Direct Response Marketing Agency - Chief Media

Why it’s Necessary to Implement Tracking Pixels

In 2019, NPR reported that 76% of U.S. shoppers bought their products online, and according to the American Marketing Association, online shopping occurs on multiple devices. There’s an enormous consumer pool out there and it just keeps growing. Competing for the buyers’ attention, loyalty, and dollars means thinking big about technology that is actually very, very small. In fact, the work of gathering the most important facts surrounding who, what, when, where and why consumers buy is done by tiny tracking pixels.

Among the eCommerce world’s most valuable tools, tracking pixels have many aliases including “conversion pixels,” “event pixels,” “tracking tags,” and “tracking scripts.” The list goes on, but they all serve the purpose of capturing important info about how consumers interact with advertising and marketing efforts leading up to the websites where they make their final purchase. Used widely across the internet, the data gathered by tracking pixels inform optimization efforts, helping to pinpoint users’ preferences for a more tailored experience. Specifically, the benefits of using tracking pixels stem from the ability to follow a consumer as they browse and shop.

What is a tracking pixel

A tracking pixel is a 1 x 1 graphic image that is designed to be invisible. They blend in with the background of a site and are largely unknown to the website visitor. Most tags are built in javascript with the specific function of tracking visits to a page or more complex data-gathering, such as tracking user signups or purchase info.

Several ad platforms have tracking pixels including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google. They are installed similarly and function in basically the same way. Google and Facebook pixels are naturally used widely as they reach a massive user base, but many advertisers launching smaller campaigns use email automation tools that include tracking and reporting on data like open rates, click-throughs and link clicks.

Whatever pixel route you choose, you have a few options on how to get up to speed with using a tracking pixel. Once you generate the tracking code, you can simply email it to your developer for implementation, add the code yourself, or add it with an integration manager. If you’re trying to capture specific conversion data, some custom coding may be needed, depending on the tag that’s being used, so working with an expert can be helpful. Regardless, you will then need to test and verify that the pixel is active.

phone with google search pulled up
Making sure your website is properly optimized for speed across devices is critical for search engine results and user experience.

When to set up tracking pixels

Timing is an important part of your pixel planning. If you intend to run a lot of ad campaigns, setting up and testing early allows you to confirm the conversion process is trackable and effective for the user experience. The data collected through tracking pixels can answer so many questions that used to rely on basic consumer psychology and best guesses. Today, tracking pixels can tell you not only what your highest performing products are, but they can also tell you how much revenue different products contribute to the overall sales picture and if certain products are frequently purchased with other products. You can know where your visitors come from with tracking pixels. Did the visit originate from a social platform, email campaign or something else? Which device was the user on when they visited your site? How long did they stay on your site? Which pages did they explore? Did they leave items in their shopping carts? With the right information, your messages can meet users in the way they prefer and trigger the decision to buy.

man coding on a computer
Inserting tracking pixels is not difficult development work, but clearly understanding the different conversion and micro conversion goals you have makes the process easier to implement.

There’s a lot of power in the tracking pixel and its stealthiness is both a benefit and a responsibility. If in-person, you followed a shopper around all day and never identified yourself as a friendly helper in improving their experience, you might expect some suspicion and misunderstanding. The deliberately “invisible” nature of tracking pixels means there is no visual indicator to visitors that their actions are being analyzed. Appropriate use of tracking pixels means finding that middle ground where meaningful data is collected in a way that doesn’t disrupt the user experience or make them feel that they are being “followed.” The point of the tracking pixel is to be low-key. Since the goal of the pixel is to increase conversions, turning off the user is never part of the plan, but it takes forethought and testing well in advance.

To get the most out of the ability to determine customer interactions and take real-time optimization steps, it’s important to choose and leverage the best pixel for the job, starting with those available on the ad platforms you are already using. Tracking pixels are truly amazing tools that can provide you with the insights you need to know and serve your customers better.

In short, these mostly invisible and sometimes misunderstood little pieces of code punch above their weight when it comes to increasing sales and applying better measurement across campaigns.

For more information about how Chief Media works with tracking pixels, contact us today!