What is the Facebook Ad Pixel and How Can It Be Used to Increase Revenue?
Facebook remains one of the most important social media platforms on which to promote your brand. Many online marketers and business owners see Facebook as simply a social channel, but with its advertising capabilities, Facebook is one of the best tools available to find new audiences that you know would be a good fit with your brand, and target them with your products and services. Facebook’s ad targeting means you’re no longer taking a net, throwing it into an ocean of random people and hoping you’ve caught someone who is a good fit with your business. Instead, it’s like dropping a line into a lake of people who all match your ideal customer profile, and hooking one after another after another.
So where does Facebook’s ad pixel come in?
In a nutshell, the free Facebook pixel is a means of gaining a better understanding of your unique audience´s behaviours and preferences from the signals they are putting out on the platform so you can better market your business to them—offering them exactly what they are looking for (or pretty close!). It’s an incredibly powerful part of Facebook’s advertising, and will help you get the most out of your social advertising budget. However, many people are stumped as to how the pixel actually works, and how to take advantage of it for maximizing revenue.
What is Facebook’s Pixel?
- Tracking conversions from Facebook ads. The Facebook tracking pixel data will show you how people interacted with your website after viewing your Facebook ad, giving you the opportunity to then optimize your ads for specific conversion events on your website not just link clicks (which is all that can be tracked without the pixel). Facebook has predefined a set of 17 standard events – such as purchases, downloads, newsletter sign-ups, add-to cart etc. – or you can set up custom events yourself. You can also add more details to standard events using extra bits of code called parameters, for example, when someone adds an item to their cart, you can add code that specifies what the items are. Most ecommerce carts can pass the actual order value back to Facebook. This allows you to measure return on ad spend (ROAS) which is often more important than the cost per sale. You must have the pixel to track metrics like cost per lead or cost per conversion.
- Analyzing your sales funnel. In e-commerce you would look at the number of products viewed and compare to the number of add to carts, the number of checkouts initiated and the number of purchases. If the conversion rate is lower than expected at any stage that’s where you can focus your efforts when refining the sales funnel.
- Building targeted audiences. When you build targeted audiences for future Facebook ads, you’re ensuring your ads are seen by the people who are most likely to take your desired action, helping expand your potential customer base. These audience members will be people who have similar likes, interests, and demographics to people who are already interacting with your website. Interestingly, the Facebook pixel also collects data on who makes a purchase from your site and how much they spend. This data is then used to show your ads to the people who are most likely to make high-value purchases.
- Retargeting. Facebook’s pixel allows you to remarket ads to people who have already taken some kind of action on your website with a dynamic ad based on what they did on your site. E.g. you can show people an ad for the exact product that they abandoned in their shopping cart. It also allows you to create audiences of people that have taken the desired action (e.g. made a purchase) to exclude from retargeting.
- Seeing which devices people are active on. The pixel can show you if people tend to see your ads on mobile but switch to a desktop before buying or vice versa.
Ultimately, the data collected via the Facebook pixel allows you to monitor how successful your Facebook Ads actually were, giving you the opportunity to improve ad conversion rates and earn a better return on investment.
TIP: Even if you’re not yet running Facebook ads, if you install the pixel as soon as possible, it will start collecting data so that when you are ready to run ads, you have lots of historical data. The pixel can’t work retrospectively, it can only create audiences and track conversions going forward once it has been installed.
Creating a Facebook pixel and adding it to your website
Step 1: Each pixel has its own unique 15 digit ID, which you’ll install on every page you want to track on your site. Create your pixel from your Facebook Events Manager. Find the option for Pixels – it might be accessible from the top menu icon (≡), or might be a main option on the page when you open it:
Step 2: Name your pixel, enter your website URL, and click Create. Note: Each Facebook ad account only has one pixel code initially. You can install this pixel on multiple websites and then you can track those sites separately. But you always use the same code that is associated with your ads account. As such, the name of the pixel should represent your business, rather than a specific campaign.
Note: You can create additional Facebook Pixels through the Business Manager, but in most cases you really only need one. The only reason you might want different pixels for different websites is if you have very different audiences that visit those sites.
Step 3: There a few ways to add the pixel code to your website depending on what website platform you use:
- If you use a website tool such as Squarespace, WordPress, Shopify you can install your pixel without having to edit your website code directly. Follow the prompts after you have selected your website Partner.
- If you work with a web developer, click Email Instructions to a Developer to send your developer everything they need to install the pixel.
- If you prefer to manually add the code to your website select that option and follow the instructions:
- Copy-and-paste the pixel code into the header code of every page on your website (or into the template), just above the </head> tag.
- Choose whether or not to use automatic advanced matching. Advanced matching uses information that your customers have already provided to your business, such as their email addresses or phone numbers, to match your website’s visitors to people who are on Facebook. This can help you attribute more conversions to your ads on Facebook and reach more people through remarketing campaigns. The customer information you want to send includes:
- Check whether you’ve installed the code correctly by entering your website URL and clicking Send Test Traffic.
- Once your Facebook pixel is tracking activity, click Continue.
Step 4: Now that you’ve installed the pixel base code, you can use the Event Setup Tool to select which of the 17 standard events you’d like to track without using additional code. For each event, you need to choose whether to track on page load (track actions that involve going to a new page, like a purchase complete or sign-up success page) or on inline action (actions within a page, like clicking an “add to cart” button that does not open a new page).
If you want to use Facebook pixel custom events, head to your Facebook Events Manager. Choose Custom Conversions from the top left menu. Then, click Create Custom Conversion to define your custom conversion event using URL rules.
Step 5: It’s important to check that your pixels are set up correctly, and there’s a range of tools to help you do this, including Facebook Pixel Helper and the Pixel section in Business Manager. The Facebook Pixel Helper works in the background to look for conversion or Facebook pixels and provide real time feedback on the implementation.
Step 6: To comply with Facebook’s terms you need to add a clear pixel notice to your website, letting people visiting your website know you’re collecting their data through cookies or other methods. You also need to let users know how they can opt out of having their data collected.
Step 7: Once you have installed your 15-digit pixel, it’s important to schedule regular pixel auditing to ensure your unique pixel is not being used by anyone else, leading to retargeting people not interested in your product or service, and therefore wasting your money.
Facebook’s pixel is a very useful tool for understanding the behaviour of people who visit your website and which advertising strategy works best to reach your business goals. With that information in your back pocket, it won’t be long before you’re running successful Facebook ad campaigns that are converting strongly and generating revenue, all with a good ROAS.
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