Pixel advertising allows businesses to market across the web. Cookies make this technology possible. Pixel advertising is a powerful method of converting customers and tracking your most effective ads.

What are Pixels?

Pixels collect data. They enter servers and websites as code snippets. Businesses have a choice of pixels depending on what they’re looking to achieve.

Some pixels are designed to gather data to analyze website visitor patterns. Others are specific to marketing, converting, and tracking customer behavior.

Retargeting Pixels

Retargeting or remarketing pixels aims to convert past website visitors into paying customers.

A pixel can track a user once they enter a website. The information is then shared with the ad platform that the website uses. Advertisements for the website’s content start showing up across the web for the user.

This is how an ad for your online store can appear on someone’s Facebook or Instagram feed. Once that person visits your site, your ad platform has their information. This communication between your website and ad platform comes from retargeting pixels.

Conversion Tracking Pixels

Tracking pixels measure how effective your advertisements are. This gives insight into which ones best attract customers.

One of your Google advertisements may convert more customers than your other ones. You’re able to see this data by way of conversion tracking pixels.

A visitor who purchased from your store found their way there through your Google ad. A pixel tracks them from the moment they clicked on the advertisement to their purchase.

What is the Difference Between Pixels and Cookies?

Pixels and cookies are both code snippets. They can store user information to be maximized for marketing.

The simple difference between the two is that cookies track data while pixels send them.

Cookies track activity on servers. Businesses use both web servers and advertisement servers. A business’s eCommerce site sits on a web server. The ad platform they use is on an advertisement server.

A cookie that you set on your website is a web server cookie. It is also a first-party cookie. A third-party cookie is a cookie from your ad platform.

Both web server and ad server cookies keep score of user activity.

However, these two types of cookies alone cannot achieve marketing.

How do Cookies and Pixels Work Together?

An ad server can’t add a cookie to a website visitor’s computer. This is because a visitor is only on the web server.

The ad server is able to place cookies on visitors’ computers via pixels.

Web server cookies will begin tracking a visitor once they enter your website. The cookies will harvest data from the visit. This includes location, products browsed, time spent on pages, and more. They can also keep users logged in if they have an account with your site.

A pixel then takes this information and sends them to your business’s ad server.

The ad server uses the data to place a cookie on the visitor’s computer. This ad server cookie can now allow advertisements to show up on connected websites and browsers.

Opening an email, website, or advertisement can activate any pixel set.

Benefits of Pixel Advertising

You’ve probably noticed that the last time you signed into social media, an ad for the last pair of shoes you’ve looked at pops up. This is the simple efficiency of pixels: They revolve around users’ interests and online activity.

Your advertisements leave bread crumbs for your audience. They may have visited your website when they found you via Google search. Or, one of your general advertisements showed up on social media. Either way, one visit is not the end of your brand’s presence with pixel advertising.

Should Consumers Be Concerned about Privacy in Pixel Advertising?

Concerns about privacy are an understandable reaction to anything that tracks user activity. Pixel advertising is not an invasion of privacy. Cookies and pixels used properly create personalized marketing experiences that benefit both merchants and customers. Additionally, cookies and pixels on servers are regulated, with users being notified about the presence of cookies.