The Facebook Pixel: what is it and why do you need one?

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It may have felt the effects of some less-than-perfect press recently but there’s no denying that Facebook is an important way for businesses to listen to and interact with their customers. If you’re currently advertising on Facebook, or even just thinking about it, then a Facebook Pixel will be all kinds of useful to your business.

From helping you get to know your audience and the kind of content they like, to making use of retargeting adverts, it will help you sail through the often-perplexing landscape of Facebook advertising, giving you more insight whilst saving you advertising budget along the way.

So, what exactly is a Facebook Pixel? How does it work, and why should your business make use of one? Let’s get started!

A Pixel is basically a short piece of code that Facebook gives you to put on your website. Every advertising account on the network has access to one and don’t worry, it won’t require a degree in computer programming to get it set up. Facebook will guide you through everything.

Even though Facebook only gives you one Pixel, you can target different audiences and different actions thanks to the way it’s structured.

Made up of 2 parts, the Pixel will give you:

  1. A Base Code, which identifies your advertising account and is placed across every page of your website. This code will never change.
  2. A Standard Event Code, which is the part that specifies the action you’re tracking, such as purchase or email sign ups, for example. This code will sit on individual site pages because you only want it to be triggered when someone completes the action you’re tracking for. Looking to measure sales? Then add this code to the confirmation page that only people who have completed a purchase will see.

Once your Pixel is up and running, you can begin delving into some pretty nifty insights…

Start tracking your conversions (AKA making sure your advertising budget is being spent wisely)

A purchase, a subscription to your mailing list, or an enquiry all fall under the same metric category: they’re conversions - actions that a person has taken on your website. Now, Facebook will already tell you how many people have landed on your site because of one of your adverts but what good is that if you don’t know how many conversions you’re making whilst those people are there?

Step in the Pixel. There to tell you how many people converted, the cost for each one of those conversions, and the total spend.

Let’s say you own a t-shirt business with tees selling for £20. Your current adverts work out at around £2 per click and you’re getting 100 clicks to your site. That means you’re paying £200 for 100 clicks. Sounds pretty good, right?

But with Facebook Pixel now in your arsenal you’ve learnt that actually, out those 100 clicks to your website, only 3 have converted into t-shirt sales. That means it’s costing you £200 in advertising to sell £60 worth of product.

Hmmm, not so good now. Based on this Pixel-led insight it sounds like it’s time to review your adverts and targeting.

Create retargeting adverts to lure customers back

We’ve all been there, searching for flights to your next holiday, minding your own business. Then, without so much as a single hover over the ‘Book Now’ button your Facebook feed is suddenly full of adverts for travel deals at that very same destination.

These are retargeting adverts and they’re a powerful tool for your business to have at its disposal.

Retargeting adverts achieve a 10x higher click-through rate than regular adverts. Retargeted customers are also 70x more likely to buy from your business than those who have only seen your ad once. And if that wasn’t incentive enough, those same customers spend on average 5x more than a singularly-targeted customer.

Retargeting works by showing adverts to audiences who have already been to and interacted with your website. You can also dig a little deeper into what they did whilst they were there, like whether they added a product to their basket but didn’t end up buying it. With this information you’re then able to remind them - through the medium of a great-looking and creative retargeting advert - to come back and finish making their purchase.

So how does a Pixel fit in to all of this? Using a person’s Facebook ID for reference, the Pixel will spring into action when they complete a chosen conversion, such as adding something to their basket. Your retargeting adverts will then begin to show in their feeds based on that ID.

Show your adverts to the right people, in the right place

Based on all of the information that the Pixel will have picked up on, Facebook will begin to automatically improve your advert placements and delivery, showing your ads to not only more people but the right people. Those people who are most likely to subscribe to your email list, make a purchase, or complete whatever other conversion you’re looking to achieve. So if more people are clicking your advert when it’s placed in their newsfeed as opposed to down the right-hand ad column, then that’s exactly where Facebook will put it.

Hands up then, who wants a Pixel?

Like we’ve mentioned, you don’t need an otherworldly amount of tech knowledge to get a Pixel up and running. You simply need to activate it and this can be started by clicking through to your Facebook advertising account.

Getting down into the details of what makes an advert great, and to who, is a bit of an obsession for us here at RKH and we’re always up for a new challenge. So if you want to get set up and running with adverts and Pixels on Facebook but aren’t sure what to do first - or if you’re looking for help refining your advertising efforts - be sure to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.