Pixels and cookies are the sources of tracking for your online marketing efforts so it's time we talk more about how they work.
As a travel marketer, you may be wondering what enables marketing attribution. That is, how can you know that the same person who saw an ad for your destination yesterday visited your site today and booked a trip? There are several tracking technologies that make this possible, and here we take a look at two of them: pixels and cookies.
1. Neither pixels nor cookies collect Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Although pixels and cookies collect and store data about a user’s behavior, they don’t collect personally identifiable information. Even when using a third party advertiser, they won’t receive the name of the user, email, etc, but instead a unique ID of that user.
2. A pixel is a block of code that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising.
It’s unnoticeable to your site visitors and won’t affect your site’s performance. When a traveler visits your site and takes an action, the pixel “fires” or collects the data from the user’s behavior and reports the action. Then, you know when a traveler takes an action and can reach them again through your future ads.
3. A pixel is placed on both your website and within your ad.
A pixel, often referred to as a tag, is a block of code placed within your site’s code. A common example is a Facebook pixel, which can be implemented across many different pages of your website. When a traveler visits your page, a pixel fires, allowing you to reach them via Facebook ads.
A pixel is also placed within the ad. When someone sees an ad for your destination and returns to your site to book, a pixel fires. Then, you are able to track where your conversions are coming from and trace them back to your ads.
4. There are many benefits of using pixels in your advertising, including:
- Reaching the right people—remarket to travelers who have visited a specific page of your site or who have taken a certain action on your site; find new customers similar to your ideal traveler.
- Measuring the performance of your ads and website—view analytics and reports on media campaign measurement, insights about the performance of advertising efforts, website performance, conversions, and successfulness of ad based on what happened as a direct result.
- Driving more conversions—set up bidding to target people who are more likely to visit your destination.
A cookie is a small piece of text sent to and stored in your browser (think Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer) by a website you visit. In a general sense, cookies help websites remember information about your visit, such as your preferred language, items saved in your shopping cart, username & password, and other settings, making your next visit easier.
6. In advertising, cookies ensure ads seen by a user are relevant.
They allow ad networks to identify a user across sites to serve them targeted ads for your destination. Cookies also help control the number of times a user sees an ad.
7. There is a difference between cookies and pixels, but they work well together.
Pixels deliver information or behaviors to a server. Cookies store that information in a user’s browser so the server can read it again later.
Here is an example of how they work together:
- A traveler visits a destination’s website; clicks around on different pages; and leaves the site to check Fantasy Football on ESPN.com.
- The pixel records that behavior and drops an anonymous cookie, storing the behavior on the browser. The cookie also lets the advertiser know when to serve ads.
- As the traveler surfs ESPN, they are served a relevant ad from the destination they were just researching.
- The ad captures the traveler’s interest, directing them back to the brand.com site to book.
Now that you are well equipped with seven important things to know about pixels and cookies, you can take your advertising to the next level. For additional help, contact one of our travel marketing experts today.