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13/12/2017

Website analytics and visitor tracking – start now

Most companies that say they do analytics usually have Google Analytics on their website. Sorry to break this to you, but it’s not enough. Here are a couple of reasons why. Not to worry – if you’re like most companies you can easily fix this and when the time comes you’ll be well equipped.

So we have Google Analytics. What else is out there?

The two most important advertising platforms on internet today are those of Google and Facebook. So, the next obvious choice is the Facebook pixel. Facebook pixel doesn’t do analytics like Google does, but it counts its users on your website, e.g. if John from Shanghai visits your website, Facebook will know that. Facebook will not tell you that it was John who visited your website, but if you’ll want to target ads to people like John (who have visited your website) in future, you’ll be able to do that – thanks to Facebook pixel that quietly has gathered data of Facebook users visiting your website.

After Google Analytics and Facebook will be set up, I could say that this is it – you have covered basics. These two networks manage 2/3 of all online advertising so in most cases this probably is enough.

For most of our clients we usually add Yandex Metrica which allows visitor session recordings, heatmaps, click maps and scroll maps completely free of charge and in easily understandable formats.

In case you already rely or plan to use other platforms like Linkedin, Twitter etc, check their advertising sections for solutions that are similar to Facebook pixel. For example, Linkedin has Insights tag that allows to retarget your website (or specific parts of it) visitors. This varies by where you are located (in Russia, for example, search and social landscape is much different from that, say, in USA), who your target audience is (younger people are on Snapchat, older people on Linkedin) and what your product is (different platforms suit different products/services). Also, feature-wise – every platform has a bit different set of tools to reach different marketing goals.

Why it’s important to do this early

You might not want to do this since it requires time, some dedication or budget if you don’t trust yourself enough (so you would hire an agency like ours to do this). I’ve heard it all – “we’re too small”, “we plan to start advertising in X months – we’ll deal with these things then” or “seems complicated, we’ll just continue to boost our page posts”.

Most of the best performing campaigns are based on company’s own data. For example, one of the best performing campaigns are retargeting campaigns (showing ads only to your website visitors). That means that if you “start doing visitor tracking” only when the first campaigns are being launched, you are starting your journey blindly instead of starting the first campaigns already well-informed and targeting the most valuable prospects.

In our experience the costs related to limited access to information vastly outweigh those of setting up tracking. Even if you get a handful of visitors to your site, after 3-6 months you have a legitimate list of leads. And usually such database is even better than one you can gather during campaign, because during campaign you get the users you target for, but those organic visitors can be a much better base for further expansion because, well, they have found you on their own which means that they have made the first step on their own, without the push of advertising.

What should you measure

Merely adding Facebook pixel and/or Google Analytics code to your website gives you just the most basic data. Don’t get me wrong – that data is still very valuable and you should do at least this basic installation even if you’re not getting everything. Sometimes with new clients we have to start from zero and that can be tough (and expensive).

If you sell something – please talk to your website developers and push them to implement FB & Google codes so these platforms receive detailed data on purchases. This will give you information on where each purchase/transaction has come from (device, location, referrer, etc.). Also, you’ll be able to target people who are most similar to your customers.

If you have a contact form or any other kind of activity that is your goal – track form submission events (each user who submits the form).

With Google analytics you have to set up these events and define audiences from the start – you won’t be able to use historical data to create custom audiences for advertising purposes. With Facebook it’s a bit simpler – you’ll be able to segment visitors by unique URLs (for example “thank you” page visitors that only paying customers will see) from pixel’s history.

Act!

This really is important and will save you a lot of money and guesswork down the line. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. Also, use Google Tag Manager. It will save a ton of time.