5 Things you should know about targeting pixels.




If you're looking for a review on the 2015 film, you're in the wrong place. We are talking digital marketing topics here, much more interesting than Adam Sandler and Pac Man. We've listed the top 5 things you should know about pixels and the optimal way to use them for your campaigns.

But first, a quick review.

Pixels are those little bits of code that live on websites and provide non-identifiable information to advertisers and campaigns. Without pixels, advertising on the web would be less accurate, less targeted, and overall less effective. The information a pixel carries can range from actions taken, time of visits, frequency of visits, all the way to purchases or other transactions. Ever wonder how advertisements from a product you looked at on one site appear on another site? That's pixels.

Pixels are completely safe, carry non-identifiable information, and are only readable by those who placed them. That's why there tend to be more than one on a page. Pixels can be used a number of ways:

  • Target people who have visited your site with ads while they are on other sites.
  • Target people who have shown specific interest but have not taken a desired action (purchase, email sign up, etc...) and do so with a special message to bring them back.
  • Exclude people from campaigns who've already taken your desired action.
  • And much, much more.

Excited yet? You should be. Now on to 5 things you should know about pixels.

1. There are different types of pixels.

  • Segment Pixels - Placed on pages to create and define audiences. For example, you could place a segment pixel on your home page to build an audience (segment) of visitors to your site. But there's more; create different segment pixels and place them on strategic portions of your site to further define your audience by what they've visited on your site, or when they've made purchases. The possibilities are endless. Ask your partner to help you build the right pixel strategy and audiences for your campaigns and brand.
  • Conversion Pixels - When you have a desired action you want to count, conversion pixels have you covered. Conversion pixels hang out on a page and send a message back to your partner's ad server to let them know that the event occurred. This is called "firing". It's often how sales, mailing list signups, or other events are tracked.
  • Exclusion Pixels - These are actually segment pixels, but used differently. Once a visitor is a member of an audience (segment), there might be a reason to exclude them from campaigns. That's where the exclusion pixel comes in. For example, you may want to exclude a visitor who has made a purchase from your campaign for a certain amount of time. Perhaps you want to permanently exclude visitors who join your email list from the campaign advertising your email list. Exclusion pixels help manage your campaign budget by eliminating a source of waste.

2. Plan Ahead.

Before you jump headlong into placing pixels on your site, spend some time with your partner reviewing strategy and planning ahead how you'd like to use the pixels. Solid planning up front will make the pixels and segments much more valuable going forward. Remember that pixels are for you, and only you.

3. Place pixels early.

Place your segment pixels well before you launch your campaign whenever possible. Early placement is key, allowing the audience to build and be a valuable targeting asset. Most partners will not charge to create a pixel for you and help you place it properly. There is no downside to placing a segment pixel early, and you can use your segments across multiple campaigns.

4. Start with your homepage, then focus.

Begin by placing a segment pixel on your home page to build a "whole site" audience. This is the first and most important pixel to place. Once this is in place, you can further segment your audience by placing additional pixels on other sections of your site. Visitors can be a part of many audience segments, but for a segment be a valuable targeting asset, there has to be sufficient volume within in to target.

5. Listen to your partner.

Each partner will have instructions about where and how to place their pixels. Be sure you follow these instructions carefully, or you risk your pixels not working properly. If you have questions, ask your partner. Also of note, a quality partner will work through a series of tests with you to confirm that pixels are working as expected before you launch your campaign.

To Review:

With proper strategy, planning, and execution, pixels can provide immense value to your advertising campaigns. Use the right pixel type, place your pixels early and strategically. Begin with the homepage and then segment your audience further. Follow placement instructions carefully, and if you have questions, ask.

It's your turn

Have questions about pixels, tracking, or building audiences? Let us know in the comments and we'll be happy to answer.

topics: Pixels, placement