Using tracking pixels is a bit “old school” but is still used by some publishers and advertisers for tracking hits/users/etc.
So what is a tracking pixel?
A tracking pixel is a small 1×1 pixel image, often in gif or png form, that is inserted in certain pages/ads/forms so that the stats associated with the image can be used as an anlytical tool.
So how does it work?
Each element of a web page is loaded on the page after it is ‘requested’ from the server ‘serving’ the said page. Eg: When you load this page.. each single element(espec. images) are called as the page loads and then your browser puts it all together to make a page.
When an image is ‘called’, the loading of that image is logged in the server statistics, and when viewed over time can give the end user some additional statistical tracking.
So using tracking pixels can give you more information… but… most statistical web tracking programs provide much greater information that does not require ‘post-processing’ to getthe numbers you reuqire.
Should you use it on your website?
As Google/Doubleclick says…
In some scenarios, an agency, advertiser, or other third party might decide to track impressions with a tracking pixel.
Most websites do not need tracking pixels as they have server stats, or website analytics included in the building of the site. The use of tracking pixels should be left to those that have specific tracking requirements or indications.. such as ad providers, large eCommerce sites and other specific indications.
So for most scenarios, tracking pixels are not needed. Server stats, AWStats, Google Analytics, Webalizer stats etc. will provide the majority of users with the information they need to asses the usage and functionality of their website.
Tracking pixels have their place.. but are not of use to most users.
If your site does not have some sort of statistical tracking, talk to your webmaster and find out what is already installed. You may find you already have all the tracking information you need.
The SEO Guy