Consistent tagging and tracking is key factor in creating a solid foundation for any successful site. However, it can be common for these processes to become a bit of an afterthought — as many site creators attach tags to their pages only after they’ve become live. Not only does this method disregard the changes that come with imminent of software updates, but makes it difficult to properly tag and track future site changes and added features.
So in our 20 years of analytical consulting, how have we seen tagging and tracking be useful across industries?
Distinguishing New Customers
In a perfect world, all analysts would be able to identify who is browsing a particular web page, when they’re doing it, and which features are being utilized. Generally speaking, it’s pretty easy to track existing customers and users if your page employs a log in. Though analyzing the unique habits of new visitors and prospective customers is important for retention, it can be difficult to execute properly. One way to track new users is with a persistent cookie that sets an ID on the device—so regardless if they’ve set up a log in or not, the user will be recognized.
However, this cookie method doesn’t work with an array of corporate firewalls that make it impossible for a site to track a unique IP. We’ve had success in understanding the web habits of hidden users by narrowing down the attributes of a particular session such as what plugins are installed on the browser, screen size, etc. By distinguishing the traits of new users or users within a specific data parameter, it becomes easier to identify useful patterns.
Cross Platform Connections
Tracking user patterns by employing tags has become more useful than ever with the rise of the multi device user — people no longer need a designated device or location to be online. What many businesses don’t fully understand is that even if a customer with an existing username visits the site as a guest on a secondary device, that set of data is still important to their data landscape. It could be as simple as understanding which company advertisement lead to the initiation of a new web session — but knowing how and when users are finding your page across platforms ties together activity. As channels and touchpoints proliferate, it’s increasingly important to manage the handoffs between devices to ensure a consistent user experience.
We can all think of sites that we don’t enjoy visiting because they’re outdated or unattractive — and in part, this can be blamed on companies being out of touch with that their users want. Successful sites evolve, remain relevant, and drive traffic to themselves by learning how customers and visitors feel about their overall experience. Such engagement can be understood by:
Measuring visitation rates in comparison to past months and future goals.
Tracking real time user engagement, such as navigation path and underutilized links, to create a more intuitive experience.
The ability to affix web behavior to various visitor profiles to better understand the landscape of users.