How to track users across subdomains

Knowing exactly what happens during your customers’ journeys relies on rock-solid tracking across every marketing touchpoint.

For your website, that means joined-up analytics across every property and subdomain.

What’s a subdomain and why care about subdomain tracking?

A subdomain is an additional part of your main domain. For example, at Mediahawk, we have mediahawk.co.uk as our main domain. But we also have the reports.mediahawk.co.uk subdomain, which is how our customers access the Mediahawk reporting platform.

Depending on your website focus and industry, subdomains can be used for:

  • blog or resource hub areas,
  • online stores or shops,
  • client login areas and more.

When you have a lot of information to share, subdomains can be a useful way to make that content more easily accessible for your customers.

But they do create some challenges for marketers. Tracking and analytics inconsistencies can arise when you have traffic moving between different subdomains and your main domain.

For example, a user journey might look like this:

  • Prospect arrives at yourdomain.co.uk
  • They view some pages there
  • They jump onto your blog at blog.yourdomain.co.uk
  • They read two blog posts, then click a call to action to speak to your team

If you’re only tracking activity on yourdomain.co.uk, you won’t have sight of the conversion that happened on your blog.

So how do you ensure that you have total visibility of the customer journey across all your web properties?

Two ways to track and analyse subdomain traffic

Google Tools

If you’re fairly au fait with Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager, you can make some adjustments to your tracking code or your GTM Tags to allow subdomain tracking. You’ll also need to add your subdomain to a ‘Referral Exclusion List’ in Google Analytics. This is so visitors to your subdomain don’t appear as self-referring traffic in your reports, which will skew the statistics for your website overall. You’ll need to set up some filters, too, so you can drill into traffic data for specific subdomains.

As with all Google Analytics tracking, this will only give you a view of one part of the customer journey – the bit that happens on your website. Google’s tool won’t link up multiple visits to your website, either, so you won’t see that person’s user journey in its entirety.

If you want to get a hyper-accurate picture of your customer journey, you’ll need a tool that can track all of the above, plus your offline channels, too.

Mediahawk

If you’re under pressure to demonstrate the value of your marketing spend, you’ll need a way to prove (with complete accuracy) exactly how your website and its subdomains play their part in driving conversions.

For marketers who are serious about tracking activity across subdomains as part of the entire customer journey, there’s Mediahawk.

Right out of the box, Mediahawk allows you to track the entire online and offline customer journey – including your website domain and its subdomains.

Unlike other tools that require a lengthy, step-by-step setup process for subdomain tracking, in Mediahawk you simply tick a box to switch it on.

With dynamic numbers applied and subdomain tracking switched on, Mediahawk starts collecting data straight away.

For example, if a typical customer journey looks like this…

  • Prospect sees a Facebook ad for your brand
  • Clicks through to yourdomain.co.uk
  • Visits your ‘About Us’ page, then leaves the website
  • Returns a week later via your blog.yourdomain.co.uk page
  • Browses some blog posts, then clicks through to your ‘Contact Us’ page on yourdomain.co.uk
  • Picks up the phone and calls the number on your website

…in Mediahawk, you’ll have complete visibility of everything that’s taken place on a prospect’s route to becoming a customer.

In fact, all visitor interactions – for your main domain and subdomains – are included in Mediahawk reports and analytics. It means the possibilities to slice and dice your marketing data across the entire customer journey really are endless.

So, if your site makes use of one or more subdomains, consider how you’ll best track the activity that takes place there.

And if you want to see that activity as part of the entire customer journey, a dedicated tracking and attribution tool like Mediahawk will make your life an awful lot easier.

About the author - Natalia Selby

Marketing Executive at Mediahawk, with 20 years experience in analytics and content management.

Man and woman using laptops.
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