We all know that many people who visit our websites then enquire by separate means. They may telephone us, or send us an email by copying the email address link. So the website may have generated the lead, but we’ll never be able to track that.
Similarly, many people who contact us demonstrably from the website may have discovered us by other means, such as seeing a print advert. If they subsequently fill in an enquiry form on the site, it would be a mistake to credit the site with generating the lead.
It is a minefield. But that’s no reason to shrug our shoulders and not attempt to measure everything we can. There’s an old adage that “only 50% of my advertising works, but I don’t know which 50%, so I’ll carry on doing everything”. This is idiocy nowadays. We need to work smarter.
You can almost certainly measure anything on your website. Forms completed, email addresses clicked, PDF files downloaded, external links followed… you name it, I reckon it can be tracked in Google Analytics or any other visitor analytics application.
Google Tag Manager is most experts’ tool of choice here, as it’s free and there are loads of articles online about how to do almost anything. We’ve helped clients set up measurement of all sorts of things on their sites, and we don’t claim to be specialists in this. The only time we’ve had to give up was on a client’s site which used embedded forms hosted on a different site, a convoluted arrangement which is probably in need of updating. Even so, I believe that Google Tag Manager in more expert hands could handle that.
As long as the website uses fairly modern practices though, most people with a reasonable level of IT capability and enthusiasm can add Google Tag Manager to their site and learn how to use it to a high level in a day or two. Any website designers worth their salt ought to know this stuff like the back of their hand.
So the only question remains: what do you want to know about the users of your website? Because if you need to know how they got to filling in that enquiry form or viewing that datasheet, there’s no excuse for not having that information.