Prioritize Facebook Pixel Placement
Modern digital marketing campaigns do a better job than ever of following individuals around the internet. From display banners on blogs to image ads on Facebook, they are everywhere. This capability, which involves site visits, cookie pools, and pixel firings is a digital marketing gold mine known as retargeting/remarketing.
To implement retargeting in Facebook, you need to create and install a Facebook pixel.
Facebook pixels are bits of code, created through a Facebook account and later embedded in site code, that are activated (or "fired") once a site visitor lands on a page. After, the fact that a given pixel has fired is associated with the specific visitor. This information then follows said visitor around the web. When visiting platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Adwords, advertisers targeting these web history-specific individuals have the opportunity to serve ads.
Pixels are powerful tools sharp marketers master. They not only give brands previously unimaginable tracking abilities, but also unlock intense data mining applications and enhance the creation of completely new audiences.
Staying on top of site visitor-based targeting is crucial. When considering how to intentionally attack Facebook ads, we recommend addressing it immediately after creating a new account.
Get it done FIRST!
Why first? Because time.
It's finite. As time passes by, so too do opportunities to (A) tag and track visitors of your site and (B) optimize targeting from the very start via direct retargeting and indirect lookalike audiences.
Site visitors know your brand, may already be interested in a product or offering, and represent low-hanging fruit. Fruit that should leave you salivating, due in part to potential ease of conversion and wealth of attainable prospect/customer data.
Let’s explore the path to pixel perfection.
Step 1: Step up your account’s pixel
In Facebook Ads Manager, navigate to the upper left corner drop-down menu, click “All tools”, click “Pixels”.
Then, click the green “Create a Pixel” button.
Read the terms of service before clicking the blue “Create” button.
Then, install the code manually, with the help of a tag manager, or via real-life developer.
If you're planning on manually installing your pixel on a WordPress site, there are readily available step-by-step instructions to do so.
Here's how one would send installation instructions, along with the code itself, to a web development team:
Click the "Email Instructions to a Developer" button.
Add the email addresses for anyone you think should receive the code.
Scroll down to section 2 to view the code itself.
If your website doesn't have distinct landing pages or doesn't use separate confirmation/thank you pages after a viewer completes a desired action, consider using pixel event codes. These let you "track specific actions that happen" on your site (like a button click, form submission, etc.). If you decide to take this route, let your developer know which events you'd like placed on what actions.
Finally, click the blue "Send" button.
Once a developer gives the green light on pixel installation, double-check proper placement across all site pages.
To do this, we recommend installing the “Facebook Pixel Helper” extension in Chrome.
After installation, view landing pages where the pixel was placed. The extension's button in the upper right hand corner of your browser should turn blue and display a green square indicating fired events.
If you browse your site and nothing happens (Facebook pixel helper remains gray), notify your web development team of the situation.
Say the extension is confirming placement. After an hour or so, go back to your account's pixel section. If placed properly and actively firing, you should see initial information flowing through the interface. This will include basic information like domains and URLs the pixel is firing from.
That's it! You can rest (or target) assured that your pixel is correctly firing.
Step 2: Build pixel-based audiences
With pixel installation complete, you begin capturing site visitor information, gathering powerful data, and having the ability to optimize targeting. What types of targeting doors have JUST opened for you? Let’s take a look.
Retargeting audiences are built on the foundation of pixels firing and are the ultimate pixel placement reward. Retargeting audiences can be segmented by site visitors in general, those who visit specific pages, and/or those who spend the most time on site. The later focuses on individuals who show higher degrees of interest, spending the most time on site in general or specific pages one chooses to focus on. Selected targeting may include the top 25%, top 10%, or top 5% of time spenders, over a given time period (1 to 180 days).
As a general rule, it may be wise to avoid retargeting ALL site visitors — a blanketed approach that doesn't reflect user experience. Rather, focus on visitors who have taken specific journeys like clicking through to a specific sub-page or downloading a case study. Use this information to craft unique retargeting copy and assign greater prospect value when internally evaluating available audiences.
Creating lookalike audiences involves taking a base (or "seed") audience (for example, an CSV spreadsheet of your current client database), and telling Facebook to find other users who match or "look like" said group of people, based on similar demographic and interest makeup. By installing a pixel, tracking users, and creating dynamically changing pools of people, the ability to create just as dynamic lookalike audiences is attained.
If you don't want to spend money on people who already know you, simply add retargeting audiences as exclusions in certain campaigns. While re-emphasizing your message and doubling down on brand may prove worthwhile in most campaigns, you may not want to pay for the same conversion, from the same person, twice.
Consider the real-world example of promoting a white paper to a medium-to-small audience. To avoid re-serving to (and re-spending on) past converters, create a list of everyone who has visited your confirmation/thank you page (for example: URL contains “/thank-you”), and exclude them from ongoing efforts. This will dynamically update and ensure you are not reserving ads to the previously converted!
Start building these pixel-based audiences now, and see how they initially populate and change over time. Since they reflect day-to-day changes in site activity, audience size — depending on your look back time frame — should ebb and flow.
Step 3: Gain site visitor insight
Finally, after site visitor audiences have been given time to populate, the gift of insight becomes available. Review demographic and interest information via Facebook’s “Audience Insights”.
Navigate to the upper left corner drop-down menu, click “All tools”, click “Audience Insights”.
Click inside the "Custom Audience" field to view a list of available audiences. Find and select your site visitor audience.
Review audience analysis, including demographics (age, gender, lifestyle, relationship status, education level, and job title), pages liked, location/device/household information, and purchase behavior.
SUPER valuable data, if used correctly! 🙂
Onward & Upward
With pixels in place and an understanding for potential applications in mind, the next installment of this series will explore advanced audience targeting — the second element of optimal Facebook advertising.
Until then, enjoy your newfound pixelation domination!
// Dan (@dangardeen)
Established in 2017 on data-driven servant leadership, Adnomadic utilizes years of digital marketing experience, cutting-edge platform tech, and a holistic approach to paid search and social campaign strategy.
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