Facebook Pixel - How it works and what it can do

As Facebook describes it, "The Facebook Pixel is an analytics tool that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding the actions people take on your website". It helps you achieve the following goals for your marketing initiatives

  1. Audience building → Reach out to the Facebook users who are most relevant to you
  2. Optimization → Make sure your ads are being shown to the right people.
  3. Tracking and measurement → Measure the results for your ads

What is a Facebook Pixel

A Facebook pixel is a small snippet of code that you put in your website, eCommerce store or app, to track your site visitors. Its one of the data source for Facebook to understand your visitor behavior and suggest them better ads or retarget them for your social advertisement campaigns.

The pixel silently sits in your site and tracks various actions of your site visitor. It tracks the page's visit, the items they add to the cart, the newsletter they signup, etc., and uses all that data to create a persona of the site visitor to help you target them better with the Facebook audience tool and show them highly relevant ads. This pixel eventually helps you improve your conversion metric, like online sales, lead generation, more traffic, etc. for your site.

How does Facebook Pixel Works?

Let's walk through a typical customer journey on your store to understand the importance of the Facebook Pixel.

A typical visitor on the store will browse through your catalog and visits pages for Item A, Item B, and Item C. He loves Item C and adds the same to his cart. As it happens with more than 80% of shoppers, it got distracted and move away from your store.

In this journey, the Facebook Pixel captured the following events

  • User X → Views Home Page
  • User X → View Item A
  • User X → View Item B
  • User X → View Item C
  • User X → Item C added to cart
  • User X → View Cart
  • User X → Abandoned Cart

Event Data being sent to Facebook to help better the user profile

These Facebook pixel events help Facebook understand that User X has viewed three items, likes Item C, and left Item C in his cart.

Now if you have configured your Facebook Ads correctly, the User X whenever logs in Facebook properties (mobile app, website, Instagram, etc.), he will be shown an ad to complete his purchase like in the below screenshot,

Sample Facebook Ad to capture abandoned carts

This is a highly effective way to capture lost sales and bring back those customers who couldn't complete their purchase earlier.

Similarly, you can run Facebook campaigns to target people who visited your store multiple times but have not made any purchases yet.

There is no limit to whatever customer you want to target or how do you want to target. Facebook gives marketers tools to target their visitors accurately and show them relevant ads, hence optimizing their ad spend and driving their sales.

Why do we need FB Pixel?

The Facebook pixel is not only used to drive ads for your campaign but also helps you with other tools within Facebook gambit to help you improve your sales,

Custom Audience

Facebook pixel allows you to create custom segments of your visitors using the data captured. For eg., you can create a segment of the audience who made a purchase from your store in the last 90 days for more than $100 in combined value but have no orders in the last 30 days. These customers look like an ideal setting to showcase your latest collection and Facebook can show relevant carousel ads.

Lookalike Audience

One of the most powerful uses of Facebook Pixel is to reach out to people who have a behavioral pattern similar to your store visitors. For eg., you could let Facebook use your existing customer data and use it to show ads to the people who have a high probability of purchasing from your store because they behave similarly to your purchasers.

Custom Events

Facebook pixel can be used to trigger custom events depending on your business workflow. For eg., you can trigger an event if somebody downloads a case study from your site, and you can use this event to create a custom audience or lookalike audience, as per your marketing goals.

Facebook Retargeting

This one is another powerful feature for Facebook Pixel, which allows you to retarget your store visitors and show them ads for abandoned carts, best sellers, discounted items, etc. Using dynamic ads, you can automate this process and ensure seamless targeting.

Optimize Ads for Conversions

If you have correctly set up your Facebook Pixel with your conversion goal (sales, application download, lead generation, etc.), Facebook ensures that it optimizes your ad spends and tries to deliver maximum conversion for your given budget.

How to Install Facebook Pixel

Now we understand how powerful is Facebook pixel, we should start using it right away. I would recommend every marketer to get hold of their pixel and start using it extensively to identify their potential customers better.