Running Facebook ads is something that many small businesses eventually consider at one point or another. However, if you don’t know a lick about advertising, let alone on Facebook, it can be very intimidating. Don’t worry though, the insight and knowledge you gain far outweighs the learning curve. (Plus, you have us!)
Seeing real success with your Facebook ads comes down to getting to know your audience. Gathering these insights through long, personal conversations with each of your customers isn't always possible. Instead, what if you could collect specific data about them that helps you better target your ad campaigns?
Enter the Facebook pixel.
When added to your free website, this small piece of code can give you incredibly valuable data that will help you along your path of Facebook advertising. We’re going to show you how to get started with it below.
What is the Facebook Pixel?
This feature can be used in conjunction with your Facebook business page to build your audience, track general or specific conversion events, and assists with ad retargeting. The data gathered from these functions translates to sharper audience targeting/ad delivery and more thorough knowledge about how visitors use your website. So when creating a Facebook account, don't forget to remember the pixel.
I’m not ready to advertise on Facebook, should I still install the pixel?
YES. A resounding yes!
Even if you’re not ready to begin Facebook advertising, you should install it as soon as you can. Why? When you're ready to start advertising, you'll already have an immense pool of data to work with. Simply because the pixel will begin collecting data from the time it’s added and you elect to keep that data for up to 180 days with certain tracking methods. This is also necessary for later facebook retargeting so don't neglect it.
How to create the Facebook pixel
Possibly the best part of the Facebook pixel? It’s not rocket science to implement. Creating and adding it to your website is a pretty straightforward process.
Once you create a Facebook page, you’ll first need to make sure you’ve correctly set up Facebook ads before you can create a Facebook pixel. Once you’re ready to go on that front, follow the instructions below to create your very own pixel.
Login to the Facebook Ads Manager
Click on ‘Tools’ from the top bar menu
Click ‘Create a pixel’
Give your pixel a name
Click ‘Create pixel’
Seeing something different? If you’re on a page that doesn’t show the top bar menu shown in the video above, click on the hamburger menu at the top left of the Ads Manager. Under the Measure and Report section, select ‘Pixels’ and follow steps four through six above.
How to install the Facebook pixel to your website
While creating a Facebook pixel is nothing but a series of clicks, installing it can be a little more involved, depending on your website host.
Once you have created the pixel, it’s time to install it, and you’ll be asked what you’d like to do next. You’ll be presented with a couple of options: Connect a Partner Platform (like Wix), Manually Install Pixel Code Yourself, or Email instructions to a Developer.
The installation process will depend on your website host and whether you’re comfortable enough working with code. (Some installations will be easier than others out there.) Luckily, Facebook does a great job guiding you where you need to go and how to install your pixel on your website.
What can the Facebook pixel do, exactly?
If you haven’t guessed yet, the Facebook pixel isn’t just a one-trick pony. It’s designed with a few core functions in mind, but how you use it depends on what type of goals you have and what data you’re looking to track. Below, we’re going to show you just how powerful and flexible it can be.
Conversion tracking lets you explore the specific actions your site visitors performed on your pages. You can use this information to your advantage — optimizing your ads for the actions people take or promote certain pages from your website that were previously visited by them. You could even add a coupon code within the ad, which will incentivize them to come back to your site. Conversions tracked will appear in the Facebook Ad Manager and Facebook Analytics dashboards for review.
There are three ways to track conversions with the Facebook pixel:
Standard events are typical actions that are predefined when you create your pixel, such as when a visitor adds an item to their cart or wishlist, initiates or completes a checkout, views content, fills out a form, and more. fThey allow you to track specific activities performed on your website.
Each standard event requires an additional piece of code added to your website, though you can avoid this by using custom conversions (more on those below).
Custom events are actions that you define and that the pixel tracks. These events go beyond what the standard events offer. For example, use custom events to track the visitors that clicked a specific CTA and see the paths they take from there. When you name these events after the action they correspond to, it makes it all the more easier to follow user paths through the data later on. Essentially anything outside of the standard event presets is considered a custom event. For example, inbound/outbound links.
If you want to get a little (or a lot) more specific in the data your tracking, set up custom conversions. This type allows you to add multiple rules to events that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to with standard events.
Example: Track sock sales over $20
Add a rule for the socks page of your website
Add an additional rule for the value of ‘20’
A benefit to using custom conversions is that since they’re URL-based, there isn’t any additional code to add to your website, like with standard events. You’ll simply need the base pixel that you created.
While custom conversion tracking is flexible, it’s not without its limitations. For example, there’s a limit of 100 rules per ad, and they do not work with dynamic product ads. Feel a little lost with custom conversions? Don’t worry. Facebook has an article for just this.
The Facebook pixel allows you to create custom audiences for ad retargeting. Custom audiences are flexible, and you can make them basic or complex, depending on what you’re looking to achieve and who you’re trying to reach.
When creating a custom audience, you have the option to target all website visitors or people who visited specific web pages. Both options allow you to filter your list by setting a maximum on the number of days that have passed since someone’s last visit. This is important, depending on who you’re trying to target. For example, if someone has abandoned a cart on your site and you’re looking to target this group of people, they’re more likely to return if they visited your site 2 days ago versus 90 days ago.
When choosing the option to “Target people who visited specific pages,”, you can either add the exact URL you want to be tracked or use the “URL Contains” box. This section will track all links that include a specific portion of a URL. To break this down:, If you have individual sock pages for both men and women, you can use the value of “socks” in the “URL contains” section to keep your eyes on both pages.
You can also use “exclusions” to further home in on the exact audience you’re trying to reach. You can exclude specific site pages or parts of your audience that have performed certain actions.
Say you’re looking to advertise to people who’ve already gone to your website’s online store, but never purchased anything, so they never got to the “Thank You” page that appears after someone completes a transaction. You can create a custom audience for just this by including visitors that went to the Store page and excluding the Thank You page.
Another example would be if you’re trying to run an ad to a wide audience for potential new customers. In this instance, you could exclude people who have made a purchase within the past 30 days, so only new customers or people who haven’t bought anything from your site in over a month would see your ad.
You may also create a custom audience based on the amount of time visitors spent on your website. It happens all too often: People spend a long time on your website but never make a purchase. Not to worry! A well-placed ad targeted at them, with a possible incentive (such as a discount or free shipping) may be just what they need to return to your website and make it through checkout.
If you’re trying to reach potential new customers, you can create a “lookalike audience” based on a group of your existing customers. Creating a lookalike audience is very straightforward, asking only for a source group, location, and audience size.
There’s a decent chance that your Lookalike Audience will be interested in your business but may not have been exposed to it yet. People that have similar qualities or interests of your source group will be placed in your new lookalike audience so you can begin targeting them.
The audience size range is between 1% and 10% of the total population of the chosen country, with the 1% being those who most closely match your source group. So, if you’re selecting the United States, 1% will give you a Lookalike Audience size of over 2 million people. The further you widen the audience size, the less similar the people will be from the source group. Still, it can be a good idea to go with a more significant selection if you’re trying to get your ad in front of new faces.
If you want to create multiple Lookalike Audiences that are different only in size, you can choose the “Show Advanced Option” drop-down at the bottom of the screen. Select the number of audiences you’d like to create, and then choose the value in size percentage for each.
Creating a Lookalike Audience from a Custom Audience
You can create a lookalike audience from a custom audience using your Facebook Pixel’s website traffic data. A great example would be building a custom audience of all the people who’ve purchased from your website. Then you can choose that custom audience as your source when creating the Lookalike Audience.
Source groups for Lookalike Audiences aren’t limited to your Pixel data, and you can create one from sources such as the fans of your Page and more. You can create up to 500 Lookalike Audiences from a single source audience.
Once you know how to use the Facebook Pixel to track conversions, retarget your ads, and optimize ad delivery to the best people, you’ll never look back. It’s an indispensable tool in your business toolkit to get in front of your customers.