pixel tracking dataBryan Miller

5 minute read

What is Pixel Tracking? Explanation and Uses in Web Strategy

Published 2021-10-04T06:00:00 by Bryan Miller

If you work in marketing or are currently designing your own website, you may have heard of pixel tracking, which you likely won’t immediately understand the meaning of. A tracking pixel is a small piece of code that gives you the ability to obtain information from visitors who reach your website. This information usually involves behavior data, which can include everything from the types of ads the users click on to how these users navigate your website.

Once you gather behavior data from people who visit your website, you can use this data to enhance your web strategy and marketing campaign. Keep in mind that tracking pixels can be placed on web pages as well as emails. The types of data you can gather from pixel tracking include sales conversions, digital ad impressions, and email opens. The method you use to add a tracking pixel depends on what the pixel is being placed in. If the pixel is being placed in an ad, the Facebook Ads and Google Ads platforms provide functionality that allows for the easy installation of a tracking pixel.

If, on the other hand, the pixel is being added to your website, you can use Google Tag Manager or similar tools to place the pixel on the page that you would like to track. A tracking pixel is comprised of simple HTML code, which is why these pixels are easy to implement wherever you want them to be installed. Once you’ve input the HTML into your ad or website, it will be able to collect a substantial amount of information. The following article provides a detailed guide on pixel tracking and how it can be used in your web strategy.

Benefits of Pixel Tracking

email marketing and pixel tracking

An effective web strategy relies on a strong marketing plan that targets your core audience and provides them with ads and content that keeps them engaged with your brand. The only way to deliver an effective marketing plan is to use analytics to gain a better understanding of your audience and their behaviors. The main benefit of using pixel tracking in your web strategy is that it will provide you with a considerable amount of analytics, which includes:

  • Which headlines and preview text will obtain the most clicks and opens
  • Which email providers are being used
  • Which areas your audience are located in
  • What percentage of your customers and audience read your website and emails on desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones
  • The number of people who click links and open emails
  • The overall success rate of a specific marketing campaign

The benefits you obtain depend on what the pixels are being used with. If you attach tracking pixels to eCommerce banner ads, you can determine the number of people who viewed the ad, clicked on the ad, and eventually made a purchase. If you send a tracking ad in an email newsletter, it’s possible to identify the number of people who opened the email. With the amount of analytics you receive from tracking pixels, you can make your marketing more targeted in future campaigns, make your content more relevant, and provide users with a better experience that’s tailored to their exact needs.

Using pixel tracking in your email marketing campaign can be highly effective at helping you determine how successful your ads are at drawing interest from your audience. If a user opens an email that your company sends to them, this indicates that they are at least somewhat interested in the email’s subject matter. However, having customers click on emails isn’t enough to have a successful marketing campaign. Instead, it’s essential that a high number of users click on the ads that are placed inside the emails you send.

In the event that a large percentage of users are opening your emails but not clicking on the ad inside, there’s a good chance that something is wrong with the appearance or content of your ad. It’s possible that the visuals aren’t appealing enough or that the ad doesn’t match what the user expected when they opened the email.

Pixel tracking is beneficial because it allows you to assess these user behaviors and make notable improvements for future marketing materials. Tracking pixels can be particularly advantageous when used alongside headlines, CTAs, and offers, which is why tracking pixels are commonly used by marketing teams when performing a/b split tests, which aren’t possible unless you use tracking pixels.

What Do Tracking Pixels Collect?

data from pixel tracking

As touched upon previously, tracking pixels can obtain a substantial amount of information. Once a user opens an email or clicks on an ad, the tracking pixel can start collecting information. The types of information that are collected depending on how you set the pixel up before placing it in an ad or email. For instance, the main types of information that tracking pixels collect when implemented into emails include:

  • How many times the user reopened the email
  • The time at which the email was first opened
  • The device that was used to access the email
  • If links in the email were clicked
  • How long the user kept the message open

Even though tracking pixels can collect many different types of information, they won’t collect sensitive customer information like browsing history, location, or bank details. It would only be possible for a tracking pixel to gain access to sensitive information in the event that it was first able to gain access to the user’s cookies, which only a hacker can do.

Tracking pixels are only active when the user is engaging with the email. Once the email is closed or the user turns off their computer, the pixel won’t work anymore. These pixels will never be stored on the user’s computer. As such, using tracking pixels is a safe practice that won’t create issues with customer trust in your brand.

How to Add Tracking Pixels to My Email?

Adding a tracking pixel to an email is a relatively straightforward process. There are two methods you can use to accomplish this task. First, you could obtain a marketing email tool with the kind of functionality that allows you to view link clicks, open rates, and replies.

It’s also possible to add a tracking pixel manually by directly pasting the pixel code in the correct location. This code should be added immediately preceding the /body tag that’s found in the email code. Now that you understand how to add tracking pixels to your email, you should be able to start measuring the results of your email marketing campaigns, which will only serve to improve your future marketing efforts.

Key Strategies for Pixel Tracking

two people pointed at a screen

Before you start placing tracking pixels in your emails, ads, and web pages, it’s important that you understand some best practices that you should adhere to when using tracking pixels. First, it’s highly recommended that you don’t input tracking pixels in any and all locations throughout your website. The placement of these pixels should be intentional and selective.

The quality of a tracking pixel is far more important than the quantity. If placed correctly, you can obtain valuable information about user behavior and interactions with your website and brand. On the other hand, overusing tracking pixels can dilute the analytics and make it more difficult for you to measure the results of your marketing materials. In general, you should avoid attaching a tracking pixel to every page on your website.

Another reason to be wary of the total number of tracking pixels you use is that these pixels can slow down your website. A website’s performance is of the utmost importance to anyone who visits. If a user visits a website and finds that it takes a lengthy amount of time to load, they will choose to leave the website and find another that doesn’t have these issues. As such, you should be strategic with how tracking pixels are used.

You should also keep your target audience in mind when using tracking pixels. Placing these pixels in all of your emails will only serve to provide you with copious amounts of data and analytics that you don’t need. Before you start using tracking pixels, it’s recommended that you provide users with the ability to opt-out of this tracking, which will allow users to maintain their privacy and for you to improve your brand image.

Overall, pixel tracking is a great way for you to receive web analytics that can be used to bolster your ad campaigns and improve your SEO efforts. The data you receive from tracking pixels should inform many of your future marketing decisions. Over time, you may notice higher conversions and more sales as a result of the pixel tracking you perform. While pixel tracking is ideal for eCommerce businesses, nearly every business can benefit from implementing tracking pixels into their marketing materials.

Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller

Bryt Designs

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web tech enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. Bryan is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine and continues to pursue tools and technologies to find success for clients across a varieties of industries.

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