One of the best things about social media advertising is the ability to test your ads, track their progress, refine them as needed, and target them with greater precision. Facebook Pixel is a data-gathering tool designed to help you measure the effectiveness of your advertising across Facebook and Instagram. It’s an essential tool for understanding the actions people take on your website.
In this article, we’ll cover what Facebook Pixel is, why it matters, how to set it up to track conversions and events, optimize your Facebook advertising, and reach the right people with your messaging.
In a nutshell, Facebook Pixel is a small piece of code you place on your website. As an analytics tool, it collects data to help you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize those ads, build target audiences for future ads, then remarket to people who’ve taken some kind of action on your website.
Facebook Pixel is important because it tracks how users interact with your business both on and off Facebook and Instagram, focusing on the following:
Conversions/Events: Tracking the effectiveness of your ads based on traffic sent to your landing page/website and the events they complete on your site. Events on your website can include a purchase or a newsletter sign-up, for example.
Ad Optimization: By tracking the type of person who is likely to convert best from your ad, you can optimize your ads and targeting to increase ROI.
Custom/Retargeting Audiences: Building a list of retargeting audiences based on people who have visited your website.
For example, let’s pretend someone was scrolling through the Instagram feed of their favorite fashion retailer, and they spot a cute dress in that retailer’s Instagram story. They swipe up to check out the dress, add it to their shopping cart, but then get distracted by something else and put their phone down. Lost opportunity, right? Well, not quite.
As it turns out, when they open Instagram later, they notice an ad in their stories for that same dress. How did this occur? It’s called “retargeting,” and it’s an effective way for marketers and advertisers to remind shoppers to come back and view or purchase items they leave behind in shopping carts across the web. Facebook calls these types of actions “events,” and while retargeting isn’t the only function of Facebook Pixel, it’s important for tracking, analytics, and overall ad optimization. Other Facebook events include:
Search: Someone uses the search function on your site to look for a specific item
View Content: Someone lands on a specific page of your website
Lead: Someone signs up for a trial, or identifies themselves as a lead on your website
Complete Registration: Someone completes a registration form on your website, such as a newsletter subscription form
Purchase: Someone follows through with a purchase on your website
Subscribe: Someone subscribes to a paid product or service that you’re offering.
Likewise, marketers can use Facebook Pixel to add more details to standard events like the ones above with extra bits of code called “parameters.” These allow marketers to customize standard events to include factors such as how much a conversion event is worth, the currency used, content type, and the predicted long-term value.
To go back to our earlier example, let’s pretend we’re on the other side of that Instagram Stories ad involving the dress retailer. As someone working in fashion marketing, we were the first to notice that dress lingering in the shopping cart. This is because we had been using the Facebook Tracking Pixel to record views of a specific category on our website. As a result, we were better able to separate those looking for dresses (like the person above) from someone simply browsing the store. This gave our ad much better retargeting, increasing the chance that it would convert. Best of all, the pixel held the data of website visitors for 180 days, giving us a large window of time to spot their interest and retarget them with an optimized ad.
Thankfully, setting up Facebook Pixel is pretty straightforward, requiring only a few steps to get the ball rolling. Here’s how you can set up Facebook Pixel.
Navigate to your Facebook Events Manager and click Connect to Data Sources, then click Web and Get Started. From here, you’ll want to select Facebook Pixel, then click Connect. Name your pixel in this menu, then enter your website URL and click Continue.
Note: When naming your pixel, keep in mind that Events Manager will only allow one pixel for each ad account. In other words, the pixel name should represent your business, rather than a specific campaign. However, should you decide you’d like to use more than one pixel per ad account, you can do so via the Facebook Business Manager.
Now it’s time to start using the pixel to gather information on your website. However, before you begin, you’ll need to install some Facebook pixel code on your web pages. This can be done in a few ways depending on the website platform you’re using.
Now you’ll have to choose whether or not you wish to use automatic advanced matching. This essentially matches hashed customer data from your website data to Facebook profiles, letting you track conversions more accurately and create larger custom audiences. Once finished, click Continue.
Navigate and click the Open Event Setup Tool button. From here, choose your Facebook Pixel ID, then click Settings and scroll down to Open Event Setup Tool. Enter your website URL and click Open Website.
At this point, Facebook will provide a list of suggested events. Click Review for each event, then choose Confirm or Dismiss as needed. Click Finish Setup to continue to the next step.
Before you can start putting the data from your Facebook pixel to use, you’ll need to confirm that it’s tracking properly. To do this, add the Facebook Pixel Helper extension to your Chrome browser.
Next, visit the page where you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel. A popup will tell you how many pixels it finds on the page, along with whether or not your pixel is working correctly. If it isn’t, you’ll receive error information that you can use to make corrections.
In order to comply with Facebook’s terms (and the law in some cases), you’ll need to make website visitors aware that you’re collecting their data. This means that you’ll need to provide a clear notice that you’re not only using the Facebook pixel, but that their information may be collected through cookies or other methods. Dubbed app tracking transparency, this is part of the new pro-consumer privacy measures implemented by Apple earlier this year. As such, it’s an important step to remember as you finalize setting up your Facebook Pixel.
Implementing and leveraging Facebook Pixel can seem complicated at first, but we’re here to help. Should you have any other questions about how it works or how to leverage it for your business or brand, we’d love to help! Our search marketing experts work with a variety of clients daily, optimizing paid digital advertising placements across Google, Facebook, Instagram, and more.
Contact VELOX Media to learn more about how we can use our proven digital marketing strategies to help you implement and get the most from your Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns.