How I Use Facebook Custom Conversions for Reporting and Optimization

I wrote recently about the role of custom conversions in your Facebook advertising. Today, I want to provide some specific examples of how I use them.

If you aren’t using custom conversions, it’s time to start. There’s really no excuse.

Quick Refresh

First, a very brief reminder about what custom conversions are, in the simplest terms.

It’s important to know that custom conversions should not be used in place of standard and custom events; they should be used in addition to them.

Custom conversions provide granularity for both reporting and optimization. They allow you to map standard and custom events with parameters to better track how many purchases of a specific product, for example, resulted from your ad.

This granularity is the key. You can optimize for and get reporting on standard and custom events generally, but all product purchases are lumped under the same Purchases event. Custom conversions allow you to get access to the details.

Standard and custom events require additional coding. Custom conversions do not.

You can create website custom audiences based on standard and custom events. You can’t do this with custom conversions.

We good? Now, here’s what I do…

Individual Products and Opt-ins

Every time I launch a new paid product, I create a custom conversion for that specific purchase. I should note that I make sure that the Purchase standard event with parameters (“content_name” to provide the name of the product) is firing on the confirmation page first.

Every time I launch a new opt-in, I create a custom conversion for that specific registration. And like with the product, I make sure that the CompleteRegistration standard event with parameters (“content_name” to provide the name of the opt-in) is firing on the confirmation page.

Now, there are a couple of ways to create the custom conversion. Admittedly, I do it kind of old school. I blame this on having been exposed to website custom audiences first. I was comfortable creating audiences based on URLs, so that’s how I created some of my custom conversions.

So, I usually create these particular custom conversions based on the confirmation page URL.

But, the more sophisticated approach is probably to create it based on the Purchase standard event, refining by the “content_name” parameter.

Purchase Custom Conversion

Either one works. Do what makes you happy.

Once I do this, I can then add columns to my reporting for the specific products and opt-ins that I’m promoting.

Custom Conversion Columns

I can also optimize for them, though I generally optimize for the standard event since it will provide more volume.

Product Groups

Second, I create custom conversions to group products.

For example, I have sold many different training courses over the years. While I create a custom conversion for each individual course purchase, I also create a custom conversion for the general “training” category. This allows me to track purchase results by that category.

You could once again use the URL route here, but you’d need to be sure that all of the confirmation pages within a particular category follow the same structure.

For example…

Custom Conversion Product Category

It probably makes more sense for you to send the “content_category” parameter instead and create the custom conversion based on the Purchase event, refining by parameter.

Custom Conversion Product Category

I can then also optimize for that type of purchase. Here, it could make sense since the type of customer who buys training programs may be very different than those who sign up for a membership or book a one-on-one with me.

For Custom Events

Finally, I create custom conversions for many of my custom events. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, I’m not sure if this is intentional by Facebook, but I’ve found that some custom events don’t appear in the list for adding columns. It seems like Facebook may only list the custom events you’ve ranked for event configuration.

For example, I have far more active custom events than these three.

Custom Event Columns

But, I can create a custom conversion based on that event and then add a column for that custom conversion. Here is one such example…

Another reason I need to create a custom conversion for some custom events is to provide more detail. For example, the Page Views Per Session custom event fires on every page. I can create a custom conversion to isolate only those who loaded two page views per session (or 3 or 4).

And then I can add a column to reporting to get a better idea of traffic quality sent by my ads.

Your Turn

I hope these examples of how I use custom conversions help. How do you use custom conversions?

Let me know in the comments below!