Neil Patel

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Unlock Your Ad’s Conversions & Audience Easily with Facebook Pixel

Facebook Pixel is a tool within Facebook for Business. It can track conversions (actions) on your website as a result of your Facebook Ads, retarget specific audiences, and give you valuable insight into how your users are interacting with your content.

This feature has been around for a while but recently experienced a major update. In this guide, we’ll talk about what the Facebook pixel actually does, show you the three most important features of the updated version, and take you through how to use it for your business.

facebook-pixel-3-steps

What is Facebook pixel?

A pixel is actually a small piece of code created by Facebook that you can then install on web pages.

The previous version of Facebook Pixel included two separate components. The first was the Website Custom Audience Pixel, which tracked and recorded Facebook users that interacted with your site. With this, you could see people that went from your Facebook Ads to your website and then target those people as a custom audience for future Ads. The second component was the Conversion Tracking Pixel which would tell you what actions (or conversions) users completed on your website.

Conversions are the reason we pay for Ads on Facebook, right? That’s why this information is so valuable. With pixels, we can see just how effective our Ads are, and how to make them better. But there were several flaws in the old version of this tool. Thankfully, with the update to Facebook Pixel, we can use pixels more efficiently and be even more specific in our conversion tracking.

You can read the full announcement, but below are the three most important updates to the new version of Facebook Pixel:

Important Improvements

One Pixel is Better Than Two

The previous version included the two separate pixels discussed above – one for tracking the audience and the other for tracking conversions. Both pixels needed to be installed separately on the desired website pages. Because of this, websites often had many different pixels on the same page.

The update includes a consolidated pixel for tracking both necessary components. Having only one pixel makes everything simpler in terms of installation, and also with data. With each installed pixel (in the old version), Facebook would have to send information for that pixel alone. Now, the process of sending data has been streamlined.

Pixel Speed

In their release, Facebook announced that the new pixels were “now up to 3X faster” than the old ones. As we all know, site speed affects SEO – so this was a significant improvement. The presence of multiple pixels on a single web page was a drag on overall site speed. Sending information for each and every pixel was a complicated process that slowed things down as well.

I mentioned that a pixel is code – but for what? When you install a pixel on a website page’s code, you’re actually placing an invisible 1×1 pixel image. These images are what send information to Facebook when a user completes an action on the page. With multiple codes installed the site was downloading multiple images. Fewer pixels mean fewer images, and this means faster site speed.

More Tracking Options

The original version of the pixel allowed you to track one of five different actions. These actions were:

  • Checkout
  • Registration
  • Lead
  • Key Page View
  • Add to Cart

You had to choose one (and only one) before Facebook would supply you with the pixel code. If you wanted to track more than one of these actions on the same page, you could install more individual pixels (one per extra action). This, of course, was another huge drag on site speed, not to mention the fact that all of these different pixels became complicated for you to keep track of.

The updated pixels now give you an amazing array of options through an expanded list of actions and an added parameter list. The actions now include:

  • View Content
  • Search
  • Add to Cart
  • Add to Wishlist
  • Start Checkout Process
  • Add Payment Information
  • Complete Purchase
  • Lead
  • Complete Registration

In addition to this expanded list, you can also now customize parameters for the actions above. I’ll show you exactly how to do this in the next section. The available parameters are:

  • Value
  • Currency
  • Content Name
  • Content Category
  • Content ID
  • Content type
  • Number of Items
  • Search String
  • Status

If you’re not sure which actions or parameters you should be tracking, Facebook gives us a more in-depth look at each of the options. The parameters are shown in their chart below:

facebook-pixel-parameters

Just as important as the added options for conversion tracking is the fact that you now can add more than one action to your pixel. Because of this, there’s no need to make individual pixels for each conversion you’re interested in. Now that you understand the fundamental updates to the new version of this tool, we’ll get into how exactly to set pixels up on your website and what to do with them once they’re there!

How You Can Use Pixels

Whether you already have the old pixels installed or have never even heard of the feature before, this section will take you through how to set up the new version.

Note: If you already have them installed, you will need to update to the new pixels. 

Some Examples

If I want to track when people View Content (with a specific product as my parameter), this is what my code could look like:

fbq(‘track’, ‘ViewContent’, {
content_type: ‘product’,
content_name: ‘Hoodie’,
value: 20.00,
currency: ‘USD’
});These are example parameters – you can include or leave out as many as you want to. To include more than one event, simply list them one after another. The following code will track leads as well as complete registrations, or people who filled out a form to download an ebook. This would be useful information when using Facebook Ads to promote free industry content you’ve pushed out.

fbq(‘track’, ‘Lead’);
fbq(‘track’, ‘CompleteRegistration’ {
content_category: ‘ebook’
});

Applications

With all of this technicality, you might be wondering whether the effort is worth it.

The customization of events and parameters is limitless, and so are the applications of the data. Sure, other analytics tools can get you pretty great data on how your Facebook Ads perform, but pixels are unique in that they show you incredibly specific conversions that other platforms cannot track. And if the parameters seem a little too involved and in-depth at this time, you can simply track for the conversions on their own.

Once your pixels are in place, it’s time to attach them to actual Facebook Ads. Doing this will optimize the Ad for the action you want taken (purchasing, for example) – and send it out to even more people who are likely to take that action as well.

Takeaways

After all the hard work of setting up your pixels is complete, it really is simple to use and reuse them in your future Ads. And as long as your pixels are set up on the right pages, you’ll be able to track traffic, conversions, and audience that result from your Ads and boosted posts.

When you find that one of your Ads is successful and resulted in conversions, optimizing for that action in future Ads using the steps described in the previous section will help Facebook target other people who are especially likely to make the same conversion. You’ll also be able to quickly stop and make changes to Ads that are not as successful, saving valuable time and money in the process.

Pixels are like long and winding roads that eventually take you somewhere you really, really want to go.

About the Author: Lauren Marchese is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Mainstreethost, a digital marketing agency based in Buffalo, NY. She frequently writes about topics in social media marketing, as well as many other aspects of digital marketing. Connect with Lauren on Twitter.

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