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

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Want The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy & paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.

November 18,2016 by
Molly Pittman

In 2015 Ryan Deiss, CEO and Founder of DigitalMarketer, 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 DigitalMarketer, 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.

I agreed with Ryan in 2015 and almost two years later, Ryan’s words are still relevant (and even more so, now)…

Pixels allow us to follow up with people who have visited our website.

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

For example, we run ads to promote blog posts on “blogging.”

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 DigitalMarketer Engage

… and, since Facebook rolled out a brand new pixel last year, I’m going to clear up all of the confusion. (Before you read any further, make sure the new Facebook pixel base code is installed site wide on your URL(s)).

I’m going to explain the different uses for the Facebook pixel and how YOU can use pixels to create higher converting Facebook ad campaigns. 

3 Ways to Use the Facebook Pixel

There are three very important uses for the Facebook Pixel:

  • Retargeting (building audiences of people who have visited your website, retargeting throughout a sales funnel)
  • Optimization (creating higher converting Facebook campaigns focused on a specific action)
  • Tracking (tracking the performance of a campaign, for example… you can track how many leads or sales were generated from a particular ad)

Let’s start with…

1. Tracking

Facebook’s pixel can be used to track how many times a particular action occurs.

For example, you can track how many leads were generated from a particular Facebook campaign. Or, how many products you sold from a specific ad.

The best way to track SPECIFIC actions that occurred as a result of your Facebook ads is through the use of custom conversions.

Custom conversions are very similar to the old conversion pixels that Facebook used before the new pixel (and that we miss dearly :)).

You can find custom conversions in the business manager menu:

facebook-pixel-campaigns-img1

Unfortunately, as of now, you are only allotted 40 custom conversions per Facebook account. So, use them wisely.

Like I said earlier, you’ll want to use custom conversions to denote a success action, like generating a lead or purchasing a product.

To do this, you will want to set up a custom conversion for the URL of whatever page people will visit right after they take whatever action you’re tracking.

For example, if you want to track leads, you’ll create a custom conversion based off of whatever page the person will visit after they enter their contact information.

The only way someone could reach this page is if they opted in with their contact information.

To create the custom conversion, you’ll click the “Create Custom Conversion” button, then enter the URL of the success page.

facebook-pixel-campaigns-img2

After you enter the URL, as you can see above, Facebook will also ask you to choose a category. This doesn’t affect tracking or optimization, just select the category that makes the most sense to you. For this example, I chose “lead.”

You’ll then be prompted to name the custom conversion and to give it a value. If you’re tracking purchases, and the conversion has an actually monetary value, feel free to input that number.

Awesome, you’ve created your custom conversion!11.18_Quotebox2_300w

Now, how do we actually track results back to a specific campaign, ad set, or ad?

Unlike the old conversion pixels, you don’t have to tell Facebook to track a specific custom conversion back to its source.

When creating your campaigns, make sure that you check the “track all conversion from my Facebook pixel” option at the ad level. As long as you do this, Facebook will do the tracking for you!

facebook-pixel-campaigns-img3

Now, where do you view results of the custom conversion(s) that you’re wanting to track?

You’ll want to click the “Customize Columns” button in ads manager when viewing your campaigns:

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Then, select the specific custom conversions you’re wanting to track. They will appear as whatever you named them during set up:

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Note that you can track the number of conversions, the cost per conversion, and the value (if you input a numerical value when setting up the custom conversion).

You can customize columns at the campaign, ad set, or ad level—this will give you visibility into what’s specific working (and, what’s not working) within your ad campaigns.

FYI: If you’re running website conversion campaign, make sure you use the customize columns button to view the results for your campaign. Many people are misled because they assume all of the “conversions” reported are the custom conversion they’re optimizing for. Unfortunately, Facebook lumps ALL conversions that have occurred from people who interacted with that particular campaign.

For example, we optimized for the custom conversion of “Customer Avatar” in this campaign. From first glance, it appears as though we’ve generated 21,267 leads. But, because Facebook is now reporting all conversions that have occurred from the people who have interacted with this campaign, you need to dig a little to get the actual number. In this case, we’ve generated 15,476 leads.

facebook-pixel-campaigns-img6

(NOTE: Want The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy & paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

Facebook Ad Templates

2. Optimization

You can use also use custom conversions to tell Facebook what you WANT!

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

facebook-pixel-campaigns-img7

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 custom conversions!

You can optimize for one of the custom conversions you already created for tracking (or a new one).

In the case of a traditional 5-step sales funnel, we will optimize for the Lead Magnet.

So, we would use the custom conversion that’s on the page where visitors land DIRECTLY after they opt-in for your Lead Magnet.11.18_Quotebox3_300w

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

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.

3. Retargeting

Another benefit of the Facebook pixel is that it can be used to create retargeting audiences.

Facebook retargeting audiences are created under the “Audiences” tab in Business Manager.

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To create an audience of people who have interacted with your Facebook pixel (any pages on your site), click create audience, custom audience, then website traffic, and you’ll find a plethora of options:

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First, you can target anyone who’s visited your website as a whole. This one is self-explanatory. Keep in mind that if you have your pixel installed on multiple websites you can select those different URLs from the drop down.

Secondly, you can target people who visit specific web pages. So, if you’d like to target everyone who has visited your product page, a specific Thank You page, for example, this is the option to choose.

Thirdly, you can target people who visit specific web pages but not others. We use this method to retarget people throughout our 5-step funnels. See below:

facebook-pixel-campaigns-img11

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

This option allows you to DYNAMICALLY retarget people who have visited one page but not the other. Want to target people who opted in for your Lead Magnet, but didn’t buy your next offer? This audience is for you.11.18_Quotebox1_300w_v2

Fourthly, people who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time. Use this option to retarget people who have been away from your site for a long period of time. Re-engage them with content or a special discount.

The next option is brand new and very exciting. You can retarget people based off the amount of time spent on your website.

Facebook will create audiences of people who are in the following percentile for time spent on your website:

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Retarget these people with higher dollar offers as they’re some of your “hottest” and most qualified retargeting audiences.

Lastly, you can create a custom combination. Here you can get even more specific and retarget people based off of the number of times they’ve visited your site in a specific duration of time (and if it was mobile or desktop):

facebook-pixel-campaigns-img13

Whichever option you choose, these are PERFECT to create lookalike audiences from in order to scale.

You can create a lookalike audience based off of any of the custom audiences we covered above.

For the lookalike audiences, Facebook creates an audience of people who are most like the people in that custom audience.

To create a lookalike, simply check the audience you’d like to use as the source then click actions and create lookalike:

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Facebook will populate the lookalike audience as a new audience under the Audience tab and you’ll be able to target this audience in a new ad set. Again, these are AWESOME to use for scale. Once you have a campaign that’s working, simply create a lookalike audience off of that success page.

That’s it! You’ve mastered the Facebook pixel (or the parts you really need to know for success, anyway :)).

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

It’s essential for the tracking, optimization, retargeting, and scale of your Facebook campaigns.

(NOTE: Want The Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy & paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

Facebook Ad Templates


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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