The Facebook Pixel: What Is It and How Does It Work?

If you want to use Facebook ads, there is one important tool you must start using immediately. The tool is called Facebook Pixel, and it can help you make the most of your social advertising budget. We will take a look at how using Facebook Pixel can benefit you and your business.

What is Facebook Pixel?

What is Facebook Pixel? Facebook Pixel is a simple code that can be included on your website. It helps collect data that you can later use for optimizing ads, building a targeted audience for ads, tracking conversions from Facebook ads, and remarketing to those who have taken some action on your website in the past.

Facebook Pixel helps track users who interact with your website or Facebook ads by using cookies. The Facebook conversion pixel and the custom audience pixel were initially the two types of pixels available. However, Facebook discontinued the conversion pixel in 2017, and if you were using it, then you need to switch over to the latest version of Facebook Pixel.

What do you need Facebook Pixel? It provides information that comes in handy while creating future ads on Facebook that better target your audience. The tracking data provided by Facebook Pixel helps make sure your target audience views your ads. It also tracks whether those people perform the action you desire. This, in turn, helps increase your rate of Facebook ad conversions and improves the ROI.

How Does Facebook Pixel Work?

Even if you haven’t started using Facebook ads, you must install Facebook Pixel immediately. It will start collecting all the essential data right away, so you don’t have to start from scratch when you are ready to create a Facebook ad.

Conversion tracking

Facebook Pixel enables you to see the way people interact with your website upon viewing your Facebook ad. You can also start to track customers across various devices. This essentially means you can see if users view your ads on a mobile device and switch to a desktop before taking the desired action (maybe making a purchase) or if it is the other way around. By keeping this data in mind, you can fine-tune your ad strategy and calculate your ROI.

Facebook retargeting

By using the data from Facebook Pixel, you can retarget and create dynamic ads that are aimed toward users who have visited your website in the past. For instance, you can retarget those users who added a specific product on their wish-list on your website or left it in their shopping cart. This is a part of psychological marketing where you increase the chances of a user performing the desired action by increasing the visibility of your Facebook ad. Repeatedly seeing your Facebook ad makes the viewer more likely to follow through on the desired action, such as purchasing a product.

Lookalike Audiences

By using the targeting data, you can develop a profile of a lookalike audience consisting of users who share similar interests, likes, and demographics with those users who have interacted with your website. You can essentially increase your base of potential customers by using this technique.

Optimizing Facebook Ads

By using the pixel data, you can optimize your Facebook ads for better conversion as well as value. The only conversion you can work on optimizing is linking clicks if you don’t have a Facebook Pixel. With Pixel, you can optimize the ads for such conversions in sync with your business goals like email sign-ups or product purchases. By using this data, you can also optimize your ads based on the value. You can track data related to aspects such as who buys from your site and how much they spend. By using Facebook Pixel, you can target your ads toward those users who are likely to make high-value purchases.

Better access

If you want to use web conversion campaigns, customize audiences from your website, or create dynamic ads, then you need Facebook Pixel. You also need this tool to track different metrics like cost per conversion or cost per lead.

How to Use Facebook Pixel?

Facebook Pixel can be used for collecting data related to two different types of events. The two types of events include the predefined set of standard events and custom events. What is an event? An event is a term used to define a specific action a visitor must take on your website like signing up for an email list or buying a product.

There are 17 predefined standard events according to Facebook Pixel that you can use, and they are as follows:

  • Purchase- whenever someone purchases on your website.
  • Lead- whenever a user signs up for a trial or identifies themselves as a lead on your website.
  • Complete registration- as stated in the name, it refers to the action where a user registers themselves on your website.
  • Adding payment information- whenever a user enters their payment information while making a purchase on your website.
  • Adding to the cart- whenever a user adds a product to their shopping cart on your website.
  • Adding to wish list- whenever a user adds a product to their wish list on your website.
  • Initiating checkout- whenever a user starts the checkout process or initiates a purchase on your website.
  • Search- whenever a user uses the search option to look for something specific on your website.
  • View content- whenever a user lands on a particular page on your website.
  • Contact- whenever a user contacts you or your business.
  • Customize the product- whenever a user selects a specific variation of a product like color or design.
  • Donation- whenever a user makes a donation to a charity of your choosing or any other cause you mention.
  • Finding location- whenever someone tries to find the location of your business.
  • Schedule- whenever a user schedules an appointment with your business.
  • Starting a trial- whenever a user signs up for a free trial for something specific you offer.
  • Submitting application- whenever a user applies for a specific program, service, or product you offer as a credit card.
  • Subscribing- whenever a user subscribes to a paid-for service or product.

You can also include more details to the set of standard events available by using parameters or extra code. These parameters help customize the standard events according to the type of currency, content, basket contents, or the value of a conversion event. For instance, you can use Facebook Pixel to track the number of views a particular category receives on your website instead of tracking the overall views. If you have a website selling pet supplies, you can use the Facebook Pixel to track the views received for different categories of pet supplies.

The other option available to you is creating a custom event instead of using the regular events. You need to use URL rules based on particular URL keywords or URLs while creating a custom event.

5 Steps to Create a Facebook Pixel

Now that you are aware of the different metrics you can track and the benefits of tracking them, it is time to create a Facebook Pixel and add it to your website.

Step 1: Create a pixel

Open Facebook Events Manager and click on (≡) present on the top left-hand side of the screen. The click on Pixels.

Now, click on the button “Create a Pixel.”

Name the pixel, enter the website’s URL, and click “Create.”

While selecting the pixel’s name, remember that you can only create on a pixel per ad account while using Events Manager. The name must align with your overall business instead of a particular campaign. If you use the Facebook Business Manager, you can use more than one pixel per ad account.

Step 2: Add the pixel code

If you want to start using the pixel to gather information from your website, you must add some code to your website. There are a couple of ways you can do this, and it essentially depends on the website service or platform you use.

If you are using Squarespace, Google Tag Manager, or any similar e-commerce platform, you can install pixel without altering your website code. If you work with a developer or anyone else who can help edit your website code, you must provide them all the details they need to install pixel into your website. If neither of these options is applicable to you, you must directly install the pixel code into your website. There are several steps you must follow.

Click on the “Manually Install the Code Yourself” option while setting up your pixel. Now you need to copy and paste the pixel code into the header code of the website you want to use it on. You need to post the pixel code between the first </head> tag and the second <head> tag. You must insert the code into all the pages of your website or into any specific template you opt to use.

You will notice an “Automatic Advanced Matching” option on your screen in the setup menu. By turning on this option, the pixel helps match the hashed customer data from your website to the users’ respective profiles on Facebook. It allows you to track the conversions precisely and creates a wider custom audience.

Enter your website’s URL and click on “Send Test Traffic” option to check whether the code has been installed properly or not. Once the Facebook Pixel starts to track, you must click “Continue.”

Step 3: Track events

You must select the events you want to track using the toggle buttons. You can either select from any of the present 17 events or create your own custom events. For every event you select, you must select whether to track on inline action or the page load.

Track event on page load: This helps track those actions that involve going to a different page like when the sign-up process is completed successfully or when a purchase is made.

Track event on inline action: This helps track actions taking place within a page instead of opening another page like when a user adds something to their wish list or their shopping cart on the website.

You can also set certain parameters for an event. For instance, you might want to track the purchases made over a specific dollar value. If you want to use Pixel for custom events, you must go to Facebook Events Manager, click on Custom Conversions, select Create Custom Conversions, and define the custom conversion event accordingly.

Step 4: Confirm if the pixel is working

If you used the “Send Test Traffic” in the second step, then you have already check to confirm that the pixel is working properly. However, before you start to rely on the data generated by the pixel, you must check whether it is tracking the data properly or not. Open your Google Chrome browser and add the Facebook Pixel Helper extension to it. This option is only available for Google Chrome. So, if you use some other browser, you must first install Google Chrome to start using Pixel Helper.

Open the page where you have included the pixel. If the extension discovers the pixel, then the </> extension icon turns blue and a popup will show up displaying the pixels it finds on the given page. This popup will inform you whether the pixel is working as intended or not. If not, then an error message will show up, and you need to make the necessary changes.

Step 5: Add a pixel notice to your site

If you don’t want to violate Facebook’s terms of use, then you must be sure to include a notice on your website informing the users that their data is being collected. This means that you must provide an unambiguous notice that you are using Facebook Pixel and that the users’ information is being collected via cookies or any other means. You must also inform the users they have the option to opt-out of their data being collected. You must carefully go through Facebook’s Business Tool Terms about the Special Provisions Concerning the Use of Facebook Pixels and SDKs.

Facebook Pixel Cookies

Facebook changed the way it uses cookies for tracking the Facebook Pixel data in October 2018. Users now have the option to use first-party and third-party cookies. You don’t have to make any changes unless you wish to opt-out of using first-party cookies.

What does this mean? Essentially, it allows advertisers to continue to track data on browsers like Safari and Firefox. These two browsers have placed restrictions on using third-party cookies. Advertisers involved in fields involving comprehensive privacy legislation like finance and health sectors might need to opt-out for compliance purposes.

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