Facebook Pixel Explained in 2021 – Facebook Pixel Beginner Guide

You can run Facebook ad campaigns that are set up in a perfect structure and with world-class ad creatives if the Facebook Pixel isn’t installed or set up the right way then you can be sure that your Facebook ads won’t reach their full ROI potential.

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In this Facebook Pixel tutorial, we are going to dive deep into Facebook Pixel, and explain the most important thing you have to know about the tracking code of Facebook. Among others we are going to cover:

  • What is Facebook Pixel?
  • Why setting up the Facebook Pixel correctly is essential for Facebook advertising?
  • What are Facebook Pixel Events
  • What you have to do to start leveraging the Facebook Pixel
  • How to check if the Facebook Pixel is working correctly.

As this guide gives an overview of the topics you have to familiarise yourself with to get a deeper understanding of the Facebook Pixel, make sure to also read the other guides and blog posts we have written about the Facebook Pixel.

At the end of this guide, we are also going to answer the most frequently asked questions related to the Facebook Pixel.

What is Facebook Pixel?

Facebook Pixel is a javascript tracking code snippet created by Facebook that you have to place on your website so it can send data about your website users back to Facebook. (it is similar to Google Analytics or Google Ads tracking codes).

Using the Facebook Pixel, we can create Facebook Standard and Custom Events that can send more detailed information about our website users, so not only that they visited our website, but also if e.g. they added something to the cart(with an AddToCart event) or purchased something (with the Purchase event).

Here is an example of a Facebook Pixel Base code. (it seems complicated if you don’t know any Javascript, but don’t be afraid, you don’t have to know how to code in javascript to use and customize the Pixel and understand how it works.)

Facebook Pixel Base Code in the Source Code

Why setting up Facebook Pixel is so important?

Setting up the Facebook Pixel is not only important for tracking our Facebook advertising results in the Facebook Ad Manager (such as how many people have converted from a specific FB campaign), but it plays an indispensable role in being successful with Facebook advertising in general.

Facebook Pixel plays a crucial role in:

  1. So you can set up Facebook Pixel Events
  2. So you can run Facebook ad campaigns with the ‘Conversion’ objective
  3. You can measure the results of our Facebook campaigns more deeply
  4. It provides data to Facebook Analytics
  5. Facebook algorithm optimizes your campaigns based on Pixel data
  6. You can create custom audiences from Facebook Events data
    1. Create Retargeting campaigns from custom audiences
    2. Create Lookalike campaigns from custom audiences

In the next paragraphs, we will talk about these in more detail.

1.      Create Facebook Pixel Events to track user behavior and actions

Customizing our Facebook Pixel to also track certain Facebook Standard Events and Custom Events we will be able better track our users’ behavior and actions the users take on our website. These standard and custom Facebook events are what we would usually call micro and macro conversions. They are actions on the website that users can take and we find them valuable from a business perspective.

To provide some Pixel Event examples, we usually create Facebook Pixel events to track visitors who view product or service pages, they add products to the cart or convert on our site, whether that is subscribing to an email list or purchasing a physical product on our e-commerce website.

We can create these Pixel Events by customizing our Facebook Pixel code and when the event is triggered the Facebook Pixel will send this Pixel Event and its values to Facebook.

We can differentiate between Standard and Custom Events. The standard events are known also by Facebook and cover the most frequent actions that a user can take on a website.

Currently, there are 17 standard events but of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to use all of these on your website, as in most cases not all of them are relevant for you.

For example, if we have a general e-commerce website then the Purchase, Add to Cart, Initiate Checkout, View Content are Facebook Standard Events that  you should definitely set up and send its parameter values the right way.

If you want to know more about these Facebook Events, read our in-depth article about:

2.      To be able to run Facebook campaigns with ‘Conversion’ objective

You need to have at least one Pixel event set up to be able to run Facebook conversion campaigns. For most websites, the goal of their website is to have someone buy something there or get the information of a potential customer.

As Facebook is tracking every user interaction on websites where the Facebook Pixel is set up, they have very accurate information about Facebook users. They know the users who are very frequent online shoppers, and who are the users who are only window shoppers.

For this reason, when you ask Facebook by selecting ‘Conversions’ as your campaign objective to bring you as many potential purchasers as its algorithm can, Facebook will be extremely effective in doing so as they know who are the users who are buying stuff online.

But as we said, you need to set up Facebook Pixel Events, like the ‘Purchase’ event to be able to leverage this very powerful feature of Facebook ad campaigns.

3.      Measuring the performance of Facebook ad campaigns

If have set up the most important Standard and Custom Events, from now on we can measure the performance of our conversion campaigns also in the Facebook ads manager reporting view.

From now on, we will be also able to evaluate the performance of our Facebook ad campaigns not only based on click and impression data but also based on micro and macro conversions we have set up with Pixel Events.

Facebook conversion events

This enables us to optimize our campaigns based on conversions and ROAS data rather than on cost per click (CPC) or on cost per impression (CPM) data that can lead to misleading insights and bad optimization decisions.

4.      Facebook Analytics data

Facebook Pixel will track user behavior on our site and send it back to Facebook not only when we are running FB ad campaigns, but anytime a user is browsing our site regardless of the source of traffic.

If we want to gain more data and insights about the behavior and characteristics of our user then we have to check Facebook Analytics that is available from the Facebook Business Manager as well or by clicking on this link.

Facebook Analytics is a free website analytics tool similar to Google Analytics  where we can get more information about:

  • the effectiveness of other marketing channels (so not only Facebook ads),
  • the demographics of our website visitors and people who purchased on our site
  • information about the revenue or leads or website has generatet, etc.

5.      Seasoned Facebook Pixel to optimize our ad campaigns

You also need to know that it essential to install and set up the Facebook Pixel Events correctly not only because of reporting purposes so you can see it in the Facebook ad manager how your campaigns are performing.

Actually, it is more important for Facebook ad algorithm to have the right Facebook Pixel configuration on your website. Facebook is also sending all the Pixel Event data to its internal algorithm so it can optimize your ad impressions even more.

The term ‘Seasoned Pixel’ is referring to this concept that as the Facebook Pixel is sending more and more information about who is purchasing on your website to the Facebook ad algorithm so it will get more and more effective in finding your ideal buyers. (This concept works the same way with any other business, like a lead generation website and Lead events.)

6.      Creating Facebook Custom Audiences from Facebook Pixel Events

One of the most powerful features in Facebook ads is the ability to not only use predefined targeting options (such as Behavior targeting or Interest targeting) but we can also create Custom Audiences that are based on Facebook Pixel Events data.

Then we can use these Custom Audiences to either remarket to people who are familiar with our brand and products or to find completely new cold customers by leveraging the Lookalike Audiences capabilities of Facebook ads.

If you want to more about how you leverage your Facebook Pixel data to create these audiences and run these kinds of campaigns, check out the following articles:

Creating and installing and setting up the Facebook Pixel

If we want to take advantage of all the capabilities of Facebook Pixel, first we have to create the Facebook Pixel in Facebook Business Manager and install it with the method you prefer. Then as we have identified the essential Facebook Pixel Events that are necessary for our websites we also have to set up these Pixel Events.

As these topics deserve their own articles if you want to check out our articles where we show step by step how you have to go through these processes click on the links below:

Checking if Facebook Pixel is working

We have shown how essential the Facebook Pixel is in the whole Facebook advertising ecosystem. For these reasons, it is always important to check and test if the Facebook Pixel installation and all the Pixel Events are sending the right data in the correct format to Facebook.

You have two basic options for how you can check and troubleshoot your Facebook Pixel implementations:

In the following paragraphs, we will show it briefly how you can use both of these options.

Checking the Facebook Pixel with Facebook Events Manager

By opening Facebook Events Manager (link) and selecting the FB Pixel we want to check, we will get a quick overview of our Facebook Pixel Events.

As we can see in this picture, we can see which Pixel Events are configured and are getting hits, how many occurrences each Pixel event had in the last 30 day,s and if the Events Manager can detect any kind of issues with these events.

As you can see in the above image the AddtoCart even has an issue and if we click on the red exclamation mark we can get even more information about the issue that is causing the error.

We can dive deeper into the error by clicking on the Diagnostics tab we can get a detailed description of the warning or the error Facebook Events manager has detected with the particular FB Pixel event. We also have to ability to send the issue to our developer so he can fix it if we don’t know how to fix that Facebook Pixel issue.

Facebook Pixel Events Diagnostics

If after checking the Diagnostics tab we still don’t understand what the Facebook Pixel error is, we can still use the Test Events feature in Events Manager. By switching tabs again to the ‘Test Events’ tab we can use this feature to test the Pixel Events live on our website.

Facebook Pixel Test Events in Events Manager

If we go to our live website by using this feature and simulate the user interactions that should fire the Pixel Events we have set up, the Test Events tool will record and save all these Pixel Events and Custom Conversions it can detect.

Once we are done with the simulated user actions we can check which Facebook Pixel events were fired and which Pixel event parameters and values were sent to Facebook and if there is any FB Pixel error that should be fixed.

Facebook Pixel Events Tested

Troubleshooting the FB Pixel with the Pixel Helper Chrome extension

If we don’t have access to the Business Manager of a potential Facebook ad client or we want to have a quick Facebook Pixel audit, we can still check and see the errors of the Facebook Pixel with the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome Extension.

Facebook Pixel Helper - Add to Cart event with warning

For example, you can see on the above picture that although the Facebook AddToCart event is sent in to Facebook, not all event parameters are correctly configured as you don’t have to add a currency to the value parameter of the AddToCart Pixel event.

Facebook Pixel – Summary

Hope you managed to get through this article and now you see that the correct implementation of Facebook Pixel is indispensable for the success of Facebook ad campaigns.

However, this blog post was only an introduction to Facebook Pixel, if you are interested in more details about a subtopic of Facebook Pixel, make sure to check out our other more focused articles about the Facebook Pixel.

If you have any questions about the Facebook Pixel, check out our frequently asked questions section or ask us in the comment section below and we will answer it.

Related Tutorials – Facebook Pixel Guide

Here are some Facebook Pixel tutorials, that you might want to check out:

Facebook Pixel – Frequently Asked Questions

Facebook Pixel doesn’t work or doesn’t send the right event data to Facebook. What should I do?

In this case, we would recommend you to test what data the Pixel currently sends in or doesn’t send in to Facebook. You can check this quite easily by using Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome Extension. All you have to do is replicate the action on the website that triggers the event that is buggy and the Pixel Helper will tell you what the issue is.

How to Delete a Facebook Pixel?

Currently, there is no way to delete a Pixel in your Facebook Business Manager. Your only option is to remove it from your site. You can either remove it by going to head section of the HTML code of your website and delete the Pixel Code, or remove the tag from Google Tag Manager if you installed the Pixel via GTM.

How to Find the Facebook Pixel ID?

The easiest way to find your Pixel ID is to install the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome Extension, then open the website where you want to find out the Facebook Pixel ID, and click on the Pixel Helper Chrome Extension and you will see your ID as you can see on the picture below:

You can even click on the Pixel ID and it will be copied.

Where do I find my Facebook Pixel?

You can find your Facebook Pixel code in the head section of your website code. You can check it by pressing CTRL+U on your website and then searching for Pixel in the front-end code. If you don’t find it this way, it might have been installed with a plugin or Google Tag Manager, so you might not be able to see the code in the front-end code directly.

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