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What is a Pixel?

What is a Pixel?

A pixel is a small piece of digital code embedded on a webpage that advertisers and marketers use to collect information (location, online interests etc.) about a user while they browse a specific website. The pixel then passes that data back to the marketing/advertising database and stores it. With the use of pixels, it is easier to focus on the visitors that have a higher chance for conversion. A cookie is not the same thing as a pixel. A pixel is a code that places a cookie on the user's browser once an action/conversion has taken occurred. A cookie is a piece of code that helps companies differentiate between one consumer over another.

Why Are Pixels Important

Track Consumer Behaviors

When a customer clicks on an ad, the pixel will help track where they go on the advertiser’s site.

Optimize the Campaign

Tracking which campaigns work and which ones do not allow a company to spend their time and energy on successful campaigns.

Maximize Spend

Pixels allow a company to analyze conversion-rates allowing them to shift money to be spent on impactful ads that drive higher conversions.

Two Reasons for Pixel Use

Conversion Tracking

A pixel fires when a user performs a specific action that can help lead to a conversion, such as adding a product to their online shopping cart or looking up store hours. This helps companies keep track of specific users who have shown interest.

Retargeting Campaign

When a company places a tracking pixel on a specific web page and a user shows interest in the product or service, the company can use that information to create a retargeting campaign. Retargeting campaigns usually have more specific messaging and creative to be in line with the interest of that particular user.

Types of Pixels

» iFrame » Java » 1x1 » Image Here we’ll go into the pros, cons and other considerations of each type.


An iFrame pixel is placed in the HTML of a web page and fires when a conversion is made. After the Iframe fires, the data is recorded and marked as a lead. It is the most common used pixel for tracking conversions on the client side. The iFrame can track conversions with other pixel types, unlike Image pixel which can only load other image pixels.

Pros & Cons

» Versatile, can track conversions with any other pixel type » Client based » Tracks conversions and leads for a more optimized campaign
» Cookie reliant » Not useful for mobile tracking

FuelX and iFrame Pixel

Benefits: Clients won’t have to run Javascript on the site. Javascript can open up a number of issues, such as risking a client's privacy and security. Hurdles: There are two ways to get the FuelX pixel in an iframe
  • (Recommended) To have the FuelX Javascript running inside iframe tags. This could pose some potential tracking issues.
  • (Not Recommended) With this option, FuelX can’t track any data the pixel is meant to track, such as, attributions, clicks, user agent, fingerprinting, etc. How to generate an iFrame pixel and request?

How to generate an iFrame pixel and request?

Currently, it needs to be done manually. To automate this process, it is recommended to adding it to admin tools when FuelX creates a client account and add this option in the core services code.

Java Pixel

Client based scripting language that is as flexible as Iframe Pixel. Java Pixels are placed on web pages using a tag. And can track how the user came to the site, how much time they spent on the site, and other details to further develop a profile for that consumer, such as: » Searched keywords » Browser plugins » Screen resolution » Number of page hits

Pros & Cons

» Tracks details that help further develop a consumer profile for future retargeting. » Almost as flexible as Iframe Pixel » If the script is in header section the pixel is downloaded before the webpage loads ensuring that the consumer’s activities are tracked and recorded as they browse the site.
» If the browser does not have Javascript or has disabled it on their device a java pixel cannot record or track that consumer’s activities.

FuelX and Java Pixel

Javascript is preferred because it enables the FuelX pixel to track everything it’s meant to, including initiating FuelX’s fingerprinting service. The fingerprinting service enables FuelX to track users across multiple platforms (e.g., phone to desktop). FuelX’s Javascript pixel is also engineered to be asynchronous—in simple terms, it doesn’t slow download time of the site.

Image Pixel

The simplest and easiest of all pixel tracking types. When a user clicks on a link or visits a site where the Image pixel code is embedded, a cookie will be placed in the user’s browser and track them while they browse the site. If a conversion takes place, that information is sent to the company platform and recorded for later use (retargeting).

Pros & Cons

» Only need to place offer Pixel on the conversion page » Industry standard » Same tracking conversion methods as iFrame Cons
» Reliant on cookies » Not useful for mobile tracking » Only works with other image pixel sites

1x1 (Tracking Pixel)

A transparent graphic that uses a Tracking pixel with pixel dimensions of 1x1. It is used to track a user after the consumer has opened an email or viewed a web page. They are meant to be transparent and embedded within the ad’s graphic. The advertiser generally adds a 1x1 pixel code to the HTML of the website or email, which contains the external link that is connected to the pixel server. When a consumer browses the site or opens up the email, the link opens to the transparent graphic (1x1 pixel) and is logged by the server. Some of the information that is collected using a 1x1 pixel are: » Device used (mobile or desktop) » Type of mobile device (iPhone or Android) » Time email was read (if used for emails) » IP address

Pros and Cons

»Can be used as an alternative to cookies because the 1x1 pixel at the moment cannot be blocked the same way cookies can »Can use collected data to improve online offers »Can help spot the difference between real users and bots »More effective than the cache, especially when it comes to browsers
» Has been criticized for violating a user’s online privacy because the data is generally collected without the knowledge of the user since they can not see the tracking pixel with the naked eye. » Makes spamming easier. Spammers can track the authenticity of an email, and once they see an email is authentic more spam is sent to the user.

Some tracking discrepancies may be:

» Clicks do not equate to sessions at a 1:1 level » Attribution model (Any Click vs. Last-Click) » 3rd Party Tags/UTMs implemented incorrectly » Pixel loading from the iFrame instead of the Head » Order Confirmation page is identical to the Order Tracking page » HTTP to HTTPs Transition » Cross-domain/sub-domain not configured properly » Missing Transaction IDs » Pixel being relaunched at the checkout page in an iFrame (Shopify) » Optimizely code runs before FuelX Pixel/GA (Optimizely) » Expiring DCM Tags

Wrapping Tags

Wrapping tags are codes where a company can place multiple pixels into one code and allows the company to easily manage and alter their tags/pixels. It is used as a way to get third-party verification and to monitor campaign efficiency.

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