How do we identifying returning subscribers or contacts?

A common question we get from customers is around how we’re able to know when a returning subscriber or contact is on your website.

There are 3 ways for us to identify a visitor:

  • When they submit a form that’s served by a RightMessage CTA Funnel
  • A redirect from an non-RightMessage form submission
  • Clicking on an email link in a marketing email

Once we’ve identified someone (i.e. this person using this browser is Contact #12345) then we permanently cookie that in the visitor’s browser, where it remains until they clear their cache.

Submitting a RightMessage CTA Funnel form

If someone submits a form powered by RightMessage, we automatically associate their new contact record with their browser/device.

Redirecting from a non-RightMessage form submission

If you’re using a non-RightMessage form to capture leads, you’re going to want to ensure that you’re redirecting new subscribers to a confirmation page that includes their new personal identifier.

How to do this is entirely contingent on the form tool you’re using, but if you’re using your email marketing app’s built-in forms, there should be a way to pass along the newly created contact ID to the confirmation page. Contact your form tool’s support for more information on how to do this.

This is where things get fun.

RightMessage pushes data up to contact records in your ESP/CRM, and we also pull data down. The personal identifier – i.e. Contact #12345 – is the link that ties everything together.

As you email your list, included in every outbound link will be a personal identifier that allows RightMessage to know who a particular visitor is. This means you can do useful things like hide opt-in forms for returning subscribers, replacing them with relevant calls-to-action.

Multiple devices – a phone, a laptop computer, and a tablet – can all be linked to the same device.

It’s not unreasonable to speculate that someone could join your email list on your phone, and later on receive a marketing email from you on their laptop. If they click a link in that email that leads to your website, now both their phone AND their laptop are linked to the same contact record.

To create this link between your marketing emails and your website + RightMessage, you’re going to want to follow the relevant guide for you ESP/CRM:

How does RightMessage handle people sharing URLs with personal identifiers?

Because the links you send your subscribers will include a personal identifier that RightMessage will then use to identify a visitor, you might rightfully be asking yourself:

“What if this person then shares, say, a new blog post I linked them to on their Facebook or Twitter feed? Won’t anyone who clicks on that link – since it includes that personal identifier – be assumed to be them?”

RightMessage automatically and immediately strips out personal identifiers from your links.

This means that if you email someone a link to a new article on your website, and the link goes to, RightMessage will immediately remove the ?ck_subscriber_id=12345 from the URL.

Next up

Identifying visitors automatically

While the preferred way to associate a visitor’s browsing session to a contact record in your email marketing platform is to leverage RightMessage forms or pass a contact ID over to your...