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What is a Facebook pixel and how do you create it?

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According to Social Media Examiner, 94% of marketers use Facebook, and 59% plan on increasing their use of Facebook ads this year. Plus, 71% of American adults use Facebook; that’s 150 million people you can reach by advertising on this platform. If you’re planning to leverage this powerful platform, consistently improve your results and tailor your ads for specific audiences, you need to understand what a Facebook pixel is.

What is a Facebook pixel?

A Facebook pixel is a tool that generates data for assessing the effectiveness and improving upon your Facebook advertising. It consists of code that you place on your website enabling you to track each visitors’ activities on your website and landing pages after they click on your Facebook ad.

Although Facebook pixels have changed over the last few years, they have become easier to use. Where there used to be two different types, there is now one powerful version available to fulfill all your requirements.

What is a Facebook pixel used for?

This code is used to collect data for tracking conversions from Facebook ads, optimizing ads to improve their performance, building targeted audiences for future ads, and remarketing to people who have already taken an action on your website. More specifically, you can use Facebook pixel data for:

Conversion tracking to learn more about your customers’ journeys and see what types of actions they take when visiting your website after clicking through on your Facebook ad. It also allows you to track what types of devices they use when visiting your site or see if they switch devices after clicking through. Leveraging this information helps you finetune your advertising strategy and calculate your return on investment.

Retargeting to show dynamic and targeted ads to people after they’ve visited your site. For example, ads for products they viewed, put in their shopping cart, or added to their wishlist without completing a purchase.

Creating look-alike audiences with targeting data gathered by Facebook pixels, helping you attract more potential customers based on the likes, interests, and demographics of people who have already interacted with your website.

Optimizing Facebook ads for specific actions based on Facebook tracking pixel data for specific conversion events on your website. Without this data, you’d only be able to optimize for link clicks, but pixel data enables you to optimize for conversion events more closely tied to your business goals, such as purchases and sign-ups.

Optimizing Facebook ads based on your previous spend is also an option since Facebook tracks who buys from your site and how much they spend. This makes it possible for you to automatically show your ads to those most likely to make specific value range purchases.

Leveraging additional Facebook ad tools and metrics. Installing the Facebook pixel on your site is the only way to advertise to custom audiences of site visitors and initiate web conversion campaigns or dynamic ads. Cost per lead or cost per conversion are among the additional metrics you can track with the pixel.

What can you track with a Facebook pixel?

The Facebook pixel enables you to gather data relating to 17 predefined events plus custom events you set up yourself. The standard Facebook pixel events (actions taken by your website visitors) include:

  1. Add payment info – The act of a customer adding payment information during checkout and saving it to their account.
  2. Add to cart – A customer adding an item to their shopping cart on your website.
  3. Add to wishlist – When a site visitor saves an item on your site to their wishlist.
  4. Complete registration – When a customer completes a form on your site in exchange for premium content, your email newsletter, or other such offer.
  5. Contact – Tracks when there are communications or contact such as a phone call, SMS, email or chat between a customer and your business.
  6. Customize product – When a customer uses a configuration tool or other application on your website to customize a product.
  7. Donate – A site visitor donates to your organization or cause.
  8. Find location – The act of a site visitor to search for a location with the intention to visit, such as after a product search.
  9. Initiate checkout – Starting the checkout process on your site.
  10. Lead – Completing a form on your website with the understanding that they will be contacted by your organization.
  11. Purchase – Taking actions that trigger an order or purchase confirmation, a transaction receipt or being sent to a Thank You landing page.
  12. Schedule – Setting up an appointment to receive services or visit one of your locations.
  13. Search – Initiating a search for a product or other information on your website or when using your mobile app.
  14. Start trial – Accepting a free trial of your product or service.
  15. Submit application – An application submission for a product, service or program you offer such as a credit card, job or educational program.
  16. Subscribe – Initiating a paid subscription for your product or service.
  17. View content – Visiting a specific product or landing page to view the content. This event is triggered by a pixel code placed on that page, but visitors’ activities while on that page cannot be captured by the standard pixel code for page visits.

You can capture additional details about standard events by adding extra code to your pixel, called parameters, to customize standard events. These parameters include:

  • The value of a conversion event
  • Currency type
  • Content type
  • Shopping cart contents

These additional details enable you to gain deeper insights about each site visitor.

If none of Facebook’s predefined standard events meet your requirements, you can create your own custom events to track. These can be used to define custom audiences for ad optimization. You can also select the same parameters for your custom events you’d add to any of the standard events.

How to create a Facebook Pixel

You don’t need to be a high-tech wizard to create your own Facebook Pixel(s)! Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to your Facebook Events Manager page, click the (≡) icon in the upper left corner of the page and select ‘Pixels’.
  2. Next, click on the button labeled ‘Create a Pixel’.
  3. Select a name for your pixel. Since you only get one pixel for each ad account with the Events Manager, you’ll want a name that represents your business, not a specific campaign. You can use Facebook Business Manager if you want to use more than one pixel per ad account.
  4. Enter your website URL.
  5. Click ‘Create’.
  6. Add the pixel code to your website to start gathering data. How you complete this step will depend on which platform you’re using for your website and if you’ll be doing it yourself or plan to use a Developer. Select the option that applies and follow the directions provided by Facebook for your chosen option.
  7. Select automatic advanced matching to track conversions more accurately and create larger custom audiences by matching customer data from your website with your customers’ Facebook profiles.
  8. Verify that you’ve installed your pixel code correctly by entering your website URL and selecting ‘Send Test Traffic’. After confirming your Facebook pixel is tracking activity, click ‘Continue’.
  9. Select the events you’d like to track
  10. Confirm your Facebook pixel is working by sending test traffic again.

Now you’re ready to start using a Facebook pixel! Set your goals, plan your strategy, create your pixel, create your ads, measure your results and adjust as needed.