Pixels overview

You can use the Shopify pixels manager to manage your pixels that track customer events. The Shopify pixels manager allows you to manage and add pixels that track customer events. Customer events are actions that take place in the customer's browser, for example, clicking a link or adding a product to a cart. You can add and manage pixels in the Customer events section of your Shopify admin.

Previously, merchants could manually add JavaScript snippets in several places in their online store: in online preferences, in checkout scripts, and in apps. These scripts weren't usually quality controlled, and were time-consuming to manage. With the pixel manager, your scripts are stored in a single management tool and run in a sandbox environment. Adding app pixels or custom pixels to your store can provide the following benefits:

  • Access to a stream of customer events on your online store, including checkout events
  • An additional layer of security for your online store and your customers, including greater control over the customer data that you share with third-party services
  • Prevention of third party code running non-performing Javascript, or interfering with your online store and checkout
  • Built in tools for privacy compliance

Pixels can be added to your online store in two ways: through app pixels, which are installed through marketing and data collection apps, and custom pixels, which can be manually added by a developer in the pixels manager.

Sandbox environment for pixels

Shopify uses a secure sandbox for app pixels and custom pixels. A sandbox is an isolated environment that allows you to run scripts without affecting the rest of your online store. A sandboxed pixel has the freedom to run anywhere on your website, but is restricted to the data made available within the sandbox. This sandbox ensures that any pixels installed or created in the pixels manager can't collect or retrieve data outside the stated intent of the pixel, which could be a security risk.

Learn more about the potential risks associated with pixels.

Pixels sandbox limitations

Because pixels run in a secure sandbox environment, there are some limitations on what information can be published. The increased security gives you and your customers greater control over what data third parties have access to. These limitations might not be compatible with some third-party pixels. Consult the third-party pixel provider to confirm which pixels are compatible.

Some known limitations of the pixels sandbox include:

  • Can't render user interface elements, such as buttons, forms, banners, or modals
  • Automatic detection of events from DOM scraping
  • Automatic detection of metadata from DOM scraping
  • Automatic detection of user information, such as email and phone, from DOM scraping
  • Automatic detection of outbound link clicks from DOM scraping
  • Automatic detection of page scrolling
  • Automatic detection of clicks and mouse movement to create heatmaps from DOM scraping

Automatic detection of page URLs in the Lax sandbox will include a sandbox version and not exactly reflect the parent window’s URL. As a workaround, you can access the page_viewed event in the Pixel Extension API.

For automatic detection of events, metadata, user information, and outbound links from DOM scraping, you can publish custom events as an alternative. Publishing custom events might not be supported by all app pixels.

Additionally, tag managers are unsupported by Shopify for custom pixels.

Potential risks

Always ensure you understand the code that you add to your online store or store checkout, or hire a Shopify Expert for help with custom pixels.

Performance risks

Pixels are scripts that run in the background of your online store to track customer events. The more scripts you have, the slower your store will run. Additionally, if the script added is broken or formatted incorrectly, then the activity could run indefinitely, which can cause your site to load slowly or fail to load.

Privacy risks

User privacy is heavily regulated to ensure customer information is protected online. Code snippets can be used to bypass customer consent requirements, which violates the Shopify Terms of Service and can lead to legal liability for you. This is especially true if you live in or serve customers in locations with stricter privacy regulations, such as California or the European Economic Area. Remember that you are responsible for complying with applicable laws and getting all necessary consents when you use pixels to collect customer data. Speak with a lawyer if you are unsure about the requirements that apply to you.

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