How to Use Facebook Advertising Pixels to Create High Converting Ad Campaigns

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January 15,2015 by
Molly Pittman

Did you hear what Digital Marketer’s CEO and Founder, Ryan Deiss, said?

He predicted that 2015 would be the year of the Great Pixel Land Rush.

ry“Soon all display advertising will be retargeted advertising and the pixel will become even more valuable than the click itself. As larger advertisers continue to buy up ad inventory (and create their own retargeting audiences) those that fail to ‘pixel’ their site visitors won’t be able to afford to advertise.”

At Digital Marketer, we’ve already begun preparations for the “pixel land rush.” We buy traffic today just to place a pixel. Sure … we’re monitoring click costs, cost per lead and all the rest but we’re paying closer and closer attention to a new metric: CPP.”

CPP is Cost Per Pixel.

Pixels allow us to follow up with people who have visited our website in general, specific pages on the site, a sales pages, etc.

The key is that pixels allow you to make TARGETED offers to individuals based off of pages they’ve visited.

For example, we run ads to promote blog posts on content marketing. Then, we retarget the people who read the article with a specific lead magnet for… BLOGGING. (Learn how we do this, here).

It’s much more powerful than making them a broad offer (ex. Digital Marketing)… it allows us to solve a SPECIFIC problem for them.

BUT, pixels can get confusing… especially when it comes to Facebook advertising!

I get a TON of questions about Facebook advertising pixels in Digital Marketer Engage…

… and, since it’s the year of the pixel, I’m going to clear up all of the confusion.

I’m going to outline the different TYPES of pixels, when to use them, where they go, and most importantly… how YOU can use pixels to create higher converting Facebook ad campaigns. 

Types of Pixels

There are two you need to be utilizing:

  • Conversion pixels
  • Website Custom Audience pixel

Let’s start with…

Conversion Pixel

A Facebook conversion pixel is a snippet of code provided by Facebook. The code is placed on a specific web page. When a user visits the page, it triggers the pixel and counts a “conversion”.

Conversion pixels can be used for:

1. Tracking

Essentially, conversion pixels are used to track how many times an action occurs.

Let’s say you place a conversion pixel on your thank you page.
The only way someone could reach this page is if they bought your product.
By placing the tracking pixel you can count how many people have visited that page, and therefore how many sales you made from each of your Facebook ads.
If you’re using a standard 5-step funnel (like we explain here) you could place a conversion pixel on every step of your funnel to track conversions on each step.

For example:


Pay close attention to where you’re placing your pixels.

For example, in regards to the image above:

  • Pixel A would track landing page visits.
  • Pixel B would track optins.
  • Pixel C would track Tripwire sales.
  • Pixel D would track Core Offer sales.
  • Pixel E would track Profit Maximizer sales.

To create or manage your conversion pixels, click on Conversion Tracking in the left hand side of your ad manager:


To create a pixel, click “Create Pixel” in the top right hand corner. Notice that Facebook gives you a few categories to choose from.


This doesn’t mean much other than where the pixel will be categorized in your reports.

QUICK HACK: Keep in mind that in order to track fully through a funnel and to be able to read your reports, you’ll need to make each pixel in the funnel a different category.

For example,


Each of the pixels above would need to be a different “category” (checkouts, registrations, leads, key page views, adds to cart).

Why? Facebook hasn’t quite figured out their reporting when it comes to tracking more than 1 objective.

So, you’ll need to make sure each of the pixels is a different category.  That way, when you customize the columns in your ad report (see below), you can select whichever categories you designated for each pixel in the funnel. You can TRACK!


For example, here are stats from one of our funnels. You can see leads captured and tripwire sales:


This is powerful because you can see which ads, demographics; placements, etc. are ACTUALLY producing results for your Facebook campaign!

Scale the ones that are converting and trim the ones that aren’t working.

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The step-by-step plan to dynamic Facebook re-targeting using Website Custom Audiences.

Click here to access your Execution Plan

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2. Optimization

You can use Facebook pixels to tell Facebook what you WANT out of your campaigns.


When setting up a Facebook advertising campaign Facebook asks what the objective of your campaign is:


If you’re running traffic to something that’s a simple action, like a lead magnet opt in or a webinar sign up, you should almost ALWAYS use the “Increase conversions on your website” objective. (Learn how this decreased our lead cost by 5x, here).

But how does Facebook know what to optimize for? You tell them – using conversion pixels!

You can optimize for one of the pixels you already installed for tracking.


In the case of our 5-step funnel, we will optimize for LEADS.

So, we would optimize for Pixel B – the pixel that’s on the page where visitors land DIRECTLY after they opt in for your lead magnet.

Not only are you telling Facebook EXACTLY what you want from the campaign, you’re also collecting data on the conversion pixel.

Meaning, Facebook is optimizing your campaign for people who are most like the people who have already opted in. This is powerful as you go to scale your advertising campaigns.

Another benefit is that you can create lookalike audiences based off of these pixels. These are PERFECT audiences to target in order to scale your ad campaign.

You can create a lookalike audience in the Conversion Tracking tab of your ads manager.


For the lookalike audiences, Facebook creates an audience of people who are most like the people who have taken that specific action.

That’s it! You’ve mastered conversion pixels. Let’s move to website custom audiences…

Website Custom Audience Pixel

First thing, you only have one website custom audience pixel per Facebook account.

It should be placed in the head template of your site (so that it’s applied to all pages) OR you can manually add the snippet of code to each page. It’s up to you. Here’s more information on how to install the pixel.

Website custom audiences are created for retargeting!

This pixel will create custom audiences of people who visited your website (from ANY traffic source). Learn more about website custom audiences and how we use them to segment our traffic here.

Website custom audiences can be managed under the “Audiences” tab on the left hand side of the ads manager.

Once you’ve installed the pixel, you can begin to create retargeting audiences.

Click “Create Audience”, then “Custom Audience”, then “Website Traffic”, and you’ll see the box below:


Here, you have TONS of options.

  • You can create audiences of people who have visited your entire site.
  • You can create audiences of people who have visited URLS with specific keywords.
  • You can create audiences of people who haven’t visited your site in a certain amount of time.
  • You can create audiences of people who have visited specific web pages or not others. This is our favorite.

We use this method to retarget people throughout our 5-step funnels. See below:


To learn how we set up the dynamic, full funnel retargeting click here.

The best part? You can create lookalike audiences based off of website custom audiences, too!

Website Custom Audiences require ONE pixel to be placed on your site and then custom audiences to be created for retargeting. Conversion pixels are individually placed on different pages so that you can track and optimize.

As you can see, it’s almost impossible to run successful Facebook ads without using PIXELS.

They’re essential for the tracking, optimization, retargeting, and scale of your Facebook campaigns.

Digital Marketer Lab Member Extra

Access your ‘Boomerang Traffic Plan’ Execution Plan in Digital Marketer Lab.

The step-by-step plan to dynamic Facebook re-targeting using Website Custom Audiences.

Click here to access your Execution Plan

Not a Lab member? Click here to learn more about DM Lab

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Molly Pittman

About Molly Pittman

Molly Pittman is Digital Marketer's Vice President and Traffic Manager. She uses her wide range of business and communication skills to acquire customers through paid traffic. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration & Marketing from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. Molly has a tiny black dog named Larry. Connect with Molly on Facebook

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