Tracking Customer Journeys beyond Google Analytics

Commsbox individual contact analyticsOver the late months of this summer, we took to the road and asked people what they thought of the latest version of Commsbox. To our surprise the depth of analytics on individual customers was the key feature that most blew them away.  

Google Analytics is a great tool. This information is fantastic in aggregate for understanding the strength of campaigns and how customers in general reached your site. But what it won't tell you is the exact journey that a specific individual has taken through your website.

A quote from Google's terms of service  is interesting. You may not use the Google Analytics service to track individuals. So it can give you a great overall picture of the performance of your site and, if you use campaign IDs correctly, you can get a measure of success for a particular promotion.  But Google analytics does nothing to help you convert individual visitors into prospective customers.

"You will not (and will not allow any third party to) use the Service to track, collect or upload any data that personally identifies an individual" - from Google Analytics Terms of Service.

Tracking individual visitors beyond the first click

Wouldn't it be nice to know how individuals use your site? More specifically the valuable contacts you've been nurturing with newsletters and authoratative articles and special offers? Are you getting your message across? Which contacts are taking the bait? Which are most interested in your proposition? It's not only frustrating not knowing, it's a missed opportunity.

Google does of course have the detailed information of what each and every visitor is doing.  It is this very information that drives Google ads remarketing campaigns.  It's interesting that Google don't want you to be able to identify individual contacts and yet without that insight they wouldn't have a business model.

Many email marketing tools recognise this and give you at least a basic insight into your customers behaviour, telling you which of your contacts click on which link in your emails. It's a start and allows you to think about focussing your marketing and sales efforts.

It's only a start.  After the first click, what did your return visitor do next on your site? Did your landing page grab their attention? Did they take time to read any of your articles? Did they search through your products? Which products did each individual view?

Many marketing campaigns are about building a relationship with a potential customer over an extended period.  Content marketing allows you to build your reputation so that come the time they require the services you offer, it's you that is in their mind and not your competitors. This process is multi-facetted involving email marketing, blogging on your own site, writing guest artilces and using social media like linkedIn.

Knowing only which links a contact clicked on in an email is not giving you the whole picture. Wouldn't it be nice to know each individual contact's journey through your website whether they arrive via a search, through a linkedIn article or any other communication? It is after all what all the big companies do.  It's this type of personalised data that drives Amazon's success - the ability to recommend specific products to you based on your browsing history.

We're in the rather unique position - we've built the CommsBox software to deliver detailed insights on individuals beyond the first page they land on.  So our customers don't have to sit back and say "wouldn't it be nice…".

We've been steadily improving tracking in CommsBox, our sales and marketing platform, with each release. With the lastest release, version 8, we can now do much more than track the links clicked in emails.  Here are just some of the benefits in version 8:

  • track clicks on your emails (ok, all decent emailers can do that!)
  • spot known contacts when they return to your site via another site, for example oganic search, through an article you posted elsewhere that insightful tweet you wrote just now
  • track known contacts without them needing to login
  • tell you which pages they visited and in which order over the whole lifetime of the contact
  • trigger automated responses when contacts take specific actions, send them a special offer email for example
  • send personalised content based on your contacts browing history
  • integrate that information into CRM for use in future campaigns
  • trigger sales team follow-ups.

Up until recently the ability to track the whole journey of a single customer over their lifetime, was only available to customers who built their entire web presence with us.  But here is where the priceless research came in.  Businesses large and small told us they loved the ability to follow their customers' journey through the website, but they'd already invested heavily in their web presence.  So with version 8 we now offer a 'plugin' that allows anyone to add the Commsbox meting automation and analytics to their web-site.

Want to know more than Google will tell you about your visitors? Come talk to us.

Peter WilsonPeter is the chief architect for the CommsBox™ Integrated Marketing Platform. With over 30 years experience in a variety of R&D and IT positions Peter has worked for both large multi-national organisations and small technology start-ups. Peter founded YellowHawk in 2002 to bring Enterprise class web-applications to the SME market.


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CommsBox was designed by YellowHawk Ltd in response to the needs of some rather large corporate and government clients. But then we realised we had something that small and medium sizes businesses could also use to fuel their growth.

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