Even though about 79% of websites use technologies to track website visitors, privacy has long become an Achilles’ heel of the web, with users thinking twice before consenting to personal information collection. As a result, monitoring their behavior on the site and improving sales conversion rates became more challenging.
According to Statista, about 53% of global Internet users have become much more concerned about their privacy on the Internet in just one year, leading to new website metrics and ways of tracking website visitors.
We have already touched on website visitor tracking and lead tracking, but it might be the right time to double down on it, discussing how to track visitors to your website and what website tracking tools can help you do it best.
Why Do I Even Need To Track My Website Visitors?
Website visitor tracking can provide unexpectedly profound insights into customer behavior and engagement.
- What triggers conversions and makes them bounce?
- What website elements are the most profitable?
- How can I improve the on-site part of the sales funnel?
Website visitor tracking answers all these questions.
Top 3 Reasons To Track Website Visitors
|From paid campaign monitoring to organic SEO search website tracking methods, you can see results before and after implementing changes in promoting a product or service to offer the most relevant offer to your target buyer.
After marketing specialists learn how to track website metrics and visitors, they will save investments by removing the most unprofitable campaigns and prioritizing only effective marketing channels that lead consumers to the website and convert best.
|After you learn how to track all activity on your website, you can identify the entry and exit points, popular actions, and why users engage with some elements while ignoring others.
Long story short, you can tailor user experiences to customers to convert more of them.
|Website performance & design
|Website performance issues will scare away 79% of online consumers, with website design quality accounting for 94% of the first user’s impression.
After you track website visitors, you can compile a list of pages with problems that prevent users from completing the target action and identify how you can improve the UX.
Am I Allowed To Track Visitors on My Website?
You can track website visitors using both privacy-friendly ways and more invasive methods. However, before implementing any of them, you should learn more about your nationwide and local data privacy laws and regulations:
|General Data Protection Regulation
|California Privacy Rights Act
|California Consumer Privacy Act
|Colorado Privacy Act
|Connecticut Personal Data Privacy and Online Monitoring Act
|Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act
All of them regulate how to track users’ website activity and the processing of data like gender, ethnicity, religious and political views, name, email address, biometric data, web cookies, IP address, and more.
What Feature Is Required To Track Customer Search Terms on a Website?
Based on all of the previous regulations, websites usually have to get a lawful basis to track visitors on a website, such as:
- Performing tasks in the public interest
- Compliance with a legal obligation
- Legitimate interest
- Contract closure
- User consent
Most often, websites must notify users about data collection and obtain their consent before tracking them. Be careful and lawfully track the number of visitors to the website since violation of the regulations entails fines. For example, if you track website visitors illegally, you can get CCPA penalties ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 per violation, or (if you’re in Europe) GDPR penalties of $20.3 million or 4% of your global revenue.
How Do I Track Visitors to My Website Legally?
Once you understand privacy laws and regulations, you can safely choose which method to track website visitors suits you best. Explore the most current methods below.
We omitted the information about IP address, session storage, and other outdated methods on how to track visitors to a website. They are ineffective in comprehensively analyzing the targeted audience portrait and the advertising campaign’s success.
Cookie tracking has long been frowned upon by Google, but it’s still one of the most convenient and popular ways to track the number of visitors to a website. By inserting a cookie into the user’s browser, brands can track visitors to their websites and remember their preferences.
Here’s the most important information you can get from cookies:
- Personal data: You can obtain information about users’ phone numbers and track website visits by state to create a unique offer that resonates most properly with people from different locations.
- Device information: You can track website visitors and get data about session time on the site, device, and browser, which can help you optimize the performance of your resources.
- Transitions and clicks: Cookies are used as a unique identifier that you can implement to track which website users are accessing and monitor their movement on this website.
Even though the web is abundant with cookie blockers, cookies continue to be actively used and, therefore, remain one of the best ways to keep track of visits to WordPress websites and other platforms.
Supercookies are another way to track visitors on the website, but they do not use local storage like usual Internet cookies do. Instead, they are placed at the network layer as Unique Identifier Headers in different locations.
However, what makes them “super?”
- First of all, it is almost impossible to detect and destroy them. Usual clearing cookies will not remove them, nor will setting “Do Not Track” in users’ browsers.
- Secondly, they can restore deleted cookies. After you track website visitors with supercookies, you can access users’ private data, data from connected devices, images, and file caches.
And yet, brands can’t always track website visitors due to encrypted connections and browsers like Mozilla, which crack down on supercookie-based tracking methods.
This is one of the easier ways to track website visitors to find out which sites they visited, when, and whether they are authorized users. The practicality of the method lies in the fact that website visitors are less likely to block content caching since this would lead to a significant slowdown in the performance of web pages.
- The proxy server loads the site, and after a repeat request, it provides users with a version of the page cached on the server, significantly speeding up their website loading while you can track website visitors.
In addition to the fact that it is the common way to track website metrics for free, marketing experts will have a sample size big enough since there are a lot of people aged 16 to 45 who never deleted their browsing history and cache, according to the 2023 survey of the UK’s population.
A study from EFF showed that about 80% of browser fingerprints are unique, making fingerprinting quite effective if you want to track visitors to your website for free. Fingerprinting collects almost the same data as cookies, identifying visitors not by special marks in the system but by the unique features of their browsers, operating systems, and devices.
Fingerprinting gives you the ability to identify:
- Incognito browsing mode
- Changing browsers on one PC
- Banning cookies
However, to discover how to track visitors on WordPress websites with Fingerprinting code, you must use scripts such as the FingerprintJS library. At first glance, this method might not seem entirely safe, but brands can operate it legally while following the GDPR.
A tracking pixel is an unusual but simple JS or tag hosted on a third-party server to track website visitors. To use it on your website, you must add a ready-made tag to the page you want to analyze.
There are four ways of using tracking pixels:
|Placed as an inline frame on a website’s landing page
|Set up as an image or 1×1 GIF on the site’s landing page
|Added as a script to the site code to track website visitors
|A click ID attached to any user’s click; best for counting conversions.
Tracking pixels allows you to collect user web activities, their IP address, and email. By the way, Meta, TikTok, and Google still use this method. That said, forgotten pixels are not uncommon either, at least according to the Reflectiz case study.
Popular Tools To Track Visitors on Your Website
To make user tracking easier, brands use visitor tracking tools to get the necessary data analytics for each website page. Below, you can find reliable and time-tested platforms that offer advanced features to track website visitors, analyze their behavior, and uncover new strategies to improve conversions.
One of the most famous tools used to track user activity on a website is Google Analytics, offering cross-platform tracking, among other analytics functionalities.
Google Analytics reports cover three important user behavior dimensions:
- Behavior flow: Businesses can learn about users’ journeys from entering their website until leaving.
- User explorer: Marketers can track unique visitors on the website and get reports that visualize a chronological timeline of a specific user’s activity.
- Audiences: You can find reports on new and returning visitors, discover the locations of high-intent users, and much more.
Google Analytics is the best tool for beginners who don’t know what metrics to track on a website. However, even though it includes essential indicators for online business, such as LTV, ROAS, and engagement rate, it doesn’t have metrics that reflect conversion rates across traffic channels, pages, devices, etc.
Learn more about how to track website visitors using Google Analytics and Phonexa.
Adobe Analytics is a popular software to track website visitors that collects data from various channels, allowing brands to understand, predict, and model customer behavior and needs.
Adobe Analytics includes:
- Customer journey tracking – ready-made modules for tracking video and audio streams
- Activity map – software comprising features like user engagement visualization, heat mapping, overlay reports, etc.
- Segment IQ – AI-driven feature for comparing different audiences and tracking user behavior patterns.
Using Adobe Analytics, you can also identify suspicious traffic. The only fly in the ointment is that the world-known software lacks customization flexibility, so you may have to be content with generic features and approaches when tracking website visitors.
Phonexa is all-in-one software to track user activity on a website, delivering up-to-date reporting and analysis and allowing you to quickly make data-driven decisions based on how users interact with the website.
With Phonexa, you will get:
- Click & call tracking: The dynamic dashboard will allow you to monitor real-time campaign performance including digital sales and conversion rates.
- User behavior analytics: Session replays, in-depth heatmaps, and friction insights, including the best-performing demographic groups and locations, will help you deliver the leads that your advertisers want.
- Clear visualization: You will be able to sync your other marketing tools and map the entire sales process to improve your sales funnel alongside tracking visits to the website from mailers, banners, and other traffic sources.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do websites track users?
You track web activity for a website to maintain quality communication with consumers and develop relevant offers. Brands that track website visitors can improve the products or services they provide as well as the overall performance of their websites.
How do websites track users?
The most common methods to track website visitors are:
- IP address
- Tracking pixels
- Local and Session storage
- HTTP Referrer
What is cross-website tracking?
Cross-website tracking is a solution to track which website users are accessing. It is a common practice to collect information about user browsing behavior from third-party websites.
How do you track website users without violating the law?
Here are some regulations to comply with to track your website visitors legally:
- California Consumer Privacy Act
- California Privacy Rights Act
- General Data Protection Regulation
- Colorado Privacy Act
- Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act
- Connecticut Personal Data Privacy and Online Monitoring Act
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