Wednesday, February 08, 2006

 

does pixel based tracking work?

If you don't know already, pixel tracking refers to putting 1x1 sized IMG calls on other servers that record stats (such as hits or sales) to your web application. Lots of companies use them and I've been curious for a while how reliable they are and how often they “miss.”

Here is the experiment I've been conducting:

When a user hits a certain page three things happen:

As you can see, if all is working then all three counts should match. They don't. Instead, with a little over 5000 visits counted, I've found that the same domain pixel is off by 11.54%. The different domain pixel is off by 5.6%. This is much worse than I expected.

I've attempted to do some research on the topic but haven't found much. Does anyone know what factors might cause pixels to not fire? Are there any good articles on the topic?

Thanks!


Comments:
Pixels can get in a browser cache. Also images can be turned off at the browser leve, which then wouldn't be loaded from the server.
 
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Adblock programs, filter proxies can block pixel tracking.
 
Dont know if this helps but for a long time when I got on a certain site with my Mac my download page would come up,( Since I didnt know what pixel tracking was) I would stop the download process. You can't tell its happening on your windows os but with a mac you can actually stop it from happening. This may affect the percentage rate a bit.... L
 
This is an older post, but I thought I would leave some feed back anyway. The two biggest areas of impact I have found are (1) visitors leaving a page before it is fully loaded and (2) browser cache.

There isn't much you can do about #1... If the browser never makes the request then it can't be counted.

For #2 there are many possible fixes, but making sure your server is sending out the correct cache control headers is probably the biggest.

Alternatively, you can get creative with some scripting and server configuration to create randomly named images.

Hope some of that was useful!
 
One more thing...
Web browsers only open two connections to a domain at a time. If you were delivering other items off your page from the same domain as your page, it is possible that people who left your page before fully loading had loaded the pixel from the third party domain, but not from your domain yet.

Of course this doesn't apply if those are the only three things you had on the page.
 
i do cashlagoon.com surveys on my computer and, i am not getting credit for some of my offer. i need a way to see the tracking pixel so i can direct it to my site. can any one help me.

please e-mail me at
edward444@live.com if you can help me.

EDWARD M.
 
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