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What are Tracking Pixels and How Do They Work?

A tracking pixels can be described as an HTML code snippet that gets loaded when a person visits the website or clicks on an email. It can be useful in tracking users’ behaviour and conversions. By using a tracking pixel advertisers can gather information for analysis of websites, or marketing via email. Through log analysis of the file, long-data analysis or by using the appropriate analytical tools, the data can be utilized for various goals, like targeting.

What is an identifier for a tracking pixels?

A tracking Pixel (also known as 1×1 pixel or Pixel tag) is a visual with the dimensions 1×1. It is loaded when a person is browsing a web page or opening an email. Because it’s small, it will not be noticed by users of websites or by email recipients. The tracking pixels are partially or entirely created to be completely transparent or hidden within their background colors of the site so that they do not make a statement for users. The users are not expected to see the tracking pixels. The focus is on the process that is activated by download of the tracker pixels.

The tracking Pixel URL is the memory address within the server. If a user goes to an online site and the image that has this tag will be loaded by this server. The optical properties like visibility, or very small size can be defined by the attribute style.

What is a tracking pixel and how does it work?

The webmaster or person who sends an email inserts the tracking pixel by using an HTML code within your website’s HTML text or the body of an email. The code is an external link to the server hosting the pixel. If a person visits the website of the destination this HTML encoded code will be processed by the browser, usually the browser of the user. The browser clicks on the hyperlink and displays an (invisible) picture. The graphic is registered and recorded in the log files of the server.

Furthermore, other data about the user are transferred through this method. In some cases, combining with JavaScript is essential to gather information concerning the system operating or the type of browser.

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The following information can be gathered and analysed using the tracking pixel.

Operating system that is used (gives information about the use for mobile devices)
The type of website or email employed, for instance for desktop or mobile devices.
Client type like the browser or mail program.
Resolution of the client’s screen
The message was read, or the website was the website was
The website’s activities during the course of a time period (when you use multiple track pixels)
IP address (gives details about the Internet Service Provider’s location and its location)

Inserting an a tracking pixel

Depending on the platform that is being used, the process of installing the tracking pixel varies. Sometimes, this is done using the content management system that is used, however, in some cases, the pixel needs to be embedded directly into the code that makes up the e-mail or website.

Typically, the web analytics applications that demand the use of a pixel like Facebook and Google Analytics, offer extensive instructions for implementation.

Criticisms about tracking pixels

The tracking pixels are frequently criticized by advocates for data protection due to the fact that they gather extensive data regarding the user, usually without the knowledge of the person using the data. Because the tracking pixel is unable to be seen by the naked eye, and the average person is unable to comprehend its significance image, even if it’s visible the tracking pixel is an exchange of information without consent. In light of this argument, critics claim that with the tracking pixels, privacy of users is compromised by the recording of motion profiles. The transmission of an IP address allows for the matching of data to other information found in the Internet, e.g., to a profile on the social network or forum.

Tracking pixels can also help simplify spammers’ work. Spammers can incorporate tracking pixels into their spam messages to determine the validity of an email address. legitimate. If recipients open the email and thus loads the tracking pixels, spammers is given confirmation to the legitimacy of an email. In turn, the number of spam emails sent rises.

Protection of data and tracking pixels

As per GDPR, users are required to be aware that websites gather information. Users must also be able to refuse the data collection.

The benefits of the ability to track pixels

The utilization of tracking pixels is beneficial to website owners SEOs, email providers and website operators. This is because they are able to make use of the data generated to enhance their online offerings and improve their user-friendliness, and adjust the offer to the most widely used browsers and versions.

The most beneficial aspect is it is because tracking pixels work better than caches used by browsers. The time spent on a webpage is not considered. If JavaScript is utilized, additional information is gathered. This can include the resolution of the screen the plugins that are used, the support of specific technologies by the browser, and so on. This allows you to distinguish between users and bots, and also create profiles for users. A user’s IP address, the number of visits of a specific user and the characteristics of that user may be utilized to construct pathways for navigation. To analyze web traffic the tracking pixel typically provides the basis. Modern technologies are required, and can only be implemented by specially trained service providers.

Tracking pixels are also useful in the analysis of email newsletters that have been sent since they can reveal the percentage of people who open certain newsletters or emails using information from the user’s statistics. With A/B tests the most effective campaigns can be identified. From the perspective of the receiver’s point of view, this gives the benefit that newsletters in the future could be created to be more interesting and relevant.

Countermeasures for users

There are several methods that users can avoid their information being gathered by tracking pixels

Change the settings of your browser and email to be as strict as is possible, so that external graphics can only be permitted after permission is granted is granted, and HTML emails aren’t supported. The appropriate firewall settings can be used for this.
Certain browser extensions can be utilized to display tracking pixels.
Anonymous browsing using the Tor Browser or using proxy servers to block the downloading of tracking pixels.
To prevent the collection of any additional information about users, such as the operating system or browser type to prevent the collection of additional data, the script support within the browser may be turned off. However, this could limit other functions that are available on the internet under certain conditions.

Relevance of web analytics for SEO and advertising

Tracking pixels usually have similar functions as cookies. The user’s tracks are stored in a file which is saved to the hard drive of the user. However, more and greater users are taking methods to block cookies through the browser features. Cookies are often insufficient information and their use can be blocked entirely.

The tracking pixel may be utilized as an alternative to the cookie since its usage is not prevented by a standard browser. However, there are a number of browser extensions software, plugins, and applications that block tracking pixels and therefore stop the log file analysis are in use. Tracking methods like Canvas Fingerprinting or Event Tracking or other hybrid techniques are also becoming more popular and, like other tracking methods complete changes to websites are needed for – e.g. regarding security of data. Additionally, consent from the user to permit the tracking of pixels needs to be obtained.