Running ads is a good thing. You get more people coming to your site, and consequently, more people buying your products. If I asked you over lunch one day – think of your favorite restaurant, we’re probably eating there, I trust locals when I travel – how many of those people convert, what would you tell me?
A savvy marketer, the kind I really like to see has traffic statistics on hand. You’ll know exactly how many people your ads funnel in, and you’ll know how many of those people convert. You’ll have plans in mind to refine your targeting, make better ads, and boost your conversion rate.
All too often, I talk to novice marketers who just don’t have an answer for me. How many people come in through their ads? Oh, they probably know, in general. After all, Facebook gives them a nice and easy reading there. How many of them convert? That’s where the data breaks down. They know total conversions in the given time period, but they don’t know how many came from Facebook versus how many were organic or from other ads.
This is where conversion tracking comes in. With conversion tracking, you put a little piece of code on your site and it in turn puts a little bit of code on the computers of the people clicking your ads. This allows you to harvest data specifically from those people, using Facebook’s Insights.
The Facebook Pixel
All of this code comes in the Facebook Pixel. Also known as the offsite pixel, it’s a bit of code you find on Facebook, generate with specific parameters relevant to your ads, and add to your site. You can read all of their techno-documentation here.
The tracking pixel gives you a lot of information. For one thing, it shows you just how many of your visitors came from your ads. It can also show you just how many of those people converted. That’s the absolute most basic level of functionality.
Facebook can create a custom audience made up of the people who have clicked your ads. This allows you to run special remarketing campaigns. You can run similar campaigns based on anyone who visits your site, regardless of where they came from. You can also build a list of people who converted, and exclude them from the remarketing; no reason to show your ads to people who already bought your product, right?
Optimizing Ad Spend
Another feature of the pixel is the ability to use it to control your ad spending. You do this by setting a type of conversion for your ad. For example, if your ad is geared towards getting people to buy a product, you would want to spend differently than if your ad was geared towards getting people to fill out an opt-in form. It’s much like ad objectives, only it helps Facebook determine who among your audience is most likely to convert. This is, of course, only relevant if you’re using oCPM instead of their other payment types.
Step 1: Make the Pixel
To make the tracking pixel, you need to use the Facebook Power Editor, which means you have to be using Google Chrome as your browser. With the toolbar active, click the top-left menu and click down to conversion tracking. Next, click to create a conversion pixel. Name the pixel and choose the conversion category.
Step 2: Implement the Code
Depending on the action you want completed, you paste the tracking pixel in a different place. For example, if you want people to buy a product, you might put the code on your checkout completed page. If you want users to fill out a form, paste the code in the “thanks for submitting” page. The concept is the same regardless of the action; a page that only users who perform the desired action can see.
As for where you paste the code specifically, it needs to be in the <head> tags of your HTML of that page. If you’re working with raw code, it’s easy enough to do. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, you’ll have to use their system to edit it in, usually through a “Custom Tracking/Conversion Code” box.
Step 3: Verify
Once you’ve pasted in the code, check Power Editor again. There will be a list of tracking pixels – you can have more than one for different actions – with status indicators. Unverified means there may be an issue with your pixel. Active means someone has visited that page and Facebook successfully tracked them. Inactive means the code is functional, but no one has visited the page in the last 24 hours.
If you’re having issues with your pixel not working, Facebook has a tool that can help. It’s called, fittingly enough, the Facebook Pixel Helper.
Step 4: Make Ads
In order to track on an ad-by-ad basis, you would either have to make and implement a different pixel for each ad, or you would have to set it in your ad itself. Thankfully, Facebook opts for the latter option.
When you create an ad, click over to the Creative & Placements tab, and click conversion tracking. This will bring up a list of pixels and other tracking codes, from which you pick the one you want to track. Make sure you pick the right one! You don’t want to track the wrong page and record ineffective conversions.
That’s it. With the code active, and an ad active, you’re all set. When a user clicks the ad, they’re tracked. When they convert, they’re tracked as well.