How To Track Your PDF Documents

document-pdf-tracking

Send. Now you have no idea as to what is happening with your PDF documents. Are they being viewed? Are they being shared? How are they being engaged with? Generally speaking, you lose control of your PDF documents once they are sent out. 

This can be frightening if you happen to send out a document that contains sensitive information and without useful PDF tracking you just have no insight at all. In a world of data, data, data this is a little strange to see, especially when PDFs are one of the most popular document types to share.

Let us take a moment to consider why you would need PDF tracking in the first place. From understanding if the document is being viewed by somebody else to how viewers are engaging we answer some PDF tracking related questions below.

Why is PDF document tracking important?

Ultimately the need for tracking boils down to 3 core reasons. 

PDF Security

As work from home has become widely adopted that means people are on home networks and potentially distributed across a much wider area. That results in more files being sent and as mentioned earlier, PDFs are one of the most popular formats to send documents in. 

So for some senders of documents, you might be expected the recipient to not share the document and ideally you would like to know if it is being viewed by someone else. Without tracking in place this becomes impossible to to. 

With tracking, you should be able to see the IP address and location of each view and open. You can log this and add some sort of restrictions to minimize sharing. For example, with HelpRange you can lock documents to specific IP addresses. This ensures that the PDF is not opened outside of the IP address. 

The benefit of all this information and data logging with PDF tracking is that if there is a problem. If there is a leak or some information goes public, you now have a breadcrumb trail of every possible point where the issue could have happened. 

Ultimately PDF tracking of this nature provides a feeling of control and safety that you otherwise would not feel sending documents out as attachments via email. 

Sales, Marketing, Design  

From a sales pitch to a design proposal, it is likely that they these will get sent out via email as an attachment. This is standard practice and most professionals do not think much of it as it accepted that PDF tracking is pretty limited. This is where PDF tracking steps in and gives you some additional information about how the document is getting engaged with. 

Knowing which page of the document is viewed, how many times, for how long and how it is engaged with sounds like website level analytics that you would find with Google Analytics. Which sounds too good to be true, right? 

From a sales, marketing and design perspective the additional metrics surrounding the document will help to understand pages of high interest, low interest and how engaged they are. Plus, if you can get IP tracking you can see how the document is being moved around. More people could mean that there are more decision makers getting involved and this is a key result when pitching.

Gauging Interest in Fundraising Pitches

If you happen to be a fundraising startup that is sending out a number of pitch deck attachments per day, it is vital to know what is happening with your PDF document. 

  • Is there any interest?
  • Where is the most interest?
  • Which page is getting no interest?
  • Has the deck been forwarded on to another person? 

For a startup that really wants to know how their pitch deck is being received these are questions you really need to know answers for. With PDF tracking you would be able to pinpoint key pages of interest so that during follow up calls/meetings these can be addressed. Or you could even decide to remove sections that have consistently had no interest from anyone. The point is that PDF tracking gives you that clarity and understanding to make these decisions.

Without tracking you are in the dark, waiting for a phone call that may never happen because you have no metrics to confirm that there is interest or there isn’t interest.

HR Internal Documents & Newsletters

Some businesses have internal newsletters and documents that get sent out to the team. If you are looking at a team of >40 people, PDF tracking starts to become more of a need. Why? Because internal newsletters are created to engage employees. How do you know the effectiveness of the newsletter? You basically have no idea other than going to each employee and asking them directly. That’s way too much time.

With tracking statistic you can be sure to see which pages are getting more interest (with document heat mapping you can see which sentence is getting the most engagement too – more on that further down). 

PDF tracking provides the same insight for HR as all of the above benefits. For example, you have a highly sensitive document that is for internal eyes only. Without tracking, you have no idea where the document is and who has a copy of it. With tracking and security you can start locking the IP address so it cannot be opened anywhere else. Again the point of tracking is to give you a sense of control and security over your documents.

How you can use PDF tracking with HelpRange

The exciting part with our PDF tracking is that we provide much more than the basics. We have heat mapping so you can see which image, sentence and paragraph gets interest. You can add 3rd party widgets such as live chat directly into the document viewer to engage with viewers right there and then.

With all of these features you are inevitably getting website level analytics for your PDF documents and this, without doubt, paints a pretty picture.

PDF Document Access & Security

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As mentioned above, having control with document access provides a level of confidence and security that would otherwise be missing with standard email attachments. HelpRange provides a selection of these security features which includes:

  • Allow to download
  • Expiration date
  • IP address lock
  • One-viewer at a time
  • Passcode setting

Simply upload your PDF document into HelpRange, copy your file link and add it your email. When the recipient clicks the link the HelpRange document viewer opens which instantly starts tracking how the document is being engaged with. All of which can be monitored in real-time on the HelpRange file dashboard.

PDF Document Heat Mapping

Heat mapping has basically been limited to websites for now. The process of adding the option for documents is a tricky process but the team at HelpRange is proud to say that they have managed to do it. Which should be incredibly exciting for you.

Heat mapping adds a whole new element to document tracking. You can now see exactly what sentence, image or paragraph is getting clicked on, where the viewer is spending most of their time and what they are focusing on.

document-heat-maps

Consider this from a sales perspective. You can now see, in real-time, just how a client or lead is engaging with your pitch. You can see where they are mostly focusing on. Which could be a potential problem area but now with the heat map you know that it needs to be addressed in your follow up. 

Ultimately heat mapping goes deeper than page views, it really helps to deep dive into each page and understand what is working and what is not. 

PDF Document Analytics

Not only does HelpRange provide heat mapping data, we also provide a number of other metrics that help with PDF tracking. This includes:

  • Average time spent per page for all views
  • Engagement Score Per Day
  • Views Count Per Day
  • Average Page Count Per Day
  • Average Time Spent Per Day

Essentially you are getting website level analytics for your document with the added heat mapping to deep dive into viewer engagement. You can now see which page has the most time spent on it, then review the heat map to see what gets the most focus. With the ability to create dedicated links for users and groups you can focus on individual viewers or see the topline overview of your document.

PDF Tracking is Vital Today

At the end of the day we have so much information and data out there for basically everything that is digital but PDF tracking has been a little slow to get going. With HelpRange our focus is to create a simple and highly secure way to store and share your PDF documents and to also deeply understand how they are being engaged with. 

See how HelpRange works by starting a free trial