For this post we review the Facebook website conversion pixel.

If you’re a Facebook advertiser you can be overwhelmed by the myriad of advertising objectives the Facebook Ad Manager can offer you. Whether your objective is page visits, leads, sign-ups, or sales, website conversion ads encourage people to go to your website and perform an action.

A Facebook conversion in some circles is misunderstood.  Let’s make it clear that it is NOT a last-click conversion that occurs on your website or landing page directly.  You can use Google Analytics to track last-click and assisted conversions.

A quick reminder regarding GA and Facebook.  As is typical, all ad URLs in Facebook ad campaigns should be campaign tagged; source, medium, campaign, content as parameters. If you want to track specific ad sets, you can code them within your campaign names.  For example, if an Ad set targeted those looking for graduate degrees AND MBAs, then your campaign should be named Grad-MBA-Target.

Back to Facebook conversions.  A conversion that Facebook tracks is more like a View-Through Conversion, which is an attribution activity that gives conversion credit to a served ad towards a user that was not clicked, usually within 30 days, and the last click conversion assigned to another channel. For example, if I am on Facebook, see an ad for a local college promoting a grad degree, then sometime in the next 30 days sign up for an open house via organic search for example, organic search is credited for the last-click conversion, but Facebook attributes that conversion to the ad shown to the user.

Like display advertising, people rarely buy or become leads right away. They need multiple ad impressions (digital or even traditional media) to decide to convert. The conversion objective with Facebook attempts to match these “view through conversions” with specific ad sets and ads on Facebook so that an advertiser can optimize performance.

Without going into too much detail for now, here are some key considerations and tactics when creating a campaign with the website conversion objective.

  1. The Facebook pixel needs to be on your website or landing page, and track every page of your site.
  2. Have conversion events (triggers) set up; either via Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics goals. For this post, we assume implementation with Google Tag Manager.
  3. Have triggers ready for all events you wish to track. Purchase events, sign-up events, or other relevant actions.
  4. When installing the pixel, Facebook lets you assign a standard conversion event to GTM. The interface makes it easy to set up so each event can be tracked as a pixel firing event on Facebook. As an option, custom conversions can be set-up and tracked as well if necessary.
  5. Then set up your ad sets; targeting a mix of:
    1. Saved audiences: These are audiences you set up based on available Facebook data such as demographics and interests
    2. Custom audiences: Website visitors for retargeting (all or by page), or uploaded customer email lists for profile match
    3. Look-alike audiences: Facebook audiences that closely match your custom audiences and allow expanded reach of those most likely to engage with your website.
  6. Review and update conversion windows. The attribution setting determines how Facebook measures actions that result from your ads. You can set your attribution window, or the period of time for which you want to count actions people take after clicking or viewing your ads, which will affect the results you see for your campaigns.  There are several actions that may be attributed to your ad including video views, page likes, photo views, purchases, mobile app installs and more. Facebook reports on actions based on impressions of your ad and clicks on your ad. The default setting is 1-day view, 28-day click; meaning an ad is seen for one day, and within 28 days an action occurred that activated a Facebook conversion pixel. These settings can be adjusted. To keep this blog moderate in length here’s more details on this.
  1. Now set up bidding strategy. I always recommend clients to allow Facebook to optimize bids to generate the most conversions within the budget, but if you have a CPA on the conversion that is being tracked, then optimization can be manually set to reach that goal.  Keep in mind when optimizing for conversions, pricing is CPM based and not pay-per-click.

So, when measuring results of Facebook campaigns with the conversion objective, keep in mind all the variables to optimize; placements, devices, platforms, products IDs and more, and adjust accordingly by studying conversion rates, conversion value, cost-per-conversion, budget allocations by ad set, and bidding strategies. Facebook reporting is robust, but choose which KPIs are most important to your business objectives.  Combine the Facebook reporting with Google Analytics to get a full picture of campaign performance.

About Paul Mosenson

Founder NuSpark Media, and Founder and Chief Lead Generation Strategist and Online Media Director for NuSpark Marketing

An experienced B2B and B2C marketer, Paul has been helping clients generate leads and grow their businesses for over 25 years. Paul helps plan and optimize marketing and lead generation programs.

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