[NOTE: This post has been updated from its original publication.]
Any business serious about conversion tracking and How you optimize impacts who sees your Facebook ad. Facebook will show your ad to people most likely to perform your desired action. needs the Facebook pixel installed on their website. But getting the pixel and events installed correctly has been a chore, particularly for those who are less technical or lack the staff and resources to handle some basic code.
That changes with the The Facebook pixel helps advertisers track events that occur on their website and reach people who performed those events with ads. If you have the Facebook pixel installed on your website, you can add standard events without any code using the Event Setup Tool.. Or it potentially does (more on the issues with this tool later). While you will still need to add the base pixel code to your website, the Event Setup Tool is meant to provide a codeless, seamless method to integrate Pixel events allow you to track specific actions on your website that can be used for reporting, targeting, and optimization..
It has enormous potential for simplifying the pixel event creation process, no matter your technical expertise. Before we get to the juicy stuff of using this tool, we’ll need to take a couple of steps back.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- How to install the base pixel code (if you haven’t already)
- A refresher on pixel events
- How to use the Event Setup Tool
[Learn more about how to master the Facebook pixel in my Facebook Pixel Masterclass video series. SIGN UP HERE.]
Install the Pixel First
First, there’s no way around getting the base pixel code installed on your website. If you haven’t done that yet, you’ll need to before dealing with events.
The Facebook pixel is a unique piece of code that connects activity on your website to Facebook. It is the pixel that gives you access to all of the following, and more:
- Retargeting with Website Custom Audiences
- Attribute conversions to your advertising
- Optimize advertising for Landing Page Views
- Optimize advertising for conversions
- Track marketing performance with Facebook Attribution
- Track customer funnel with Facebook Analytics
If you haven’t yet installed the pixel, go here.
What Are Pixel Events?
Adding the base pixel code connects your website to Facebook. With your unique pixel on every page of your website, Facebook will be notified when a page of your site is loaded.
If you do nothing else, you’re limited in terms of how much you can get from the pixel. You can create A website custom audience matches people who visit your website with people on Facebook. You can then create ads to show to that audience. to retarget those who visit your website, which is amazing. But, the extent of your targeting will be limited without pixel events. And you’ll need those same pixel events for better tracking and optimization.
A pixel event is a modifier that adds details to the information sent to Facebook. Events allow Facebook to be notified that not only was a page visited, but a purchase (or registration, lead, search, etc.) was completed.
Standard pixel events (expanded since first announced) include:
- Add Payment Info
- Add to Cart
- Add to Wishlist
- Complete Registration
- Customize Product
- Find Location
- Initiate Checkout
- Start Trial
- Submit Application
- View Content
Events become particularly useful for conversion tracking and optimization. They allow you to connect your advertising efforts to a specific number of resulting conversions and, if applicable, the related revenue. Once Facebook collects this info, it also allows the advertiser to better optimize for a particular event.
Earlier, I described some of the tools that become available to you once you install the pixel. But, once you start using events, each of those tools become more powerful.
What is the Event Setup Tool?
Without the Event Setup Tool, advertisers need to modify their pixel code on specific pages of their websites to collect anonymous event information. This can be done manually, with the assistance of a plugin, or through partner integration.
The Event Setup Tool allows advertisers to add events based on page views or button clicks. Most importantly, no coding is required.
When in your Events Manager, click the Add Events drop-down and select “From the Pixel.”
You will now see the option to use Facebook’s Event Setup Tool.
Before we move forward, determine on what page the pixel event will occur, whether by viewing a URL or clicking a button. Enter the URL for that page here…
After entering the URL for this page in the step above, click “Open Website.” That will open a new window for that particular page that includes a Facebook dialog at the top left.
If any events have already been created for this page, you’ll see them here.
Set Up an Event by URL
One option is to set up a pixel event by URL. In other words, if someone loads a particular URL, this is a sign that a conversion is complete. An example would be a thank-you page following registration for a webinar or purchasing a product. This should be a page that users will only visit once.
Click the “Track a URL” button. You’ll now see this…
You’ll want to choose an event that has occurred once a person visits this URL. Facebook provides several standard options…
I am going to choose “Complete Registration.”
You also have the option of tracking the entire URL or portion of the URL.
“URL Equals” would limit qualified URLs to a single URL whereas “URL Contains” could result in multiple qualified URLs.
Once you’re done, click “Confirm.”
You will now see that event listed.
Set Up an Event by Button Click
This has the potential to be the most valuable application of the Event Setup Tool. Updating button code to track conversions on click is very technical. I can tell you that I rarely got it to work properly on my website.
Click “Track New Button.”
Suddenly, the page grays out and highlights appear for links and buttons that would qualify.
By selecting a link or button here, Facebook will begin reporting on events whenever a visitor clicks it. Once you select your button or link, Facebook will ask you to connect that click to an event.
I am going to choose “Lead.” Then click “Confirm.” Once again, you’ll see that event listed under “Events on this Page.”
Since I previously created an event based on URL, I have two listed (you may have only one).
Test Your Event
From the image above, note that you can edit or delete an event before finishing. Once you’re finished, click “Finish Setup” at the top right.
Facebook now asks to review your events.
If it looks good, click “Finish.”
Back on your Events Manager screen in Facebook, you’ll get a notification that your event setup is complete.
Click the blue button to test your events. You’ll get a page that looks like this…
Note that while in test mode, Facebook will only track the events on that page that you trigger, not the events triggered by other website visitors. Assuming the link to that page you were just working on is in the text box (it should have prefilled), click “Open Website.”
If you created an event by URL, you have already triggered an event. Otherwise, click the link or button on that page that triggers your button event. Then go back to the testing page in Events Manager.
Here is what that page looks like now for me…
In the middle column, you’ll see those two events were created via Event Setup Tool. In the far right column, you’ll see the last time that event was triggered. In other words, these were set up properly!
The Problems With This Tool
The Pixel Event Setup Tool has been available long enough now that all of the bugs should have been worked out of it. We should be beyond versions 1, 2, and 3. And yet… The tool still has some major flaws.
When it was first released, the Pixel Event Setup Tool didn’t allow the ability to add parameters. Parameters are additional details about a conversion (like value, product name, quantity, etc.). While parameters are now partially integrated in this tool, their availability is rigid and not incredibly helpful.
Here’s an example when creating a purchase event…
The only parameter options I’m given are for value and currency. However, we should be able to provide parameters for other items, including the name of the product (content_name) and type of product (content_type). The product name, in particular, is a critical item.
But, even the parameters available aren’t good enough. As you can see from the image above, my options for value are:
- Use Value from Initiate Checkout (Recommended)
- Choose Value on Page
- Don’t Include Value
This is painful. I don’t use the Initiate Checkout event. I tried, using the Pixel Event Setup Tool, and ran into all sorts of technical roadblocks of bugginess. I don’t include the value on the confirmation page. I tried to include it for this purpose, but Facebook didn’t detect it. And providing no value should not be an option.
WHY CAN’T I JUST MANUALLY ENTER THE VALUE??
This is a regular issue. I want to provide the name of a product for a CompleteRegistration event, but it’s not an option. There is no flexibility when it comes to parameters. Why not? It would seem to be an easy addition, and it would make this tool a slam dunk.
I’ve also run into general bugginess with Facebook’s detection of buttons, links, and values. It may be a browser compatibility issue in some cases, but the highlights often don’t line up.
These are big problems. Until they are addressed, the Pixel Event Setup Tool simply isn’t a viable option for serious marketers. It’s otherwise a nice little tool with big potential. It can solve small tasks if all you want to do is add a standard event without details. But that’s about it.
Adding Code Manually
I’m sure Facebook will eventually address this. In the meantime, I’ll continue to use partner integration or add code manually.
Of course, Facebook scrapped their valuable manual pixel event creation tool with the redesign of Events Manager. We saw this as an opportunity and created the Pixel Event Generator that you can us at no cost. It allows you to select an event, enter parameters, and copy the relevant code to be pasted on your website.
Learn More About the Facebook Pixel
Want to master the Facebook pixel? Take your learning a step further with the Facebook Pixel Masterclass, a video series covering advanced topics related to the pixel. We’ll go into detail related to pixel events, Custom conversions let you create rules for events or URLs so that you can better track and optimize for specific actions with Facebook ads., tracking, optimization, and targeting. GO HERE TO SIGN UP!
Or, if you aren’t ready for the advanced topics, check out my Facebook Pixel Basics free video series (this is also included within Facebook Pixel Masterclass). You can register by clicking the link below…
It includes eight lessons covering what the pixel is, why it’s important, how it works, how to add it to your website, and how to test that it’s working.