Industry Articles

Source Level Tracking vs Session Level Tracking

By Brian Handrigan on August 29, 2018 |


Jargon is quickly becoming the enemy of marketers everywhere. It’s generally accepted that certain professionals like doctors or lawyers will use esoteric terms that are confusing to most people. But marketers can’t afford to hide behind buzzwords and newspeak. Rather, despite the rapid evolution in marketing technology over recent years, pros in the marketing field need to know how to explain complex concepts in plain English. This leads us to our topic of the day: what’s the difference between source level tracking vs session level tracking? In the most basic terms, source level tracking refers to call tracking methods  related to static campaigns. Conversely, session level tracking follows an individual person’s journey through a sales process –– charting their visits to various ads and/or web pages.

Source Level Tracking

Source level tracking is a relatively basic form of call tracking. It works best for companies that want to monitor performance on a large scale. Source level tracking, then, is great for a business that’s just starting out and doesn’t yet have a clear idea of how exactly they want to advertise. What’s more, marketers can use source level tracking to determine which advertising platform is most advantageous for their given situation. If all you want to do is run an A/B test for ads appearing on different marketing channels, then source level tracking will suit your needs perfectly.

Session Level Tracking

Source level tracking, however, does leave plenty to be desired. Simply put, a business just won’t get the same level of intel from source level tracking metrics that they will from session level tracking. As its name suggests, session level tracking monitors unique consumer sessions and tracks a buyer’s (or potential buyer’s) activity with your marketing content. In principle, session level tracking works the same way source level tracking does –– when a customer makes a phone call offline to your business, call tracking software attributes it back to the online content that generated it. The difference is in the detail, though. Session level tracking enables a business to see which individual pieces of content –– in addition to keywords –– are most effective at drawing in leads and sales. In fact, session level tracking encompasses the data gleaned from a customer's experience with your company –– including the web pages they viewed and which keywords or UTMs brought them to the site in the first place.

Multi Channel Tracking

Typically, the average consumer is going to interact with your brand several times before they decide to buy something. For businesses that want a clear vision of their customers’ entire purchase journey, they need to employ sophisticated offline-to-digital tracking methods. In addition, if your company advertises through traditional media like radio or television, it’s essential that you find a way to connect those efforts to your digital content as well. (This makes sense after all; in a perfect world, your content should reach your leads and direct them to other areas of your marketing strategy.)

Fortunately, your business can connect all the dots and tie up all the loose ends within your marketing strategy thanks to technological innovations from Advocado. We’ve spent years studying how to perfect marketing techniques, and we can provide your team with the analytics and optimization tools to boost your conversion rates and sales revenue. Contact us here to get started


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Brian Handrigan

Written by Brian Handrigan

Co-founder and CEO of Advocado, Brian is a proven entrepreneur with a passion for expanding the intersection of technology and communication. He is a true innovator and has been a founder or co-founder of multiple startups. His talent to see “beyond the known” and identify the real opportunity has resulted in some of the most creative omni-channel solutions to date and was instrumental in inspiring the vision of Advocado. Brian has over twenty years of experience working leading companies such as TD Ameritrade, ADP, Walmart, WPP and major health insurance companies.