How ZoomInfo Matches IPs to Companies While Employees Work from Home

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s one question our account management, sales, customer support team keeps getting. It’s a question we are hearing more than any other question.

“With most people working from home, how does this affect ZoomInfo’s ability to assign IPs to companies?” 

After all, ZoomInfo’s products on Intent and visitor identification (WebSights) rely heavily on our ability to identify which IP traffic reflects which company’s consumption. The answer to this question is actually pretty interesting, but here’s a sneak preview: we’re not worried.

It’s natural to think that a product that markets itself as something that identifies network traffic on companies would suffer from the impact of COVID-19. The thought even crossed my mind for a second when we at ZoomInfo got our own work from home mandate. But then I realized that we’ve had processes in place to catch residential browsing and work-from-home activity for quite a while now.

The reason why we have data, despite the shift, really comes down to understanding how we get the data. We get IP-to-company data by inspecting transactional business data. Wherever professionals are emailing, filling out forms, consuming content— we’re creating links between IP and domain. 

Traditionally these actions happen largely from the office, so a large percentage of our IP data is corporate network IPs attached to domains. However, we’re still logging these IP-to-domain pairings when activity occurs on home networks. 

So whether I’m filling out a web form on the website of a company in the ZoomInfo community from my patio or sending an email from my couch— my activity is fueling our IP data. After actions like these, my residential IP address is linked to ZoomInfo. Once my residential IP address is linked to ZoomInfo, our Websights and Intent products start identifying me as a ZoomInfo employee when I perform various actions on the web.

To demonstrate how ZoomInfo’s technology automatically adapted to the COVID-19 work-from-home world, I had our data team pull data on the the increase of residential traffic in our IP-to-company technology:

As you can see, our IP identification solutions kicked into overdrive in terms of tracking work from home traffic right around the second and third weeks of March. Makes sense, right? And that dip at the beginning of April? That’s the week of Good Friday, Easter and Passover. Those holidays happen to land right when most work-from-home workers were starting to tire of the monotony. 

It’s not surprising to see that people worked a little less from home during that week. Overall, we were creating nearly three times as many residential IP-to-company links at the height of the work-from-home scramble.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this is that ZoomInfo is not done plugging in additional sources to track work-from-home activity. One of the benefits of being the largest B2B data provider is that our footprint keeps on growing. Soon, when recipients click on emails in our new product Engage, we’ll often be able to associate a home IP to a domain. 

We’re forming relationships with additional intent providers that include cookie-sourced email domain data alongside IP traffic to give us yet another source of IP data. All of this work, combined with increased scrutiny on dialing in our IP data, is driving ZoomInfo to continue to provide its customers with valuable insight about which companies are visiting which pages on the internet.