How do websites track users?
There are five main ways website track users:
An HTTP cookie is data that collects and sends tracking information from your visitor’s web browser to your analytics platform. These are the main source of data you receive when tracking who visited your website. You can interpret this data as insights into how people interact with your content.
A tracking pixel is a snippet of HTML code that marketers can embed into outbound emails. This pixel tracks whether you open an email, click on a link within the email, and follows your journey all the way through to becoming a customer.
You can use tracking pixels to understand how your email audience uses your website and determine if it is a high-converting channel.
Fingerprinting takes the premise of a cookie and extends it over a longer period. By retrieving continuous data, you can create a “digital fingerprint” of your audience.
Some users won’t like their online activity continuously tracked so it’s common for browsers (like Firefox) to block fingerprint tracking as standard. If you do use fingerprinting to build an extensive profile of your audience, ensure this is communicated and you get their consent.
We already know that an IP address gives us a wealth of data about our website visitors. By tracking IP addresses, you can find out information as detailed as the business your visitor works for.
By looking up the domain associated with an IP address, marketers can make an educated guess about which businesses are browsing their site.