Pixel or S2S Postback for Tracking Conversion

Whoever operates in the performance advertising industry knows that tracking and optimization are crucial to become successful. There are no workarounds here.

Conversion Tracking Pixel

Tracking Pixel, also known as browser-based or cookie-based, is a tracking method which enables to track webpage visits, ad impressions, conversions and other types of online user activities.

Pros:

  • When you own the “thank you page” (meaning that you don’t buy media on behalf of any 3rd party) and you don’t have the technical resources necessary to implement postback tracking, a conversion tracking pixel is for you.

  • It is simple and quick to implement a solution, effortless to use, so you don’t need to be an expert and you can start tracking right away.

  • It is a matter of just copying and pasting the code into the code of the final thank you page that a user sees after the conversion happened.

    Cons:

  • Occasionally, pixels might not fire. Why? One of the reasons could be that the user cleared their cache between clicking on a link on a landing page and the actual conversion. In such case, a conversion will not be tracked and there is nothing that can be done about it.

  • Apple implemented Intelligent Tracking Protection 2.0 on Safari which prevents websites from being able to track users’ browsing habits without their permission. Right now, a website can request tracking privileges, but the user has to specifically opt-in. Even if the user opts in for tracking in Safari, if she or he doesn’t interact with that particular website over the period of 30 days, data and cookies will be immediately deleted. All in all, pixel tracking is more difficult on Safari.

S2S Postback Tracking

Postback URL Tracking, also known as server-side tracking or Server-to-Server (S2S) uses an offer provider’s servers to track sessions generated on clicks to attribute conversions.

Pros:

  • S2S postback URLs are the most secure and reliable method to count conversions, thus it is highly recommended to use this form of automated tracking whenever you can. Ad Tracker S2S postback URLs are unique to each account and are supplied in both a secure (HTTPS) and nonsecure (HTTP) format.
  • S2S postback URLs allow for accurate tracking and stats gathering. This type of tracking happens on the back-end of systems so it cannot be tampered by users. For this reason, it is being considered as one of the most trusted methods for tracking.

    Cons:

  • Postback tracking may seem more complex to implement and requiring a more tech-savvy approach. But is it really? With S2S in Ad Tracker, you need to know how macros work, under which parameter you should pass the value of the ClickId, and which token to use within an affiliate network’s postback URL when it’s sent back to Ad Tracker. But no worries, we have step-by-step instructions for you, here and here. If you spend a couple of minutes to understand the pattern, you will become a postback pro.

Conclusion

Use pixel tracking as little as possible, as pixel tracking only works for non-mobile web traffic where cookies can be stored. Additionally, major browsers like Safari, Chrome, and Firefox are moving away from allowing tracking-related cookies even for first parties.

Postback Tracking is independent of the user’s browser. Postback tracking can be thought of as two separate processes: what happens when a user clicks on an offer and what happens upon conversion.