4. November 2021

The Difference between Tracking and Analytics.

Never confuse these two ever again.

Intro

The online marketing industry is going through a massive change at the moment. Tracking preventions, ad-blockers but also regulation are changing website tracking, which is why JENTIS specialised exactly in this area and developed a product to collect as much and good data as possible. 

But what exactly is tracking in this regard? And what is the difference to an analytics tool? We found that this distinction leads to confusion for people, and our solution is sometimes mistaken for an analytics tool, which is why we want to clarify it here. 

To support this argument with some visual representation, please refer to the data value chain below.

What is analytics?

Let’s start with analytics because it is actually the category of tools that most people are familiar with. Organizations use these tools to transform data into reports. Therefore raw data is gathered and then processed into visuals, metadata KPIs, and other representations which should enable the user to easily assess the performance of a website in our regard. Google Analytics, Matomo, Hotjar and Adobe Omniture are in fact analytics tools just to name a few examples. 

Change is coming - Why tracking is becoming its own "product"

So far, these tools have collected their own data with a JavaScript code which was implemented directly on your website directly or via a Tag Manager. So whenever a user visits your website and assuming that the consent is given, then each analytic tool’s JavaScript is sending data to its own tool. After being processed you are provided with reports in all shapes and sizes.

Tracking defined - a new tool in your martech stack

And that’s exactly the point where change is happening right now due to tracking preventions, ad-blockers and consent settings. So far these specialised analytics tools have collected their data themselves (the “tracking” as people call it) and pulled to their servers to provide their service. Each tool provided its own JavaScript … which is not working anymore. Tracking preventions, Ad-blockers and also consent restrict the data collection from third-party JavaScript’s by blocking them completely. This happens routinely now. For some of our clients, this gap accounts for 30% – 50% already – with an upward tendency. 

For this reason, a “new category” opened up in the data value chain. Instead of just implementing simple third-party JavaScript’s on your website to track customer behaviour (i.e. collect data), you now need to have a separate tool that focuses purely on collecting data on your website and sending it to analytics tools for the sake of this discussion.

This is tracking how it should be done in the future

This tool or category is now synonymous with “server-side tagging” more or less. You implement a “special” JavaScript on your website, which is then supposed to collect all data only once for all different types of tools. Once the data is then server-side it can be manipulated (anonymisation, pseudonymisation, data enrichment, …) and is only then forwarded to your other marketing tools. 

By the way, this does not mean that your current analytics tools are not working the way they should right now. It just means you need to find a way to collect the best data and then forward it to your analytics tools, so they can do their job correctly based on all captured data.

Conclusion

In conclusion, analytics or reporting tools are implemented to assess your performance. So far, this was done by implementing respective JavaScripts which are now heavily blocked by Tracking Preventions and Ad-Blockers as well as dependent on user consent. As a result, you need a tool which specialises exactly on this part – tracking and data collection. With this tool you can then collect all your data, manipulate it if necessary and then send it to your analytics tools to assess your performance. 

Thus, the perfect combination now and even more in the future is a data collection tool + an analytics tool.

REGAIN DATA CONTROL

Solve your first party data, compliance and tracking problems with only one tool!

Our solution has been developed since 2016 and is now the most advanced tracking on the market. Across geographies, industries and business models we have seen incredible results with our trialing and paying clients. If you’d like to get access to JENTIS to improve your online marketing, please make an appointment with the link below or send an email to info@jentis.com. We’ll be in touch soon.

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