If you’re using Facebook ads, there’s one key tool you should start using right away to get the most out of your social ad budget: the Facebook pixel.
One of the greatest benefits of social media advertising is the ability to test, track, refine and target your ads with laser precision. The Facebook pixel is a data-gathering tool that helps make the most of your ads across Facebook and Instagram.
If you use Facebook ads now, or plan to use them at any point in the future, the Facebook pixel is a must-use tool. Read on to learn how it works.
What is the Facebook pixel?
The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you place on your website. It collects data that helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future ads and remarket to people who have already taken some kind of action on your website.
How does the Facebook pixel work?
The Facebook pixel works by placing and triggering cookies to track users as they interact with your business both on and off of Facebook and Instagram.
For example, I recently spotted a very cute bathmat in the Instagram Stories of interior design YouTuber Alexandra Gater.
I swiped up to check out the bathmat, and even added it to my shopping cart. Then I got distracted by thinking about breakfast and put down my phone.
The next time I opened up Instagram, this ad popped up in Stories:
Source: Baba Souk on Instagram
And, sure enough, the next time I headed to Facebook on my laptop…
Source: Baba Souk on Facebook
This is called retargeting. It’s a handy way for marketers to remind shoppers to come back and buy all those items they leave in various shopping carts across the web.
Remarketing is not the only function of the Facebook pixel. It’s also important for tracking, analytics, and overall ad optimisation.
The pixel tracks various actions people take on your website, like making a purchase or adding something to their shopping cart. Facebook calls these actions “events.”
Facebook pixel standard events
The 17 standard Facebook pixel events for which you can simply copy and paste Facebook event code are:
Purchase: Someone completes a purchase on your website.
Lead: Someone signs up for a trial or otherwise identifies themselves as a lead on your site.
Complete registration: Someone completes a registration form on your site, such as a subscription form.
Add payment info: Someone enters their payment information in the purchase process on your website.
Add to cart: Someone adds a product to their shopping cart on your site.
Add to wishlist: Someone adds a product to a wishlist on your site.
Initiate checkout: Someone starts the checkout process to buy something from your site.
Search: Someone uses the search function to look for something on your site.
View content: Someone lands on a specific page on your website.
Contact: Someone contacts your business.
Customize product: Someone selects a specific version of a product, such as choosing a certain color.
Donate: Someone makes a donation to your cause.
Find location: Someone searches for your business’s physical location.
Schedule: Someone books an appointment at your business.
Start trial: Someone signs up for a free trial of your product.
Submit application: Someone applies for your product, service, or program, such as a credit card.
Subscribe: Someone subscribes to a paid product or service.
You can also add more details to standard events using extra bits of code called parameters. These allow you to customize the standard events based on factors like:
How much a conversion event is worth
Predicted long-term value
For example, you could use the Facebook tracking pixel to record views of a specific category on your website, instead of tracking all views. Perhaps you want to separate dog owners from cat owners based on which sections of your pet supply website they viewed.
The Facebook pixel and iOS 14.5
Because of changes to third-party tracking in iOS 14.5, some Facebook pixel functionality will be disabled for updated Apple devices. Before you panic, consider that only 14.7% of mobile Facebook users access the social network using iOS devices.
Still, changes to accommodate the iOS 14.5 requirements will impact all advertisers. One major change is that advertisers can only set up a maximum of eight standard events and custom conversions.
Advertisers will certainly have to change the way they think about the Facebook pixel as these changes take effect. We’ll address specific limitations and changes you need to know throughout this post.
Why should you install the Facebook pixel?
Increase the ROI on your Facebook ad spend
Facebook pixel data helps ensure your ads are seen by the people who are most likely to take your desired action. This allows you to improve your Facebook ad conversion rate and get better ROI.
Even if you’re not using Facebook or Instagram ads yet, you should install the Facebook pixel now. It will start collecting data right away so that you don’t have to start from scratch when you’re ready to create your first Facebook ad.
Use Facebook conversion tracking
The Facebook pixel allows you to see how people interact with your website after viewing your Facebook ad.
You can even track customers across their devices. This is why I saw an ad for the bathmat on my laptop, even though I added to it the shopping cart on my phone.
This lets you see if people tend to see your ads on mobile but switch to a desktop before buying. Or, maybe it’s the other way around. This information can help you refine your ad strategy and calculate your return on investment.
This Facebook pixel function is impacted by the iOS 14.5 change, but Facebook will ensure advertisers still get some conversion tracking data through its Aggregated Event Measurement.
To ensure you continue to get the best conversion tracking data, you need to verify your website domain. You also need to stick to one domain for conversion tracking, since iOS 14.5 won’t allow tracking across multiple domains.
Use Facebook retargeting
Facebook retargeting pixel data and dynamic ads allow you to show targeted ads to people who have already visited your site. You can choose to get really granular here.
For example, you can show people an ad for the exact product that they abandoned in a shopping cart or added to a wishlist on your website – as happened with the bathmat I was ogling earlier.
Retargeting audiences will shrink as more people update to iOS 14.5. But they won’t disappear..
Create lookalike audiences
Facebook can use its targeting data to help you build a lookalike audience of people who have similar likes, interests and demographics to people who are already interacting with your website. This can help expand your potential customer base.
iOS 14.5 will affect the input data for lookalike audiences, because the tracked audience the lookalike is based on will shrink. However, because iOS users are in the minority, the lookalike functions will still have plenty of information to work with. You won’t likely notice a major change to functionality here.
Optimize Facebook ads for value
As Facebook collects data on who buys from your site and how much they spend, it can help optimize your ad audience based on value. That means it will automatically show your ads to the people who are most likely to make high-value purchases.
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