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29 Nov 2019

What is a Tracking Pixel—Explained in 800 Words or Less

In the digital marketing world, you hear the words “tracking pixel” or just “pixel” thrown around a lot, often times without any context as to what the heck it is. So, before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s start with the basics…

Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook and an ad shows up for something you were literally just talking about?

Weird, right?

While Facebook isn’t actually reading your mind (yet), they are using what we call a tracking pixel.

What is a Tracking Pixel?

Marketing pixels, aka tracking pixels, are essentially these tiny snippets of code that allow you to gather information about visitors on a website—how they browse, what type of ads they click on, etc.

This behavior data helps you, as a marketer, send the user ads that are likely to be most interesting to them. Tracking pixels are also used to measure a marketing campaign’s performance, track conversions, and build an audience base.

Now that you have a general overview of what a pixel is, let’s talk about the different types of pixels. Don’t stress too much though, there are only 2 that you really need to worry about.

Retargeting Pixels

Retargeting pixels are focused solely on the behavior of your website’s visitors.

For example, let’s say you’re shopping online for new furniture and then you go onto an entirely different website, like Facebook, and notice that all of the pop-up ads are furniture related.

That’s how retargeting pixels work. They’re basically monitoring your behavior in order to tailor ads they think will catch your attention on other websites.

Conversion Pixels

A conversion pixel comes into play once a purchase has actually been made. They are responsible for tracking sales from a specific ad campaign.

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