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Targeting: Cookies vs. Tracking Pixels

Discussion in 'eCommerce' started by JanP., Mar 3, 2017.

  1. #1
    Hi there,

    as I am new to this Forum, allow me to quickly introduce myself. My name ist Jan (27) and I am currently working for a big telco provider in Germany. Next to my Master Thesis, I spent my free time mostly with doing sports and traveling.
    SEMrush
    I decided to register because I believe that this forum yields a lot of up-to-date information about current trends end developments. Also, I am here to learn and to discuss where the digital journey might head to.

    Just recently I wondered what the exact difference of Cookies and Tracking Pixels is. So far, I thought that the only difference is basically that Cookies must be accepted while tracking pixels just collect the data.

    Now, I have red that behavioral targeting und predictive behavioral targeting rely solely on cookies, while only retargeting works with tracking pixels.

    Can someone point out the use cases for both and emphasize the differences?
     
    JanP., Mar 3, 2017 IP
    SEMrush
  2. MaxGoodman

    MaxGoodman Greenhorn

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    #2
    It's nice to meet you, Jan!

    If I understand your question right, largely speaking they both kind of serve the same purpose. Pixel tags (which I believe is what you're referring to with "tracking pixels") are actually used to create cookies after a specific event happens. Cookies have been in use pretty much the entire time the internet had become open to the general public, and while there's a lot of advantages to using cookies, in marketing terms it's largely better to make sure you use them in conjunction with pixel tags.

    A pixel tag is simply an event on the website, generally a tiny and invisible image file, that triggers a cookie after an event occurs. This can be something like shopping cart abandonment, viewing a specific item, and so on. Pixel tags are kind of silly without having a cookie that gets activated by firing them off, and while cookies are helpful for a lot of purposes they're generally most helpful in remarketing when used with a pixel tag to track the specific information you need.

    You can check out more here:
    http://www.verticalresponse.com/blog/how-cookies-website-tracking-tags-can-help-grow-your-biz/
    http://www.visualiq.com/resources/marketing-attribution-newsletter-articles/cookies-tags-and-pixels-tracking-customer-engagement
    https://www.quora.com/Retargeting-What-is-the-difference-between-a-tracking-Pixel-and-a-cookie-are-they-in-essence-the-same-thing
     
    MaxGoodman, Mar 20, 2017 IP
  3. SEcomm007

    SEcomm007 Peon

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    #3
    What MaxGoodman said is true but I would like to make a changes to his message.

    A pixal tag (Only facebook call it that) Is really a javascript that executes when a user lands on your website. The execute can do a few thing... It can send an alert back to facebook telling facebook that this user has checkout your website. It can track and event, such as a click, and lastly it can track how long a user has been on your site.

    Are these always accurate? No

    Cookies are a browser mechanic used to say your history of any particular site. All tracking tools uses Cookies as it is virtually the only way right now.
     
    SEcomm007, Mar 22, 2017 IP
  4. MaxGoodman

    MaxGoodman Greenhorn

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    #4
    This is a little more accurate - pixel tags are almost always written in Javascript (although I think maybe that's not ALWAYS true?) and do have a few different uses. You still need a cookie to track them, though, so you need both to actually get anything done.
     
    MaxGoodman, Mar 22, 2017 IP
  5. SEcomm007

    SEcomm007 Peon

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    #5
    hey Max,

    As of right now Pixel Tags are always written in Javascript the reason being most browser at least the ones I know of only work with Javascript, HTML, ans CSS. So in order for you to embed a tracking script it would have to be javascript. Pixel tag is simply a script that uses cookie. But cookie is only one part of it. Anyway the technical aspect of this is not important. Cookies is simply a text file that it. You can search cookies on Windows and edit the cookie with notepad.
     
    SEcomm007, Mar 22, 2017 IP
  6. Larry Thibodeaux

    Larry Thibodeaux Greenhorn

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    #6
    A pixel is used mostly for facebook. Cookies are entirely different.
     
    Larry Thibodeaux, Jun 25, 2018 IP