If you’re a seasoned digital marketer, or even just a dabbler, the chances are that you’ve flexed your social media advertising muscles on Facebook. There are few other advertising platforms that allow you to target your customers with such high accuracy. After all, can you think of any other advertising platforms where the audience willingly and consistently give over such a wealth of personal information? Nope… me neither!
While advertising on Facebook is simple and can offer incredibly refined targeting, there is another arrow in the social media giant’s quiver that is worth exploring – Facebook pixel.
What is Facebook Pixel?
In technical terms, Facebook pixel is just a piece of tracking code that you add to your website (not unlike those supplied by Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager), which enables you to track your sites visitors.
Doesn’t it? We’ll discuss how to install Facebook pixel in a minute, but for now let’s explore the main functions that you gain access to:
- Custom audiences created from your website traffic
- Custom conversions
- Custom and standard events
Custom audiences are essentially the same as retargeting campaigns in Google AdWords. With the pixel installed, any website visitors who are also logged into their Facebook account are tracked, and you’ll gain access to data such as:
- Pages they visit
- Pages they don’t visit
- When they visit your site
Facebook then builds an audience (i.e. a group of visitors who exhibit shared behaviours) that you can advertise to. You can’t identify specific visitors and target them individually, but you will be able to advertise to your custom audiences based on their behaviour. These behaviours can include:
- People who visited a specific page on your website (think “people who saw your ‘thank you page’ – suggests that they filled out your contact form”)
- People who visited a specific page on your website, but did not visit another specific page (think “people who went to the ‘contact form page’, but didn’t see the ‘thank you page’ – suggests that they didn’t fill out your contact form)
- People who have visited your website within a certain time period (think “people who visited in the past 24 hours”)
- People who have visited your website within a certain period, but have not returned (think “people who visited in the past 30 days, but have not returned within the past 7 days”)
This allows you to advertise to Facebook users regardless of whether they have connected with your brand through Facebook, or even if they meet your current audience targeting within Facebook ads. Furthermore, the audiences are created independently of Facebook ads, meaning that you can install the pixel on your site and start building your audience, long before you decide to market to them (and you should!).
If you’re accustomed to Google Analytics, you’ll be familiar with Events and Goals. These allow you to track and measure when visitors perform specific actions on your site. Custom conversions using Facebook pixel are a similar affair.
All you’ll need to do is create a conversion by specifying a page that represents a meaningful action for a user to complete. For instance:
- An E-commerce thank you page – meaning the user completed a purchase
- A contact form thank you page – meaning the user contacted you
- A newsletter sign up thank you page – meaning the user signed up to your newsletter
This has three main benefits:
- You can easily see how well your Facebook ads have been driving conversions
- You can create conversion tracking that is independent of your ads, and then target this audience in the future (as mentioned above)
- The conversion that is created will be tracked for all your ads automatically
You can also add a value to each conversion regardless of whether it results in an immediate monetary benefit to your organisation – this is highly recommended if your main conversion occurs offline, to help you work out whether your ads are profitable.
The slight negative to custom conversions is that can only have 40 at any one time. Which segues us nicely into…
Custom and standard events
There is a way to get around the 40 custom conversions limit, but it does require some extra code. Where custom conversions are based on a URL, custom and standard events can be tracked with the addition of a specific line of code to the page you want to target.
There are a number of custom and standard events that can be tracked (details and descriptions taken from Facebook’s help section):
- Add payment info – The addition of customer payment information during a checkout process (for example, a person clicks on a Save Billing Information button)
- Add to basket – The addition of an item to a shopping basket (for example, clicking an Add to Basket button on a website)
- Add to wishlist – The addition of items to a wishlist (for example, clicking an Add to Wishlist button on a website)
- Complete registration – A submission of information by a customer in exchange for a service provided by your business (for example, sign up for email subscription)
- Contact – A telephone/SMS, email, chat or other type of contact between a customer and your business
- Customise product – The customisation of products through a configuration tool or other application that your business owns
- Donate – The donation of funds to your organisation or cause
- Find location – When a person finds one of your locations via web, with an intention to visit (for example, searching for a product and finding it at one of your local shops)
- Initiate checkout – The start of a checkout process (for example, clicking a Checkout button)
- Lead – A submission of information by a customer with the understanding that they may be contacted later by your business (for example, submitting a form or signing up for a trial)
- Purchase – The completion of a purchase, usually signified by receiving order or purchase confirmation, or a transaction receipt (for example, landing on a “Thank You” or confirmation page)
- Schedule – The booking of an appointment to visit one of your locations
- Search – A search performed on your website, app or other property (for example, product searches or travel searches)
- Start trial – The start of a free trial of a product or service you offer (for example, trial subscription)
- Submit application – The submission of an application for a product, service or programme you offer (for example, a credit card, educational programme or job)
- Subscribe – The start of a paid subscription for a product or service you offer
- View content – A visit to a content page you care about (for example, a product page or landing page). View content tells you if someone visits a web page, but not what they do on that web page
How to create a Facebook pixel code (if you don’t have one)
To create a Facebook pixel code, all you’ll need to do is go to your pixels tab in Events Manager, click on ‘create a pixel’, and then click ‘create’ in the box that appears. Easy!
How to find your pixel code (if you’ve already created one)
You can find your pixel within your Facebook Ads Manager account, just open the navigation bar and select Events Manager. Then copy your pixel ID from underneath your site name and paste it into the Link Manager setup tab.
How to add your pixel code to your website
Once you have access to your pixel code, you have two options. You can either install the code yourself (by manually adding it to your sites back-end) or pass the code on to your web developer to add to your site. Once complete, install the Facebook Pixel Helper add-on to your browser to make sure that there are no errors.
If you get stuck on any of the points above, Facebook has created a pixel setup guide that you can access at: https://www.facebook.com/business/m/pixel-set-up-step-1
Those are the basics of Facebook pixel. We hope you found this article helpful, but if you need any assistance in setting up a pixel for your site as part of a wider digital marketing strategy, our team of tame web developers and marketing experts will be able to help. Just get in touch with us today to find out more.