If you’re running Facebook ads, you’re probably familiar with using Facebook’s built-in analytics to see which versions of your ads perform best with your target market. But have you ever wondered how the people who click on your ads behave after they visit your site? The Facebook pixel will help you answer questions like this, so you can run more targeted, high-ROAS ad campaigns. 

What is the Facebook Pixel?

The Facebook pixel is a snippet of JavaScript code that is copied into the header section of your website and acts as an analytics tool. By installing these few lines of code, you can track and receive information about the actions taken on your site and gain insight into user behavior so you can optimize your ads and drive more sales.

How Does a Pixel Work & Why Should You Use It?

Once the Facebook Pixel has been properly installed on your site, it becomes an integral part of your business. Similar to Google Analytics, the pixel works by placing and triggering cookies that track users and their behavior as they move throughout your site. For the pixel, insights include:

  • The devices visitors use
  • Where your web traffic is coming from 
  • Demographic information
  • Analysis of user behaviors like page views, add to cart, initiating a purchase and completing the purchase 

If you’re running Facebook ads, the pixel will tie this information to specific ad campaigns and individual ad sets, giving you a sharp level of detail about individual ad campaign performance. 

Why Should You Use A Facebook Pixel

You don’t need to run ads to utilize the pixel. Pixel tracks actions of users on your website, so having a pixel installed can help you build out your ad funnel by collecting data as soon as possible — even before you ever launch an ad. This will help you craft content that is appropriate for your target audience and provides them with the most value. Facebook pixel also lets you create custom audiences, so you can run ads that speak directly to different audience segments. 

If you are running ads, the pixel is essential in managing your advertising budget, optimizing ad spend and maximizing ROAS. If you’re only tracking who clicks on an ad, you only have part of the story. By analyzing the behavior of your visitors after they click on the ad, you can understand which ads bring genuinely interested visitors to your site and which ones are simply wasting clicks. 

How To Create a Facebook Pixel

Setting up a pixel is fairly simple; all you need is a website, a business Facebook page, and Facebook Business Manager. Your business’s Facebook page will also need to be connected to Facebook Business Manager. If you still need to create a Business Manager account for your Facebook page, here are the steps to do so:

  1. Go to business.facebook.com/overview 
  2. Click Create Account.
  3. Enter a name for your business, your name and work email address and click Next.
  4. Enter your business details and click Submit.

Once you’ve successfully created a Business Manager account you can begin to set up your pixel by following these steps:

  1. Go to Business Settings in Business Manager.
  2. Select your business.
  3. Click Data Sources.
  4. Select Pixels.
  5. Click the + Add button.
  6. Type in a name for your pixel.
  7. Enter your website URL.
  8. Click Continue.
  9. To install your pixel on your website, click Set up the Pixel Now*.

*Web hosting platforms have their own designated method when it comes to installing a Facebook Pixel, here are a few resources that can help you integrate your pixel based on your web host:

With your pixel successfully created and implemented, you’ll now be able to track events that help you better understand your customer’s path to purchase. By setting up events that align with your business goals, your business will be able to unlock powerful ad targeting, optimization, measurement and insights. Here are a few of the standard events you can currently track with pixel:

  • Add to Cart: The addition of an item to a shopping cart or basket. For example, clicking an Add to Cart button on a website.
  • Add to Wishlist: The addition of items to a wishlist. For example, clicking an Add to Wishlist button on a website.
  • Add Payment Info: The addition of customer payment information during a checkout process. For example, a person clicks on a button to save their billing information.
  • Complete Registration: A submission of information by a customer in exchange for a service provided by your business. For example, signing up for an email subscription.
  • Initiate Checkout: The start of a checkout process. For example, clicking a Checkout button.
  • Lead: A submission of information by a customer with the understanding that they may be contacted at a later date by your business. For example, submitting a form or signing up for a trial.
  • Purchase: The completion of a purchase, usually signified by receiving order or purchase confirmation, or a transaction receipt. For example, landing on a Thank You or confirmation page.
  • Search: A search performed on your website, app or other property. For example, product or travel searches.
  • Subscribe: The start of a paid subscription for a product or service you offer.
  • View Content: A visit to a web page you care about. For example, a product or landing page. View content tells you if someone visits a web page’s URL, but not what they do or see on that web page.

If there is an event your business needs to track that is outside of Facebook’s standard events, you can create custom events and define their parameters here

How Facebook Pixel Improves Advertising Efforts

Customized audiences

Creating custom audiences and tracking their behavior individually will help you better understand each audience segment so you can create content and ads that appeal directly to them. You’ll also understand which products they’re interested in, which can inform when you reach out to them and why. It might even become the information you need to justify adding more of a particular type of product to your line. 

Lookalike audiences to expand brand reach

One of Facebook’s most powerful features is its ability to create lookalike audiences: people who have the same tastes, demographics and interests as your own audience, except they have never interacted with your brand. Once you find a targeted audience that responds well to your ads, you can create a lookalike audience and expand your reach to new potential customers. 

Dynamic remarketing advertising

When you combine the Facebook pixel with dynamic ads, you can show targeted ads to people who have already visited your site. The ads can feature the exact page or product they visited, abandoned in their shopping cart, or added to their wishlist. You can even show them items that are similar to what they’ve most recently viewed on your site or purchased. This keeps your brand top-of-mind and reminds people who were on the fence that they’re missing out on a great product! 

Gets the right content in front of the right people

Your ads don’t just have to send people to products; you can also serve meaningful content to the audience that wants it: specific blog posts, a guide, ebook, or a landing page. If you have a longer sales cycle, this is a great way to warm up potential customers or capture leads and get them into your ad funnel. 

The capabilities of audience targeting of Facebook can allow you to get super specific: you can even target people who have only engaged with content on your Facebook or Instagram but have never visited your website.

Measure cross-device conversions

Cross-device conversions occur when someone interacts with a website or ad on one device and completes their transaction on a different device. Because many users are logged into Facebook on multiple devices, the Facebook pixel can track cross-device conversions with ease. 

When someone clicks on an ad on their phone, for example, but completes the transaction on a different device at a later date, you’ll still be able to attribute the conversion to the ad. This gives you a much more accurate understanding of how your ads performed and what they inspired. 

Optimize advertising efforts to improve ROAS

Facebook pixel arms you with the information you need to assess how your ads really perform. If a lot of people click on an ad, without the pixel you might decide the ad is successful and funnel more money toward it. With the pixel, you’d be able to see that even though many people click, nobody is actually staying on or engaging with your site. You could then turn off the money-wasting ad or audience and funnel your spend to a better performer. 

Knowing the full story of your Facebook ads will help you invest in the strategies that work and discontinue the ones that don’t. And ultimately, that’s what will drive sales and move your business forward!