Almost every time I leave a site after online shopping, I am greeted by on onslaught of different advertisements across the internet for the same products I was just shopping for. On Instagram I'll see sponsored posts for the mountaineering backpack I was fawning over, on Facebook it's this Spring's newest short styles, and on news sites, I see the camera lens I was researching on Amazon. So how do these ads know I recently looked at mountaineering backpacks? Or even more intriguing, how does Facebook and Instagram know to present a certain ad based on my interests? For ads displayed across Facebook's advertising channels, the Facebook Pixel is the answer to these questions.
For every person that uses Facebook, the social network has a vast amount of information stored for each. This information is opened up to digital marketers with the Facebook Pixel. Each user's "ad profile" is built off of the pages they like on Facebook, the events they attend, and even the websites and apps they visit. With this information, companies and organizations can build extremely targeted advertising campaigns across Facebook's platforms. The Pixel makes all of this possible.
(Note: If you do not wish for companies to collect data on you, you can opt out using this website.)
What is Facebook Pixel?
The capabilities of the Pixel are evolving. Multiple pixels were once needed to track conversions and other activity. Now, there is one Pixel that houses all the capabilities you need.
What does it do?
Simply installing a pixel on your site won't automatically unlock many doors; it's all about how you use it. But before you begin using it, you need to know what it's capable of.
- Device Conversions: See what devices your customers are using, and what device they decide to convert on. This allows you to know where to reach them and where to place your ads.
- Build Custom Audiences: With the Pixel installed, you can directly target those who have visited a specific page on your site. Targeting people you know are already interested in a specific product or service allows your audience to be more defined.
- Find New Customers: Build an audience to target on FB Ads that is very similar to your existing customers.
- Know Your Audience: This is where it starts to get really cool and you can find out information about those who already visit your site. For example, you can see the percentage of your current audience that is in a relationship, their education level, frequent job titles of visitors, lifestyle, and of course, age and gender. You can also see the pages that your audience likes, household income, and spending habits.
Pixel is able to provide this by pulling information from other sites that also have the Pixel installed, tracking what users do on Facebook itself, and then combining this data in one location. This information is impressive by itself, but in the hands of a crafty digital marketer, it can be the difference between stagnant sales and a successful campaign.
Why Install it on Your Website?
Even if you don't use FB Ads, the Audience Insights alone are a good reason to install the Pixel. If you do use FB Ads and truly want to maximize your dollars spent, the Pixel is necessary. It allows you to track ROI with conversion data of site visitors that come from Facebook. On the front side, it allows you to narrow down your audience to only advertise to those that you know are already interested, interested in similar products, and/or have a history of purchasing items online or converting on a web page.
How to Install Facebook Pixel on Your Site
First things first, you need to have a Facebook Ad account in order to create a pixel. If you do not yet have one, use this article from Facebook to get yourself set up. You will also need access to your web hoster or website editor your organization uses. Examples of these include Wordpress, HubSpot, or an FTP service.
One you have confirmed you have an Ad account and access to make changes to your website, follow these steps.
1. Create the Pixel
You can create the pixel by logging in to Ads Manager, navigating to the Pixel Page, and then click "Set Up Pixel". You'll be prompted to choose between copying and pasting the code or using an integration or tag manager. Common integrations are between eCommerce providers such as Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento. If you are using an eCommerce platform with a Pixel integration, follow the integration instructions in the pop-up box and not those below.
In this case, I am going to select copy and paste code since I'm going to be installing this pixel through HubSpot.
2. Install the Pixel
When installing the Pixel you will have two codes: the base code and the event code(s). The base code is the primary Pixel and should be installed across your whole site. You can find the base code within your Pixel manager by clicking on the eyeball on the far right and copying the code in the popup box. Once you copy the code, go into your website editor, navigate to the head HTML, and paste the code within the header (between <head> and </head>). If there is existing code there, place the Pixel code beneath it but before the header close tag (</head>).
The event code is to be able to track conversions. This is something that will be installed on a page by page basis. For example, if you want to track form submissions on a landing page, you will need to install a "Complete Registration" event code on that form submission's confirmation page, just below the </head> tag. Ensure complete ROI visibility by assigning a dollar value within the code of what each submission is worth to you.
Event codes should not be placed on the head HTML, but just below. There are specific instructions depending on which event code you want to track, which the Pixel installation popup box will lead you through.
3. Test the Pixel and Optimize Your Ads
The bulk of the work is now done. The last step is a test to make sure the Pixel is working. Go to a page that the pixel is installed on and complete the event that you are tracking. You will now be able to see this event within the Pixel Manager. There will also be a green dot next to your Pixel that indicates it is active and working. If not, troubleshoot with this Facebook Help page.
Voila! The Facebook Pixel is now installed on your site, providing you with the conversion data and user analytics you need to run a successful Facebook Ads campaign.
Since I started working at a Denver marketing agency, I have been seen the power of Facebook Ads firsthand. They are an inexpensive way to showcase your business to the audience you want, and best of all, anyone can create and distribute an ad. Installing the Facebook Pixel takes your efforts to the next level and allows you to hoist yourself above the intense competition that the digital world fosters.
Digital advertising evolves with the ever-changing digital landscape and is here to stay; the customized ads we see on our favorite web platforms are a testament to this. Of course, advertising on social media platforms will only get you so far for your company's overall digital marketing goals. Visit our blog for the inside scoop on all the other aspects that it takes to run a high-powered, results-driven inbound marketing campaign.