After working with hundreds of small businesses, we’ve found that there is one common problem that the majority of these businesses had when it comes to online marketing:
They didn’t set up their website’s analytics or visitor tracking before they began their digital marketing efforts.
This means that they were driving traffic to their website without the ability to gain insights on their visitors.
The whole reason why digital marketing works so well is because you can make informed decisions based on data.
But if you have no way of tracking that data in the first place – how do you know what worked and what didn’t?
At our local digital marketing company, we found that the vast majority of small businesses that came to us for help were found to have no tracking codes or analytics installed on their website.
It is extremely important that you get these set up properly before you begin any online marketing campaign.
In this article, we discuss the 5 most important visitor tracking and analytics tools you should install on your website immediately.
1) Google Analytics
The first tracking code you need to set up on your website is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a built-in, free tool provided to you by Google that compiles user data and allows you to gain valuable insight on your website’s visitors.
It can show you data such as visitor demographics, location, traffic source, device, and much more.
It allows you to visualize this data in different bar charts, pie charts, line graphs, and percentages, as well as the ability to compare this data over any set period of time.
By doing this, you can gain a real understanding of your website visitors actions on your website as well as how they have improved over time.
Here is an example of some of this data and how it will look.
Behavioral data based on country:
User data based on age:
Improvement in website visitors over time:
As you can see, there is a clear benefit of having access to this kind of data.
To gain access to this data for your own website, you need to install Google Analytics on your website.
Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
2) Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another free tool provided by Google that you can install on your website to gain insights into search data as well as fix technical issues on your website.
More specifically, Search Console allows you to see the number of clicks your website receives from search engines, as well as what keywords were typed into these search engines to generate each click.
You can take advantage of this by understanding what search terms generate the most results for your business, and then doubling down on those terms by creating more useful content to attract even more visitors to your website.
Here is an example of Search Console showing the number of clicks and impressions a website received over the course of the entirety of last year (2018):
The website in this example is a drug rehabilitation center in the United States, and these are the keywords that generated the highest number of clicks to this website:
Not only does Search Console show you which keywords generated the most clicks to your website, but also what pages generated the most traffic from search engines as well:
These insights are extremely valuable because they tell us where we should put our energy.
In this example, the URL “/gabapentin-abuse/long-term-effects/” generated almost double the amount of clicks then the next most-clicked page did.
Knowing this, the website owner could choose to add more call-to-actions to this page to generate more leads or include content on this page that would be more valuable to these specific visitors.
Small businesses can use this kind of data in the same way.
Therefore, having Google Search Console installed on your website is a valuable tool for your business.
Click here to learn how to do this yourself.
Another valuable tool for your website tracking arsenal is Hotjar.
Hotjar allows you to visually see the way visitors interact with your website.
Meaning, it gives you the ability to see how users click, move, and scroll throughout each of your individual pages.
It even allows you to view recordings of your visitor’s interactions with your website.
For example, if a visitor was on your website for 1 minute and 37 seconds, Hotjar will SHOW you a recording of their screen to see their exact interaction with your website for the duration of time they were on it. From their moving cursor, to clicks, to scrolls – you can see it all.
Here is an example of Hotjar showing where users clicked on our website:
The highlighted areas show where users clicked on our homepage.
The color of the highlighted area depicts the popularity of the specific area of our homepage.
In this case, the “Knowledge Centre” link in our navigation bar received a few clicks, but not nearly as much as our “SEO” page or our “Contact” page.
Knowing this, we tweaked and optimized both our SEO page and our contact page to include more useful information and call-to-actions to encourage our visitors to message us.
And it worked.
Our conversion rate for our contact forms on these pages increased by 10.7% and 12.5%, respectively.
Hotjar is free for websites with up to 2,000 pageviews/day.
Therefore, for over 99% of local businesses, Hotjar will be free.
Here is how to install Hotjar for your business.
4) Facebook Pixel
The Facebook pixel is also an incredibly important tool for business owners.
By installing the Facebook pixel on your website, Facebook will be able to match your website visitors to their Facebook profile.
More than that, though, they will also be able to know exactly what that person did on your website, too.
For example: if John came to your dental website and looked at your “teeth whitening” page, Facebook will then allow you to target John with an ad about teeth whitening.
And they can do this with every website visitor!
With the Facebook pixel, you can target your website visitors on Facebook based on what pages of your website they visited.
So you can target Facebook users who visited your teeth whitening page with a teeth whitening ad, Facebook users who visited your Invisalign page with an Invisalign ad, Facebook users who visited your braces page with an ad about braces, and so on.
The ability to segment your website visitors and run retargeting ads to them based on what they were specifically interested in is extremely powerful.
This is illustrated in the following research by Wordstream:
“While the average CTR for ads is 0.07%, the average for retargeting ads is 0.7%”
This statistic means that retargeting ads are 10x more successful than regular ads shown to a cold audience.
In the case of the Facebook pixel, it’s because you know what a visitor is interested in because they visited your specific page that was all about that certain topic!
However, Facebook can only gather this intelligence if the Facebook pixel is installed on your website.
If it’s not, then there’s no way of Facebook to know which of its users visited which pages on your website.
Even if you don’t plan on running retargeting ads any time soon, it is a best practice to install the Facebook pixel on your site anyways so that it can build up user data for when you do need it in the future.
To learn how to install the Facebook pixel, click here.
PS – Facebook owns Instagram. Installing the Facebook pixel on your website will allow you to retarget your website visitors on Instagram as well.
5) Google Ads Tag
The Google Ads tag is also an extremely powerful tool in much the same way as the Facebook pixel.
That is, it allows you to retarget your website visitors on various platforms.
With the Facebook pixel, you can retarget visitors on either Facebook or Instagram.
With the Google Ads tag, you can retarget visitors on Google Search, the Google Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail.
Remember that the conversion rate of retargeting your website visitors is 10x more effective than targeting cold traffic.
And you need to have the Google Ads tag set up on your website as soon as possible, too.
There is no way to retarget these videos in Google’s network without installing the Google Ads tag on your website first.
So, even if you have no intention of using it in the near future, it is always a good idea to set it up, anyways.
To install the Google Ads tag on your website, click here.
It is a HUGE mistake for business owners to market their products and services online BEFORE installing these tracking codes.
By having these codes present on your website, you’ll have the ability to gain actionable insights on your website visitors and marketing efforts that will allow you to make decisions to help increase your leads, sales, and revenue.
With Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Hotjar, the Facebook pixel, and the Google Ads tag, you will have successfully set up your website with deep analytical tools used by the biggest names in marketing – all for free.
Author Bio: Jeremy Lawlor is a digital marketing strategist with a background in SEO, PPC, and consumer psychology. He is the co-founder of Active Business Growth, a boutique marketing agency that specializes in search engine optimization for local businesses. When not ranking companies in Google, Jeremy enjoys sports, traveling, and writing about himself in the third person.