WTF are tracking pixels?

Tracking pixels have been a digital marketing fixture for years. And yet they’ve largely stood in the shadow of the third-party cookie, despite their similar tracking capabilities.

Tracking pixels are effectively tiny, invisible images that can be embedded in web pages and emails and used to collect information, such as a device’s IP address, as covered in the video below. Earlier this year, ad security monitoring company Confiant discovered an ad tech company using tracking pixels as part of a fingerprinting ploy that co-opted IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework.

Imperceptible as tracking pixels may be, they have garnered the attention of companies like Apple and Mozilla. The former’s Mail Privacy Protection feature blocks tracking pixels from loading in emails, which has posed a threat to email marketers. Meanwhile, both Apple and Mozilla provide options in their web browsers to similarly block tracking pixels on web pages.

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