The following excerpt is from Perry Marshall, Keith Krance and Thomas Meloche’s book Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound
One of the most misunderstood elements of the Facebook ads platform is the “great and powerful” Facebook Pixel, but once you pull back the curtain, it really becomes much more simple and clear. Facebook describes it as such: “The Facebook Pixel is an analytics tool that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding the actions people take on your website. You can use the pixel data to:
- Make sure your ads are being shown to the right people.
- Build advertising audiences.
- Unlock additional Facebook advertising tools.”
According to Facebook, with the Facebook Pixel, you can:
- Reach the right people (Audience building)
- Drive more sales (Optimization)
- Measure the results of your ads (Tracking)
In a nutshell, the three main purposes of the Facebook Pixel are:
- Audience building
- Tracking and measurement
If you thought the Pixel was only used for tracking and measuring, don’t worry; you’re not alone. This is a very common misconception, so let’s dig into each super power.
This is generally the most understood and most utilized purpose of the Facebook Pixel. You simply place the pixel on any web page you want to measure your results from your advertising. You can measure such actions as number of leads or cost per lead, purchase data, shopping cart and checkout page activity, visitor engagement, visitor events (like clicking a button on your site) and other data that will help you measure the results of your advertising and make data-driven decisions to increase your overall ROI.
Facebook’s amazing algorithms do all the heavy lifting for you if you’ve set up and configured the Pixel properly, which is why this is so important to take the time to do right. Without the Pixel set for proper conversion tracking, you’re flying blind. You won’t know what’s working and what’s not.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
The most misunderstood power of the Facebook Pixel is one of our favorites and is surprisingly not utilized to its potential — that’s the audience-building capability. Every single page of your website should have the Facebook Pixel installed on it.
When anyone visits your website’s home page, blog posts or article pages, sales pages, add-to-cart pages, checkout pages and anything in between, you should be tracking that and building custom audiences based on that activity so you can retarget or remarket to at a later time or even simultaneously.
The Facebook Pixel does this for you seamlessly.
All the data we share with Facebook by simply having the Pixel installed on each page of our website is analyzed and correlated behind the scenes to create segmented audiences based on dynamic user behavior. These audiences can be based on several different user behaviors, but the most common is website visitor activity. Facebook is continually adding more and more visitor engagement options every few months so you can have more options to segment your audiences. Plus, this will make it easier for you to put the right message in front of the right audience based on their level of awareness, intent and trust.
In case you didn’t already get how powerful this truly is, let’s do a quick example and pretend you own a sporting goods business that sells things for two sports — tennis and basketball. In your blog, you’ve published two articles. Article one is titled “Three Quick Tips to Easily Add 10 MPH to Your Tennis Serve,” while article two is titled “Try This In-Home Exercise That Can Quickly Add Up to Two Inches or More to Your Vertical Leap, in Just Five Minutes a Day.”
These are free, content-rich articles or videos that don’t require a visitor to purchase access, opt in or subscribe to your mailing list to get access to.
With the Facebook Pixel firing properly, you leverage the power of segmented audiences being automatically built behind the scenes. You can then tell Facebook to show your “Special Edition Tennis Racquet” offer to only website visitors of the serving tips article (and any other tennis related article), and your new “Vertical Leap Explosion” basketball skills program to all website visitors of the vertical leap exercise article — and any other basketball related article or video you published.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The important thing to understand is that you’re able to architect and engineer any path you’d like to put in front of your engaged visitors. And if you’re not already getting visitors coming to your site organically, you can always use strategic Facebook ads to get those initial visitors consuming your content!
Ads optimization with artificial intelligence (AI)
Many people don’t fully understand the second super power of the pixel — ads optimization.
When you create new ad sets inside the Ads Manager, you select a “campaign objective” to optimize for the goal you’re trying to achieve for that campaign. It may be Brand Awareness, Engagement, Lead Generation, Video Views, Product Catalog Sales and more. More importantly, you can set a specific website conversion or event that you want Facebook to optimize for — aka put your ads in front of other users with similar interests and behaviors as your converting visitors.
For example, if you run a campaign using the website conversions objective and want Facebook to specifically optimize for webinar registrations, then you’re telling Facebook to show your ads to users more like the people who are registering for your webinar. What happens is that the Pixel is feeding data back to the Facebook database every time that campaign objective is fulfilled. Facebook takes the data, analyzes it and more intelligently and accurately does more of what it’s already successfully done.
Now, if a different conversion objective than the one you chose to optimize your campaign around is achieved and triggered, Facebook will still track that conversion inside the reporting tool — as long as you created a Standard Event or a Custom Conversion. So, in essence, your targeting gets better and better after every single webinar registration you generate thanks to artificial intelligence.