How To Track Website Visitor Activity Through Pardot


By Lauren Keepers

So you want to begin tracking visitor activity on your website for the first time. 

First—congratulations! 🎉 

Your marketing practice is maturing, and you’re laying down the foundational bricks for future marketing segmentation that will allow you to dynamically engage individual buyer personas and convert those individuals more effectively.

But if you’re going to begin researching how to cookie your visitors’ browsers appropriately, let’s address the elephant-sized myth in the room.


There’s a fairly common misconception when it comes to tracking your website activity in that it starts with planting a visitor tracking code on your site that Google Analytics registers and reports on. This is called Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC). It can be installed on every page of a company’s website, and it tracks information about their visit.

GATC is king, but what’s equally as important is installing your unique Pardot tracking code that can be registered specifically through your Pardot instance too. 

Why? 

Because there are limitations in how businesses can leverage actionable data collected by Google Analytics compared to Pardot.  

Here are some of the most important data GATC can collect:

  • Users, sessions and durations of visit
  • Pages viewed
  • Bounce rates and exit rates
  • Referring channels
  • IP Address
  • Device and browser type

And when customized, Google Analytics can help you collect this data too:

  • Content engagement (downloads, video views, etc.)
  • Sale transactions or lead inquiries
  • Paid traffic results
  • Site search trends
  • Form fill errors
  • Scroll depth

Here’s what you can do with some of that data:

  • Evaluate Time Spent On Page as too long or too short. Long is good, but only if a visitor views a page and eventually takes action. If you observe a long time spent on page in addition to a high bounce rate, this could mean that the visitor didn’t find what they were looking for. 
  • Knowing a visitor’s IP address can help you learn what internet service or provider a visitor uses. It can also help you identify and filter any traffic associated with bot traffic or spam referrals. Additionally, you can segment IP addresses when filtering out internal employee traffic from your reporting.

PRO TIP: If you conduct business within the European Union, you will have to make sure that your tracking practices are GDPR compliant. You can learn more about what that entails for your Pardot org here.

  • Although tracking Content Downloads isn’t an out of the box feature provided by Google Analytics, when configured correctly, it can help you understand what motivates your visitors and is key to determining which problems your site visitors are really looking to resolve. 
  • Scroll Depth can be tracked through a special Google Analytics plugin that measures how far users are scrolling and helps you optimize your “hook” on a landing page.

But here’s what Google Analytics can’t do that Pardot can

  • Like Google Analytics, Pardot can track visitor activity, but it can also track and differentiate visitor activity between known prospects and customer activity.
  • For marketing teams that have invested time and resources into building robust, Pardot-powered Salesforce dashboards, leveraging a combination of Google Analytics data and Pardot data can stand as a checks and balances system for all website traffic-related reporting.
  • While Google Analytics uses first-party cookies only, Pardot uses a combination of first-party cookies (created by the host domain that the visitor is visiting) and third-party cookies (to set up and track cookies on a domain that the visitor isn’t visiting at the time).

Third-party cookies are primarily used for marketing functions like cross-site tracking, retargeting and ad-serving. Third-party cookies can also allow website owners to host live chats and in turn track those live chats. 

Now that we’ve established why it’s important to embed Pardot tracking code on top of Google Analytics tracking code, let’s walk through how to do it. 

Here are the steps.

PRO TIP: If you’ve already enabled Connected Campaigns in Pardot, create a campaign in Salesforce instead and skip these first four steps.

1. Login to your Pardot home page. 
2. In the left hand navigation bar, hover your cursor over “Marketing”. 
3. Then, select “Campaigns”. 
4. Click “Create Campaign”
5. You can title it something generic like “Website Tracking.” 
6. In the top right-hand corner, click “View Tracking Code” 
7. Copy the Pardot Javascript code.

If you use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to track visitor activity, follow the below steps.👇 If you don’t, proceed to step number 19.

8. Login to GTM. 
9. Navigate to the “Account” and “Container” you would like to create the tag in.
10. Navigate to “Tags” and click “New”.
11. Click Custom HTML Tag.
12. Paste your Pardot tracking code in the “Configure Tag” box.
13. Click “Continue”.
14. Configure how you’d like the triggers to fire. If you haven’t configured triggers before, refer to Google’s guidelines.
15. Click “Create Tag”.
16, Rename the tag. We suggest something like “Pardot Tracking Code-[name of your campaign]”.
17. Click “Save”.
18. Click “Publish” when you’re done editing tags in your container.

Non-GTM users, login to your content management system (CMS) of choice, and follow the rest of the below steps.👇

19. Login to your content management system (WordPress, Joomla, Squarespace, Wix etc).
20. Paste the Pardot Javascript into your website’s footer HTML. Footer code can be added:

  • Manually, by editing your theme’s footer.php files (if not b.)
  • With your theme’s built-in footer code feature (most common)
  • Or by using a plugin.

Now that you’ve got the Pardot cookie code dropped in. Test to make sure it’s firing by:

  • Checking the visitor countto figure out if the tracking code is identifying and recording visitors or prospects coming from uncookied browsers. You can view this activity at the Campaign level in Pardot.
  • Inspect a few of your web pages by opening up the source code (right click > ”Inspect” or right click > ”View Page Source Code”). Then, CTRL+F or Cmd+F to search for your Pardot campaign ID (piCId).

Now that you know your Pardot cookie code is firing, use Pardot data to your advantage by:

  • Building comprehensive target consumer profiles. 
  • Setting up more segmented email lists based on product or service interest. 
  • Staging retargeting ad campaigns on LinkedIn or via Google Ads Manager

Need more help with your Pardot instance? Contact one of our Pardot consulting experts

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