Introduction

If you’re looking for the golden egg to energize your marketing campaigns, look no further than website tracking. Once viewed as impossible to achieve accurately, website tracking is now simple thanks to innovations and access in Internet access and public data.

34% of consumers say they are more likely to make an unplanned purchase when they view personalized content. You can only personalize content if you know who your audience is. How do you know who your audience is when only 2% of visitors leave any contact information?

Website tracking!

What is website tracking?

Website tracking is the collection of data and information about the people, businesses, and devices that visit your website. Businesses use website tracking to identify who visits their website, how they interact with content, and what other activities they conduct. Using this data, businesses can personalize the experience of future visitors.

For example, restaurants like McDonald’s use GPS data to recommend their nearest outlet when you search “McDonald’s” on your smartphone. Instead of getting directions to a McDonald’s 20 miles away, your first listing is the one around the corner.

The data itself gets collected by website operators and information exchanged with Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This data is public and governed by data privacy laws so you can rest assured you’re only collecting ethical data.

Learn about what is website tracking

What data can websites collect?  

A lot of data can be determined via the IP address used to visit a web page. For example, an IP address tells a webmaster the geographical location of each visitor. 

In Google Analytics, there is an entire report dedicated to this section.

Snapshot of data that websites can collect

Visitors can hide IP addresses through incognito browsers and virtual private networks (VPNs) but this report gives you a great overview of where your users are. Websites can also track their visitor’s operating system, browser version, installed plug-ins, screen resolution, installed fonts, time zone, and language.

Language is important to diversify your copy and translation across your site(s).

Snapshot of the language captured by website tracking

If your language report in Google Analytics looks like the above, writing in English is fine. But, if you flip the report the other way, you should consider translating your pages or using a plugin to do this for you.

Aside from IP address tracking, website owners can place cookies on a website. 

What are cookies? 

A cookie is code used to track, personalize, and save information about each user's session. You’ll have seen websites asking you to accept their cookies before you continue browsing a site.

Snapshot of website tracking cookies

When you accept cookies on a website, your computer stores the cookie in a file located in your web browser. This allows websites to track your data for the duration of your visit. Data tracked here includes the time you spend on a page, other pages you click to, and whether you make a purchase.

Website tracking and GDPR

Data privacy laws like GDPR, ePrivacy Directive, and CCPA need you to only perform user tracking that is in compliance with strong consent and data protection obligations. A common misconception about GDPR is that it only applies to EU-based websites. In fact, GDPR applies to every business dealing with data within the EU. So, even if you’re based in the US, you must cater to any EU visitors.

To ensure your website tracking complies with GDPR (and any data privacy law), you can take the following measures:

       1. If your site doesn’t collect personal data (including IP addresses) nor use cookies or contact forms, HIPAA Journal says you don’t need to do anything.
       2.If your site does collect data, it must be for a “legitimate interest” and the visitor must be able to grant or deny consent.

You can use a cookie notification to let every visitor grant or deny consent.

Legitimate interest is not defined in the GDPR document so make sure you only use website tracking for ethical and genuine reasons. Website tracking for personalization and targeted marketing campaigns should both fall under “legitimate” in the marketing dictionary.

Why do websites track users, especially marketing teams? 

Websites can track users for any number of reasons, but the main use case is in marketing teams. Marketers can use data for performance tracking, building buyer personas, and mapping the buyer journey. In turn, these activities assist lead generation and help with better-targeted marketing.

Help with performance tracking 

When you dedicate time and resources to a marketing campaign, you need to report on how well it’s doing.

You can use website tracking to measure how many visitors your content attracts, where they stay on your site, and if they convert to a customer.

Website tracking feeds into analytics like time on page, bounce rate, and events. Without any tracking in place, it’s impossible to gauge website performance and lead attribution.

Track website performance
Build buyer personas 

When you know what types of marketing performs well, and who is consuming your content, you can build out buyer personas. For example, when you have data that suggests your visitors are from the US, read in English, and stay on your remote working pages, you can build a high-level persona.

With further insights, like those in Freshmarketer Marketing Analytics, you can build out the buyer persona at a lower level. 

Using the marketing journey, you can find out where your converting customers (your buyers) click on your site and what types of outbound marketing they respond to.

Website Tracking 2: Build buyer persona
Map buyer journey 

The buyer journey starts before a visitor reaches your site. By combining tools you have access to by default (like Google Search Console and Fresmarketer Analytics), you can see the journey from the keywords typed into Google through to which products your buyer added to their basket.

At each stage of the buyer journey, tools like heatmaps give you visibility of the most-clicked buttons and words on your site. 

You can use these insights to replicate high-performing pages across your brand. When all your pages are high-performing, your website becomes a real asset for lead generation.

Website Tracking 3: Map buyer journey
Assist lead gen 

While you may have successful outbound marketing campaigns, there is still no better-qualified lead than a visitor who found your site by themselves. Website tracking provides you all the data needed to drive leads that make it through the chasms between MQL and SQL.

Your sales team will thank you more often when you provide leads who found you—rather than having to call out and qualify the lead themselves.

Website Tracking: Assist in Lead Generation
Sure-up targeted marketing

Long gone is the age where marketers write a blog post and hope someone will read it. By the same token, digital adverts stand a much better chance of getting in front of your desired audience thanks to targeted marketing. Using data obtained from website tracking, you can target each blog post, eBook, and social media post to your buyer personas.

If you optimize everything for the right audience, your lead gen pipeline will fill up in no time.

Website Tracking: Targeted Marketing

How do websites track users? 

There are five main ways website track users:

HTTP cookies

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.

Tracking pixels

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

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.

IP tracking

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.

How to track website users?

Website analytics packages like Google Analytics and Freshsales CRM help by doing the hard part for you.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free service that you can turn on to start tracking visitors to your website. When you sign your site up to Google Analytics, you get data like:

You can see below the Site Content report in Google Analytics. This shows the number of views each page receives over your specified period.

Website tracking - GA data

You can click each page in this report to find out further insights about on-page behavior. 

One thing you might want to know is what a specific user typed in on Google to find that page. This is where Google Search Console can help.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is often referred to as the back-end of Google Analytics. Specifically for search engine traffic, Google Search Console is another free service that provides you with insights about users who visit your site after searching something on Google.

For example, you can see that 27,993 visitors reached the site below by searching “Microsoft Teams meetings” on Google in the last year.

Website Tracking - Search Console

Google provides this tracking for you so it is easy to get started. All you need to do is embed the relevant code on your site from Google Search Console.

For more in-depth reporting on your customers, once they start interacting on your site, you can use Freshsales Suite to start using tools like AI-based contact scoring, phone, email, and activity capture. 

Freshsales Suites

To truly personalize your buyer and customer experience, you need to remove siloed data and disconnected teams. You can combine the data you get from basic website tracking to power your marketing automation and sales automation.

When you integrate Freshsales CRM with Google’s tools, you change from collecting data to transforming your marketing campaigns.

With Freshsales CRM, you house a single source of truth with every data point your website collects. With this data, you trigger lead management and marketing activities based on real user experiences and feedback. You can finally set up a campaign knowing it will deliver results.

Freshsales CRM is unique in that it provides all your data and reports in a single user interface.

Unlike other CRMs that integrate with Google Analytics and pass on data about your website visitors, Freshsales CRM uses that data to power its own insights.  So, there’s no more manual manipulation or hours spent creating pivot tables.

How can visitor tracking drive growth?

When you know why visitors come to your site, you can optimize your blog, sales pages, and interactive tools. When you know how visitors make it to your site, you can choose to capitalize on your best-performing channels or dedicate time to bring other channels up to speed.

While tracking the who, when, where, why, and how, you can identify your next what. Let’s break that down as it’s quite a mouthful.

Who?

Are you attracting the right audience from your marketing campaigns? If you know who your regular visitors are, you can decide whether you need to adjust your buyer persona or your content strategy.

When?

If you know when your audience is most engaged—or when your buyers are most engaged—you can time publishing blog posts or sending email blasts better.

Constant feedback on when your open rate improves and web traffic spikes can form your editorial calendar and associated marketing activities.

Where?

Like When, if you know where your most engaged audience is based, you can optimize your efforts for their time zone.  This might mean you need to use scheduling tools or have a member of staff in a set location.

For example, you can use Zapier to integrate Freshsales Suite and Facebook Lead Ads to trigger a new lead for your sales team. 

Using automation tools like this means you can capture any audience at any time—regardless of geography.

Why?

Website tracking must answer why people visit your site. When you know why, you can make business decisions about where to invest time and resources. 

For example, if every visitor becomes a customer, your why is “to buy our product” and you’re happy with that. But, it might be “to find an answer to a query” so you know to focus on keeping people on your site and working out how to convert them to a paying customer.

How?

The how helps with optimization too. When you know which devices and media channels are used to find your website, you can allocate budget to optimizing for mobile—or request extra spend on Twitter adverts.

Your next what

When you have the who, when, where, why, and how, you can plan what your next move is. It might be a new blog, eBook, email, social media ad, or a whole site redesign.

How to choose a web tracking software? 

Finding the right web tracking differs from company to company. You know your existing setup, and what already does and doesn’t work. So, take control. Create a checklist that captures the following:

 

 

Freshsales CRM slots into your business with the minimum of fuss.  Using bespoke data capture fields while interpreting website tracking information, use Freshsales CRM to create smart segments, boost conversion rate, and automate marketing efforts.

Check out all the Freshsales Suite features here.