The Beginner Guide Facebook Standard Events [in 2020]

If you want your Facebook Pixel data to really help your Facebook advertising campaigns, it is not enough just to install the Pixel Base code on your website, you also have to set up your Facebook Standard Events. (and with the required event parameters to be able to send useful event data)

In this beginner guide, we are going to explain the most important things you have to know about the Standard Events on Facebook, such as:

  • What is a Facebook Standard Pixel Event?
  • The 17 different types of Standard Events
  • Why is it important to set up Standard Events for your website?
  • The process of creating Facebook Standard Events on your website
  • How to take advantage of Standard Events as soon as you set them up?
  • How to test if your Pixel Standard Events have been set up correctly?
  • The difference between Custom Events and Standard Events

At the end of this tutorial, we are also going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to Standard Events.

What is a Facebook Standard Event?

Facebook Standard Events Example - AddToCart

As Facebook defines, “A Standard Event is a predefined visitor action that corresponds to common, conversion-related activities, such as searching for a product, viewing a product, or purchasing a product”. Some of these Standard Events are the ViewContent event, the AddToCart event (seen in the picture above), Lead event or the Purchase event.

Standard events also support parameters that can store additional information about an event such as the value of the event, product ids, categories, etc.

Currently, Facebook has 17 predefined Standard Events, that cover the most frequent user actions on most websites. If you want to track other user actions on your website that are not included in the 17 Standard Events, you have to create Facebook Custom Events for those.

How does a Standard Event Look like?

Unlike the Pixel Base code which has to be placed on the <head> section of your website, the Standard Events will be placed to the body section of your website where the user action is coded.

fbq track function

So let’s say you have a Purchase event, and the code will be placed on your ‘thank-you’ page and the code will look like this:

<body>
  ...
  <script>
    fbq('track', 'Purchase', {currency: "GBP", value: 40.00});
  </script>
  ...
</body>

As you can see, Standard Events are called by the fbq(‘track’) function, then comes the name of the event, and the parameters and the values of the specific event in a JSON object.

Standard Events’ Object Properties

As we have already mentioned, you can also include predefined object properties called Property Keys or parameters that can provide additional information about these Facebook Standard Events.

In the example above, these additional parameters are the value and the currency, but you could also add content_ids, content_name, content_type, etc.

To see which Facebook Standard Events support which parameter, check out the comprehensive articles on all 17 Standard Events and their applications.

List of all Standard Pixel Events

As we have just mentioned, we have a separate article where we go over in more detail about all 17 Standard Pixel Events, here we are just going to list them out and briefly explain what kind of user actions you can measure with them on your website:

ViewContent Standard Event:

When a user views a page that is important for the website (most often a product, or a service page).

AddToCart Standard Event:

When a website visitor adds a product to the cart.

Purchase Standard Event:

When a visitor purchases a product or a service on your website. It is usually recorded when a visitor lands on a ‘thank-you’ page.

InitiateCheckout Standard Event:

When a user starts the checkout process on your website.

AddPaymenInfo Standard Event:

When a user starts to add the payment information at the end of your checkout process.

Subscribe Standard Event:

When a user subscribes for a paid service. (not to be confused with a free newsletter subscription, where a lead event is the one you should use)

AddToWishList Standard Event:

When a user adds a product to a wish list. Most relevant for e-commerce businesses.

CustomizeProduct Standard Event:

When the user of a website customizes a product. Also only really relevant for an e-commerce site especially in the apparel industry.

CompleteRegistration Standard Event:

When a website visitor submits a registrations form for example for a webinar.

Contact Standard Event:

When a visitor contacts you on your website via a phone, a contact form or email.

Donate Standard Event:

This standard event will fire when a user donates on your website. Very important for non-profit organizations, or where the creator from makes money from a fan support based models.

FindLocation Standard Event:

This event can be triggered when a user searches for a physical location on your website or via an app. It can be very important if you also have, or only have offline distribution channels and run campaigns to increase in-store visits.

Lead Standard Event:

When a user signs up for something like a phone call or a free email course.

Schedule Standard Event:

When a user books an appointment to get some kind of service, like a haircut or a dentist appointment.

Search Standard Event:

When a visitor performs a search on your website. Most useful for e-commerce sites.

StartTrial Standard Event:

When a person starts a free trial. Can be very useful for SaaS businesses or any kind of membership sites, where a free trial is offered.

SubmitApplication Standard Event:

Anytime when a person applies for something on your website, this event should be triggered. Can be useful for coaching programs or a job.

Subscribe Standard Event:

When a person subscribes for a paid service like a SaaS subscription or a membership program.

Why setting up Standard Events are key?

There are many reasons to set up Standard Events. Without tracking the necessary Standard Events on your website, you can’t really do a lot of things in Facebook advertising that makes the difference in most cases between being highly profitable and average, barely profitable campaigns.

If you want to use the following features, you need to set up Standard Pixel Events:

  • make custom audiences that are based on more segmented data than just the basic PageView Event
    • make more targeted retargeting audiences (form add to cart, view content, initiate checkout, etc. events)
    • use very valuable source audience for your Lookalike Campaigns (once again, purchasers, add to carts, etc.)
  • Use them as an optimization event when you are running a Facebook advertising campaign with a conversion objective. So if you have a purchase event set up, you can use it as an optimization, so Facebook will try to show your ads to more likely buyers than
  • Use them in your FB ads reporting
  • Facebook ad algorithm will also use the event data that you send via the Facebook Pixel code to learn about your audience and your campaign, so it can improve the campaign performance based on the Facebook Pixel data
  • Facebook will be able to use your Events’ data to provide more meaningful insights in Facebook Analytics dashboards and reports

How to create Standard Events?

Before setting up Standard Events, make sure that you have installed the Pixel Base code on your website. If you need help with that, check out this article that shows three ways how you can do it.

The process of creating Standard Events on your website will depend on what method you choose to install the Pixel base code on your website.

There are basically 3+1 methoda how you can set up Standard Events:

  1. If you are using a popular CMS or e-commerce platform then you can use partner integrations to install the Pixel and then some Standard Events will be set up as well. (in most cases partner integration is fairly easy, but you will be stuck with the implementation of what the platform you are using provides)
  2. If you installed the Pixel Base code manually to the head section of your website but have no idea how to set up the Pixel Standard Events, as a last resort option you could use the Event Setup Tool.
  3. This is the setup option, we would suggest you not to use as it usually leads to incorrect tracking that will mess up your data and the campaign optimization. 
  4. Use Google Tag Manager for the complete Facebook Pixel implementation. This is our preferred method, because in this case, you have full control over any kind of events, and you can test and troubleshoot them without the involvement of a third party or a developer.

+1: Ask your developer to do everything for you, but even then, you will need a basic knowledge about Facebook Pixel Standard Events so you can explain what is required for a correct implementation

If you are stuck with your Facebook Pixel Events implementation (your developer have no idea what he should set up and you can’t explain to him), or you need any kind professional help with setting up Facebook Pixel events correctly, then you can also check out this beginner tutorial:

Test and Verify Facebook Standard Events

Once you’ve set up the Standard Events with any of the methods we have described above, we would also suggest to test and verify if the Standard Events are working correctly and they are sending the right parameters and values to Facebook.

It is better to find out sooner than later if a Standard Event is not working correctly and you have to change something in the implementation.

You have basically four options to check if Pixel Standard Events have been set up correctly. We will show all four of them in the next paragraphs.

Overview Tab of the Data Sources page in your Events Manager

On the Overview tab, you can see the Standard Events that have fired in the last 28 days and if Facebook is experiencing any issues with them:

Facebook Event Manager - Pixel events

In this picture, you can see that there is a diagnostic issue with the AddToCart Standard Event as the red exclamation mark can be seen in the second column.  By hovering over this red icon, you will get further information regarding the error Facebook is detecting.

Facebook Pixel Events Manager Error

You can also click on the View button that will jump to the Diagnostics Tab of the Events Manager

Diagnostics Tab

Here you can see all the active issues that keep the Facebook Pixel firing the Standard and Custom Events correctly.

Facebook Event Manager - Diagnostics Tab

Continuing with the invalid AddToCart value parameter, in this tab you not only get info on what Standard Events have issues but you will also see a detailed description of the issue and recommended solutions to fix the Standard Event implementation.

You can also directly send the issue to your developer, mark the Issue as resolved, and see on which URLs Facebook has detected the issues with the event.

Test Events Tab in the Event Manager

Just between the Overview and the Diagnostics Tab, you can find the Test Events Tab in the Data Sources section of the Events Manager. You can also use this feature to test and troubleshoot Standard Events that have some kind of implementation errors.

All you have to do is to provide the URL of your website, and interact with it as  regular user would do, so Facebook will list out all the events it can detect while you are browsing.

This can be very useful right after you have set up your Standard Events as a fresh event won’t have any data on the Diagnostics or the Overview tab.

Test Standard Events with Facebook Pixel Helper

The fourth and last option you have to test your Facebook Standard Events and the one we actually prefer is using Facebook Pixel Helper. It is a tool developed by Facebook and can be used by anyone as it a free Chrome Extension that can be easily installed.

Once you installed, just go to the website you want to test the Standard Events on, and simulate the user actions that should trigger the Standard Events. Facebook Pixel Helper will keep showing all the standard and custom events & custom conversions and the parameters and the values they send in.

In the following example, you can see that the value parameter has not been formatted correctly and should be fixed otherwise Facebook won’t be able to use that data and you won’t see the AddToCart value in the reporting view of Ads Manager.

Facebook Pixel Helper - Add to Cart event with warning

You can also use the Pixel Helper to get inspiration and learn from great implementations of Standard and Custom Events as the Pixel Helper will show the Pixel Events and Custom Conversions firing and what kind of information they sent in even on websites, you have nothing to do with.

If you are interested in a full tutorial about Facebook Pixel Helper, definitely check out our full guide on Pixel Helper.

Facebook Standard Events vs Custom Events

As we have mentioned, the main difference between Standard and Custom Events is that Standard Events are predefined by Facebook. On the contrary, Custom Events are not defined in any way, so you can customize them as you want them adding many custom parameters that you wouldn’t be able to add to Standard Events.

Both Standard and Custom Events can be used to create Custom Audience from people who triggered the event and they  can use those custom audiences to make retargeting campaigns or use them as source audiences for lookalike audiences.

One of the practical differences between Standard and Custom events is that you can’t use Custom Events as optimization events when you are running a campaign with a conversion objective. You have to first make s Custom Conversion from the Custom Event to be able to use the Custom Conversion for an optimization event.

Frequently Asked Questions – Facebook Standard Pixel Events

Should you set up all parameters of a Facebook Standard Event?

It is a good practice to always add all parameters of a Standard Event as you set them up. There are parameters for the ViewContent or Purchase event that are necessary if you want to run Dynamic Product Ads but otherwise the Event will work even if you don’t set up any parameter.

Where can I delete Standard Pixel Events?

It will depend on where you have set up the specific Standard Events. When you created the Events with the Event Setup Tool, you will be able to delete the Events in the Events Manager on Facebook. If you used Google Tag Manager, you have to go there and delete the GTM Tag you want to get rid of.

How many Facebook Standard Events should I set up?

Although there is 17 Standard Events you could set up but it is very rare that a website will be able to use all of them to track user actions on the website. So, before starting to set all 17 events up, make sure to think through if you really need a specific standard event for your website.

Where can I get a list of all 17 Standard Events that are currently supported by Facebook?

You can get it easily in our article about 17 Standard Events, and also get information on when you should use it and what object properties you can send in when the Facebook Standard Event fires.

 

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