What Are Pixels And How Do They Work?


Have you ever noticed an ad “following” you around the internet?


This is all thanks to something called a pixel.


When used the right way, pixels can transform your next campaign, optimize your website and boost conversions.


But first, let’s define what a pixel is.


What is a pixel?


A pixel is a small piece of code that’s loaded when a user visits your website or opens your email.


Users don’t usually see these pixels. They are designed to camouflage in the background color of the website so that they don’t stand out to your website visitors.


The purpose of these pixels is to collect valuable data about user behavior on your website.


Before we get further into how they work, let’s first look at the role pixels play in marketing.


Advantages of using pixels


If you’re a marketer or an advertiser, then pixels are an important part of your marketing strategy because they will help you gather valuable information about your audience.


Information such as: who is visiting your site? What pages are they visiting? How much time are they spending on each page? What links are they clicking? And so much more.


The information gathered will then help you understand more about visitors to your website and use that to improve your marketing efforts.


Pixels are also be used to track online conversion. There are cases where the user takes a specific action they were led to take, for example, to download an ebook or to sign up for a mailing list. Using pixels is a handy way of keeping track of these numbers.


How do pixels work?


A pixel is embedded into the HTML code of your website, ad, or marketing email.


Each time a user loads a webpage, for example, they load the pixel too. This triggers a request to the web server where the pixel is hosted.  


The server then sends the pixel tag to the user’s unique IP address. This address is logged by the web server.


With that, you can periodically analyze server logs and understand how many unique views your content is receiving.


That means if 5,000 unique IP addresses have viewed your tracking pixel, 5,000 viewers have seen the content the pixel was embedded in, whether that be an email or a blog post.


While tracking unique views is the most basic function of a pixel, this traffic data can be analyzed even further.


IP addresses, for example, can give you an idea of where your viewers are located geographically, as well as what kind of devices and operating systems they’re using to visit your site.


IP addresses can also be tracked as users move across your website or click on different ads hosted by the same server.


All this information gives you the marketer a clearer sense of what your audience is looking for, allowing you to create content and ads that are tailored to meet their needs.


The most common platforms that use pixels are Facebook, Google Adwords, Adroll, Bing and Twitter.


Best practices when it comes to using pixels


Pixels sometimes get a bad rap because most consumers don’t understand the backend process of the internet. When they see an ad that keeps “following” them on the internet, they might get annoyed. Worse still, they might end up developing a negative association with the brand.


To ensure this doesn’t happen, here are some key things to pay attention to:

  • Be intentional with your pixel use. You don’t have to have pixels in every single page on your site. Only use them on pages that are crucial to your marketing strategy.
  • Put a cap on your pixel frequency. This will reduce lag for your end users. You don’t want a visitor abandoning your page because of slow load times. 
  • Stick to your targeted audience. For example, if you already have a targeted audience comprised of only women above the age of 45, then there’s no need for you to use pixels on men or younger women.
  • Respect privacy practices and “Do Not Track” requests.
  • Always allow customers to opt out of tracking.
  • Employ start and end dates that are in sync with the campaign that’s running.



That’s it for pixels. If you would like my help in implementing this and other strategies to sell your high ticket products and services, get in touch with me by clicking the button below to apply for a complimentary consultation.

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