New Facebook Pixel: Audiences, Custom Conversions and Standard Events

New Facebook Pixel

The ability to fully understand, appreciate and utilize the new Facebook pixel is what separates the effective marketers from the struggling ones. Most are overwhelmed by the concept and run for the hills. Those who dig in are rewarded…

Look, I don’t blame those who are overwhelmed. The new pixel is confusing, and I’m speaking for the advanced marketers who have figured it out. My goal is to help cut through the confusion to lead you to the reward.

A few posts have been published on this site about the Facebook pixel recently:

Needless to say, even if you read all three of these posts, we’re only scratching the surface.

The pixel is more than just remarketing and website custom audiences. It’s optimization. It’s tracking. And it’s a whole lot more, combining what was once multiple pixels into one.

On Wednesday, December 16, I’ll be hosting a live two-hour workshop on the new Facebook in hopes of exhausting this topic. This workshop is for Power Hitters Club members (my private membership) only. If you aren’t yet a member, there’s still time (as I write this, at least).

If you read this after December 16, know that annual PHC members have access to all past replays. If you want to watch that replay, join us!

Understand that even this post in addition to the other three mentioned above won’t detail everything. But the main thing I’ve yet to do is provide an adequate description explaining the differences between the old pixel and the new one as well as the various ways the pixel is now being used.

So let’s do it…

[Tweet “The Facebook pixel has changed, and marketers are confused. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know…”]

The Old Pixel(s)

Note the “(s).” In the past, Facebook marketers had multiple pixels:

  1. Website Custom Audience Pixel: A single pixel used across a website or owned properties
  2. Conversion Pixels: Individual pixels used on the success page for each product and opt-in

The old conversion pixel is/was used for tracking and optimizing for conversions. It was required when running campaigns with the Website Conversions objective. In this case, the advertiser would place a conversion-unique pixel on the success page for a single product, allowing Facebook to report and optimize for that conversion.

Know that the conversion pixel will disappear in the second half of 2016. We don’t know when at this point. You don’t necessarily need to do anything right now. But it’s smart to do something sooner than later.

If you have placed Facebook code on a success page that is different from the code on other pages of your site, it is very likely the old Facebook conversion pixel.

Here’s an example:

Facebook Conversion Pixel Old

There is even commented out code at the front indicating that it is “Facebook conversion code.”

To reiterate, you can continue to use this pixel for now. It can exist on your site, even if you start using the new pixel. But you need to know that it won’t work much longer.

The New Pixel: Basics

When Facebook first launched Website Custom Audiences, there were rumblings that the plan was to eventually combine the conversion pixel with the Website Custom Audience pixel. And that just makes sense.

When someone visits a website page where the Facebook pixel exists, the page loads and the pixel fires behind the scenes — alerting Facebook that this particular user visited this particular page.

Here’s an example of the new pixel…

New Facebook Pixel

This same code is placed on every page of your website. This is typically done by placing it between the HEAD tags of the template of your site.

This is different, of course, from the old Website Custom Audience pixel because it can be altered based on the action occurring on the page. We’ll get to that later in this post when talking about Standard Events.

Website Custom Audiences

The Facebook pixel is on every page of your site. Now you want to create audiences of people — Website Custom Audiences — based on the specific pages they visited and when.

Remember, you aren’t adding new code now. That pixel is already on your site. Now it’s time to create some rules to isolate people based on their activity on your website.

Within “Audiences” of the “Tools” drop-down in Business Manager, click to create a Custom Audience…

New Facebook Pixel

You’ll be creating a Custom Audience for website traffic…

New Facebook Pixel

You can choose to create an audience of all of your website visitors during the past 1 to 180 days. Here’s an example of creating an audience for all of my website visitors during the past 30 days…

New Facebook Pixel

You can also create audiences of people based on the specific pages they’ve visited during the past 1 to 180 days. This is done by having Facebook isolate pages visited with specific words in the URL.

Here’s an example of a Website Custom Audience of those who visited any page with “facebook-pixel” in the URL during the past 30 days…

New Facebook Pixel

That’s just the start, of course. You can do a few other fun things with Website Custom Audiences:

  • Target people who visited some pages, but not others
  • Target people who haven’t visited in a certain amount of time
  • Target people based on other “custom combinations”

That’s all great, but these are other complexities that aren’t all that important to understand right now. Just know that Website Custom Audiences allow you to target people who have visited your website.

Here’s an example of using this audience for targeting in my ad set…

New Facebook Pixel

In this case, I’m promoting my post about Custom Conversions, showing it to people who have read posts published in 2015 on my website during the past 180 days. I am also excluding those who have already read the post.

This is done with Website Custom Audiences.

Custom Conversions

The process of creating Custom Conversions is a whole lot like Website Custom Audiences. This is mostly meant to replace your old conversion pixels, but without requiring you to add a new pixel.

Remember: With the old conversion pixels, you needed to add a unique pixel for each product or opt-in to their associated success pages. But with the new Facebook pixel, that pixel only needs to be added to your website once — to every page of your site.

Since the code is already there (right?), this process is extremely easy.

From your Business Manager, click the Tools drop-down and select “Pixels.”

New Facebook Pixel

Click “Track Custom Conversions.”

New Facebook Pixel

This process is a lot like creating a Website Custom Audience. You’ll want to create an audience of people who visited a specific page that would indicate a conversion is complete. So you’ll want to enter the URL or portion of a URL that would suggest a completed conversion.

So let’s use a theoretical thank-you page for the PHC as an example…

New Facebook Pixel

I selected the “Purchase” category, but it could have been one of several others…

New Facebook Pixel

Name the Custom Conversion, and you can also assign a conversion value…

New Facebook Pixel

One of the differences between Website Custom Audiences and Custom Conversions is that you can optimize for a Custom Conversion when running a campaign with a Website Conversions objective…

New Facebook Pixel

There is plenty more you should know about Custom Conversions, including their limitations. You can read the full post on Custom Conversions for more.

Standard Events

This is where it gets confusing for many marketers.

There is yet another way to utilize the Facebook pixel and mark certain pages for conversions — or “events.” It’s a matter of altering the Facebook pixel code that we are placing across the site, depending on the page.

Let’s look at an example…

New Facebook Pixel

As you can see here, we are still using the base Facebook pixel code. However, prior to the closing script, we add a single snippet that indicates this is a specific type of event that we want to track. In the example above, that event is an “Add to Cart.”

There are nine different events that you can track or optimize for. Here they are:

New Facebook Pixel

One of the primary problems marketers have is understanding how to alter that code if it’s already on every page of their site. There are a couple of plugins you may want to try to help with this:

You could also use Google Tag Manager.

Plenty More

Unfortunately, there are plenty of details that aren’t covered here that you may be needing, but one blog post can’t cover them all.

Some other topics include:

  • Dynamic conversion values
  • Dynamic Product Ads
  • Troubleshooting errors
  • Using the Pixel Helper
  • Tracking results

While these topics may not have been covered here, hopefully this gives you a good head start and clears up some of the confusion that I know many marketers have regarding the differences between the new pixel and the old pixel, Website Custom Audiences, Custom Conversions and Standard Events.

Your Turn

Are you using the new Facebook pixel yet? What questions do you have?

Let me know in the comments below!