Comparing Google Analytics and 3rd-Party Web Visitor Tracking Tools
How does Google Analytics compare with other software tools designed specifically for website visitor identification and tracking?
This post summarizes main product features, similarities, and differences to help B2B marketing and sales teams understand how these software tools help in lead generation environments.
Last Updated: Nov 3, 2019
Google Analytics and Other Tools for B2B Lead Generation
Google Analytics is by far the most commonly used website analytics software today. It’s free for most organizations and is relatively easy to use at a basic level for tracking website user activity, traffic volumes and sources, etc.
A related category of web analytics tools is focused on identifying and tracking visitors specifically for B2B websites .
These software solutions identify some visitors at least down to the company level, and then send actionable prospect data to B2B sales teams for lead generation purposes.
These tools fall into the B2B software category of website visitor tracking or website visitor identification products.
The discussion below provides a summary comparison between Google Analytics and these specialized website visitor tracking tools.
As we’ll see below, there is some overlap… and quite a few important differences when it comes down to helping B2B sales teams.
Google Analytics vs Website Visitor Tracking Tools
Comparison Summary Table - Marketing Features
Comparison Summary Table - B2B Sales Features
Website Visitor Tracking for B2B Marketing and Sales
In the overall context of website visitor tracking (WVT) functionality, Google Analytics and several 3rd-party visitor tracking tools all provide the following:
- Track website users (visitors) and sessions (visits)
- Track visitor geo-location (e.g., City, State, Country, etc.)
- Identify visitors by service provider and/or network domain data
- Identify traffic acquisition sources (organic search, PPC, ads, social, etc.)
- Support filtering and segmentation
- Track visitors’ website content engagement (pages viewed, content engagement metrics, etc.)
- Track marketing campaigns (e.g., via UTM-tagged links)
These product capabilities are typically most useful for the marketing team, since they measure website activity at a higher, more ‘macro’ level. The same is true for GA’s features in the area of user behavior flow visualizations, conversion funnels, and GA goals and events.
Google Analytics also typically offers more robust features in the area of advanced filtering and segmentation, content analysis, and campaign analysis.
For B2B website visitor tracking tools, these features are highly focused on what is more immediately helpful for B2B sales teams.
More Prospect Context For Sales
While the items above may seem more marketing-focused when taken individually, they still help to paint a fuller picture for the B2B lead data produced by the 3rd-party website visitor tracking tools.
Let’s look now at the more sales-focused features offered by the 3rd-party tools.
Adding B2B Sales-Focused Features
Unlike Google Analytics, the 3rd-party software tools for identifying and tracking website visitors are built specifically for B2B firms with direct sales teams.
They build upon the more general visitor tracking features described above and add the following product features and attributes:
- Are designed specifically for B2B marketing and sales
- Have a sales-friendly user interface and workflow
- Can identify some % of visitors by actual company name
- Can identify some actual visiting people by name, email, etc.
- May use proprietary IP-to-company matching databases (some tools)
- Filter out ISPs automatically
- Provide visiting company profile summary (firmographic data)
- Provide individual contact lookup functionality (via LinkedIn, etc.)
- Provide simple ‘click stream’ data of pages viewed
- Provide customizable prospect lead scoring
- Associate visitor buyer intent insights (some tools)
- Provide visitor ‘watch lists’ to trigger alerts to sales
- Send real-time lead alerts to sales team
- Automate sales prospect lead reporting
- Integrate directly with CRMs, marketing automation, email platforms, etc.
- Offer free (limited) versions of their paid tools
Software Similarities and Differences
As these product feature highlights show, Google Analytics is great for analyzing website traffic at a more macro level, where individual visitor identities are not a major concern or priority. This is primarily the domain of the marketing team.
On the other hand, website visitor tracking software that focuses first on identifying anonymous website visitors is clearly designed for B2B sales teams interested in lead generation.
There is also an area of functional overlap. For example, both Google Analytics and website visitor tracking tools will track number of visitor sessions, which pages are viewed during each session, geographic region, and traffic source (organic, PPC, social, etc.)
This functional overlap is especially apparent for the website visitor tracking tools that use Google Analytics as their fundamental data source. Software from vendors such as Leadberry, Leadfeeder, and Visitor Queue fit into this category.
Website Visitor Tracking Has Dual Meanings
Google Analytics and third-party IP lead tracking tools all fall under the broad umbrella category of website visitor tracking software.
However, the discussion above helps to illustrate that the term ‘visitor tracking’ can mean different things to different groups of website analytics users.
For digital marketers tracking overall campaign ROI, website content performance, etc., the website visitors may remain anonymous… and that’s just fine for many of their marketing measurement needs.
In some areas, marketers can still make well-informed investment decisions based on visitor data that is not attached to individual companies or people.
B2B Sales Needs Actionable Lead Generation
It’s a very different story for B2B sales teams, however. For them, website visitor tracking is all about identifying anonymous companies that visit their firm’s website, then essentially turning those identified visitors into new sales prospects for outbound selling efforts.
This is why many B2B firms use Google Analytics as their most fundamental website analytics platform, but then add on the third-party tools that take website visitor tracking beyond the macro world of marketing analytics, and into the more outbound sales world of proactive lead generation and follow-up.
Other iBeam Content Related to Website Visitor Tracking
For a deeper discussion of the B2B visitor identification capabilities built into Google Analytics, see the top half of this post directly below:
To learn more about many of the top 3rd-party vendors who provide website visitor identification and tracking tools, see this post and scroll down for the vendor overview videos:
More related content…
Insights and tips about conducting free trials of these products
How website visitor tracking vendors handle GDPR compliance
How Lead Forensics works (product demos and reviews)
How LeadLander works (product overview)
How Visitor Queue works (product demo and reviews)
Comments and Feedback
Have you used Google Analytics or any 3rd-party software tools for identifying anonymous website visitors and converting them to B2B sales leads?
Drop a quick comment below if you have feedback, questions, or any other insights to add here.
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