Are you confused when someone mentions website tracking to you?
Even when you understand the importance of adding tracking pixels to your website, are you unsure exactly which ones you need? Then this article is for you.
Knowing how your website is performing is crucial for any online business to survive.
Using the data gathered by website tracking tools can mean the difference between a thriving, stagnate or declining website.
I have set up all the tracking pixels outlined in this article after finishing developing our Super Greens eCommerce site.
This article looks to explain why website tracking is so important and which tracking tools are recommended to integrate from the get-go. I am going to focus on Google Analytics, Facebook, Retargeting pixel and Affiliate tracking. Let’s start with why this is crucial to any online business.
Why Setting Up Website Tracking is Critical
In a word, data!
To make the best decisions for your business you need to have data.
By having analytic data installed on your website means you get to understand how your visitors are interacting on your website.
This information can lead to improving the user experience and conversions from your website.
It really is amazing what visitor insights you can gain from spending time delving into the website statistics. More than what are your most popular pages or countries your visitors came from; you can start to test what works and what doesn’t.
Which Website Tracking Tools to Setup
There are a lot of tracking tools available and you can easily get lost researching which ones are essential for your online store. Fortunately, only a few are really needed to get started.
The type of essential website tracking tools split into the following types:
- Tracking Visitors – collecting data on visitors how they reached your site, their characteristics (such as their IP address), which pages they visited and for how long, their journey through your site and whether they made a purchase.
- Advertising Pixel – remembering if and when the visitor landed on your website and being able to track if they visit again.
- Sales or Conversion Tracking – Used in referral or affiliate marketing to track if a referral turned into an actual sale or conversion.
If you don’t integrate Google Analytics (GA) then you’re missing out on receiving a ton of information about your visitors to your website.
This is the primary tool used by millions of websites to understand more about each visitor to your website. The reason being is its one of most accurate ways to get data on how your site is performing.
And the great thing about this is it’s completely FREE.
Now some people may be a little paranoid giving Google more access to your website data. But I would ditch the “tin foil hat” and get this installed as Google already knows a lot about your website.
There are two steps to getting Google Analytics set up.
Firstly, you need to sign up for a Google Analytics account if you don’t have one.
There is little point outlining each step for setting up Google Analytics as there are many sites that do a great job of this already. I recommend checking out the following this article here.
Secondly, you need to integrate this into your website.
There are a few ways to do this depending on what technology you’re using for your site. I use WordPress and so I just add the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP) WordPress Plugin and added my Google Analytics Tracking number (the one starting with UA-).
You can tell that the Google Analytics code has been successfully added but visiting your website and checking the “real time” statistics.
If you’re not using WordPress and are reasonably tech savvy, then simply copy the code shown after setting up your Tracking code and inserting this into the footer of your website – as outlined in the “how to set up google analytics” article above.
To understand how Google Analytics can be helpful for your business I suggest taking a look at the following guide on Analytics Ninja (nice site!).
It’s difficult to miss the Google Shopping Ads when searching for products in Google. Setting this up can ensure your products are visible when customers search for them in Google.
Google Shopping Ads works by ensuring you supply Google with the right information so that they can match this up with related search queries.
So, if you are selling online it makes sense to ensure your products appear in the google shopping feed. But how do you set this up?
To do this you need to create a product feed and send this information to the google Merchant Center. Creating your produce feed in the required format is the toughest bit of this process.
Thankfully if you’re using WordPress like me, this is straight forward as a few plugins do the grunt work for you.
One such plugin is the Woocommerce google Feed Manager and is the one I am currently using.
If you’re using other e-commerce platforms, I suggest taking a look at the storegrowers website.
If there is one tracking pixel that is essential to setup on your ecommerce site then it’s this one, the Facebook Pixel.
The Facebook pixel helps to track conversions from your Facebook Ads, helps to optimise the ads and to build targeted audiences for ads in the future. As we will touch on later, the Facebook pixel also helps to remarket to visitors who have previously been on your site (see Retargeting pixel below).
The fact is if you’re not using the Facebook pixel you are missing out on the ability to massively improve your return on ad spend (ROAS) as Facebook is good at improving conversion rates.
Setting up the pixel is relatively straight forward once you have found the correct place in the Ads Manager section.
The most obvious place to go for help in setting up your Facebook Pixel is, you guessed it, Facebook themselves – Facebook pixel.
A retargeting also known as remarketing pixel is when a visitor who has previously been introduced to your brand is shown another advert.
ReTargeter has a great image for illustrating the remarketing journey:
This form of advertising can be very effective as it helps to reinforce your brand to an audience who have recently seen it.
By using retargeting, you can appear to be following your visitor around the internet whilst they surf other websites. You can control how often you show the visitor your advert and tailor the advert according to where they visited on your website.
As such, this is an incredibly powerful way to advertise to your potential customers.
There is not necessarily one particular retargeting platform suitable for every business. And so, will require checking out which platform meets your specific requirements of your business.
To get started with retargeting we suggest checking out this beginners guide by Hubspot.
What is a retargeting pixel?
The obvious choice is using the Facebook tracking pixel (see above) to track visitors and to display ads to them on Facebook. Another option is Google Adwords to display adverts in Google Search.
These are only two options though and there are many other companies (such as PerfectAudience, Sitescout, Criteo) that have access to a vast inventory of publishing sites with large traffic volumes.
With these retargeting companies you can select the web inventory you wish to appear on although it’s worth checking what niches they work with. Some of these companies aren’t very supplement friendly, I remember some years back that I had this issue with AdRoll (after wasting some hours and weeks collecting data!).
For a list of the most popular 9 retargeting platforms check out Ecommerce Nation.
I outlined how to choose and setup Affiliate Tracking Software in my previous article, which is essential if you’re looking to track affiliate commissions correctly.
There are many affiliate tracking platforms available and all will require inserting a piece of code onto your ecommerce store. This is used to track the referral and associating this to successful transactions on the backend.
The affiliate tracking platform I used (Post Affiliate Pro) the integration was straight forward and simply involved copying a piece of code into the footer of the website.
There are different types of tracking links for affiliates available with Post Affiliate Pro too, some more advanced than others. Even the option for offline tracking by using coupon codes!
This article has outlined why it’s important to install and setup website tracking on your ecommerce store.
We have glossed over many of the setup steps and linked to resources that enable you to set these up yourself or pass to a web developer to do on your behalf.
Of course, data is one thing and interpreting it and making solid changes based on the results is a whole other matter and beyond the scope of this article. While courses and books have been written on this!
Our aim was to provide the minimum amount of information to get your gathering the data from the get-go and by installing Google Analytics, Facebook pixel, Affiliate pixel and retargeting pixel you will do just that.