Facebook Pixel is a tool within Facebook for Business. It can track conversions (actions) on your website as a result of your Facebook Ads, retarget specific audiences, and give you valuable insight into how your users are interacting with your content.
This feature has been around for a while but recently experienced a major update. In this guide, we’ll talk about what the Facebook pixel actually does, show you the three most important features of the updated version, and take you through how to use it for your business.
What is the Facebook pixel?
A pixel is actually a small piece of code created by Facebook that you can then install on web pages.
The previous version of Facebook Pixel included two separate components. The first was the Website Custom Audience Pixel, which tracked and recorded Facebook users that interacted with your site. With this you could see people that went from your Facebook Ads to your website and then target those people as a custom audience for future Ads. The second component was the Conversion Tracking Pixel which would tell you what actions (or conversions) users completed on your website.
Conversions are the reason we pay for Ads on Facebook, right? That’s why this information is so valuable. With pixels we can see just how effective our Ads are, and how to make them better. But there were several flaws in the old version of this tool. Thankfully, with the update to Facebook Pixel, we can use pixels more efficiently and be even more specific in our conversion tracking.
You can read the full announcement, but below are the three most important updates to the new version of Facebook Pixel:
1. One Pixel is Better Than Two
The previous version included the two separate pixels discussed above – one for tracking audience and the other for tracking conversions. Both pixels needed to be installed separately on the desired website pages. Because of this, websites often had many different pixels on the same page.
The update includes a consolidated pixel for tracking both necessary components. Having only one pixel makes everything simpler in terms of installation, and also with data. With each installed pixel (in the old version), Facebook would have to send information for that pixel alone. Now, the process of sending data has been streamlined.
2. Pixel Speed
In their release, Facebook announced that the new pixels were “now up to 3X faster” than the old ones. As we all know, site speed affects SEO – so this was a significant improvement. The presence of multiple pixels on a single web page was a drag on overall site speed. Sending information for each and every pixel was a complicated process that slowed things down as well.
I mentioned that a pixel is code – but for what? When you install a pixel on a website page’s code, you’re actually placing an invisible 1×1 pixel image. These images are what send information to Facebook when a user completes an action on the page. With multiple codes installed the site was downloading multiple images. Fewer pixels mean fewer images, and this means faster site speed.
3. More Tracking Options
The original version of the pixel allowed you to track one of five different actions. These actions were:
- Key Page View
- Add to Cart
You had to choose one (and only one) before Facebook would supply you with the pixel code. If you wanted to track more than one of these actions on the same page, you could install more individual pixels (one per extra action). This, of course, was another huge drag on site speed, not to mention the fact that all of these different pixels became complicated for you to keep track of.
The updated pixels now give you an amazing array of options through an expanded list of actions and an added parameter list. The actions now include:
- View Content
- Add to Cart
- Add to Wishlist
- Start Checkout Process
- Add Payment Information
- Complete Purchase
- Complete Registration
In addition to this expanded list, you can also now customize parameters for the actions above. I’ll show you exactly how to do this in the next section. The available parameters are:
- Content Name
- Content Category
- Content ID
- Content Type
- Number of Items
- Search String
If you’re not sure which actions or parameters you should be tracking, Facebook gives us a more in-depth look at each of the options. The parameters are shown in their chart below:
Now that you understand the fundamental updates to the new version of this tool, we’ll get into how exactly to set pixels up on your website and what to do with them once they’re there!
How You Can Use Pixels
Whether you already have the old pixels installed or have never even heard of the feature before, this section will take you through how to set up the new version.
Note: If you already have them installed, you will need to update to the new pixels. Facebook plans to retire the old version in the later part of 2016.
- You’ll find the Pixel tool within Facebook’s Power Editor platform. Once you’re on the Power Editor dashboard, click on the “Pixels” option under the Tools drop-down menu bar. I would recommend opening Pixels in a new tab – you’re going to need to come back to the Power Editor page later.
- Next, you’ll see a page with an option to Create a Pixel. Click this and name the pixel after your business. You can choose to email the code to yourself or someone else (if you have a site developer), but we’re going to go ahead and install the pixel now.
- Another window with code at the top will appear. This is called the base code for the pixel, and it needs to be installed on each and every page of your website. For help on this, click here. The image below is a screenshot of the window, but not all of the code can be seen without scrolling down. Use this code when copying and pasting for your own site, but for now look at the image beneath where you can see the pixel in its entirety (with the exception of your Pixel ID, which you will have to input yourself – keep reading!).
- Click “Next” and then “Done.” This will take you to your Facebook Pixel dashboard. There’s no data or information because we still need to install the pixel code with your unique ID. Let’s look back at the step above about creating the base code.
- Notice that