What happens after you send a PDF document to your customers or employees? Will you know if the PDF was shared safely, and exactly who got access to it? What about the average time spent, clicks, impressions, and users’ location? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, no worries, you’re certainly not alone.

PDF tracking is not an easy task. And if you want to gain extra information about your shared documents, such as who got your PDF and how much time they spent on reading it then the job gets complicated. But sometimes this information is everything you need to know. 

Let me tell you about a more seamless process of gaining insightful statistics with the help of flipbooks. Basically, they are flippable PDFs and they mimic the look and feel of magazines, catalogs, portfolios, newsletters, brochures, newspapers, etc. But I’ll get into more details about this later. 

So, if PDF tracking is one of your concerns and you’d like to improve your document tracking strategy, in this article you’ll find out how to easily do that with digital flipbooks. 

Before getting into more details, let’s start from scratch so you can easily understand the whole concept of PDF tracking and flipbook tracking.

What is PDF tracking?

PDF tracking helps to collect information about when recipients opened, viewed, or accessed your file. This is possible by using additional software that adds a tracking pixel to your PDF document and basically sharing your PDF via URL.

Why is document tracking important for?

  1. Privacy and security concerns
  2. Marketing analysis and sales improvement
  3. Keeping track of users’ interest

Now let’s take them one by one and discuss more in-depth details.

1. Privacy and security concerns

Even though living in a digital era has many, many advantages, at the same time, it requires companies and individuals alike to be careful when it comes to sharing their internal and external documents so their personal information could not be used to steal their identities. Sending a file happens instantly through the magical internet, but setting strong security options helps companies prevent confidential documents from reaching an unintended recipient.  

So maintaining the security of your sensitive and confidential documents is crucial, and by using document tracking, you can see exactly who has access to it and how recipients interacted with them. If your document has been compromised or changed without your permission, you can trace back to check who has seen the file and even find out the person responsible for the unauthorized changes. 

2. Marketing analysis and sales improvement 

Document tracking has a vital role also in your sales and marketing analysis by offering you concrete data on who received your document, how much time they spent reading it, and even how many times they clicked on your links and other elements within the file. By checking these details, you get a complete overview of how recipients found your document and based on it; you can improve your documents and materials by making them more enticing for your customers.

Just imagine sending a sales presentation as a PDF through email. If you don’t follow up with another email to ask your recipient if he received and opened it, you couldn’t otherwise know this information. With document tracking, you get rid of unnecessary emails and see exactly when the recipient accessed your document.

Using document tracking can also help better understand your audience’s needs, habits, and likes. And if you create documents that your readers will enjoy you increase your chances of closing more deals and eventually selling more.

3. Keep track of users’ interest

Another thing that documents tracking helps businesses with is keeping track of users, readers, or customers’ interests. Having a full view of how much time your audience spends on your PDF documents indicates their level of interest. It will be easier for you to see if they read it more than once, and you can better focus on offering your prospects the materials that are of the utmost importance to them. 

Make documents that are relevant to your audience and offer them insightful information that they couldn’t find elsewhere. Also, don’t underestimate the power of great content and high-quality images as they will significantly impact how much time and interest your audience will have in your documents.

How does PDF tracking work?

PDF tracking should allow you to see when someone opened, downloaded, or printed your document, at least this should happen in theory. There are a few ways to PDF tracking in order to get this information. And even though they are kind of hard, and very tech-savvy for most people, you can try and see if it works for you. 

Here are a few possible options for PDF tracking.

PDF tracking with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics

Yes, with GTM, you can see how many downloads your PDF document had, and this is especially helpful if you have a lot of PDF resources on your website. To get this information, you’ll have to set some technical measurements in GTM, such as configuring the trigger setup and the tag setup. But before getting into more details about how to set these, make sure that you install Google Analytics in your GTM

Now head over back to your GTM. Firstly, you’ll need to create the trigger, which will tell GTM what to track. 

Set up the Trigger in your Google Tag Manager:

  • From the Triggers menu, select New
  • Make sure to give your trigger a descriptive name
  • Select the trigger Click > All Elements
  • Under This trigger fires on, select Some Clicks
  • Now select the Click URL from the variable dropdown menu
  • Select Ends With from the match type dropdown menu
  • Specify .pdf in the value field

Now we’ll use this trigger to create our tag for the Google Analytics tracking.

Set up the Tag in your Google Analytics:

  • From the Tags menu, select New
  • Make sure to give your tag a descriptive name
  • Select the Google Analytics: Universal Analytics tag
  • Select Event as your track type
  • Now set your Category and Action names
  • Set the Label to the {{Click URL}} variable by clicking on the building block icon
  • Under Triggering, select the trigger we created earlier and hit save
  • Click on Submit, and press Publish

I know Google Tag Manager can seem like a technical tool, and to be honest with you, it is. But if you find it difficult to set the steps above by yourself, maybe it would be a good idea to collaborate with a specialist. 

There are also other ways of doing PDF tracking, such as tracking with Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Twitter Ads. Or, as I already told you, by using PDF tracking apps and software. The only downside is that you need to pay extra money for more insightful statistics about your document. 

But I’m here to tell you about a better version of document tracking by converting your PDF document into a digital flipbook. The process is simple and fast if you use the best flipbook software on the market.

So let’s move on to the most exciting part of this article!

From PDFs to digital flipbooks

If there is a better way of doing things, you definitely need to try it. That’s precisely why I’m telling you about a smoother way of doing document tracking with digital flipbooks. If you haven’t heard of or used them before, let me tell you that digital flipbooks have been around for a while. And then, I’ll tell you why you should immediately start using them as your secret weapon for document tracking. 

Firstly, flipbooks are the digital representation of printed documents such as brochures, guides, presentations, catalogs, etc. They are practically page-turning PDFs with a realistic 3D page flip effect that perfectly mimics the hand gesture of flipping through your favorite magazine – yes, they are that amazing! But the good news doesn’t end here since you can do a lot more by creating digital flipbooks

The great part is that you can quickly transform any PDF document into a stunning flipbook within minutes. Just use a professional and secure flipbook maker, upload your PDF, and give it a professional look.
And unlike static PDF documents, digital flipbooks can be engaging materials that will make your clients spend more time reading them. Wonder how that can happen? Easy, by adding interactive elements such as videos, photo slideshows, iframe widgets, GIFs, buy buttons, price tags, and many, many more. These are the elements that make digital flipbooks so entertaining, and that keep clients and readers interested in spending more time navigating them. And that is exactly the point of every document – to be read and flipped through, as much time as possible.

Make your digital documents engaging so your audience will spend more time reading and interacting with them.

Example of a PDF turned into an interactive marketing brochure

This is what your PDF document can look like after being converted into a digital flipbook. Stunning, yes! I bet any recipient will spend more time reading and flipping through it as it has so many engaging elements. 

And even though this is an interactive marketing brochure, you can easily make any other type of digital publication. 

The best part is that you can find a variety of already premade templates that are designed by professional designers. You’d only need to replace the texts, images, and colors with your own to give it a personal touch. If you consider yourself more on the creative side, then start this process from scratch and let your creativity flow. Design can be an easy and fast process when using the right tools. 

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PDF tracking VS. Flipbook tracking

Now that you’ve seen how digital flipbooks work, I’ll tell you more about the main differences between PDF tracking and flipbook tracking. But, to be honest with you, there are so many more advantages that digital flipbooks bring to your business.  

But to prove my point let’s put on our smart glasses and take a fast analytic look at the following paragraphs.

1. Flipbook tracking offers easily accessible statistics

Yes, you can do PDF tracking and see how many downloads and clicks your documents have, but when you’re a big company and need to see concrete reports on the performance of your documents, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not enough. We’ve already seen that the process of PDF tracking requires integrations with different apps and some technical skills that may be difficult for some. 

Not anymore. Simply convert your PDFs into digital flipbooks and get instant statistics without installing any other apps in order to do the tracking. With flipbook tracking, you get a plethora of reports and full-view statistics such as views, clicks, average time spent, impressions, devices used, location, downloads, charts, and more. Not every flipbook maker app offers these kinds of statistics, but the best ones, for sure do. You don’t need to do any further integrations and technical steps to find out the performance of your documents. 

Taking a look at the data history will help you identify trends and patterns that your readers have and you’ll better understand your audience’s likes and dislikes. Pay careful attention and compare your digital flipbooks’ performance to get a deeper understanding of your market and customers. Analyzing the performance of your flipbooks is a key factor in constantly improving the way you create and design your documents. Get to know your audience with insightful statistics!

2. Flipbooks are secured and have lots of privacy options

I’m sure big companies know the importance of having safe measurements when it comes to the privacy and security of their documents, especially when these are shared in the digital world. On the other hand, digital flipbooks are secured documents, and they offer great privacy options if necessary. In fact, they work excellent both ways, even if you want to easily share your documents with the whole world or if you want to share them privately – amazing, I know. 

If you need secure documents that won’t be distributed or shared afterward, you can be 100% sure that digital flipbooks are the perfect solution for that. Digital flipbooks have secure and various sharing options. For instance, you can share your digital flipbook privately, with specific people only through a private email link, or you can even use a password-protected option to give access only to people you shared your password with. Therefore, only the people who know the password will be able to access it.

Regardless of the privacy options you need, by using a digital flipbook your documents will only reach the people you want.

3. Flipbooks could increase the time people spend on documents

Let’s be honest, no one wants to spend time in a document filled only with big chunks of text. Living in a digital world, people are triggered by eye-catching visuals and design elements that get all their attention. 

In PDFs documents, you can add images and links, yes, but that’s pretty much it. With digital flipbooks, you can make your audience spend more time on your documents by offering them great content in a professional way. Digital flipbooks already have a 3D flipping effect, so it’s not a static document like the PDF. 

But you can make digital flipbooks even more attractive by adding interactive elements that PDFs simply can’t have. For instance, in digital flipbooks, you can add virtual tours, photo-slideshows, videos, audios, GIFs, tags, social media buttons, and more. You can think of these elements as the tasty flavors that will make your documents stand out among all the others.

The great part is that by adding these interactive elements to your documents, you can also track further statistics and see what elements your audience clicked on and opened. Interactive elements also have a big impact on how much time your audience spends on your documents so keep this in mind next time you create your digital documents. 

And now let me tell you about a flipbook maker app that offers everything you need in order to succeed in your flipbook tracking strategy!

How to use Flipsnack for your flipbook tracking?

Flipsnack is a flipbook maker app that over 8  million users love and swear by. This app does everything I’ve mentioned earlier. It eases your life by offering you full view of statistics without any technical steps. Simply bring your PDFs here, and transform them into digital flipbook animations. Then get access to their performance statistics such as clicks, views, average time spent, and more.

On top of that, you get super privacy and security options when sharing your documents online. Starting from the password-protected option to the private link sharing, you can be sure that your documents will reach only the people you want.

There’s no need to tell you more details about it since everything I described in this article regarding PDF versus flipbook tracking can be done in Flipsnack. I can only encourage you to make a free account and experience the app’s great functionalities. 

So easily check statistics, analyze your audience’s preferences, and better strategize how you create your following documents. Ease your PDF tracking life, with flipbooks.


Here are some common questions regarding PDF tracking in Flipsnack:

Can I export the tracking data to other formats for analysis?

Yes, tracking data from flipbooks can typically be exported to various formats such as CSV or Excel for more detailed analysis. This allows users to manipulate the data in spreadsheet applications or integrate it with other tools for comprehensive reporting and insights.

What are the privacy settings available for tracked flipbooks?

Flipbooks offer several privacy settings to manage who can view your content. You can set flipbooks to be public, private, or password-protected. These settings help control access and ensure that only intended audiences can view sensitive information.

How real-time is the tracking data available in Flipsnack?

The tracking data provided by Flipsnack is generally available in real-time. This means that as soon as a viewer interacts with your flipbook, the data is updated and accessible in the platform’s analytics dashboard, allowing for timely insights and decision-making based on user engagement.

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PDF tracking is now easier with digital flipbooks. This article presented the many benefits and advantages of tracking with flipbooks. Starting from the creation part where you can create more engaging materials for your audience to obtain full-view statics of how your documents perform. So give flipbook tracking a try and convince yourself of their magical power!

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