How to Use the Facebook Pixel to Grow Your Online Business
There are a lot of Facebook Pixel resources floating around the Internet, but many of them are overly complicated and weirdly vague. (What’s up with that?)
When we recently announced that Namastream teachers could begin installing a Facebook Pixel on their studio sites, we were immediately peppered with eager questions from our community. How should they do this? Is it essential? What are the benefits? How will it help them grow their online businesses? And just what the heck IS a Facebook Pixel anyway?
What is a Facebook Pixel?
Although it may sound like some sort of itsy-bitsy image file, a Facebook Pixel is actually a snippet of code that you install on your website. It sits, hidden within your site’s main code structure and, when users visit and interact with your site, the Pixel plants cookies that help you track their activity. Then it relays this data back to your Facebook Ad account, where you can use it to create smart, strategic campaigns. The Pixel’s data helps you understand your audience’s needs, wants, and habits, so you can tailor your ads to catch their attention. Using it, you can:
Improve the performance of existing ads based on Pixel-collected data
Build and refine targeted audience groups for new campaigns
Retarget (or re-market) warm leads, which means showing specific ads to people who have already visited your site
That last one is the biggie. Say you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and see an ad for an online yoga class. You’ve never heard of the teacher, or the class, or the platform, so you’re likely to scroll right by. Now imagine you’re scrolling and suddenly see an ad for an online class taught by an instructor you trust whose blog you were just reading. The ad reinforces an existing interest and reminds you to take action, so you’re MUCH more likely to click and register. And that’s re-marketing; Following up with people who’ve sought you out and consumed your content to nudge them toward purchasing. It’s simple, intuitive, and incredibly effective.
If you’re not interested in or ready to start using Facebook ads, you might not need a Pixel. But it really can’t hurt to have it installed and passively taking notes on your behalf! Even if you don’t use the data right away, accumulating it ahead of time will prove useful when you’re ready to take the plunge and launch a Facebook ad campaign.
How do I install a Facebook Pixel?
We’re gonna have to pass the buck on this one! Everyone’s site setup is a little different, and getting your Facebook Pixel nestled into the exact right spot can be tricky. Facebook has a decent tutorial that walks you through the installation process, and even includes instructions for folks who rely on developers or programmers to make site changes.
What do I do once my Facebook Pixel is installed?
Your first order of business once your Pixel is up and running (which does need to be confirmed) is to decide which user activities you’d like to track. Facebook calls these activities “events,” and offers nine basic categories:
Add payment Info
Add to cart
Add to wishlist
As you might imagine, “search” and “view content” are going to yield much larger pools of users than most of the other event categories … but they’ll still serve your ads to people who have actively sought out your content. The other seven get your ads in front of folks who have either bought from you already, or come to the brink of buying then backed away. You can tailor your ads to read like gentle reminders about services or classes these users added to their carts or lists, but failed to actually buy.
Facebook also allows you to create custom events, but sticking to the big nine works fabulously for most online businesses.
Determine if you want the action to be tracked on page load, or after the user has clicked a button. Then decide if you want to drill down further and add event parameters, like a dollar amount the user needs to have spent before she/he is eligible to see your ads. Then Facebook will generate another piece of code, which you insert on the page where tracking activity takes place. (More details here in Step 7.)
And then? You wait. Allow the Pixel to collect and categorize your data for a few weeks before you make your next move. The information it’s gathering will be most useful to you once it includes several cycles of user activity.
How do I use the information my Facebook Pixel gathers?
Once you’ve got a nice little stockpile of data, it’s time to devise and launch a few Facebook ad campaigns. Once you know who is doing what on your Namastream site or website, you can get your ads in front of them and encourage them to interact, sign up, or purchase.
Our post on How to Know When Your Business is Ready for Facebook Ads is a great primer on determining goals, crafting savvy campaigns, and using retargeting to your advantage. Facebook’s own ad hub also has some helpful guidance and advice. You can run a campaign on virtually any budget (starting at $5 per day) and for any length of time, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little! Keep careful notes on what works and what flops so you can tweak your strategies.
We hope this helps clear up some of your questions about leveraging the power of the Facebook Pixel!