Online advertising can be very costly if not targeted and giant tech companies like Google and Facebook have facilitated advertisers with various solutions to reduce the cost and improve ROI of the digital campaigns.
Facebook Pixels are common across most advertising platforms. They're used to drop a cookie that will track visitors on your website so you can advertise to them later. This is called retargeting. Once you advertise to past website visitors, Facebook pixels can also be used to track their behaviour when they're back on your website.
A Facebook pixel is an analytical tool that consists of a code that you can put on your website. The pixel fires to track site visitors. This data allows you to retarget those users with Facebook ads in the future, as well as see what they're doing on your site when they return. This allows you to gain more insights about your audience, send targeted messaging to users who already know your brand, and track the effectiveness of your paid social advertising efforts.
Facebook used to have a custom audience pixel for retargeting website visitors, and conversion pixels for tracking website conversions such as sales. While each advertising account had only one custom audience pixel, you could create many conversion pixels - one for each web page you wanted to track conversions on.
The thing is, although Facebook pixels are confusing, they make advertising on Facebook much more effective. Not only do you know exactly who you're advertising to, you also have a better understanding of how your Facebook ads are performing. All in all, you can make your messaging much more effective, leading to a better return on your advertising dollars.
In 2015, Facebook simplified this process by introducing a new Facebook pixel that replaced the older Facebook pixels, making it the only tracking pixel you now need. It was updated again in 2017 to make advertising on Facebook easier and more effective. This included more tracking, such as button click activity and page metadata.
The Facebook pixel offers three core functions to help you get a better return on investment:
Custom Audiences from your website are how Facebook helps you retarget website visitors. If you have the Facebook pixel installed, it will track the movements of any visitors on your website who are simultaneously logged into Facebook. It will record which pages on your site they visit, which pages they don't visit, and when they visit. Using this data, you can advertise to very targeted groups of people.
To be clear, when advertising on Facebook, you can't choose a specific website visitor and advertise to them. Instead, you can advertise to groups of users (custom audiences from your website) based on shared behavior. A few examples include:
You can define Custom Audiences from your website based on which pages they did or did not visit, and by when they visited your website. You can choose a timeframe between 1 and 180 days.
Audiences are created independently from ads. Once an audience is created you can choose when to advertise to it and which ads to use. Or you can let it percolate for future use.
Audiences are created independently from Facebook ads. Once an audience is created you can choose when to advertise to it and which ads to use. Or you can let it percolate for future use.
One of the most exciting parts of the Facebook pixel is the ability to create Custom Conversions similar to how you create Custom Audiences. A Custom Conversion is created by selecting a completion page and naming the conversion. Typically the completion page is some kind of thank-you page for order completion or any type of sign-up
This means that you can create Custom Conversions independently of your Facebook ads, and then choose when to use them in the future.
Because the tracking pixel already fires on all your website pages, it can easily track when someone visits a completion page, especially people who have clicked on your Facebook ads.
You can also choose the category for the conversion and add a monetary value. For example, if you create a Custom Conversion that tracks visitors to an ebook download page, you can include the cost of the ebook. This feature will help you figure out if your ad campaigns are profitable. If you charge £20 for your ebook, but you're spending £25 for every purchase that comes from Facebook ads, you'll probably want to make some changes to that campaign.
The Custom Conversion categories that you can choose from include:
Custom and Standard events are an advanced feature of the Facebook pixel. If you only use Custom Audiences and Custom Conversions, you're in great shape.
Custom and Standard events function similarly to the old Facebook conversion pixels. You can create Custom and Standard events with a bit of extra code. Custom and Standard events help get past your limit of 40 Custom Conversions, offer more robust analytics and reporting, and have greater accuracy.
While Custom Conversions are tied to a URL (usually for some kind of thank you or completion page), Custom and Standard events don't need to be. Instead, conversions can be tracked by adding an additional line of the code to the page of interest.
There are nine conversion types you can use with Custom and Standard events, each with its own line of code. This code will tell Facebook what to track, and will be inserted into the Facebook pixel code but only on the page you want to track conversions on.