How many millionaires would there be on this Earth, if to launch a successful online store, all you had to do was sit and wait?
You may say that a lot of different factors determine the success of a startup, and you would be absolutely right. However, one of the most crucial things is your business insights and well-timed improvements.
A tracking pixel empowers you to gain insider knowledge about your website visitor’s behavior, email opens, reaction to ads, etc. So let’s see how you can adapt it to your needs and boost your sales.
What is a tracking pixel?
A tracking pixel is typically a single pixel, transparent GIF image that is added to a web page, email or ad. Even though this pixel is virtually invisible, it is still served just like any other image you may see online.
From a technical perspective, to add a tracking pixel into a place is not difficult, but you may need help from a developer. Sometimes it goes with small code snippet pre-arrangements in server part. You will find out below how to do it.
Tracking pixels are precious to web analytic professionals and are known as tracking tags, tracking bugs, web bugs, beacons, page tags, etc.
How I can benefit from this magic?
Here are 5 ways to use a tracking pixel, each with their own benefits.
- You can insert it in your online banners published on other sites.
The benefit of tracking pixel for advertisers is that they will know a certain number of impressions that have been served. This number is mostly used to evaluate the performance of a particular banner, e.g. CTR. A tracking pixel helps you to attribute call-to-action buttons and sales to a specific ad. In this way, you can better optimize your advertising for best performance.
- You can insert it onto your website / blog to count page views.
You will be able to see what titles and links are visited most, and what has to be improved to look more “sexy” for your visitors.
If you use Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager or another web analytics tool for this purpose, that’s cool. It is another alternative to achieve the same purpose. These insights allow you to take a more holistic view of how your visitors behave on your site.
- You can insert a tracking pixel in email campaigns to track opens.
Various companies use tracking pixels in many different ways according to their needs. A possibility is to insert it into the newsletter source to track how many people open it.
Note: If you use email service providers, you don’t have to do this. Many of them, including Omnisend (previously Soundest), have already done it for you and your campaigns are being tracked automatically. You can see it IN THE REPORTS.
Another way to use it with emails is to add it to the signature of your personal letter to know if it has reached the recipient or if it has gone to junk.
- You can insert it in social media ads.
- You can insert tracking pixel into your online store to track conversions.
This tiny bit of code could be used also to track conversions. You will be able to know which user from which page of your site, or from which email or other source led to the conversion. What’s more, if he just visited the page and did not click on your tracking link.
You can insert the pixel to the third-party payment page to know if a particular click has resulted in a sale.
How do I insert a pixel to track a conversion?
It would be nice to track clicks from your site to an external payment site, you may think. Below are some technical tips on how to do this.
Warning: You may need help from a developer.
The following useful information I found on the stackoverflow.com forum.
- First, you have to set up a basic web server to accept HTTP GET requests and write logs for these requests.
- On the merchant’s confirmation page, you put an image where the src attribute is a URL on your tracking server. This URL contains any data you need to collect for the sale, which will show up in your server logs.
Note: You can use anything, like XHR requests or script tags instead of 1×1 px gif image.
If you want to know the ID number of an order and value of a sale, you could have the merchant embed a pixel that looks like this:
Your server logs will now have a record of sales generated on the particular site.
- Now you need to separate sales that you have generated from the rest of others. There are three options for doing this:
- do the tracking yourself,
- the merchant does the tracking,
- you work with a third party.
An affiliate network, such as flexoffers.com, amazon.com, etc. can be that third party. The merchant can track traffic sources and use the data to decide when to display your tracking pixel. You can also track it yourself. The best way depends on the terms of your partnership.
One popular and easy way to track your sales is to set a cookie on the same domain as the tracker. Since many clients will block third-party cookies, you will track best if your tracking server is also a redirection server.
You make outbound clicks go through your tracking server. Whereas you used to have an <a> tag that pointed to http://destination-site.com/landing-page.html you now send traffic to: http://tracker.example.com/redirect.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdestination-site.com%2Flanding-page.html.
In this example, redirect.php should set a cookie and redirect to the destination site.
Your server logs will now have that cookie value on image requests from the merchant’s confirmation page, along with any other data you passed in the cookie (or associated with it on your back end). Now, when you look at your tracking server logs you know the image requests with cookies are yours and the others are not.
Whether you choose the tracking pixel or not, it is important to understand how useful it is to measure the effectiveness of your efforts to make business.
This technology is only one of the many alternatives out there to do this. Stay eyes wide-open.