Facebook made another change to its ad platform.
This time, it’s changing up the way you track website visitors and conversions. Over a year ago, Facebook created a way to track people who have visited your website while logged into Facebook. It also created a similar method to track website conversions. For both tracking tasks, Facebook had you generate code – called a pixel – to paste onto your website.
Facebook is now a one pixel system, and the way you set up your custom audience tracking and your conversions are now both part of the same “base” pixel installed in your website. And when you are going to track conversions, you add some additional code to your base pixel code to the specific website page you want to track.
This post looks at how to set up the Facebook custom audience pixel with the goal to track your website visitors, but does include some basic information on how to take the additional steps to set up your conversion tracking as well. Setting up your conversion tracking is a more involved and separate process, but it would still begin with generating and adding your Facebook pixel code to your website.
Setting up your Facebook Pixel to Build Custom Audiences
- From your Ads Manager account, click on All Tools –> Pixels.
- Click the green Create Pixel button.
- Name your Pixel, then click the blue Create Pixel button.
- At this point, Facebook has generated your pixel code for you. Most people will click to Copy and Paste the Code. If you don’t manage your own website or prefer to use an integration or tag manager, you have those options, too. You can click the Copy to Clipboard button if you are ready to copy/paste the pixel code into your website. If you are able to add the Facebook pixel code yourself to your website, copy the code that you see in the top box, and paste it in between the <head> </head> tags of your website. If you use WordPress, you will likely have a section within your theme’s settings to hold the code. Often it’s the same place that you’d paste your Google Analytics tracking code or Google+ page verification code snippet.If you are able to copy and paste the pixel code into your website at this time, go ahead and verify the pixel is correctly installed by entering your URL and clicking on the Send Test Traffic button. Make sure you visit at least 1 page on your website after adding and saving the code, but before clicking on the green Send Test Traffic button.
- At this point, you have the option to copy the event code to set up conversion tracking. If you aren’t tracking conversions right now, you can skip past this section. You can access the event codes needed for conversion tracking at a later time. When done with the event code section, you are given the option to email the base pixel code and instructions to yourself or someone else.To set up conversion tracking, either visit Tools –> Pixels, and click on the Create Conversion button, or Tools –> Custom Conversions. The Create Conversion option presents you with a list of Standard Events and their related code snippets. You’d need to add your chosen Standard Event code to your existing pixel code, and paste it only on the page you want to track conversions. Since most people place their main remarketing pixel code in the <head> section of their website or in their WP theme settings, you can repaste all of the code (remarketing pixel + standard event) on the specific page you are tracking for conversions. The Custom Conversion option eliminates the need for pasting additional code. Instead, you give Facebook the specific URL you want to use to track your conversions.
- Next you will be asked to create an audience. To create an audience based on your Facebook pixel traffic, choose Custom Audience, then Website Traffic.
- You can create multiple audiences, and use your Facebook base pixel for some of those audiences. You’ll want to name your (total) website audience and decide how many days you want to store website visitors in your audience.
Select what website traffic you want to track. Usually people want to track all website visitors, but you can filter traffic. Set the number of days you for you which you want to store your website visitor history. The maximum number of days is 180. Your custom audience will always have the most recent 180 days’ worth of traffic included in it. Older traffic (181+ days) will naturally drop out. Name your custom audience, then click Create Audience.
- Now your Custom Audience is ready! You can visit it at any time by clicking Tools –> Audiences from the navigation menu in your Ads Manager.
- Want to check on your pixel audience? Visit the Audiences tab. A red circle means there’s no pixel activity yet. As soon as the red circle turns green, you’re all set! As days go by and your audience grows, you can visit its progress by visiting this view in your Ads Manager.
Once you have a healthy custom audience assembled, you can choose to advertise to this audience when you are building your new ads. Advertising to an audience of people who have already visited your site means you are paying to have your products or services put in front of people who already have some awareness of your business. This often is a quicker and more effective approach to sales.
If or when you decide to use an event code to track conversions, be sure you choose “Conversion” as your ad type, and select your conversion event from the drop down in your Ads Manager.
What has been your experience advertising to a custom website audience?