Have you placed ads on Facebook, or are you planning on doing so in the near future? If so, there's an essential tool provided by Facebook that you should definitely already be using: the Facebook Pixel. This blog post explains what the Pixel is and how you should implement it in your shop.
The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that can be placed in your online shop. As soon as the code has been implemented in your shop, it starts collecting data about visitors to your shop.
The data that the Pixel collects can help you...
There are three excellent reasons to add the code to your online shop's code.
The pixel provides precise statistics on conversion rates once a user has clicked on your ads, and how that user interacts with your online shop.
One valuable feature: the Pixel isn’t bound to one device. It will detect if a user views an ad on a mobile device but then makes the actual purchase on a desktop PC. And vice-versa.
You'll thus know precisely how much you need to spend to capture customers and can adjust or optimise your advertising strategy accordingly.
The longer you use Facebook Pixel, the more efficient your ads will become. So-called ‘Lookalike Audiences’ can help you reach users whose online behaviour is very similar to that of your customers — in other words, users with similar interests and similar demographics.
Facebook determines which users represent suitable customers for your shop and can then show ads to a target audience with a greater willingness to buy. This helps significantly enlarge your base of potential customers, and, ideally, your increased sales with it.
Data from Pixel is available not just for reaching new customers and visitors, but also for reaching out to Facebook users who have already visited your shop before.
If desired, you can be very specific in this regard. For example, it's possible to show users adverts for precisely the product that they had previously put in the shopping cart without completing the process.
The retargeting is then used to remind visitors of your shop that they had placed a product in the shopping cart, which can be a highly profitable approach:
Facebook expert Katharina Zimmermann on retargeting:
Retargeting lets you avoid showing your ads to users who have no interest whatsoever in your shop.
That means that you can play out your adverts in a targeted manner, reach interested customers and not spend any money on impressions that don’t increase your sales.
It is definitely worthwhile to integrate the Facebook Pixel into your shop, even if you're not yet investing in Facebook ads. If and when you do decide to begin advertising your products on Facebook, you’ll already have a list of users who have visited your shop. There’s no need to start from scratch when you've already got a target audience identified.
Note: The current Facebook Pixel (as of April 2017) combines two older versions of the Pixel: the Conversion Tracking Pixel and the Custom Audience Pixel. Facebook announced on February 17th, 2017 that it would be discontinuing the Conversion Tracking Pixel. If you’ve already been using a Facebook Pixel, then you should switch to the new Pixel ASAP.
The Facebook Pixel can collect data in two different ways. Either you collect data via 9 standard events predefined by Facebook, or you create your own events.
An event here is an action initiated by a visitor of your online shop. By focusing on the event...
… Search, you’ll reach visitors who have used your shop's search function
… View content, you’ll reach visitors who have visited your shop
… Add to Cart, you’ll reach visitors who have put something into your shop's shopping cart
… Add to Wishlist, you’ll reach visitors who have added a product from your shop to their wishlist
… Initiate checkout, you’ll reach visitors who started the checkout process
… Add payment info, you’ll reach visitors who have already added payment data to their account or purchase transaction
… Make purchase, you’ll reach visitors who have made a purchase in your online shop
… Lead, you’ll reach visitors who have filled out a form (such as to subscribe to a newsletter)
… Complete registration, you’ll reach visitors who have successfully filled out a registration form (such as for a subscription product)
Instead of these predefined events, it’s also possible to create your own custom event. This allows for you to collect more detailed data, or cover an important action that the standard events don’t hit.
These events are defined as Custom Conversions and are assigned to specific URLs or terms in URLs.
Instead of working with the View Content event, you can create a custom event to capture a target audience composed of visitors who viewed a shop category. This might be used, for example, to prevent men from being shown new summer dresses, or cat owners from being shown dog tools, or a Chelsea fan from being presented an advert for an Arsenal shirt.
You’ll need to create the Custom Conversions before you can use them.
Once you understand what the Pixel is capable of, you then just need to create it and implement it in your online shop.
Open the Facebook ad manager, click on the hamburger icon (≡) and select the Pixel menu element.
After that, click on Setup Pixel in the upper menu. Name your Pixel (preferably with the name of your shop + Pixel, as you can only use one Pixel per ad account), accept the Facebook Terms & Conditions and then click on “Next”.
To allow the Pixel to gather data from visitors to your stop, you need to add it into the source code on your e-commerce page.
Some shop management systems (Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento) include a feature that automatically adds the code to the right spot. Select Use an Integration or Tag Manager function and follow the directions from there.
If you're using a shop system that doesn’t support this, then the Pixel needs to be added manually. Fortunately the manual method involves little more than classic copy & paste to the proper spot.
Select the option Copy and insert code, copy the displayed code and then add it into the header code for your web site.
Please be sure to insert the code between <head> and </head>. You can either copy the Pixel code directly into your shop template or, if this isn’t possible, onto each page where the Pixel should gather data.
Once you've finished this, click on Next.
As the next step, you can insert event codes for any action that you'd like to track and whose data you want to use for later advert placement.
Use the recommended or expanded version of the event code to include parameters for a more precise measurement of data and other optimisation of the Pixel.
You can then insert the suitable event code under the </head> tag in the associated sub-page of your online shop. The Purchase event, for example, should be used on the sub-page to which customers are redirected after a product is successfully purchased.
Another option is to combine the event codes with specific HTML elements. These include the buttons that trigger a specific event, such as for example the confirmation of payment data.
Once the event codes have been copied to the right locations, you can then click on Next.
If everything goes smoothly, the Pixel will immediately start collecting data about visitors to your shop. You should nevertheless check to ensure that it’s working properly. The Facebook Pixel Helper extension for Google Chrome is the quickest way to make that check.
Once you've installed the Chrome extension, you can start the check immediately. You can do so by visiting the page where you've installed the Pixel.
If the Pixel is detected by the extension, the </> Icon turns blue and a pop-up indicated whether and how many Pixels were detected on the sub-page. The Pixel Helper also shows whether the Pixel is working properly and, if an error was detected, provides troubleshooting information.
Extremely important: Make absolutely certain that you comply with all privacy guidelines and laws and that your shop properly notifies customers that it is using cookies and tracking methods.
The Facebook Pixel is an impressive marketing tool that can help you generate more sales via Facebook. For this reason, it’s worth implementing it even if you're not yet advertising with Facebook. But this begs the question: Why aren’t you advertising on Facebook yet?