How Website Visitor Tracking Works
The technology behind being able to identify anonymous website visitors all rests on the fact that every device on a network has a unique IP address. This includes the device that you are using right now to read this page.
Your IP address can be captured by websites that you visit and can be used to identify certain information about you.
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is simply a number, like a phone number, that identifies any device on a network, like your computer. IP addresses are used to help network devices to talk to each other without incurring any errors.
Your IP address is assigned to you by your ISP (Time Warner, Comcast, etc.) or, if you are going through your company network, by a special server (DHCP).
Your IP address contains certain information about who you are and where you're connecting from. This information can include the domain name that your company is using to allow access to the internet. The domain name is simply the URL of your company (www.company.com).
When you access the internet through your companies network you are carrying information about where (the company) that you are connecting from. So, when you hit a website your IP address can be seen and even captured.
Services that provide website visitor tracking are decoding the IP address of visitors that are hitting their clients site. These services provide you special code that you put on your website. This code will capture the IP addresses of visitors that hit your website.
The service provider will then decode the IP address by looking up the domain name that is associated with that IP address. The end result is a list of companies that have hit your website.
Not all visitors that hit your website will be doing so from their work network. If a visitor is coming in from somewhere other than a company network like a coffee shop then they will not have an IP address that is associated with their company. They will have an IP address associate with the coffee shop or an ISP. The companies where these visitors work will not be able to be identified.
Some visitor identification services will provide additional information above and beyond the domain name. This could include specific information about the company such as: the company name, address, phone number, possible contacts at the company.
Other information may be provided about the visitor including: key words, the type of operating system the visitor is using, browser type, the screen size and the type of device.
Savvy marketers are using this information to help them reach out to potential prospects and to help them understand the visitors that hit their website. Click this link to find out more about why you should use a service to identify website visitors.