The Facebook Pixel: Why You Need it &How to Get it.
Organic Reach is Dead, Long Live the Facebook Pixel!
Marketers have been trying to wrap their heads a round Facebook since 2006 when the platform opened membership to anyone over 13 years of age. Originally seen as an online hangout for college kids and later expanding to become the most popular social network in the world, smart marketers have been trying to figure out how to get the most out of the platform in a world of ever changing rules and offerings. There are literally dozens of tools that the social-giant offers to brands looking to capitalize on the enormous audience Facebook brings, but perhaps none offers as much value to the savvy marketer as does the Facebook Pixel!
If you read my blog about how Facebook has been steadily cutting down on the amount of Facebook organic reach that brands can hope to achieve on their own individual fan pages, you may have come to the conclusion that I’m pretty anti-Facebook. True, I have been irritated by how the rules of the game completely changed around all the companies who may have already invested quite a bit of their limited resources into building a large Facebook fan base (which is almost but not quite a total loss at this point), but even so, I’m still a very strong advocate of Facebook’s value as a marketing tool for businesses of any size. The trick is to know where Facebook’s strength really lies these days, and for my money (and likely for yours as well, assuming you are trying to market on a budget), the Facebook Advertising product is the sweet spot of the 8 million lb gorilla. That’s where the hero of our story- the Facebook Pixel enters the picture…
In October of 2015, Hubspot published an infographic that went into some of the reasons that Facebook has such HUGE potential for brands. Among the insights they provide are:
- There are 1.39 Billion active monthly Facebook users.
- There are 1.19 Billion active monthly mobile Facebook users .
- The average Facebook user spends 40 minutes per day using the platform.
So, it goes without saying that there are a lot of people using the platform. Nothing shocking there.
The real strength of the platform is it’s targeting ability though! You can super target your ads by things like geographic location, age, gender, and device usage- just like you can with Google AdWords. What Facebook allows you to do that Google doesn’t however is to target by interest (you know all those things you have “liked” over the years? Sports teams, music, hobbies, cars, foods, etc? You’ve been helping Facebook categorize you all these years). You can target by a user’s behavior, by a target audience’s connections, and by retargeting people who have been on your website already- using the Facebook Pixel!
As long as you already have a fan page set up for your business/brand, you have access to the Facebook Pixel, which is a free tool that the social network makes available to you to install on your own page should you wish to take advantage of this awesome tracking tool for your social media management! The Facebook Pixel allows you to:
- Build a custom audience (or audiences) from your own website for remarketing.
- Better optimize ads for increased conversions.
- Track conversions and show which ads led them into your cash register.
For those who aren’t familiar with the term “Remarketing”, it’s the science of second chances. Basically, it’s a series of efforts to make a conversion with an audience that has previously shown interest in your brand or your offerings, but didn’t follow through and convert the first time. The process can differ quite a bit depending on what brand or media you are using, but in the case of the Facebook Pixel, retargeting is about installing your custom Facebook Pixel into the code of your own website. When a visitor comes to your webpage, the pixel is picked up in their cookies. This allows two important things to happen…First, it allows you to track them from your Facebook Business Manager page. It will tell you what pages they were looking at so you have a better idea of what they were interested in. Second, it will allow you to specifically target them with your paid Facebook ads!
Have you ever been browsing an online store, looked at a product, and then- for one reason or the next- decided not to buy? Maybe you decided that to hold off while you look for a better deal, or maybe the shipping and handling scared you away. The next time you sign into Facebook though, you notice an ad for that same store…or maybe even for that same product, but the ad mentions 20% off if you click the ad. Perhaps you grumbled about Facebook knowing everyone’s business (which it does, though- let’s be honest- that’s really our own fault), be put then made the purchase anyways. That’s retargeting with the Facebook Pixel.
Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, the Facebook Pixel can still be a great tool for your business. If you have a blog for your service business (and you should DEFINITELY have a blog of course) for instance, you can add the Facebook Pixel to a particular blog post and then retarget those readers on Facebook with an offer specifically related to the blog post that they had already shown interest in!
Alright, let’s create that first Facebook Pixel! To start with, go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/ and sign into your account. It should look something like this:
Once you have logged on, click the “Tools” drop down menu, and choose “Pixels”. This will bring up a pop-up box that asks you to name your pixel:
It doesn’t really matter what you call it per se, but I like to name individual pixels with the company name followed by the product or product line name that the pixel will be used to promote.
Facebook will then give you the option of either emailing the code (if you have a digital marketing agency who helps you build traffic with your social media program, this is where you give them access to the pixel), or you can pull the code yourself as shown below.
Now, if you know how to work the back end of your site, you’re going to want to add this code to the header of your site, but if you’re not comfortable messing around with such things and you use WordPress to build your site, you might want to download one of the plugins that makes this easier. Just got to the plugin store and search “insert headers” and choose one that has a good rating.