The Idea

If you’ve ever seen ads for something you’ve searched recently, then you’ll know the work of website tracking pixels. This invisible code is able to track customer actions on a website, such as logins, purchases, number of times visited etc. The benefit here is that you can make marketing decisions such as paying for another ad only if the person’s visit on your site lasted more than 1 minute, for example. If done properly, this leads to a better cost per acquisition (CPA) for each customer.

Man with target on his back

Retargeting and conversion tracking

Advertising with tracking pixels is called retargeting since you’re choosing a target customer based on actions, then targeting that person again. Usually, you’ll want to check whether a user does the action you want (a conversion) such as downloading an ebook, clicking the buy button, using a contact form etc. In this case, the pixel is used to track conversions, which is why the it’s commonly referred to as “conversion tracking”.

How does a tracking pixel work?

(Feel free to skip if you don’t care about the technical explanation)

A website tracking pixel is a bit of code that is provided by a company that sells ads (like Facebook or Google). This code is called a pixel because it’s an invisible image that’s only 1×1 pixel in size. Whenever a website with a pixel loads, it tries to get the image from the advertiser’s server (e.g. a Google server).

That server returns a tracking cookie, which the browser stores to keep information about the user’s session such as login status, shopping cart info, etc. Every time the pixel is loaded, it sends that cookie (user info) back to the advertiser’s server, which analyzes the cookie and sends it back to the browser.

Steps

Setting up a tracking pixel on your website

If you advertise online, you should be using pixels on your website. Ad companies make the process simple but it’s a little technical. It usually involves two steps:

  1. Creating the pixel from your admin panel
  2. Copying and pasting some code into the footer section of your site so it loads on every page.

Tutorials/Guides

Metrics

  • Ease: Doable
  • Cost: Free
  • Scope: High
  • Speed: Normal

  • Reach: Global