Benefits and Hype of web visitor tracking


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Web visitor tracking has gained in popularity as a b2b demand generation tool over the last 2 years. Companies have begun to fully understand the nature of the data gathered and how they can use this information in their lead genration efforts. As with most new technologies, there exists hype, confusion and misconceptions. SalesFUSION ( is a solution that provides, as part of its platform for demand generation, a tool known as web forensics. We have been actively using the information gathered from web visitor tracking for some years now and actively sell the application as part of the whole and as a separate module. As such, we’ve come to understand the benefits and limitations of the technology and I’m taking today’s post to clarify some points…or more specifically….answer the most common questions companies have about this technology.

Firstly, web visitor tracking can be lumped into the generic category of Web Analytics. Not to be confused with solutions like Omniture, WebTrends or even Google’s analytics package, web visitor tracking is very specifically looking at the first and repeat behavior of individuals and companies on your website. Basically, code is placed on the universal footer of a company website and this code enables marketers to see in summary reports a list of visitors, pages viewed, time in session, depth of visit….etc. All very useful in determining what people are looking at on your website. As a stand alone solution, the usefulness of web visitor tracking is somewhat limited in what it can actually DO for your lead gen effort. It’s nice to see a report of visitor activity….but what do you actually DO with it? With a standalone solution….not much. It’s like giving a kid a painting of a toy…’s nice to look at…but you can’t play with it. Marketers need to realize that investing in standalone web visitor tracking solutions is…to put it lightly….a waste of valuable marketing dollars. Marketers, like kids, want to play with their toys….not stair at them.

This brings me to the question I get almost daily from marketers interested in using web visitor tracking. “What about identifying anonymous individuals?” There is hype in the market today about solutions that plug their web data directly into data services vendors such as hoovers, jigsaw…etc. The objective of these solutions is to tell the marketer in a report….ABC, Inc. has been on your website ….now push a button go to jigsaw and buy 5 contacts in the department you sell to and start marketing to them. Sounds good on paper and SalesFUSION, more by demand from customers than a true believe in business value, offers this to our customers as well. I can assure you that this benefits the data providers far more than it benefits actual users. Here’s the scenario:
– your company sells to hospitals

– Green Acres General hospital is identified by IP address to have been on your website

– You push a button and go to Jigsaw and purchase the name/email of 3 employees in the HIM Department ( The department you sell to).

Now what? Are you going to send them an email saying “Hey…someone from Green Acres was on the website….was it you?” Are you going to enroll them in an email campaign? (CAN SPAM Law mean anything?)
At best, you can purchase the names, give them to the sales team and let them make cold calls in hoping to hit the right person who was on the website (odds are low on this).

So back to the question I get asked all the time: How can we identify an anonymous visitor on our website? It’s easy, you use something call spyware and hope you don’t go to jail. The point is people will only identify themselves when they actually want to. Beyond that, it’s an interesting exercise in analytics. Your job as a marketer is to create good campaigns that drive leads to the web and entice them to identify themselves. White papers, webinars, case study downloads should all require registration and identification. The tried and true tactic of using a an return email for a white paper helps ensure you get good email information on a prospect.

So the hype – companies will claim that API integrations into data providers will magically get you contacts to call who’ve been on your website. False.

There are, however, substantial benefits to be gained from web visitor tracking when they are incorporated into the broader demand generation process. Known visitors, aka, leads in your marketing database, are easily identified and tracked. The information gathered from known visitors is vital, if not the most important piece of information you can use relative to lead scoring programs. If you’re running an email campaign and someone opens, then clicks the email….that’s good info…but, if you then know that they come back your website 3 more times in the same week, then that’s worth its weight in gold! As a best practice in lead scoring, we use web visits as a primary component in the algorithms. In particular, we look for deep visits and repeat visits (similar to RF models in retail) as a key indicator if high interest. This information can trigger sales alerts, auto-enroll leads in nurture campaigns, trigger an outbound telesales call….and so on. In other words, we can actually PLAY with this toy rather than stare at a painting of it. Good stuff for marketers and frankly, absolutely necessary if you want accurate lead scoring.””

Web visitor tracking plays a vital role in the b2b eMartketing mix but be cautious and aware of it’s limitations, particularly with stand alone web tracking solutions. Learn more about how web visitor tracking boosts your lead gen capabilities on SalesFUSION’s resource center where I’ve written a more extensive white paper on the subject.

Kevin Miller
Kevin Miller is VP Sales & Marketing for - a SaaS based demand generation solution that specializes in helping b2b companies implement nurture/drip marketing.


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