3 mistakes that can derail your B2B website visitor tracking efforts
B2B companies can avoid headaches with their reporting and tracking if they only knew the common blunders that occur.
By watching out for the B2B website visitor tracking blunders outlined, you can prevent confusing and inaccurate data from showing up.
Let’s take a look at three significant mistakes you should avoid.
1. Poor event-tracking nomenclature
When it comes to event tracking, organization and nomenclature are an absolute must. You might be thinking to yourself, “My event tracking is working just fine!” Fair enough—but does it use event categories, actions, labels, and values in an organized, standardized, and meaningful way for reporting and data analysis purposes? If not, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
If you have a site that has thousands of interactions a month (e.g., form submissions, modals, etc.), you may be making life harder for yourself. Check to see if you are correctly organizing interactions into categories that make sense. If you don’t properly organize events into meaningful categories with descriptive values for Actions and Labels, you’re just sending data for the sake of sending data. And if your event tracking data isn’t formatted in a way that is easy to analyze, you’re setting yourself up for reporting nightmares.
Having a standardized nomenclature helps with reporting, too. WebMechanix can display easy-to-understand results to our clients in Google Data Studio reports because of disciplined B2B lead generation tracking habits.
For B2B companies, we suggest sending meaningful data with event hits. Don’t just label a form submission as a “form submission.” When configuring event tracking, your goal should be to make each event:
- Uniquely identifiable
How to prevent or fix this mistake
Standardization makes B2B website visitor tracking easier by optimizing debugging, account transitions, reporting, and implementation. Here’s our preferred event tracking nomenclature:
The purpose of a category is to group similar types of events. You should avoid having too many unique categories inside your event reports.
You can create new categories if needed. However, ask yourself this question when implementing additional event tracking: Does this fit into an existing event category? Most often, the answer is yes.
Here are a few Google Analytics event tracking best practices to consider when deploying event tracking category nomenclature:
These are form submissions, purchases, phone calls, applications, etc. Basically, anything that signifies a person attempting to exchange information with you or your business.
Interactions – UI
These are clicks of tabs, accordions, sliders, menus, etc.—essentially, interface items that users interact with on the site that aren’t Calls to Action (CTAs).
Admittedly, there is a considerable grey area between what is considered a UI element vs. a CTA. Use your best judgment.
Interactions – CTAs
Buttons, specific links (don’t track all your links!), phone number clicks/taps (Click-to-Call), email mailto: links, etc. Basically, any elements that push people toward a conversion point on your website.
Interactions – External Links
Links that point to a domain that doesn’t match the current page’s top-level domain.
Interactions – Social
Social media icons, sharing activity, etc.
Interactions – Videos
Interactions with embedded video players like YouTube or Vimeo (Pause, Play, % watched, etc.)
Sometimes, it might make sense to track this under “Interactions – UI,” but our preference is to keep video event data isolated under its own category.
The Google Analytics Site Search does a good job of search analysis, but you can track search interactions here if you want to send additional information, such as the number of results returned for a user’s search term.
An event action should be used to describe what the user did. Your event actions should generally contain:
- A verb describing the action (e.g., Clicked)
- A value that signifies what element the user acted on
- Optionally, an additional descriptor that helps further describe the element. Sometimes, this is better placed inside the Event Label—use your best judgment!
Here’s a template to help explain how to format your Event Action Values:
[User Action] – [Element] – [Descriptor]
Clicked – Button – Learn More
Clicked – Phone Number – 123.456.7890
Toggled – Accordion – Prerequisites
Submitted – Form – Contact Us
Play – Video – Why Work at WebMechanix?
Searched – [Term Searched]
Event Labels and Values
Event Labels are not required; however, they are helpful because they provide additional detail to describe and differentiate the event. This can be a more open-ended value. If possible, try to be consistent with what kind of data is stored in the Label per Conversion category.
Event Values are also not required; however, if you can, assign an arbitrary value to Conversion-related events based on the funnel depth. This will help with assessing conversion effectiveness and marketing efforts. Here’s an example:
1000 – Primary Conversion Mechanism (Contact forms, demo forms)
250 – Resource/Asset Download (e-books, white papers, case studies, webinars)
50 – Video Play/Social Share
Summing it up
Best practices vary across organizations. As such, specific details of best practices are open to interpretation; there is no “correct” way, but there are “better” ways. Most importantly, come up with a set of rules and stick to them.
The end goal should be to make the event data so understandable that any new face, technical or non-technical, can read it and understand what is going on.
Our free Google Analytics Event Tracking Code generator is a great way to easily create code with proper nomenclature.
2. You aren’t using Google Tag Manager
Amazingly, even though Google Tag Manager (GTM) has been around for over five years, many B2B websites have yet to adopt this awesome, free platform to help alleviate their tracking pains.
But we understand—GTM is a foreign concept to many marketing and technical professionals. Not to mention that migrating your existing tracking into GTM can be a tedious and sometimes challenging process.
If you aren’t using GTM already, you should consider a migration as soon as possible. Below are a few benefits of Google Tag Manager, many of which make it the preferred tool of choice for WebMechanix when setting up tracking for clients.
1. You can control your website tracking efforts from one place
Think of GTM as a control panel for all a website’s tracking and analytics efforts. Essentially, what GTM does is allow less “technical” users to add tracking scripts to a website without having to edit website files directly. It has a friendly user interface for creating tags (scripts), triggers (rules for when tags should be fired), and variables (for power users). You simply have to install a container script on your website, and you’re ready to start working.
2. You can track your changes with version control
GTM has an incredibly helpful built-in version control system. This system will allow you to see:
- What was changed
- When it was changed
- Who changed it
If your B2B website isn’t using GTM and you have your tracking code directly implemented inside website template files, you won’t have this information unless your development team utilizes a version control system for changes to the codebase (sidebar: they should be doing this! :D).
Additionally, in the case of a catastrophic error, GTM comes to the rescue, allowing you to easily revert to a previous version.
3. It makes your tracking portable and reusable
Here’s a story we’ve heard 100 times: A company hires an agency to redesign or develop their website. Everything goes according to plan, except the agency didn’t migrate any of the old website tracking code over into the new, shiny website. A developer then asks the agency to implement the old code on the new site, and it’s a never-ending struggle and hassle.
If you set up your GTM container properly, implementing the existing code container on a new or additional site will be a piece of cake.
4. It has built-in debugging tools to test your tracking
As a developer, I get this question all the time:
“Is XYZ firing properly on the website?”
GTM has some awesome built-in debugging tools that allow you to preview/debug your tags/triggers/variables. If you need to determine if a tag is firing properly, simply turn on the container preview mode and visit your site. You’ll see a debugging panel showing which tags fired and which ones didn’t.
If you haven’t taken the leap of faith and adopted GTM for your B2B website tracking needs, you should seriously consider it. The amount of time and headache it saves, in the long run, is well worth the initial time and monetary investment for the migration.
Proper use and documentation of Google Tag Manager best practices is essential to a scalable and manageable tracking configuration for your B2B site.
By having everything in one place inside GTM, GTM abstracts your tracking from the website’s codebase. This means your IT team is happy because their code is clean, and your marketing team is happy because they can control tracking with less reliance on the IT team. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Migrating over to a solution like GTM can be a time-consuming process. We recommend starting with the essentials and coming up with a detailed implementation strategy. While it may be tedious and time consuming, it pays off in the long run.
Did we mention that we have a team of in-house GTM experts to handle GTM setups or migrations?
3. Duplicate tracking code
This frequently happens when an employee or agency installs a GTM container, leaves the company, and onboards a new person who doesn’t know what GTM is (or doesn’t have access to the container) in the source code. He then assumes he needs to install Google Analytics (or other tracking code) because the code isn’t “seen” inside the page source.
Always gain publish level access to any Google Tag Manager container that an agency implements on your website. This will ensure you don’t get locked out if you part ways with the agency.
This can happen with any type of code. It can even be two different GTM containers installed on the same site.
The consequences vary from inflated Analytics metrics to severe website performance issues. Duplicate tracking code can not only cause inaccurate B2B website visitor tracking but also impact your bottom line indirectly, so it’s definitely something to address.
If you don’t have access to GTM, or you’re savvy like me with developer tools, inspect the network activity to see if any code is firing twice. You’ll need to know what you are looking for specifically—but this is the most reliable way of debugging.
If you aren’t as comfortable with browser developer tools, use browser extensions such as Ghostery, Facebook Pixel Helper, or Google Tag Assistant. They help inform you if there’s duplicate tracking code present.
Some 3rd party scripts or systems (WordPress plugins especially) have their own native Google Analytics or other platform integrations that can often be overlooked. If you’re using GTM, we suggest disabling anything you are already doing inside of GTM.
How to Prevent Future Mistakes
Perform audits on a recurring basis
This is especially true if your company has many stakeholders. Even a simple audit once a quarter can go a long way to preventing issues with duplicate tracking.
Develop a QA process
Having a pre- AND post-launch quality assessment process can help catch issues like this before they’re published. We suggest creating a simple checklist and having multiple parties run through it before and after any tracking modifications are published. (Hint: this checklist can come in handy for your recurring audits, too :D)
Simplify your tracking
Sometimes, duplicate tracking occurs because the overall tracking setup or needs are so complex that it’s too hard to test. But B2B website tracking doesn’t need to be complicated—and often, overcomplicating it can lead to inaccurate data collection and increased maintenance effort. Here are some items to consider:
- Ditch using AdWords/Remarketing pixels and use the Universal Analytics advertising features for audience creation. Additionally, you can import goals from Google Analytics into Google AdWords to avoid using messy conversion pixels.
- Remove any old or currently inactive tracking code. There’s no reason to hoard old tracking code. It just becomes an unnecessary distraction and creates confusion.
As always, the devil is in the details. Don’t try to move too quickly. As we mentioned in our first section, poorly implemented tracking doesn’t do you any good.
Furthermore, just because you don’t “see” a tracking script when viewing the page source doesn’t mean it isn’t being implemented in other ways. There’s a good chance that the script could be implemented inside a different file on the site or through something like GTM. Check, double-check, and triple-check that whatever script/tracker you are trying to implement doesn’t already exist.
Feeling better about your B2B website’s visitor tracking?
Hopefully, this article sheds some light on common mistakes that B2B websites make in their tracking strategy and implementation. Organized and scalable B2B website visitor tracking is a coveted and important piece of any website’s marketing initiative. Fixing these mistakes will improve your confidence with your reporting by ensuring your data remains clean.
If you found this article interesting or helpful and are ready to take action but need some guidance with strategic planning or implementation, we’re happy to speak with you. We offer lead-generation-focused website development to help you track specific interactions on your site and unearth which marketing efforts are working, reducing wasted spending and increasing revenue.
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