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What is Facebook Pixel and why do you need it?

If you’re using Facebook ads—or you plan to use them in the future—there’s one key tool you should start using right away. The Facebook Pixel will help you get the most out of your social ad budget. Here’s everything you need to know about how it works.

What is the Facebook pixel?

The Facebook pixel is 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.

It works by placing and triggering cookies to track users as they interact with your website and your Facebook ads.

Why you need to set up the Facebook pixel

The Facebook pixel provides important information you can use to create better Facebook ads, and better target your ads. Facebook tracking 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 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.

How can you use the Facebook pixel? Here are just a few ways the pixel can help improve your Facebook marketing results.

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 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.

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.

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.

Optimize Facebook ads for conversions

You can use Facebook tracking pixel data to optimize your Facebook ads for specific conversion events on your website. Without a pixel, the only conversion you can optimize for is link clicks. With the pixel, you can optimize for conversions that align more closely with business goals, like purchases and sign-ups.

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.

Gain access to more Facebook ad tools and metrics

Want to use web conversion campaigns, custom audiences from your website, or dynamic ads? You can only do so if you’ve installed the Facebook pixel. You also need the pixel to track metrics like cost per lead or cost per conversion.

How to use the Facebook pixel

You can use the Facebook pixel to collect data on two different kinds of events.

  1. Facebook has predefined a set of 17 standard events.
  2. You can set up custom events yourself.

An “event” is simply a specified action that a visitor takes on your website, like making a purchase.

Facebook pixel standard events

The 17 standard Facebook pixel events for which you can simply copy and paste standard Facebook event code are:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • View content: Someone lands on a specific page on your website.
  • 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.
  • Contact: Someone contacts your business.
  • Customize product: Someone selects a specific version of a product, such as choosing a certain color.
  • Donate: Someone donates to your cause.
  • Find a location: Someone searches for your business’s physical location.
  • Schedule: Someone book an appointment at your business.

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:

  • How much a conversion event is worth
  • Currency
  • Content-type, or ID
  • Basket contents

For example, you could use Facebook pixel tracking 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.

Facebook pixel custom events

You can use custom events in place of standard events, or to collect more details than Facebook pixel standard events can provide.

Custom events use URL rules based on specific URLS or URL keywords.

You can learn more about custom conversions in this Facebook help article.

Now that you know what you can track, and why you would want to do so, it’s time to create your pixel and put it to work on your website.

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