What is the difference between Tracking Pixel and S2S Postback URL tracking?

Today there are two major methods of tracking your ads and conversions: it is Tracking Pixel and S2S Postback URL. In various situations, there are different reasons to choose your tracking method, but if you compare them one to another, S2S Postback URL is definitely a better choice, but also a slightly harder to set up. Nowadays, there are fewer and fewer reasons to choose the first option. Why?

With the release of the Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 update for Safari and after Google announcement about soon 3rd party cookies blocking, Tracking Pixel has lost its relevancy for those who are used to think strategically and far ahead. The world is moving to more strict data privacy and security, which means that no indulgences are expected.

RedTrack is well-known as a feature-rich and easy-to-use tool for S2S Postback Tracking at any scale. That’s why neither Safari nor Google restrictions can’t affect your ability to track ads if you work with multiple Traffic Sources.  Want to learn more about how S2S postback tracking works?

Request Demo

In the RedTrack interface, you can set both Pixel and S2S postback tracking modes. But first, let’s find out how they differ from each other.

Tracking Pixel

Tracking Pixel is a tracking method based on fact that the browser stores temporary information about the user’s visit to a website and his activity there. This information is stored in cookies. When conversion happens, cookies are getting reviewed again to authenticate the session of the user and attribute the conversion to a visit. Tracking Pixel can track webpage visits, ad impressions, conversions, and other user activity.

But what is Tracking Pixel in its core? Tracking Pixel is a piece of HTML code that is being placed on your website or landing page to track user activity and conversions. To track conversions of your offers, you have to put Tracking Pixel on a page that follows confirmed sales. Often it’s called a confirmation or thank you page. When a user visits this page, Tracking Pixel HTML code registers a conversion in RedTrack, if the user came there because of our advertising campaign.

Setting up tracking for your offers with Tracking Pixel does not require advanced technical background or specific knowledge. You just need to place a piece of HTML code on the page that confirms a sale.

pros

– The setup is very simple and can be used if you need to be fast. Just copy and paste the HTML code to the page that follows confirmed sale.

– You can use Tracking Pixel when your system or your affiliate network does not support S2S Postback URL tracking implementation. RedTrack is constantly helping to implement S2S Postback tracking even in those cases, when no one is using it there, like in the case of our integration with ClickBank.

cons

– It is not as reliable as S2S Postback URL tracking. Since all information about the user is stored in his own browser cookies, once they are deleted, there is no tracking. Users can delete cookies (clear his cache) himself, which happens quite often.

– Many web browsers started to prevent unsanctioned tracking with the use of cookies. Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari have implemented Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which, in many cases, doesn’t let you to spot conversions with third-party cookies.

S2S Postback URL

S2S Postback tracking, or server to server tracking, is saving information about user ID directly to the server of an advertiser (offer provider), RedTrack tracker and Affiliate Network.

How does it look like in a real advertising campaign:

  1. User sees an offer and clicks on an ad.
  2. User transfers through several redirects in a blink of an eye. In few milliseconds, he visits RedTrack, Affiliate Network, Advertiser (offer owner) and a landing page. Now everyone has information about this user’s session. Click is being recorded and gets a new generated ID for this session.
  3. User immediately proceeds to the landing page after the first click, and now he has user ID in his URL.
  4. User buys an offer on a landing page and conversion is correctly attributed to the right affiliate.

When user makes an order:

    1. Offer owner sends a signal to RedTrack and Affiliate Network (fires a postback) with an initial user ID.
    2. RedTrack gets message about the conversion and, which is important, verifies it. As you remember, RedTrack has already received information about user session after the first click.

pros

– S2S Postback URL tracking is an accurate method for tracking conversions. Tracking is done server-side, therefore there are less randomness in results. Users can’t affect it by simply deleting their cookies.

– Can be used for verifying if there are any differences or distinctions in amount of conversions, because RedTrack gets all the information about users sessions with every click.

– Secure and reliable. Less troubled with fraud and there are various options to prevent postback fraud.

– There are more options for sending a signal about successful event, instead of firing a conversion at the loaded thank you page. This can be helpful when offer owner wants to register conversion after shipping an order, or a successful call.

cons

– S2S Postback URL tracking is harder to setup. You will need direct communication between Affiliate Network and Advertiser. It requires technical implementation on the side of an Advertiser to store and send back all the data.

 

What can you track with Tracking Pixel and S2S Postbacks URL?

Actually, you can track any parameter of your campaign with both of them.

  • Clicks;
  • Conversions;
  • Statuses: pending (used when decision is in the process);  approved (when it’s paid); declined (when isn’t paid); other (anything else happened).
  • Transactions;
  • Events.

Let’s consider the most popular use case among our clients: Tracking Conversions with S2S Postback URL.

First, you need to  pass a click ID value to your the Affiliate Network you work with. Each type the click conversions happen, they will be registered with click ID value and sent to your affiliate network. The Affiliate Network will pass this Click ID back after the conversion recorded.

To set them all just go to your Tools → Conversion Tracking section and set everything up

If you need any help, you may find this documentation useful for you or just contact us and ask for help.

Request Demo

RedTrack Advanced Integrations with the most popular Traffic Sources

RedTrack has advanced easy-to-set-up postbacks integrations out-of-the-box with Facebook, Google and Bing Ads. In minutes you can establish a connection between your Traffic Source and RedTrack and have your conversions automatically passed to your traffic sources’ side. 

  • save your time on manual work;
  • get all your data in one place.
Redtrack post back integration with Google and Bing Ads
  • add your GoogleAds/Bing Ads Account ID (10 digits in top right corner of your Google Ads account);
  • click Save;
  • click Connect and you are good to go.
Redtrack auto-integration with Facebook 
With RedTrack special integration with Facebook all your conversions will be automatically delivered directly into your Facebook campaign.  
To enable it just go into our Tools → Integrations → Traffic Sources → Facebook.  

Note, that beside Automatic conversions updates, RedTrack advanced auto-rules are available for these Traffic Sources. You can get your ad costs updated automatically every 60 minutes and have your campaigns automatically paused if they don’t meet KPIs. Want to learn more about RedTrack auto-rules?

-> Learn more about automation or sign up for free 

 

Sign up for free

Conclusion

The main reason why you should use S2S Postback URL is because it is more accurate, you can verify the data and be more confident about the conversions that you get.

But it is still fine to use Tracking Pixel in some cases, especially if you need to setup your tracking fast, and you don’t have a lot of campaigns.

Feel free to join our Telegram chat, if you want to discuss these tracking methods.

Leave a comment