What Is An Email Tracking Pixel? How Do Companies Use Them to Access Your Private Data?

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What Is An Email Tracking Pixel? How Do Companies Use Them to Access Your Private Data?

Every day, we all get a massive volume of emails, whether they are commercial, spam, alerts, or otherwise. Companies naturally want to keep consumers up to speed on the latest developments, but the sheer number of emails means receivers are opening and reading less and fewer emails.

The email tracking pixel allows businesses to know who is opening and reading their email content. Although most individuals are unaware of email tracking pixels, many businesses use them to measure interaction with advertising and marketing initiatives.

So, how does an email tracking pixel work?

The Basics of Email Tracking Pixels

An email tracking pixel is often a 1px by 1px graphic concealed from the recipient in an email. These graphics are normally translucent and saved as.gif or.png files.

These pixels may appear anywhere in an email, although they are most typically encountered in the header or footer.

The tracking element keeps track of whether or not the pixel was loaded in each particular email. To do this, all media other than text must be loaded in the email in order for the pixel to be loaded.

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These tracking pixels are particularly frequent in marketing since many businesses want to know whether their bulk emails are being read. They are not often used in individual or personal communications, however they may be.

In most cases, these pixels are placed using a marketing or sales email address, which permits the gathering of specific engagement data, such as clicks and views, or by manually inserting a tracking pixel, which takes a little more time.

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What ExactlyDoEmail Pixels Track?

Given that these tracking pixels are often used for marketing, most respectable businesses only employ them to acquire marketing-related information.

For example, a corporation may employ tracking pixels to determine how many individuals read a specific mass email in order to determine how interesting or ‘clickable’ the email really is. Of course, this helps businesses enhance their marketing strategies.

Alternatively, these pixels may reveal where in the globe the bulk of individuals who receive emails are situated, enabling businesses to target certain demographics or countries or work out how to increase their reach outside these specific groups.

A tracking pixel may also detect whether or not a user accesses the brand website using the HTML coding of the email, as well as the kind of email provider used by the receiver.

The capacity of tracking pixels to acquire recipient IP addresses, as well as the fact that they may access such information without the recipients’ knowledge, are two major considerations that put the ethical character of tracking pixels into question. Of course, this may be an issue for many people.

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Given that these monitoring pixels may access a significant amount of information and transmit it on to organizations without the recipient’s knowledge, one has to ask whether fraudsters are taking use of these pixels.

The Darker Side of Tracking Pixels

As with any widely available technologies, some people may ultimately abuse it for bad ends.

Scammers employ tracking pixels to monitor how fast viruses and malicious programs propagate across a network.

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Tracking pixels may be used by hackers, attackers, and pen testers to obtain information on a target network, following the tracking pixel to understand the network architecture.

Tracking pixels may also be used by criminals as part of a phishing attempt to monitor which people open their dangerous emails.

What Happened When We Reacted to a Phishing Email?

Furthermore, tracking pixels are quite simple to utilize. There are several internet publications that describe how to implant tracking pixels, and the operation itself isn’t that difficult. To put it simply, you don’t have to be a tech guru to employ a tracking pixel.

While tracking pixels are simple to use, there are a few precautions you can take to safeguard yourself and your privacy.

How to Stop Email Tracking Pixels Spying On You

The immoral aspect of monitoring pixels is definitely reason for worry. If you’re concerned about your personal information being accessible for nefarious reasons, there are steps you can do to prevent tracking pixels from accessing your sensitive data.

The easiest method to do this is to disable automatic picture loading in your email settings. If you’re using Gmail, for example, just disable it using the option below.

Press the cog symbol in the upper right corner of Gmail to enter Settings, then selectSee All Settings. Scroll down to Pictures and toggle between the two settings to disable external images.

Turning this option off stops the tracking pixel from ever loading, which means it has no method of accessing any information.

Many browsers also provide free addons that will alert you if a tracking pixel is detected on your device. These extensions operate by doing short analysis of your emails to identify the presence of tracking pixels.

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Tracking Pixels are Common, But Usually Harmless

While the concept of a tracking pixel may seem frightening, it is crucial to understand that they are mostly harmless. Most businesses employ tracking pixels only for marketing reasons.

So, don’t be concerned about tracking pixels; basic data collection is the standard these days (whether we like it or not).Consider the procedure of opening an account with an online merchant. They want your email, phone number, address, and other personal information. It’s not anything new.

It doesn’t hurt to be careful, however. So, if you’re worried about being tracked by tracking pixels for even more malevolent objectives, consider some of the protection suggestions offered above. When it comes to technology, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

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