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Knowledgebase Cookies 101 What is Website Visitor Tracking?


What is Website Visitor Tracking?

Last Updated: September 17, 2021

Website Visitor Tracking

Website visitor tracking is a tool that is used by most websites, especially for advertising purposes, across multiple devices. Specifically, when a user collects information on its visitors they can use that data to learn more about user behavior and gauge the effectiveness of campaign strategies.

While website visitor tracking is important for website analytics, it’s even more critical that website owners ensure their processes for collecting consent and user data are valid and compliant. It’s essential websites explicitly document in a privacy and cookie policy the data they collect, how they use this data, and who has access to it.

Ultimately, website owners must be aware of applicable local, national, and global regulations not just in the areas they’re located but also in the areas their users reside.


Why You Should Track Website Visitors

A website visitor tracking tool allows website owners and marketers to gain insight into their consumers. An analysis of user behavior identifies how visitors use a site and allows website owners to tailor their website to give the consumer the best possible experience.

Reasons why organizations track website visitors is because:

  • Website Performance. For many website owners or User Experience (UX) professionals, it’s important to have information on how the website performs for users. Is the page load too long causing users to exit immediately? In the most fundamental form, owners must ensure strictly necessary cookies are working to perform essential services. For e-commerce websites, this means ensuring user information is tracked across different pages so customers can check out multiple products at once.
  • Website Analytics. Websites also use analytics tools to gain insight into their customers. Tracking user demographics and behavior data allows websites to make better business decisions. For example, an SEO marketer might want to monitor what content pieces drive organic traffic and identify any gaps.
  • Advertising. Websites will collect visitor data so they can show the most relevant ads. This practice can significantly boost revenue as you can tailor it to different types of consumers. Some information websites track can include search history, user interest, time, and location. As an understandably controversial practice, this can bring other benefits. Sometimes organizations use targeted advertising revenue to provide a free service to their customers.


Website Visitor Tracking Compliance

A website visitor tracking tool is the best way to ensure you’re tracking user data in a compliant way. As more people become aware of data tracking there’s a growing concern from regulators to ensure proper safeguards are put in place to protect users and data controllers.


The GDPR requires organizations to receive opt-in consent from users before collecting any personal data. GDPR defines personal data as any piece of information that can be used to identify a person. This can include identifiers such as IP addresses, cookies, and digital fingerprints.

User tracking is legal but websites must have significant oversight to ensure compliance. Websites can use tracking tools and technologies as long as they receive explicit permission from the user before tracking and collecting information. Specific requirements must be met, such as websites can’t use pre-ticked boxes. Additionally, websites must not have cookie walls – banners that say something like “by continued use of our site you agree to the use of cookies”.

In general, it’s best practice for websites to take a positive approach to opt-in consent for the collection of data, like providing unchecked boxes. The more transparent, the better.


Like GDPR, the CCPA is concerned with the personal data companies collect on users. Personal data is described similarly, including online identifiers and IP addresses.

Unlike GPDR, the CCPA does not require websites to receive opt-in consent to collect user data – unless the visitor is under 16. However, CCPA does require the disclosure of information collected by informing the user which categories of data it will collect and why.

CCPA also gives consumers the right to access the information a website has collected in addition to the right to have their information deleted. Finally, any company that sells personal data to third parties must allow users to opt-out of the sale of this data.


Get Website Visitor Tracking Compliance

CookiePro is the most extensive tracking technology tool that keeps your website compliant with global privacy regulations. Websites that collect user data through website visitor tracking tools and technology must do so in a way that is in line with privacy laws.

With a CookiePro subscription you can:

  • Scan your website. Gain an overview of the tracking technologies in use on your site. Once you have identified all cookies and tracking technologies, it then categorizes these cookies. You can customize your categories or use our CookiePedia database of over 11 million unique cookies.
  • Create a compliant cookie banner. Use our pre-configured templates compliant with your privacy regulations and then customize your cookie banner and preference center to meet the specific needs of your organization. You can also customize the look and branding to match your website.
  • Track records of consent. For best practice and to meet GDPR and CCPA compliance, you can prove valid consent with a historical record of consent receipts. View granular consent records and interact with aggregated dashboards to analyze how your consent approach is performing.

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