Pixel Tracking Explained
Pixel tracking is actually an interesting element of web development history as a whole. Small and mainstream websites have been using it for years now to track and analyze different aspects of their traffic and conversions.
But first, how does pixel tracking work and how to make it work with your affiliate links?
What Is Pixel Tracking?
In short, a tracking pixel is a small “image” (1×1 size in pixels) that executes a piece of code whenever someone views this image in their browser.
Now, we’re using quotation marks purely because the “image” in question isn’t really an image. It’s actually a reference to an executable PHP code, like this:
<img src=”http://some-site.com/some-file.php?parameter1=value1¶meter2=value2″ width=”1″ height=”1″>
Again, whenever someone views such image, some code will be executed on the server. What happens inside this PHP file is up to the developer who created it. However, the most common usage is to track the visits or the conversion path of a given visitor.
Now, doing all this by hand is a fairly technical thing and requires a skilled web dev professional. Moreover, it’s actually the old way of doing things. These days, we have a lot more possibilities when it comes to various methods of tracking.
Modern Pixel Tracking For Affiliates
The idea of pixel tracking still lives in almost all modern tracking solutions we can use with our affiliate sites today. And the best thing is that they are way easier to use than the traditional method of pixel tracking. It’s mainly because they don’t require any manual coding.
Basically, the tracking in Google Analytics is based on pixel-like functionality. Same thing with conversion tracking in AdWords. Or even the advanced Content Experiments in Google Analytics.
Enabling Pixel Tracking On Your Site
Just to recap, if you want to get any kind of tracking functionality, you can either sign up to an external service and have it integrated with your site through a plugin, or get a custom tracking plugin working on its own (independently).
Usually, the former approach is the more reliable and more functional one, with the biggest tracking solution available – Google Analytics – trailing the path.
To get started, go to the official signup page, and go through the setup process until you get your unique piece of tracking code. Then get a plugin like Google Analytics for WordPress to enable that code on your site. It’s a completely free solution, easy to use and offers a number of extra features.
Another path is to sign up to a tool like Clicky. What’s great about Clicky is that it offers real time analytics and stats. This means that you can spy on your visitors as they are browsing your site. Really cool.
Clicky offers a free plan, which allows you to hook up one site and track not more than 3,000 daily page views. It gives you access to all the basic features like content tracking, searches, referrers and so on.
With Clicky, you don’t need to do any manual integration either. You just need the Clicky by Yoast plugin that you can set up in minutes.
What solution do you use to track your affiliate site, its traffic and the conversions it generates?