Web Tracking Is Your Marketing Automation Advantage

Associations, Communications Strategy // Web tracking is a marketing automation advantage to help determine the identity of your web visitors with cookies. Track your interactions, work with a web developer, include link-heavy emails, and monitor your users for success.

Shayna McGroggan
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Web tracking may not be the first thing that leaps to mind when you think about marketing automation, but it should be. Like perfecting a golf swing, marketing automation is all about the follow-through, and combining web tracking with automated campaigns is exactly the prep you need before stepping out on the green.

Modern digital marketing is all about data. Google analytics is one type of web tracking that can provide insight on visitors interacting with a web site, and many communications platforms now have web tracking baked in as well. There’s plenty of helpful takeaways provided by these tools.

Example: Is your bounce rate too high on a page? Your visitors may not be finding what they want or expected, which is why they left so quickly.

Good web tracking goes beyond these initial visits. The benefit of using a platform with web tracking built in is it can actually determine the identity of some of your web visitors. If they already subscribe and are listed in your database, the use of cookies can now pinpoint exactly which of those subscribers are going to your web site, and what they did once they got there.

This unlocks a plethora of options for the modern marketer.

Cookies for Web Tracking

Once your code is in place, it’s important to have a way to identify and follow visitors on your web site. This is accomplished through the use of cookies, which are data packets that need to be installed on the visitor’s web browser. You can do this by simply sending someone an email through the platform. When the recipient opens the email and clicks on any link that opens a web browser, a cookie will be installed on that browser (whether the link is going to the site you’re tracking, or anywhere else on the web). As long as that cookie is installed on the browser, they become a known user and you can see any time that individual visits the site you are tracking. And if they perform any interaction or make any purchase you have chosen to track, you can see that too.

The individual can only be tracked as long as the cookie stays installed on their browser. If they clear their cookies, reinstall their browser, start using a different browser, or switch to a different device, you will no longer be able to trace their activity back to their identity. Some platforms will still be able to view the traffic and activity, but it will now appear anonymous instead of being attributed to someone specific.

From there, you can use the tracking data to create lists for one-off emails, trigger automated campaigns, or simply organize new and insightful reports. The information is collected constantly and opens up opportunities that were impossible before. This is automation in its most powerful form.

4 Tasks for Your Web Tracking Checklist

1. Take inventory of possible interactions. Before Installing any code on the site, identify interactions and purchases that make sense to follow up on or respond to.

2. Work with your web developer to install the code. If you don’t have a web developer, consult your web tracking provider for tips, best practices, and help.

3. Send some link-heavy emails. Start sending email campaigns to your target audience with a primary goal of getting a high click rate. The more recipients that click on a link and have the cookie installed on their browsers, the more visitors you can track and trace to identities.

4. Monitor your known users. If your platform allows you to see how many of your recipients are tracked or known users, make sure this number is always going up. If it’s not, you may need to focus on sending more emails with a focus on getting them to click more links to have the cookie installed. If the number is going down, then that means the cookie is no longer in play. Again, you must focus on getting those individuals to click on links to have them reinstalled.

Download the Engagement Trends Report 2020

Shayna McGroggan

Marketing Automation Manager

Shayna is a former Marketing Automation Manager at Higher Logic. In her role, she provided automation strategy for clients, while developing campaigns and assisting with persona development. She delivered quality coaching in marketing automation strategy to a growing list of at least 7 individual organizations, acting as a subject matter expert by providing guidance on the creative design of client emails/landing pages and the integration of email, web tracking, community, and CRM data for campaigns.

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