Confused about the Facebook Ad pixel?

If all this talk about Facebook pixels is a bit overwhelming to you then this is the post for you.

In this article, I will help you understand just what you need to know about the Facebook pixel and explain:

  • What is the Facebook pixel and how can it help you track conversions and retarget your website visitors
  • Where to place the pixel.
  • How you can use the pixel to improve your ad results
  • An incredibly effective ad strategy using pixels that is sure to improve the results your getting from your ads

Let’s get started!

What’s Is A The Facebook Pixel Anyway?

It is simply just a small piece of javascript code that Facebook provides for you to place on the pages of your website. This small piece of code allows you to:

The Facebook pixel is designed to allow you to:

  • Build Custom Audiences from your website
  • Optimize your ads for conversions
  • Track conversions
  • Show ads to those who recently visited your website
  • Track your website activity, allowing you to use Facebook Analytics to learn more about your website visitors

Here is an example of what the Facebook pixel code looks like.

new vs old pixels

Now if you are a non-techie sort of person, don’t worry I am going to show you exactly how and where to add this code to your website and it is really a simple process.

Why You Should Install The Pixel Today (Even If You Aren’t Running Ads)

I am amazed at how many websites I see that still do not have the Facebook pixel installed.

Even if you aren’t using Facebook ads or even not sure if you ever will… It just makes sense to add the pixel to your website now so that Facebook will start building an audience for when you are ready to run Facebook ads.

Facebook ads generate the best result when targeting a warm audience (like recent website visitors). I have had many clients who want to start running ads yet we can’t target their recent website visitors because they have not yet installed their Facebook pixel.

In addition to being able to build custom audiences, the Facebook pixel also tracks your website visitor activity. Facebook has recently released Facebook Analytics, giving you a way to get detailed data about your website visitors and the actions they take on your site.

How To Get Your Pixel Code

Start by visiting the Ads Manager. Once there, click on the hamburger icon (the stacked three lines) in the upper left-hand corner. A menu will appear. From this menu, choose “Pixels” under the “Assets” tab.

pixel menu option


Next, click Create a Pixel.

create a pixel

Next name your pixel, accept the terms, and click Next. Remember you only get one pixel per ad account, so name it after your business not a campaign you are thinking of running.

name your facebook pixel

Now it is time to install your pixel code. To do this, click the Copy and Paste the Code option.

installing your pixel code

Finally copy the pixel code and you will want to place it within the header section of your website’s code. See below for a more detailed explanation on how to do this.

The key point to remember is that you want this code to get added to EVERY PAGE on your website.

Where To Put The Facebook Pixel?

This pixel code needs to be placed on any page on your website that you want to track people visiting that page.

Best practice is to just add this code to all your website pages so that the tracking is their in case you ever need it.

Your pixel needs to be installed in the <head></head> section of your index page.

The <head></head> section can be found near the top of the code. There will also be a bunch of other code between the first opening <head> tag and the closing </head> tag. Scroll down to the closing </head> tag and paste your pixel code right above it.

where to place pixel code

Don’t worry, if you are a non-techie, you can always just email this code to your web designer and they can install it for you.

Installing the pixel code if you have a wordpres site.

You need to add the Facebook Pixel code just before the </head> in your WordPress theme.

To make this super easy for yourself, simply use the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. After installing and activating the plugin, you need to go to the Settings » Insert Headers and Footers page.

You can paste your Facebook Pixel code in the header section and click on the save button to store your changes.

adding pixel code to wordpress

Installing the pixel code if you have a SquareSpace site.

In your SquareSpace account, open the menu and select Settings > Advanced > Code Injection.  And then add the FB pixel code to the “Header” section.

Installing the pixel code if you have a Shopify site.

For Shopify you will only need your Facebook Pixel ID.

In the Shopify admin, select “Online Store”, and then “Preferences”

Find the Facebook Pixel section, and then enter your Facebook Pixel ID:

Installing the pixel code on landing page builders.

If you’re using something like LeadPages or Clickfunnels or Optimize Press, all of these tools have an area where you can easily add a snippet of code to the page’s header section.

How To Verify The Pixel Is Working Correctly

You may be wondering… Did I install the pixel correctly, is it really working?

If you are using Chrome (for your internet browser) then you can download and install the Facebook Pixel Helper extension.

This is an easy way to verify your pixel is installed and working correctly.

facebook pixel helper

How To Use The Facebook Pixel For Retargetting

Have you ever been browsing through amazon (or another online store) and then you start to see ads for the same products, you were looking at, appear in your Facebook newsfeed?

Ever wonder how they do that?

Well you can also do it for your business.

It is called retargeting.

Retargeting is when you build a very specific custom audience based on people who visit your website or a particular page(s) on your website.

Here are some examples of how you can use retargeting:

  • All website visitors: Target everyone who visits your website
  • Missed Opt-ins: Target people who visited your opt-in page but didn’t opt-in
  • Particular Products: Target people who visit a particular product page
  • Abandon Cart: Target those who added something to their shopping cart but never actually bought it.
  • Bring Back Old Traffic: Reach out to people who have not visited your site in the last 180 days.
  • Find Similar People: Create a lookalike audience of your website traffic and let Facebook fins similar users to those that have visited your website.

How To Create Your Retargeting Audiences

After you have place the Facebook pixel on your website, you can go ahead and setup you retargeting audiences.

Step 1: In your Ads Manager, under Assets, select Audiences.

Audiences Menu

Step 2: Click the “Create a Custom Audience” button.

create a custom audience

Step 3: Choose Website Traffic.

choose website traffic

Step 4: Choose the type of audience you want to create

Anyone who visits your website – Build an audience of anyone visiting any page on your site.

all website visitors

People who visit specific web pages – Build an audience of people visiting a specific page or pages on your site. Here I am building a custom audience of anyone who visits a page whose URL contains the phrase “facebook-ads”. This is very useful if you want to create an audience around a specific interest on your site.

url contains

People visiting specific web pages but not others – Build an audience of people who visited a specific page(s) on your site but did not visit others. Here I am building an audience of everyone who visited a sales page but never actually purchased the product.

include exclude url

People who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time – Build an audience of people who have visited your site before but have not been back in a certain amount of time.

WCA no visit in last days

Step 5: Choose the duration for how long you want to track people who visit your website or page. Facebook defaults to 30 days, but you can set the duration from anywhere from 1 to 180 days.

For example: if you set the duration to be 180 days then Facebook will build an audience of anyone who visits the page(s), you previously setup in step 3, for a maximum of 180 days. After 180 days from their first visit they are removed from the Audience.

Step 6: Give your audience a name and optionally a description.

Step 7: When you are ready, click the “Create Audience” and Facebook will create your Website Custom Audience.

Tracking Conversions With The Facebook Pixel

I am going to assume you are already familiar with what a conversion is (every time someone lands on your opt-in page and gives you their email address in exchange for your offer or they buy something from you) — that’s a conversion.

It use to be that you would need to install a separate conversion pixel on the Thank You page for your offer. That is no longer the case (for most of us).

The new Facebook pixel will also allow you to track conversions by setting up URL rules similar to how you create a website custom audience.

What You Need In Order To Track Conversions

In order to track conversions, you will need the following:

  1. Installed the Facebook pixel on your website
  2. A thank-you page someone lands on after they have taken your offer (i.e. opted-in for your offer or bought what you were selling)

Choose A Conversion Tracking Method

With the new Facebook pixel, you have two ways you can track conversions: standard events and custom conversions.

Custom Conversions – This is the easiest method doesn’t require any extra code to be added to your thank-you pages. You use URL rules to tell Facebook which page on your site represents a conversion. For example, you specify a URL where if someone visits that URL then Facebook should count that as a conversion. There is one limitation to this method and that is that you are currently limited to setting up a maximum of 40 custom conversions.

Standard Events –  This is a more flexible and advanced method that requires you to add a small bit of extra code to your thank-you page.

You’ll need to implement one of these two methods to track conversions.

Differences Between Custom Conversions and Standard Events

As of the time of this writing:

  • You can only have 40 custom conversions
  • You can not use custom conversions for dynamic product ads

Which Method Is Right For Me?

Use Custom Conversions if:

  • You are just getting started with Facebook ads
  • You only want to track a few conversions (less than 40)
  • You don’t have access to upload a special pixel to place on your thank you page

Use Standard Events if:

  • You want more flexibility in tracking your conversions
  • You want to track a large number of conversions (more than 40)
  • You want to track the conversions from dynamic product ads

Tracking Conversions Using Custom Conversion Method

The simplest way to track Facebook conversions is to setup a custom conversion rule.  This way allows you to track and optimize for conversions without adding any extra code to your site.

To create a custom conversion, follow these steps:

Step 1: In your Ads Manager, under Measure & Report, select Custom Conversions.

custom conversions

Step 2: Click the Create Custom Conversion button.

create custom conversion

Step 3: Next you need to enter the URL that you want to track as a conversion. Select the URL Equals option if you want to enter the full URL of the page you want to track (Make sure you include the www or http:// as needed). Alternatively you can select the URL Contains option and enter a partial URL (ex. /fb-ads/thanks).

add conversion url

Step 4: Select a category for your conversion

choose custom conversin category

Step 5: Click the Next button and give your custom conversion a name, description (optional) and conversion value (optional).

add conversion name

Step 6: Finally, click Create to finish the process.

Now when you setup an ad campaign to track conversions you will be able to see the number of conversions in your ad stats as well as in the custom URL rules on your Custom Conversions page.

Tracking Conversions Using Standard Event Method

So this method is definitely going to be more technical and for the more advanced advertiser. Unless if you are tracking a large number of conversion, you will never need to use this method.

As mentioned prior Custom Conversions only allows you to track up to 40 different conversions, with Standard Events you can track as many as you would like.

To track conversions with Standard Events:

On the page(s) you want to track conversions, add a line of code to the base code of the Facebook pixel you previously installed, and place it right after the Page View standard event.

adding a standard event

Here are the different standard events Facebook allows you to track:

facebook standard event codes

So all you need to do is to find the standard event you want to track in the chart above and add that into your Facebook pixel code that is on the page where you want to track conversions.

One you have installed the updated Facebook pixel code on the page you want to track conversions on, you are done and Facebook will start tracking conversions based on the standard event you created.

Setting a Value for Your Conversions

Did you notice the “Make Purchase”standard event above has a value option as part of it. You can actually change that to reflect the price of your product or service.

So if you are selling a $47 product, you would replace the 0.00 with 47.00 when updating your pixel code.

You will now be able to not only track how many conversions you are making but also how much money you are making versus how much the ads are costing you.

Creating A Website Conversion Ad

After you have installed the Facebook pixel and defined your conversion method (custom or standard events), it is time to create an ad that will track conversions.

Creating a conversion ad is very much like creating any other type of ad.

Just a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you use the “Conversion” ad objective
  • At the ad set level, be sure to select the conversion event you want Facebook to optimize for. This should be the custom conversion you created earlier.


select conversion to optimize for

I always encourage you to create your ad using Facebook’s Power Editor, it has many features that are not available in the basic Facebook Ads manager.


Where To See Your Conversion Results

So after setting up your conversion tracking and creating an ad campaign, you will want to review your stats and evaluate which ads/targeting is working the best.

To see your conversion results:

From your Ads Manager, on the right side of your screen click the “Columns: Performance” dropdown and select Customize Columns.

customize columns in ads manager

Next click “Websites” on the left columns and from the list of website actions, select the action you want to track.

customize ad reporting columns

The action you selected will now be displayed in your Ads Manager so you can see the data.

reporting on website conversions

What To Do If You Manage Multiple Facebook Accounts

Remember, you only get one Facebook pixel per Facebook account. So a common question often asked is “How do I handle this if I manage multiple Facebook accounts?”.

Well it is actually against Facebook ads policies to mange more than one ad account from a single Facebook account.

If you need to track audiences from different website you own or want to manage multiple ad accounts then you should use Facebook Business Manager. Business Manager lets you manage access to different Facebook pages and accounts.

How To Use These Pixels For Your Business

Here is a proven strategy for how you can use the Facebook pixel and retargeting to generate high quality leads for your business:

  1. Write an in-depth high quality article you know your ideal audience would love.
  2. Include a lead magnet opt-in that is relevant to your article
  3. Add the article to your website.
  4. Setup a custom audience for people reading your article.
  5. Setup a custom conversion (or standard event) for the thank-you page of your opt-in.
  6. Create an ad campaign (website clicks) sending people to your article (but exclude those on your email list already).
  7. After you have built up a custom audience of people who read your article, create a retargeting campaign (website conversions).
  8. Retarget those who read your article (excluding your email list) with a valuable offer they need to opt-in for. Since they have already read some of your content, they will be much more likely to opt-in and be much more of a qualified lead.

Your Turn…

What other questions do you have in regards to Facebook pixels and conversion tracking? Comment below.