What Is B2B IP Tracking?
B2B IP tracking is the process of identifying website visitors by performing a ‘reverse IP lookup’ on their IP address and matching this to a company or organization name. It is commonly used by business-to-business (B2B) marketing and sales teams to improve lead generation from anonymous website visitor traffic.
This post will help you understand what Google Analytics can do in this area, and how other software tools can provide even more advanced B2B lead generation support.
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Note: This post contains a few referral links to selected vendor partners. We may receive compensation for future purchases made via these links, at no additional cost to buyers.
Last updated Feb 27, 2022
Google Analytics and B2B IP Tracking Software
Powerful Tools for B2B Lead Generation and Revenue Growth
What You’ll Learn Here:
- What is B2B IP tracking for website-based lead generation?
- How can Google Analytics help identify B2B website visitors?
- What are some of Google Analytics’ limitations as a B2B IP tracker tool?
- What is B2B IP tracking software for web visitor tracking?
- How do these tools go beyond what GA can provide?
- Who are some of the main software vendors in this product category?
- PLUS… an option below to access my free spreadsheet of global vendors.
Uncovering Website Leads for B2B Sales Teams
Leverage Your Website Traffic for Better Lead Generation
In B2B (business-to-business) marketing, delivering actionable leads to the sales organization is usually one of the marketing team’s top goals.
Inside and outside sales representatives and sales development reps need a steady stream of prospects to contact, usually sourced via a combination of sales-driven and marketing-driven efforts to build a prospect base.
It’s in this context that many companies turn to B2B IP tracking tools to help identify who is visiting the company website and what website content they are consuming.
This capability is also known as B2B website visitor tracking, reverse IP tracking, B2B IP lookup, B2B tracking, B2B IP lead tracking, and IP address to company name resolution.
It’s also sometimes referred to as a ‘Website Caller ID’ function. I use these terms fairly interchangeably throughout this post.
Google Analytics and 3rd-Party Tools Can Help
Google Analytics (GA) includes some important capabilities for B2B IP tracking, as discussed further below. But it’s just a starting point for many firms.
Products such as Leadfeeder, LeadLander, Lead Forensics, CommuniGator, WhoIsVisiting, VisitorTrack (by netFactor), Clickback, KickFire, Visual Visitor, and others have also cropped up to answer this need.
They all use some variation of the terminology noted above when describing their software capabilities.
If you already understand these Google Analytics B2B features, and are somewhat familiar with the vendor solutions mentioned above, you may want to skip ahead to the 3rd-party products discussion.
If not, keep reading directly below. I’ll walk you through what GA provides to help identify B2B website visitors, then introduce other tools that may be worth serious consideration for your B2B sales and marketing teams.
Enable More Proactive and Targeted Sales Outreach
Typically, only a very small fraction of B2B website visitors contact the company or register for e-newsletters and other content offers. So it’s easy to see why B2B sales staff are eager to reach out more proactively to get a sales conversation started.
Armed with better insights into B2B website users, sales staff can engage new prospects in a timely way, moving them more quickly into the sales funnel for qualifying and closing.
That’s the theory and the basic sales pitch from the B2B IP tracking vendors.
These three vendors offer proven solutions for B2B website visitor tracking and lead generation.
They are all much more powerful than simply trying to use Google Analytics for website visitor IP address tracking and company identification.
Free trials are available, with a typical duration of two weeks. Learn more below.
Google Analytics B2B IP Tracking Features
Update Note (June 2021)
Please note! Google Analytics removed the Service Provider and Network Domain dimensions in early February of 2020. They’ve become “deprecated” and are no longer available.
But also note that there is a good workaround to restore these GA dimensions through a 3rd-party tool. See the free service from IpMeta for that.
I’ve successfully tested IpMeta on at least two websites now. It works great and is easy to incorporate into Google Analytics.
See this post on how IpMeta restores the Google Analytics Service Provider and Network Domain dimensions, with a few added features as well.
The other option is to use 3rd-party software tools for B2B IP tracking and visitor identification, as discussed deeper within this post. These tools add lots of sales-focused functionality that proactive B2B sales teams can really leverage.
Hit the button directly below to jump to that section. Or just keep reading to learn how GA traditionally worked (and can still be used today) for basic B2B IP tracking and visitor identification purposes.
Google Analytics B2B Lead Tracking & Demand Generation
Leveraging the Service Provider and Network Domain Dimensions
(Reminder: Despite GA removing the native ISP dimensions, essentially all of this section is relevant again now by using the IpMeta Service Provider and IpMeta Network Domain dimensions in place of the deprecated GA dimensions.)
The text below details how this originally worked with native GA capabilities.
The Original Google Analytics B2B Tracking Approach
GA can identify *some* of the organizations visiting your website. We have the Service Provider and Network Domain dimensions in GA to thank for that. And of course, GA is free for most users, so that’s a very big plus.
Where do we find visitor tracking data in analytics?
The easiest way is to go straight to the Audience >> Technology >> Network report.
(This uses the more common GA ‘Universal Analytics’ reporting interface, not GA4.)
Google Analytics and ‘Service Provider’ Limitations
GA formerly did its own internal IP lookup to attach the Service Provider and Network Domain dimensions to the user and session data it collects. In many cases, these dimensions would appear as specific internet service providers with names we recognize (Verizon, Comcast, ATT, etc., in the US).
But, these are not the organizations we’re interested in as B2B marketers and salespeople. These are simply the broadband service providers through which the actual visiting person/company came to reach our website.
In essence, the real visiting company / user we want to identify are masked behind these service providers. Not very useful to us in those situations, right?
But it does get more interesting in many cases. Let’s explore a bit further…
Google Analytics Filtering to Find ‘Interesting’ Enterprise Names
Fortunately, it can be easy to use segmentation and/or report filtering in Google Analytics to zero in on ‘interesting’ names that appear in the Service Provider and/or Network Domain dimensions.
For example, suppose you’re a B2B firm marketing to target prospects within the financial services industry.
The following example shows the effect of using a GA table filter to include only those Service Provider dimensions that include ‘financ’ as a string (using a RegEx filter). This way the filter picks up ‘finance’, ‘financial’, etc., as shown below.
Use Primary and Secondary Dimensions
Adding the Network Domain as a secondary dimension can also be helpful and is sometimes useful for filtering as well, as we’ll see below. This dimension can add helpful information, (as in row 2 below for Capital One Financial), or can be fairly useless (as in row 5 for Atlantic Broadband Finance).
For a sales team focused on the finance industry vertical, this kind of information, coupled with additional visitor metrics in GA, can be very insightful.
Useful Patterns in the Network Domain Dimension
The next example shows the value of being able to filter on the Network Domain dimension. In this case, we’re using a RegEx filter to include Network Domains that have ‘edu’ in their values. This easily picks out colleges and universities and could be very helpful for sales reps focused on the higher education industry vertical.
While not shown above, it is also often helpful to include a geographic dimension as the secondary dimension. The GA dimensions of Country, Region, Metro, and City can all be used in this way to provide additional details (e.g., for regional sales teams).
Google Analytics B2B Demand Generation – Summary
It’s certainly possible to manually use visitor data from Google Analytics (plus the IpMeta add-on) with other services, such as LinkedIn, Hoovers, or similar B2B contact databases to try to discover good contacts within these visiting organizations.
This would typically be done by inside sales reps, business development staff, etc., to try to engage new sales prospects and get them into a buying mood (or at least agreeable to an initial sales conversation).
Use Google Analytics for B2B Lead Generation When:
- You are OK with implementing the IpMeta solution to restore the Service Provider and Network Domain dimensions in Google Analytics.
- You have relatively large enterprises interested in your products and/or services. Larger enterprises are more likely to be directly identifiable by IP address. (Small companies are more likely to be masked behind traditional telecom service providers and dynamically-assigned IP addresses.)
- Many of your prospects have common words or word variants in their enterprise name (e.g., the finance example above). This greatly simplifies the filtering needed to quickly identify these website visitors. Some industry verticals will be much better than others in this regard.
- You have target markets where the prospect domain names have common characters (.edu, .gov, .mil, .net, .uk, etc.)
- You are interested in pursuing Account-Based Marketing tactics but are just getting started with basic ABM concepts.
It’s even better when sales reps have specific geographic assignments (which is typical). Then we can look at all of the above on a sales territory basis, which helps us focus even further on website activity that’s relevant to specific sales reps or teams.
Add More Tools if Needed
However, doing the necessary IpMeta add-on setup, filtering, segmentation, custom reporting, etc., does require Google Analytics knowledge that goes beyond the basics. Not every B2B company has these digital marketing skills in-house.
And even with solid GA skills in place, it can still be a very manual and time-consuming effort to pull everything together in a way that’s highly useful for the sales team.
This begs the next questions and topic:
Can we do even more and better than what’s described above for Google Analytics B2B lead generation functionality?
What other tools are available for B2B IP tracking, website visitor identification, and related functions that are directly helpful to sales teams?
That’s where we’re going in the next section…
B2B IP Tracking Software Vendors
Many Good Options for B2B Sales Lead Generation
For many B2B firms, it makes sense to pay for a more integrated approach to identifying website visitors, vs. using only what’s available in standard website analytics tools like GA.
As noted earlier, these software solutions often go by different but related names: B2B IP tracking, IP lead tracking, B2B website visitor tracking, IP-to-Company lookup, etc.
As also noted above, B2B companies may be lacking the GA resources in-house to do the time-consuming segmentation, filtering, reporting, and sales hand-offs described above.
Or the target B2B enterprise customers may not be a great fit for the filtering approaches used with GA. For example, in highly horizontal target audiences that cover many industry segments with few specific keywords to target when building custom ‘RegEx filters’ for the Service Provider or Network Domain dimensions.
Designed for B2B Sales Teams
Also, your company may simply want a more integrated and automated approach that is more user-friendly for sales staff and that includes other features for the sales team (e.g., configurable real-time alerts, target company ‘watch lists’, etc.).
These products provide the functionality previously built into GA to identify visiting companies and organizations, then add features for efficient, informed, and timely sales follow-up.
In some ways, they are a mashup of Google Analytics reverse IP, LinkedIn and B2B prospect databases, and customizable sales workflow tools.
Note: The enterprise contacts presented by these tools do not typically identify the actual people who visited your website. They are merely good starting points for your B2B sales lead discovery and outreach efforts.
So for large prospect companies with many individuals listed in contact databases, LinkedIn, etc., it will take additional refinement to know where to start for sales outreach.
Refining by the geographic location of the website visitor is often a good starting point.
B2B IP Tracking Software Features
B2B website visitor identification and tracking products typically provide many of the following features.
- Enterprise or company identification (the basic IP-to-Company lookup function). Some vendors claim to have special ‘unmasking’ abilities here, resulting in more usable visitor data. For example, see how Leadfeeder works to identify corporate visitors, even when they work remotely.
- Enterprise ‘firmographic’ details – location, main contact info, website, industry, annual revenues, main social profiles, etc.
- Known contacts from LinkedIn, etc.
- Basic website session info (pages viewed, traffic source/channel, time on site, etc.)
- Automated real-time alerts
- Automated email reports
- Sales team collaboration and workflow tools
- Lead filtering, scoring, and routing to specific sales reps
- Integration with marketing automation platforms, CRMs, and email service providers
Leading Software Vendors
There are many vendors providing products with website visitor tracker functions.
I’ve listed several top website visitor tracking vendors below. Click on any of these logos or links to visit their websites. (Separate tabs will open.)
A Few Reminders
- Remember that these tools will generally not identify the actual individuals who visited your website. Just the organizations’ names and related firmographic data in most cases. The exception here would be in cases where the visitor is already identified personally by login info, cookie, or email address. Also see my related discussion about the GDPR compliance impact of these software tools.
- These tools can usually only map a fraction of your total website visitor population to actual organization names. They can still be very high-ROI B2B lead gen tools, but don’t expect them to resolve every website visitor to a useful sales lead.
- For these reasons, you may want to go with a vendor that has a generous free trial period. 14-day free trials are very common here, but you may be able to stretch that a bit further. Also look for user contracts that are easy to terminate with no hidden costs.
International Vendor Spreadsheet
The software vendors shown above are some of the most well-established in leveraging anonymous website traffic for B2B lead generation.
This remains a dynamic product category that has attracted software firms and talent primarily from North America, Europe, and India.
Diverse and Nearly Global
There are now over 40 vendors fighting for traction and market share in this software segment. Several are clearly still in startup or early growth stages, and barriers to entry seem fairly low.
Home countries for these vendors include: Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, UK, and the United States.
The primary vendors I’ve profiled above are from the US and Canada, UK, Finland, and Hungary.
Get My Global Vendor Spreadsheet
I’m maintaining a master vendor spreadsheet that helps to organize and profile these software solutions. I’ll send you the latest version now and any updates when they are ready.
It’s completely free, by the way. 🙂
Interested? Hit the button below for more details.
B2B IP Tracking Tools - Final Thoughts
IP-to-Company Tracking Can Boost Website-Based Lead Generation
These tools can be a very effective part of the lead-gen software mix in B2B firms. Used wisely and within a repeatable process, they can improve sales efficiency and productivity and also provide useful insights to the marketing team.
Many firms use these software products as key pieces of their marketing technology stacks. B2B website visitor IP address tracking can also play an important role in Account-Based Marketing programs.
Adding this capability can help bring sales and marketing teams closer together, too. That’s a hot topic and certainly a big win for most B2B companies.
Don’t Forget Google Analytics for B2B Sales Leads
For some companies who don’t quite need all the bells and whistles of the 3rd-party vendor solutions, it may be enough to just use GA as described above for selective enterprise identification and also invest in a premium LinkedIn subscription for better prospect outreach features.
You may just need the IpMeta add-on now, as discussed earlier in this post.
The combination of deeper GA-driven visitor insights and targeted LinkedIn follow-up may be enough for some B2B sales and marketing teams.
But if you’re ready to move beyond Google Analytics for B2B lead tracking, pop back up to these vendor links and see what interests you.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of this somewhat lengthy post. I hope it has been helpful.
You may also be interested in these vendor-specific posts:
Or just check out my website visitor tracking blog category.
It includes B2B-focused posts on some of the newer website visitor tracking software vendors, a review of website visitor tracking software pricing, and a look at the European and UK-based website visitor tracking software vendors.
Have you used Google Analytics and/or 3rd-party B2B IP tracking products to help identify companies visiting your website? What do your sales and marketing teams like and not like about these tools?
Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing with your social networks.