What Is the Difference Between a Cookie and a Pixel?


Marketing technology is evolving as consumers become increasingly concerned with information privacy and security. Traditional HTTP cookies were designed to track customer data to tailor the individual browsing experience with targeted advertising; however, cookies have since become a window into personal details that hackers often use to gain sensitive information such as credit card details, social security numbers, and more. In response to the cookie security threat, Google announced that the Chrome browser will no longer support cookie technology as of 2024. While Google is not the first virtual service company to steer away from cookies, the impact of the announcement is monumental since nearly two thirds of internet users rely on Google Chrome. 

While consumers rejoice, companies of all sizes are scrambling to find comparable technology to show them an accurate audience profile. Customer tracking is essential for informing marketing strategy and spend and ultimately impacts profit. Vital Edge pixel technology is a revolutionary new data collection tool that companies can use to pinpoint their exact customer without compromising personal information. But what is the difference between a pixel and a cookie and what makes it safer for consumers?

Traditional Cookie Technology

Traditional cookie tracking uses online coding to collect information about website visitors including demographics such as race, gender, and nationality, as well as habitual data like browsing patterns, types of ads clicked, and abandoned online shopping carts. Though cookies are helpful for companies aiming to understand their audience’s needs, the security and general use implications pose some red flags:

  1. Cookies are unlimited –  As consumers browse different websites and agree to allow cookies, they endlessly accumulate until the user manually clears the cookies through their browser settings. Until then, the coding continues to take up hard drive space, ultimately slowing browser speed.
  2. Cookie storage is risky – Cookies are stored in hard drives where any hacker can gain access and steal personal information. Many users are also unaware that agreeing to cookies can mean that their online activity is recorded and shareable with other entities including other businesses and the government. 
  3. Cookie memory is limited – Cookies have a limited amount of data they are able to store and browsers often restrict the number of cookies allowed on a single site. Since most cookies only store up to 4kb of information and the number of cookies allowed is limited, it’s difficult to capture enough customer data for companies to gather a true picture of their audience. 

Pixel Technology

Unlike traditional cookie tracking, pixel technology utilizes information that consumers have already opted-in and consented to share. Rather than storing this information on individual hard drives, pixels are installed directly on company websites where each visiting device is given an ID to be used strictly online, eliminating the security threat of hackers accessing private information.

Vital Edge utilizes device IDs to instantly access consumer information including contact information, browsing behavior, and 100+ data categories to build an accurate buyer profile that isn’t limited due to minimal storage capabilities. More than 60% of consumers consented to allow the sharing of this information, from email and mailing addresses to age and income brackets. Vital Edge uses this centralization of data to build a 360-degree view of these potential customers, so you can remarket to them most effectively without compromising security. 

Ready to upgrade your marketing technology? Visit Vital Edge to learn more and sign up.


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