What is a Pixel, and How it
The advertising world can be much like the playground: everyone wants to show off the newest toy to impress their pals. Agencies try to wow potential clients with the shiniest new radio campaign or web-facelift, and sometimes they ignore the “small” adjustments that actually make the biggest difference. The best example of this is “the pixel”. A pixel is a bit of code that businesses apply to different pages on their web site to “cookie” their site visitors.
Once a potential consumer visits the site and the cookie is applied, it allows the business to retarget that consumer through multiple channels.
So if Sally Shoebuyer visits your company’s website to look at a pair of shoes, she is “cookied” and that same pair of shoes follows Sally around as a display ad, video pre-roll ad, or Facebook and twitter ad as she also reads the daily news, updates her Facebook status, or checks the weather. This practice can be very valuable not only for B2C businesses, but also for B2B businesses.
Why does this work? People no longer rely on the business as their sole source of information when making purchasing decisions. Jim Lecinski, VP of US Sales and Service at Google, states “68% of all purchasing decisions are made through on line research before the consumer even contacts the product or service space”. Lecinski coined a term describing this process: ZMOT. ZMOT is an acronym for “Zero Moment of Truth” and this describes a consumer’s journey and learning process when using on line sources to research a purchase. In the past, the consumer had to rely on either their personal network or a company’s sales team to gain knowledge and help them make the best decision. Instead of going through these steps, the newly empowered consumer now goes on line and independently researches. This brings us back to the pixel, the cookie, and your business. Your consumers are often visiting your website, then doing additional research away from your site before actually purchasing. Most advertisers spend significant amounts of money, through branding and call to action, making consumers aware of their products and services through external channels. Few, however, use retargeting to “close the loop” and take advantage of the website they already have to catch the consumers who have shown interest in their product or service by visiting the site. We personally research many websites in Tampa Bay, and have found out that only one in ten uses the pixel, the cookie, and retargeting in a structured and standard manner. This is interesting when statistics tell us that only 2% of web traffic converts into a purchase during a consumer’s first visit. Retargeting is a tool designed to help companies reach the other 98% of users who don’t convert right away. And retargeting is working. According to a statistic from Criteo, consumer electronics study, “retargeted consumers are 70% more likely to become a purchaser than non retargeted consumers”. Why are Tampa Bay businesses slow to engage these basic marketing technologies? We’ve found that the biggest barrier for most is knowledge. The digital media landscape can be complicated, and with that often comes some tentativeness from CEO’s and CMO’s. There is also a lot of misleading noise that has complicated the process. People have seen money spent on bad campaigns that result in a “digital expert” bragging about “click-throughs” but lead to no increases in revenue. This is causing unease with new technology that can lead the CEO to put things on hold. So, while your business might not be ready to adopt the “shiny new toys” of digital advertising, there is a huge value in understanding how you can add power to your owned assets. There is an ever-increasing number of options for digital media, but don’t be dissuaded by the initial information overload. To understand digital technologies is to have experience with digital technologies, and the pixel is a great start.