The Facebook pixel tends to be a gray area when it comes to running Facebook ads. Many know they need it, but few know its full potential. I’ve been at this awhile myself, but, after some research, even I found new uses for pixel data that I didn’t even know existed!
What is the Facebook Pixel?
The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that’s placed on your website to report conversions, build audiences and get insights into how people are using your website. You can run Facebook ads without implementing the pixel on your website, but you will not be able to utilize the features listed below (and spoiler alert: they are great).
Need help setting up and implementing your Facebook pixel? Get the step-by-step instructions here.
Website Custom Audiences
One of the top reasons businesses use the pixel is for Website Custom Audiences. These audiences are built from users who have previously visited your website. If you’re not already utilizing Custom Audiences, I would definitely recommend hopping on the bandwagon. These “warmer” audiences are more likely to convert than those who have never heard of your brand.
You can build a Custom Audience from your website from multiple variations, including:
- People who have visited any page of your website
- People who have visited specific pages of your website
- People who have visited certain pages but not others
- People who have visited during the past 180 days, but not recently
- People who have visited during a recent number of days
- People who spent a certain amount of time on your website
As you can see, these audiences can be very granular. Now, if your website has a lot of traffic, Custom Audiences are great. But if you’re like many small businesses, they can get too small to target effectively. If this is the case for you, then Lookalike Audiences are the answer!
Lookalike Audiences are created from any Custom Audience and expand the audience to include people with characteristics similar to those in your current audience. This allows you to still target the right people, but just more of them. Learn more about Lookalike Audiences here.
Standard events allow you to define a group of people based on actions they take on your website. There are nine standard events plus additional parameters that help you make an audience even more specific.
The nine Facebook Standard Events are:
- View Content
- Add to Cart
- Add to Wishlist
- Initiate Checkout
- Add to Payment Info
- Complete Registration
With custom conversions, you can measure and track unique activities and optimize your ads for the events that matter most to your business. These are set up based on any number of URL rules from your website. You can also build on a standard event to make it even more granular.
Standard Events vs. Custom Conversions
For many businesses, standard events will work just fine for what you want to do and are a lot easier to set up. If you’re on the e-commerce side and looking at specific product and purchase data, then custom conversions are worth the effort.
Why are they worth the effort, you ask? Custom conversions allow for further customization of your standard events. For example, if I have “Lead” set up as a standard event on my website, I am tracking everything I deem to be a lead on my website. But what if some leads are more important to me than others? In this case, I could set up a separate custom conversion for each of my different leads. Now I can track each lead separately as well as run ads to optimize for conversions on those most relevant.
|STANDARD EVENTS||CUSTOM CONVERSIONS|
|Created by adding to the Facebook pixel base code.||No extra code required. Created in Ads Manager using URL rules.|
|Customized with parameters.||Customized with granular URL rules.|
|Aggregate reporting.||Separate reporting.|
|Compatible with dynamic product ads.||Not compatible with dynamic product ads.|
When you have website conversions set up in Facebook, you can combine Facebook ad data with that of Google Analytics. When combined, you can see which of your ads drove important actions on your website.
This is also possible through UTM tags on your ad URLs, but it is nice to be able to see all reporting within the Facebook interface.
Optimize Ads for Conversions
Another benefit of having your conversions in Facebook is the ability to optimize your ads for those conversions. Note: you can optimize ads for both standard events and custom conversions. When running a Facebook ad with this objective, you are showing your ad to people, within your audience, who are most likely to perform that conversion. If you’re running an ad with a specific website conversion as the goal, this objective is worth a test.
In-Depth Site Analytics
Site analytics are newer to the Facebook pixel, but these reports already offer a lot of valuable insight. This Analytics section takes a deep-dive into your website activity as well as activity connected to your Facebook page. You can see a lot of this data within Google Analytics, but Facebook provides some new insights, too. Below you’ll find some of the charts I find most interesting when analyzing user data.
These populate based on your data and offer insights that you may not have noticed. Not all will be useful, but these are interesting to go through and help you better understand your users.
Lifetime Value (LTV)
This report shows, of the newest users that month, how much the average person purchased and over what length of time. Note: this report is only available if you have purchase events on your website.
This report shows how many users are still active on your website a certain number of weeks later.
As you can see, the Facebook pixel is an incredibly valuable tool when used to its full potential. From targeting website audiences to optimizing ads based on specific events, the pixel takes your Facebook ads to the next level.
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