Remember when the arrival of the Facebook Pixel was groundbreaking?
Us too. But now, nearly all marketers have one on their website, and they’re actively using it to track users and inform their advertising strategy. And Facebook’s making improvements to their Pixel every year.
If you don’t have one, this post is for you. Alternatively, if you have the Facebook Pixel installed but aren’t sure how to use it, this post is also for you.
Let’s make your Facebook advertising strategy even better, and talk about how the Facebook Pixel works, how to install it, and how to make use of the data you get.
Jump to a Section
What is a Facebook Pixel?
Advertisers can use that data to retarget those visitors and deliver targeted ad messaging on Facebook.
Here’s all of the information the Facebook Pixel gathers, taken straight from Facebook:
- HTTP headers – Anything present in HTTP headers. HTTP headers are a standard web protocol sent between any browser and any server on the internet. HTTP headers include IP addresses, information about the web browser, page location, document, referrer and device.
- Pixel-specific data – Includes Pixel ID and the Facebook cookie.
- Button-click data – Includes any buttons clicked by site visitors, the labels of those buttons and any pages visited as a result of the button clicks. Also, includes website form field names such as ‘email’, ‘address’, ‘quantity’ for when you purchase a product or service. We don’t capture form field values unless you include them as part of Advanced Matching or optional values.
- Page metadata – Includes page descriptions, tags, and keywords. This is the same data typically used by search engines and other web services to rank pages.
Facebook’s most recent update to the Pixel gives advertisers the ability to work around “intelligent tracking” software that blocks third-party cookies, which are text files used by websites and publishers to identify and recognize visitors.
Up until this point, Facebook’s Pixel was powered by third-party cookies, which limited advertisers. Here are the key differences:
- A third-party cookie is created from a source other than the website owner (e.g., an advertisement or a video) that is embedded by a third-party.
- A first-party cookie is put in place by the actual owner of the website domain.
You can learn more about the first-party cookie shift in our recent blog post.
Why Use a Facebook Pixel?
The Facebook Pixel is your key to getting the most out of your online marketing.
It’s what allows you to track user actions once they click through your ad and head to your website, app or landing page. You can get answers to these questions:
- Add something to their cart?
- Look through your catalog?
These are vital to knowing 1) whether your ad worked, 2) what your ad’s ROI is and 3) what you can do to better your results the next time around. The Facebook Pixel is also instrumental in remarketing efforts. Other Facebook Pixel benefits include:
Facebook Ad Optimization: When you use the Facebook Pixel in combination with the bidding option “Bid for website conversions,” Facebook will automatically show your ads to people who are most likely to convert.
Facebook Ad Measurement and Analytics: You can measure the number of conversions your ads generate to calculate your return on ad spend. That way, you’ll see how much you’re spending for each conversion and can fine-tune your ads accordingly.
How to Verify (Ensure) Your Facebook Pixel Works
Once you’ve created a Facebook Pixel, you can see its status. Until you’ve had a conversion, the status will show as unverified. A Pixel must be installed properly and record a conversion event to become verified so that you can begin using it.
Click it and see if any errors are listed.
If there are, we recommend you use the Facebook Pixel Helper extension for Chrome. Simply install, open it up on your website, and if the code is activated, a blue icon will appear in the top right corner of your browser window.
If you keep running into problems with your Facebook Pixel, we wrote a post the best way to use the Facebook Pixel Helper, and Facebook provides a very helpful troubleshooting guide for the Pixel.