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I started hearing more about Facebook pixels about 6 months ago and for the most part, I largely avoided them. Facebook’s advertising analytics do a great job of tracking ads. I didn’t see a need to go down the path of pixels when I already had a tracking system that worked. But the reporting tool in Facebook’s ad manager can only take you so far. For a more complete picture of your campaign you need a pixel.

So what is a pixel? It is a short snippet of code used by online advertising tools to track audience behavior online. The pixel tracks each visit to each page. The pixel is best for conversion tracking, audience building and uncovering audience insights. I will save you my attempt at giving directions for creating and installing a pixel, let’s leave that to the professionals

After trying my hand at using a pixel in a campaign, I learned a few things:

Fires

The pixel at its most basic level showed me when people navigated to the specific page I set the pixel up for. This tracking showed traffic coincided with my Facebook advertising, no surprise there. Referred to by Facebook as ‘Fires’ these hits on the page count individual views, not people. Meaning, one person can view the page multiple times and the pixel will track every time they view.

Optimization

The real power of the pixel is using the feature to optimize your ads. Which ads work, which don’t. You can A/B test to see not only which ad drove more people to the site, but which ad resulted in more action on the page. Getting access to the data becomes an addiction, the more I have access to, the more I want to know.

It’s so tempting to change multiple aspects of an ad all at once, but then there is no way of knowing what worked and what didn’t. Change one variable at a time and track your success. Keep tweaking and changing to find an appealing message that hits the right audience at the right time.

Facebook Blueprint

Honestly, the biggest lesson I learned is that I have many more lessons to learn. If you’re interested in Facebook advertising at all, sign up for some of their resources. They are extremely helpful for getting things set up and gaining a basic understanding of what Facebook advertising can do. That is one thing I will give Facebook a lot of credit for – they want people advertising on their site. Not only do they provide the tools, they provide some basic training as well. A wide range of topics is covered at different levels, to help guide you through the advertising process.

Facebook BluePrint feels a lot like taking online classes. Only it doesn’t cost a ton of money. They offer a full course catalog, exams, and certification. It takes time, but with more advertising revenue than Comcast, Disney or CBS, I would say it’s worth it to know your stuff.

With piles of research, a few good training sessions, and trying a pixel myself, I still feel like I’ve just barely dipped my toe in the pool of Facebook advertising. As things keep changing and more people take to social platforms to advertise, I suggest taking some time out of your day to learn a thing or two about Facebook ads. 

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