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Digital Tracking Technology

To Track a Customer: A Primer on Digital Tracking Technology

Michelle Markelz

Digital Tracking Technology

Anyone with an internet connection has been served an ad. No matter what you’re doing online, whether it’s shopping, planning a trip or researching a physician, chances are your behaviors are being tracked and ads deemed relevant to you are being published on the sites you visit and the apps you use. Consumers have largely come to accept that they are being tracked, but exactly what information is being gathered by the invisible pixels painting the internet and how it is used is not as commonly understood.

Marketers should be literate in the language of digital tracking and advertising so that they can inform an integrated marketing campaign. 

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Cookies

One of the oldest tracking technologies, a cookie is a script added to a URL to track visitor engagement with a webpage. Most consumers are familiar with cookie use for retargeting​, wherein their visit to a website or their product browsing is tracked by a cookie, and once they leave that site or browsing session, an ad is served to them related to the site or products they just viewed. 

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Michelle Markelz is managing editor for the AMA's publications.