How to Install The Facebook Tracking Pixel

3 Jun 2016

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Are you using Facebook’s tracking pixel yet?

Heard about it, but not sure how to install it on your site?

In this article you’ll discover what the tracking pixel is, where to get it and what to do with it once you have it.

Although very powerful, I believe that Facebook don’t do a very good job of explaining the process of installing the pixel on your website, so I’m going to break down the process into easy to follow steps.

But first, what is a tracking pixel and why would you want one?

What is the Facebook Tracking Pixel?

The tracking pixel is one of the coolest things about Facebook ads at the moment. In a nut-shell, you can install a bit of code, which Facebook calls a pixel, on your website then use it to target ads at people who visited your site, or even a particular page on your site. The technical term for this type of advertising is “re-marketing”.

Essentially, what this piece of code does is allow Facebook to match your website visitors with their Facebook accounts, which then gives you the ability to advertise to them. This process is not 100% effective though, as not all website visitors are captured in this way.

They also need to be logged onto Facebook at the time they visit your website, but it is still better than nothing.

Imagine you could target ads for a product or service that you sell to people that visited the relevant sales page on your website but didn’t buy from you at the time! Well, this is what the tracking pixel allows you to do.

Where to find it..

Your first task is to get the pixel installed onto every page of your website. If you have a WordPress site and are quite happy tinkering behind the scenes with code, you can install the pixel yourself. If you are not that tech-savvy and don’t want to mess around with coding, you can install a plug-in like Tracking Code Manager’ by IntellyWP or Insert Headers and Footers by WPBeginner (once installed go to Settings then Insert Headers and Footers and paste the code into the header section), which will take the heavy lifting out of the process.

If you have an older HTML type website that you can’t update yourself, or maybe the idea of doing anything with code fills you with dread, then there is also an option to email the code to your web designer for them to install the code for you. Either way, you start the process in the same way.

Please note that this process may vary slightly, depending on whether or not you’ve previously accessed the pixel (don’t use Internet Explorer as your browser for this, use something like Chrome or FireFox).

  • When logged into Facebook go to your ads dashboard – www.facebook.com/ads/manage
  • On the top tool bar click on the Hamburger Menu (that’s the one with the three lines) at the top left of the screen and select ‘Pixels’ from the menu (see image below).
  • If this is your first time you may be prompted to create and ‘Name Your Pixel’ (I suggest naming it something like “website visitors”)
  • Click on the option to ‘Copy and Paste The Code’
  • You can now select ‘Install Base Pixel Code’ and this will now show you the code, which you can copy and paste into an email to your web designer (if you are having someone else install the pixel on your website)
  • You  may notice that if you scroll down the page there is also an option to ‘Install Event Code’. The first code is called the ‘Base Code’ and this is all you need to be able to aim ads at people who visit your website BUT, you may also want to use the pixel to track conversions on certain pages of your site. That is what the second code is for. It is called ‘The Standard Event’ code and there is a selection of different events for you to choose from, such as when someone has made a purchase from your website (the Standard Event code for “Purchase” should be added to the relevant ‘Thank-You’ page on your website).
    If you don’t need to track one of these ‘standard events’ and only want to use the pixel to target your ads, you may decide that you don’t want to use the Standard Event Code at all, in which case I would recommend mentioning that you only want to the base code added, when you are emailing your web designer with instructions.If you do need to track conversions, I would recommend telling the person who’s installing it for you, which Event Code you want to use and on which page it needs to be installed.This does not go on all pages of your website like the Base Code does, only on the pages that signal an event has occurred. It is usually better if you can measure your ad performance in terms of return on investment, but if you don’t want to mess with code, and you only have a small number (up to a maximum of 40) of conversions to measure, there is a much easier way. See section on ‘Conversion Tracking’ section below for full details.
  • If you are installing the code yourself, you should copy the pixel code and paste it between the head tags of every page of your website (see WordPress app mentioned above). 
  • To test that the pixel is properly installed, you should also install the free Chrome Pixel Helper browser extension. By the way, you can also use this tool to see whether the Facebook tracking pixel has been added to any website.

Pixel Menu

What to do once you have it..

Once the pixel has been installed it takes 24 for the data to be available for use in your ads targeting. Before then you will see a notice saying ‘audience too small’ if you try to create an ad at this time. I would recommend leaving it 24hrs before creating your ad.

Okay so once the pixel has been installed, the next thing you will want to do is to create a ‘Website Custom Audience’. From your ads dashboard, go back to ‘Tools’, then select ‘Audiences’, then click on the blue ‘Create an Audience’ button (top left), select ‘Custom Audience’ then ‘Website Traffic’.

If your pixel has been properly installed you should see a green spot at the top of the page. If you see a red spot, the pixel has not been properly installed. From here you can select who you want to target – is it visitors to any page on your site or do you want to specify a particular page.

You can select the duration since the last visit to your site. The default is 30 days but you can increase this to a maximum of 180 days or decrease it to shorter times, if you want to target people while your company is still fresh in their minds.

Then lastly, you need to name your ‘Custom Audience’. I would recommend something like “[insert name of company] website visitors 30 Days”. You can create as many of these custom audiences as you like, so you might have one for website traffic within the last 7 days, or whatever suits your situation.

One thing to bear in mind though, if Facebook can’t match enough accounts for you, it won’t let you advertise to less than 20 people so you may need to increase the length of time between visiting your website and seeing the ad, or if you are trying to target a particular page on your site, that doesn’t get much traffic, you may need to go broad and target all website visitors.

You are now ready to use the Custom Audience in an ad. Start by creating your ad in the usual way (I recommend using the Power Editor but if you are more familiar with the Ads Manager, you can use that instead). When you get to the ‘Audience Targeting’ section, you will see a field for ‘Custom Audiences’ at the top of that section.

Click on the ‘Browse’ button and you will see a drop-down list of all your custom audiences. Just select the one you want and carry on as normal.

Conversion Tracking

As I mentioned above, there are actually two pieces of code, the ‘Base Pixel’ code and the ‘Standard Event’ code. The ‘Standard Event’ code helps you measure your conversions and allows you to add a monetary value to these ‘events’.

If you have an e-commerce business where you are selling dozens of products online, installing the ‘Standard Event’ code is definitely the way to go, but if you are likely to have 40 or less conversions that you need to track at any one time, there is a much easier way of doing it. AND, it doesn’t even involve adding code to your website. Yay!! 🙂

When you are logged in to your Ads Manager dashboard, click on the Hamburger Menu, click on ‘All Tools’ at the bottom of the window and under the ‘Measure and Report’, click on ‘Custom Conversions’.

Custom Conversions

Click on the green ‘Create Custom Conversions’ button in the middle of the screen (or the blue button top left), then paste in the URL that you would like to track (you don’t need the www. but at the start of the URL), for example your newsletter Thank-you page or a sales page, then choose the ‘Category’ you want to measure, depending on what you are trying to track.

Custom Conversion URL

Click ‘Next’ and then give your ‘Custom Conversion’ a name.

If you need to assign your ‘Custom Conversion’ a monetary value, check the ‘Set a Conversion Value’ box, then add in the value of the conversion and click ‘Create’ and Voila, you are done. That’s all there is to it.

User Privacy

Once you have installed the tracking pixel onto your site, you should make sure that you have updated your website’s Privacy Policy, to keep everything transparent and above board. Here is an example from the Privacy Policy we use on this site.

Privacy Policy text to use with the Facebook tracking pixel

Conclusion

If you are not using Facebook’s tracking pixel you are missing out on a huge opportunity to target a ‘warm’ audience. If someone has already visited your website, unless they ended up there by accident, it’s safe to assume that they are interested in what you have to sell.

Going one step further though, the pixel gives you the opportunity to segment your web visitors, because you know what specific page (or pages) they have visited, giving you the chance to customise your message to reflect a known interest.

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