertising, it’s okay to get some wrong. When you are hyper-focused and personalizing, you have to get it right, so you narrow your audience.”

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