April 28, 2021

What Are Pixels and Why Does My Marketing Plan Need Them?

Make the most of your marketing dollars and
learn more from your digital efforts.

April 28, 2021

What Are Pixels and Why Does My Marketing Plan Need Them?

Make the most of your marketing dollars and
learn more from your digital efforts.

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What you’ll learn

  • The basics of what pixels are and how they interact with your digital marketing tactics.
  • How pixel tracking ensures your marketing dollars are well spent.
  • Further ways to interact with pixels and what is tracking you when you visit websites and landing pages.

Pixels in their most basic form are a way to track your marketing effort efficiency. They are a small line of code that is placed on a site and track the way your visitors found your site. Before we get into how and why pixels are used, let’s review the terminology you’ll hear around pixels.

  • Cut: The act of creating or having a pixel created to use in tandem with a targeted marketing effort
  • Placed: Adding the pixel to your site, generally through Google Tag Manager
  • Fire: The term used when a visitor causes your pixel to activate on their visit
  • Tags: General name for anything housed in Google Tag Manager

The question we hear the most when it comes to pixels is “Why do we need this?”. Many corporate sites already have many tags that relate to other actions on the site. Scroll depth, click-through rates on certain assets and visitor behavior on a website are all tracked by tags on websites that set up Google Tag Manager. Pixels for marketing purposes serve a different use; they tell the marketer a story about site visitors.

Let’s run through a quick example. Your company decides to use the Google Display network to promote a new service, “The Best Service,” through your company, “Super Awesome Corp.” You run a banner ad telling folks about your new service and target that message and ad placement towards people most likely to convert on your message. This on its own is a perfectly fine way to run a campaign but you’re leaving information on the table.

The above method will allow you to see users that click on your ad and then visit your landing page. However, we’ve noticed on our own campaigns – and I think we can agree as users ourselves – that more often than not we see an ad then search out the company and/or service on our own.

Those leads would traditionally not be captured – and that’s where pixels come in. Having a pixel on your site that is related to your display ad allows you to track users that were served your ads but did not click through. Instead, those visitors are counted as a view through or a visitor to your site or service through a less direct route. whether that’s a Google search, direct URL navigation or other method outside of your ad.

Pixel tracking is essential to make sure that your marketing dollars are being well spent. Understanding your conversions and awareness is important not just to campaign performance, but in how you approach your marketing efforts in the future.

A fun way to start learning more about pixels and where you’re interacting with them is to install a pixel or tag viewer extension to your browser. We tend to use Google Tag Explorer, but any flavor of extension will do. For instance, the webpage you are viewing this blog on has a multitude of tags built into it, most importantly for our uses, Google Tag Manager to contain your tags and pixels, Twitter Conversion Tracking to track traffic from Twitter and Outbrain to track native display ad placements.


Pixels are the most important tracking tool to measure how your digital ad dollars are being spent. Whether you’re tracking conversions from SEM ads, data from display ads or conversions from social media, having a tool to recognize the impact is key.

Solve for Effective Multi-Channel Marketing

Lauchlan works across the IT channel to develop and deploy highly effective, integrated, closed-loop multi-channel marketing for IT solution providers. Get in touch today to learn how we can help you reach your desired audiences and tell your unique story. Donny McGee is an Digital Producer at Lauchlan. You can email Donny at dmcgee@lauchlanx.com.


Donny McGee

Digital Producer

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