The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and Why Should Use

the facebook pixel

One of the biggest benefits of social media advertising is that you can test, track, refine and target your ads with laser precision. The Facebook pixel is a data-gathering software that helps take advantage of your ads across Facebook and Instagram.

If you are using Facebook or Instagram ads or plan to use them in the future, the Facebook pixel is a must-use device. Read on to learn the way it works, and the key details you need to know about upcoming changes for iOS 14.

What is the Facebook pixel?

The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you put on your website. It collects data that lets you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future ads and remarket to people who have already taken some types of action on your website.

How does the Facebook pixel work?

The Facebook pixel works by putting and triggering cookies to track users when they interact with your business both on and off of Facebook and Instagram.

For instance, I recently spotted a bathmat in the Instagram Stories of interior design YouTuber Alexandra Gater. (At the time, I used to be thinking about my decorating my apartment, not the Facebook pixel, so I didn’t screencap – you should believe me on this.)

I swiped up to take a look at the bathmat and even added it to my shopping cart. Then I got distracted by thinking about my dinner and put down my phone.

The next time I opened my Instagram, this ad appeared in Stories:

Instagram Stories Baba Souk ad

Source: Baba Souk on Instagram

And I’m sure, the next time I headed to Facebook on my laptop.

Facebook Baba Souk ad

Source: Baba Souk on Facebook

That is called retargeting. It’s a useful way for marketers to remind shoppers to return again and purchase all those items they leave in numerous shopping carts across the web.

Remarketing is not the one function of the Facebook pixel. It’s also essential for tracking, analytics, and overall ad optimization.

The pixel tracks many actions people take on your website, like making a purchase or adding something to their shopping cart. These actions are called “events.”

Facebook pixel standard events

Here are the 17 standard Facebook pixel events for which you can just copy and paste Facebook event code:

  • Purchase: Someone completes a purchase order on your website.
  • Lead: Someone signs up for a trial or otherwise identifies themselves as a lead on your website.
  • Complete registration: Someone completely registers on your site, such as a subscription form.
  • Add payment information: Someone enters their payment info in the purchase process on your website.
  • Add to cart: Someone puts a product to their shopping cart on your site.
  • Initiate checkout: Someone goes to the checkout process to purchase something from your site.
  • Add to wishlist: Someone adds a product to their wishlist on your website.
  • Search: Someone uses the search function to find out something on your site.
  • View content: Someone scroll down on a specific page on your website.
  • Contact: Someone contacts your business.
  • Customize product: Someone selects a selected version of a product, such as selecting a certain color.
  • Donate: Someone donates to your cause.
  • Find location: Someone looks for your business’s physical location.
  • Schedule: Someone books an appointment at your business.
  • 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.

You may also add more details to standard events using more bits of code known as parameters. These let you customize the standard events based on elements like:

  • How much a conversion event is worth
  • Currency
  • Content-type
  • Predicted long-term value

For instance, you might use the Facebook tracking pixel to track views of a specific category on your website, instead of tracking all views. You may want to separate dog owners from cat owners based on which sections of your pet supply website they viewed.

The Facebook pixel and iOS 14.5

Due to changes to third-party tracking in iOS 14.5, some Facebook pixel functionality will be disabled for updated Apple devices. Before you panic, you should know that only 14.7% of mobile Facebook users access the social network using iOS devices.

Nonetheless, changes to accommodate the iOS 14.5 requirements will affect all advertisers. One big change is that advertisers can only set up a maximum of eight standard events and custom conversions.

Advertisers will definitely have to change the way they consider the Facebook pixel as these changes take effect. We’ll address specific limitations and changes you should know throughout this post.

Why should you install the Facebook pixel?

Improve the ROI on your Facebook ad spend

Facebook pixel data helps to make sure that your ads are seen by the people who are probably to take your desired action. This lets you improve your Facebook ad conversion rate and get a better ROI.

Even if you’re not using Facebook or Instagram ads yet, you need to install the Facebook pixel now. It will start collecting data so that you don’t have to begin from scratch when you’re ready to create your first ad on Facebook.

Use Facebook conversion tracking

The Facebook pixel lets you see how folks work together along with your website after viewing your Facebook ad.

You’ll be able to even track customers across their devices. That is the reason why I saw an ad for the bathmat on my laptop, even though I added to it the shopping cart on my phone.

This allows you to see if people tend to see your ads on mobile however switch to a desktop before buying. Or, maybe it’s the other way around. This data will let you refine your ad strategy and calculate your return on investment.

This Facebook pixel function is impacted by the iOS 14.5 change. However, Facebook will ensure advertisers still get some conversion tracking data through its Aggregated Event Measurement.

To make sure you continue to get the most effective conversion tracking data, you have to verify your website domain. You also need to stay to one domain for conversion tracking, since iOS 14.5 won’t allow tracking across multiple domains.

Use Facebook retargeting

Facebook retargeting pixel data and dynamic ads let you show targeted ads to people who have already visited your site. You’ll be able to select to get really granular here.

For instance, you can show people an ad for the precise product that they abandoned in a shopping cart or add to a wishlist on your website – as happened with the bathmat I was ogling earlier.

Retargeting audiences will shrink as more people update to iOS 14.5. However, they won’t disappear.

Create lookalike audiences

Facebook can use its targeting information that will 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 may help increase your potential customer base.

iOS 14.5 will have an effect on the input data for lookalike audiences because the tracked audience the lookalike is based on will shrink. However, as a result of iOS users are in the minority, the lookalike functions will still have plenty of information to work with. You won’t likely notice the main change to functionality here.

Optimize Facebook ads for value

As Facebook collects information on who buys from your site and how much they spend, it could 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

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