Tracking pixels have been around for some time now and are a fantastic way for web pros to help their clients maximise marketing opportunities. Here, Anurag Agarwal, PPC Manager at Fasthosts discusses the importance of using tracking pixels on web pages and lists the top four key pieces of information you can gain by doing so. He also highlights some of the main watchouts when making sure web pros are applying this technology in a GDPR compliant way.
Pixel tracking is an essential component of UX and web analytics and a crucial part of website performance analysis. Not only do pixels collect invaluable data around online marketing and web analysis, they also allow businesses to quickly learn from the data in terms of what is working and what is not, adjust their approach, and optimise their digital marketing activities to ensure a better return on investment. This data can in turn be used to improve website performance as well as the overall experience of the end user and can therefore bring huge benefits for a client.
So, what information can be gained from using pixels, and what are the main watchouts?
- Web stats
Pixels enable clients to see stats related to their site such as user traffic numbers, where users are located, what time of day they are interacting with a website, how long they are staying on the website for, what kind of device they are viewing a website on and much more.
Tracking pixels are an essential foundation to build on further tracking opportunities. This includes audience tracking, meaning you can view key information about site users and target them in a more direct way. For example, if a user is viewing a site on a mobile device on their way home from work in a specific location, pixels will pick up on this activity and the user can be targeted with ads for the specific site or products they have been viewing on the website.
- Revenue tracking
Every business has a goal, they want to sell either a product or a service. By implementing tracking pixels your clients can then track the number of leads or sales they are getting, and if their goal is to generate revenue, they can also track it and attribute it to the correct marketing channel, and that can be further used for optimization of the channels which are the most valuable. For example, as an ecommerce business, if their goal is to make revenue online, tracking pixels will give access to data around what the customer is paying, along with other details such as shipping and tax information.
This is a great way for your clients to understand how much revenue is getting generated from specific campaigns and helps instruct data-led decisions by tracking which channels are bringing in the most sales.
- Audience tracking
Within Google Ads, there are multiple options to target different audiences. However, you need to create audience groups to be able to target them. Incorporating pixels helps you do this. Pixels are used to tag the users to assign them into audiences, which can be used for targeting.
This is important because if you have a user who visits a website, browses a certain product but does not buy it, pixels allow you to retarget them by tagging them in an audience and retargeting them at a later date. By doing this, you can recapture traffic that has already interacted with a product or brand and are therefore more likely to convert.
- Channel performance insight
It’s important for businesses to be able to swiftly identify if there is an issue with their website and this is a great opportunity for web pros to help them. There may be periods of time where web traffic drops suddenly or sales decrease, tracking pixels will give web pros and their clients access to data which can help them in quickly identifying any such odd trend.
With periods of downtime, it’s crucial these moments are identified as soon as possible so a solution can be put in place to get a site back up and running, resuming user activity and sales. Tracking pixels help to understand these problems sooner rather than later, offering direct data about which area has failed, be it PPC, SEO, another channel or if it was a website issue.
Without using tracking pixels, your clients can’t get any insights into site usage stats and/or their audience. This includes everything from the user’s location, the device they used to visit the site, the time they spent on the website and any associated sales, along with revenue. And of course, depending on the goals of the business, these insights are key to driving success.
Thankfully, there is a way to minimise this lag by using an efficient pixel management solution like Google Tag Manager. As a web pro, it’s important to be aware of this because, if a piece of code that has been implemented to improve a company’s customer insights is also impacting the customers experience in a negative way, this will have an overall detrimental impact on the business itself.
Another important factor to consider is GDPR. In order to be GDPR compliant, your clients are required to disclose the name of the tracking pixels being used (for example Google or Facebook etc.), along with any information they will be tracking such as user location, the type of device they used for visiting the website and other demographic data. It’s mandatory to give users the option to opt-in or out from the tracking of non-essential information. Thankfully, all major tracking pixels currently available are GDPR compliant.
The main benefit of using pixels is that they give your clients the information they need to analyse users across audiences, which in turn allows them to fine-tune their marketing campaigns. This means they are more likely to spend their budgets efficiently, knowing which audiences will react best to certain types of content, informing any future marketing activity and improving conversion rates – a major KPI for online businesses.
Once you’ve ensured pixels are implemented efficiently and are GDPR compliant, you’ll be on your way to helping your clients uncover a whole host of insightful data about their site users which will help optimise their website, their business performance and the end user experience.