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According to this doc (Understanding Anonymous Activity and People - Marketo Docs - Product Documentation ):
The first time someone visits a Marketo landing page (or a page on your website that has the Munchkin Tracking Code), Marketo creates an anonymous lead/activity and uses a browser cookie to track it. Once it's identified, it becomes a KNOWN lead and the history associated with their browser cookie is merged in.
An anonymous lead becomes KNOWN (or merged into an existing lead) when someone:
- Clicks a link in a Marketo email.
- Fills out a Marketo Form.
- Uses Marketo's SOAP or Munchkin API (for developers) to associate an anonymous person with a known record.
Here's some more detailed information around this topic:
An anonymous lead corresponds to a cookie without any personal data in the Marketo database.
You can no longer access them (see Removal of "Is Anonymous" filters. ) in a smart list, but they do not count against your licence quota and they do not appear in the database count.
The only place you can see them in in the "Web Page activity" and in the "company web activity" reports.
Also, they do not grow very old, since Marketo deletes all anonymous that had no web activity in the past 90 days.
The only way to count them is to run a web page activity report and download it.
BTW, looking in a "web age activity" report, it does not seem that the 90 days deletion is still happening: some anonymous persons with no web visit in the past couple of years are still there in the report.
Mike Reynolds, do you know about it ?
The data doesn't get aged out of there AFAIK. It gets aged out for named leads. It wouldn't make sense for still-anonymous activities to get aged out after 90 days as the cookie lasts for 2 years by default (thus can be merged in at any time in that period).
Yes, it can be merged during the 2 years in theory. Yet the likeliness to see a cookie owner coming back after 90 days without activity is extremely low (<5%, probably closer to 1%), because most of the time, this cookie is not longer on the owner's browser anyway. So it means keeping huge volumes of data for no real usage. I had some discussion with Marketo years ago about this and they told me they were deleting the data, but apparently it's still there.