Users, cookies and misleading conversion attribution

Have you ever felt that an advertiser is following you? It’s very common, specially after you show some kind of interest for a product. Say you are going on vacations to Berlin and at some moment you were looking for a place to stay in Airbnb. “Forgot it”, you think. “I found a cheaper hotel in Booking.com and I don’t need a place to stay anymore”. Nevertheless, Airbnb doesn’t know that happened and they will keep showing ads to everyone that at some moment got interested for a reservation. There is where the advertiser starts following you. Let’s see how this works.

If you read the post on Google Analytics a few weeks ago, you may know you can track user behavior in our website, by using a Javascript Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) that tracks events and conversions within your website. For instance, correctly installed, we may know how many people are at this exact moment in my website or how many of them purchased a product in the last 30 days, in case we are an eCommerce.

A similar approach is used by social media and search advertisers. Just like GATC, Facebook has a Pixel code we can install so we know what happened during a visit to our website, which products did users visit, if they added a product to a cart and if they ended purchasing the product (or not). Continue reading