Facebook Pixel – Here’s What You Need To Know

Facebook PixelFacebook seems like the ideal advertising platform. Facebook has more information about its users than almost any other platform. And almost everyone a company might want to advertise to will have a Facebook account.

Until last year, Facebook’s advertising was powerful but difficult to wrap your head around. If you got it right, Facebook advertising could be effective, but the number of different JavaScript snippets and configuration options involved was daunting, and it was all too easy to make mistakes. The confusion arose because Facebook advertising grew by accretion, adding new features over time. With last year’s introduction of the Facebook Pixel, things were radically simplified.

First off, what’s a Pixel? Essentially, it’s a JavaScript snippet that site owners include on each page of their site. The snippet creates a cookie on visitors’ browsers, which enables Pixel and Facebook to track how they interact with a site and which sites they interact with.

The main benefit of Facebook Pixel over the old system is that it simplifies tracking and information-gathering from the perspective of the site owner. Instead of numerous JavaScript snippets, now everything is handled by a single “pixel,” including website custom audiences, custom conversions, and standard events.

Let’s take a closer look at one of these: Custom Audiences. To maximize the effect of advertising spending, site owners need to target their ads where they’ll be most effective. For an eCommerce store, that might mean targeting promotions and advertising to users who have visited a particular product page.

Let’s say a customer browsers an eCommerce store’s product pages, but they only go to pages showing Gucci shoes. They show no interest in Manolo Blahniks. So, you might create a Custom Audience that shows ads for Gucci shoes to Facebook users who match the profile.

Custom Audiences, which use information gathered by the Facebook Pixel, can use information about which pages were visited, which pages weren’t visited, when they visited with custom time ranges, the device they used, what they put in their cart, what they bought, and so on. It’s a powerful tool for maximizing the effectiveness – and the cost effectiveness – of Facebook advertising campaigns.

Related to Audiences are Lookalike Audiences. As I said earlier, Facebook knows a lot about its users, which allows it to look at one group – your audience – and generate a group with similar characteristics.

If you’re a WordPress user, getting Facebook Pixel up and running on your site is quite straightforward: there are numerous plugins, including WP Facebook Pixel, and Facebook’s documentation is easy to follow. Of course, there are also Magento extensions that make managing Facebook Pixel a breeze.

Matthew Davis is a technical writer and Linux geek for Future Hosting.

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