The first thing to say about tracking pixels is that they are tiny – so tiny that most of us have viewed numerous webpages without even knowing they are there. Yet tracking pixels are a crucial part of your estate agent marketing strategy, allowing you to retarget your advertising at buyers, vendors, landlords and tenants, who have visited your site, greatly boosting your conversion rate.
Pixels are the smallest element of an image – the1x1 graphics that, put together, make up the appearance of your webpages. Tracking pixels are snippets of code the same size as a single graphic pixel. Add them to your website and, unnoticed, they collect data about the customers who browse your site.
The information they gather includes the pages your customers have viewed and the ads they’ve clicked. Tracking pixels collect other data too; the type of device being used as well as the operating system and IP address.
Conversion pixels are more about checking how effective your marketing is.
This probably sounds familiar – a bit like cookies. Pixels and cookies do a similar job, but there are a few differences. Cookies are saved on your customers’ browsers – Google Chrome or Safari, for example – allowing them to access familiar sites easily, without typing in login details each time. Cookies don’t allow you to follow the customer across different devices and users can block and clear them too, if they wish.
Tracking pixels, on the other hand, can follow your customers from device to device, meaning your marketing can work seamlessly across platforms. For example, if a buyer views a house on their laptop, the same property can be retargeted on Facebook on their phone. And unlike cookies, pixels can’t be easily disabled.
Retargeting and conversion
There two types of pixels – retargeting and conversion pixels. Retargeting pixels track a user’s behaviour on your website, looking at where they go and how they interact with your content. So, if your customers are looking at particular homes for sale or rent, you can show them these properties again, rather than a general ad for your brand. And this can happen instantly.
Conversion pixels are more about checking how effective your marketing is. They do this by tracking whether a would–be vendor books a valuation or a landlord signs up for a call back – and relating these actions to ads viewed. In other words, if you place a conversion pixel on the ‘thank you’ page, which is triggered by your customer booking a valuation, you can track them back to their first interaction with your ad.
If this sounds a bit complex – and you’re wondering if you should bother – the answer is yes. Tracking pixels are about getting the right content in front of the right audience, enabling you to target your advertising to the behaviour of your customers. As well as the obvious point about making sure your adverts follow people across different websites and devices, they have other benefits too, from allowing you to better understand your audience and tailor your offers to helping you differentiate true customers from the bots, which may be visiting your site.
Installing tracking pixels on your estate agency website can be done pretty simply by your web developer – or you, if you are familiar with code. The advertising platform you use should be able to generate pixels, which your developer can install on your site.
Facebook Business Manager
With Facebook, you can create pixels within your Business Manager account – under the Data Sources section. Enter your website URL, and Facebook will generate a pixel unique to your agency, which you can install on your website and use to track your Facebook advertising’s effectiveness.
There are a couple of things you should think about when working with pixels. One is privacy – as we’ve said, your users can’t turn off pixels as easily as cookies, so to comply with data protection rules you need to offer them an opt out. Facebook users can do this in their account settings, but make sure your developer factors in the ability to opt out of tracking on your website too.
You should also avoid the temptation to add too many pixels to your site. They will slow down its speed and have a negative effect on your customers’ user experience. You’ll also end up with a huge amount of data to sift through and process. Keep pixels for the key audiences you wish to target to get maximum impact from these tools.
In summary, the clear benefits of using tracking pixels mean it’s something we recommend to our clients. The data pixels provide is invaluable to personalising your marketing offer – which is something that’s increasingly crucial in today’s crowded digital world.