Visitor Tracking Tools

Getting a visitor to your website is only half the battle.

Once someone is on your site, using visitor tracking to identify demographics and behavior is critical:visitor-tracking-tools

  • who they are
  • how they got there
  • what they are doing
  • why they are making decisions
  • are they worth converting?

In this epic fight for understanding the web surfer, marketers have a variety of tools to use. These visitor tracking tools cover a wide range of prices and capabilities that cross over on many different points.

A key item to keep in mind is that each tracking tool has one or two unique capabilities (and shares dozens of common features with other tools.)

Another key reminder: do not rely on one analytics or visitor tracking tool. In order to maintain a healthy understanding of your web audience, always collect as much data as possible and use different services to double-check your findings.

There are two reasons to use multiple tools:

  • If you fail to double-check your data you run the risk of making fundamental business decisions that cannot be reversed.
  • If you don’t collect the data now, there is no way to historically go back and collect it (once it is gone, it is gone forever.)

Recommended Visitor Tracking Tools

Google – has a variety of free tools that are often under utilized by most marketers. If you haven’t customized your basic Google account you are doing a huge disservice to your efforts. Some of the core Google tools are not directly related to visitor tracking, but represent multiple best practice points.

  • Google Analytics – the basic service. You should have unique conversion funnels and custom reports.
  • Google Web Optimizer – ask Google what it wants and change your content to give users a better experience.
  • Google Conversion Tracking – define multiple audience segments and conversion layers to refine choke points.
  • Google Web Master – Google wants your sitemap. Give it to them. Check out what words Google *thinks* you are relevant to.

HitTail.com – is a long-tail keyword tool that identifies that exact search phrase each user comes in on. This can be critical do locating what types of content are ranking well in search engines, while also giving you the ability to analyze what types of content need to be created and what types of call to actions need to be strategized. >>>more info

Clicktale – provides a robust set of “heatmap” and visitor recording tools. This means that you can visualize how page elements are influencing your web visitors, as well as what they are doing real-time. >>>more info

CrazyEgg – a more affordable, slightly less feature rich solution than Clicktale. CrazyEgg does not provide full video recordings of sessions and only has heatmap and click metric functionality. >>>more info

PostRank- is one of the few analytics tools that provides off-site engagement. You can track Twitter, Facebook, and social sharing services to identify influencers and campaign impacts. >>>more info

ChartBeat – if you have a ‘live’ event with traffic that needs to be converted *now*, ChartBeat provides best-in-class real-time measurement of your audience. >>>more info

GoSquared – is the “new entrant” against ChartBeat. See who’s reading, commenting, joining, or buying on your website right now >>>more info

Wistia – provides robust video analytics letting you know what people watched, skipped, or re-watched. Great for webinar type vidcasts and training sessions >>>more info

Bit.ly – is a URL shortening service that provides basic sharing stats and built-in QR code functionality. >>>more info

Thanks for Reading!

There are plenty of other visitor tracking tools available that target specific niches or user behaviors.

If you would like to recommend a visitor tracking tool, please leave your favorite tool below.

2 thoughts on “Visitor Tracking Tools”

  1. Thanks for the list. I hadn’t heard of Wistia or GoSquared before.

    How many of these tools do you usually use? I can only imagine it creates a lot of overlap.

  2. Most projects will use between 3 to 5 of these at a time. Some of the tools (like Clicktail) are more useful for short analysis and redesign periods.

    When working with internal design teams you can only create test iterations as fast as they can shift gears. In many cases larger sites are built on complex CMS platforms that have legacy coding. Such systems really affect how quickly you can integrate the data and evolve your model.

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