5 things you need to know about modern websites
I had a VERY brief conversation this week with a prospect that blew my mind. His comments got me thinking….
The marketing realm has a lot of industry terms and norms, however people that don’t live and breathe marketing and its technology may not know some of the tools we have at our disposal. With recent data breaches and governance laws passing, I thought it might be a good time to get some information out there that we take for granted, but may not be common public knowledge.
There are a number of tools that exist that take digital recordings of visitors using a website. They also provide aggregate data on where visitors click, how far down the page they scroll, where they drop out of forms, and other information.
This data is used to help marketers firm up weak parts of the website, modify forms to get more people filling them out, and generally make the websites function better overall.
Geography driven content can be delivered through a couple of different methods, however suffice it to say that the website knows where you are. This data allows a website to serve you with specific content relevant to your areas, and to track how many people in your area are coming to the website. For some businesses, this data can be used to make a marketing push into that area which should yield in more sales.
There are many website visitor ID tools. They identify your IP address, and if it matches with databases that contain IP addresses from businesses, they can see which business were on the website. Now, this only works on businesses that have a static IP address, and you definitely can’t tell who the individual was that came to the website, however it gives a pretty good idea who’s actually interested in the websites content, especially because you can see how many page views the visitor has made. It’s great for contacting businesses that may already be interested in doing business with you.
Through services like Facebook and Google, websites can track your computer and send you ads through their networks. This is called remarketing, and it’s considered by many marketers to be the ‘low hanging fruit’ in advertising. (If you’ve ever visited a website, left the site, and then found an ad on the sidebar for that same product or service, you have been remarketed to.)
All of these things sound intrusive on the surface, and there’s a lot of data that marketers can gather. It is illegal to gather personal information without your consent. Sometimes personal information is needed, for online purchases as an example, however that information is securely stored, and often through third parties that are under heavy regulation.
The vast majority of the data is used to make the experience better for visitors, and yes, to sell more stuff.
In summary – one of the biggest things to know is, there’s nothing to fear.
Websites and those behind them are working hard to make your experience better. When you see the cookie dialogue box on websites, that is the website doing you a service by informing you that the cookies are present. The truth is, nearly 100% of all modern websites are employing cookies and you just don’t know it.
Not sure what a cookie is? Here’s the definition from the PC Magazine Encyclopedia:
Definition of: cookie. cookie. A small text file (up to 4KB) created by a website that is stored in the user’s computer either temporarily for that session only or permanently on the hard disk (persistent cookie). Cookies provide a way for the website to recognize you and keep track of your preferences.
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