Who’s Watching You? Tracking Your Website Visitors

Do you know who visits your site, let alone what actions they take when they’re there? You can track your site visitors and anonymously follow them to other sites. Yes, that sounds a bit stalkerish, but it’s a perfectly legal, and fruitful, digital marketing practice. So, just how does this all work? Read on to learn how to track site visits, how websites are tracking you, and what to do if your site visitors don’t convert right away into customers.

Footprints On The Web

By now, I think we’ve all done a Google search on our own names. If you haven’t, go ahead and do so and see what’s out there. When I type my own name into Google, it gives me mainly the “Entertainment Tonight” co-host (that’s not me); an assistant VP of development at a children’s hospital (also not me); a painter (again, not me); and a legendary ghost in Connecticut (do I even have to say it?). But for many others, typically your own information will be what pops up first, so it’s important to know what comes up, especially when you’re job hunting.

Websites/social media profiles like the above, though, are not the only digital footprint you’re leaving behind. Any time you visit a website for the first time and fill out information—be it in the form of making a purchase or a registration page to view a white paper—a cookie is created that contains that information. This cookie is then stored in your web browser until the next time you go to visit that webpage, at which point the information in the cookie is shared behind the scenes with the website so it “knows” you.

You can use cookies to serve up dynamic, customized pages for your site visitors that are personalized with their name and/or shows the items that are still in their shopping cart. Or you can personalize the site visitor’s user experience so it won’t show them the CTA for something they already downloaded, and will instead replace that with a different asset or offer. Amazon is a pro in this: Each time I visit, they show me books based on what I last ordered (Note: This doesn’t work as well around Christmas when I’m buying for my niece and nephews. No, Amazon, I don’t really want that Paw Patrol toy set for myself, but thanks for the personalization) and keeps items in my cart until I delete them. Because of this, I will keep using Amazon, so this is something you should implement to keep your customers coming back again and again.

Big Brother Is Watching

Now let’s talk about another side of cookies. Two years ago, I came up with the idea of being a cute clown for Halloween to try and counteract my own fear of clowns. (Thanks to John Wayne Gacy and Stephen King’s “It” for creating that fear in the first place, by the way.) Spoiler alert: It didn’t work. However, it seemed like a good idea at the time, so I typed “clown costumes” into Google. Glancing through the results that showed up on various websites, I did find one that was really cute and ordered it. However, a number of other freaky possibilities popped up, some of which I wish I’d never seen, like Twisty from “American Horror Story.” Later that night, I went onto Facebook and what to my horror did appear but the Twisty costume and a number of other terrifying clown costumes in the right-hand column of ads.

How did that happen? Welcome to the world of retargeting. With ad retargeting, a company places a piece of Javascript code on its website that then follows website visitors throughout their web travels and serves up ads through retargeting based on the sites they just visited. And it pays off. Research from Digital Information World found that when website visitors are presented with a retargeted display ad, they are 70% more likely to make a purchase.

What Else Can You Track?

When you’re looking at your website statistics, you want to also look at page bounce rates and page conversion rates. Bounce rates indicate how many people left a site after viewing that one page versus how many people went on to view another page on the same website from that page. Pages with high bounce rates need to be re-evaluated to see what might be prompting a site visitor to leave. A/B split tests on website pages can help you test which version of a page would lead to a lower bounce rate.

Conversion rates show you how many people filled out a form or became a customer on your site from that one page. Here, you actually do want high rates because that shows the page compelled the visitor to take action. Again, A/B split tests can help you determine which page performs better.

Not sure what your landing page should look like to create a low bounce rate or high conversion rate, or need help building a website marketing plan in general that will bring you leads? PartnerDemand can help! Contact us to get started today.