Prompted by a recent trip to Facebook’s Direct Response Blueprint event, Space & Time’s paid social team have been reflecting on the vital role of the Facebook pixel in the crafting of a high-functioning social campaign. Whenever we create a Facebook presence for our clients, creating and implementing the Facebook pixel is one of the first and most important tasks. Here are our top four reasons why this is such an indispensable tool.
Perhaps the most basic benefit of a pixel is the tracking of conversions. Being able to track conversions within the platform will allow us to demonstrate the value of all activity on a straightforward cost per conversion basis. Armed with a pixel we can see how successful the campaign is overall and understand how each advert within it is contributing to that top line figure. If performance is below target, we can take action to improve it: perhaps there is a need to change the demographic of the target audience or to include more detailed targeting or tweak the creative message to make it more appealing.
Tracking with the Facebook pixel gives us insight that can be extremely valuable both within paid social and across the wider marketing mix. We are able to see the device types that the advert is served to and understand which device performed best, see where the advert was most engaging and successful, and see what’s working and what’s not. Which age range are most likely to convert? What time of day are women most likely to convert? All this can be understood with first-party deterministic data only when the Facebook pixel pulls conversion data into Facebook.
2. Custom Audiences
Another key benefit of the Facebook pixel is the ability to remarket to existing connections. Selling to customers who have already shown an interest in a brand is always easier than looking for new ones. Custom audiences allow brands to strengthen existing connections while working towards pushing sales over the line.
Alongside retargeting current or previous customers, custom audiences allow paid social specialists to build lookalike audiences for prospecting purposes. Essentially, we identify new customers by collecting data on the actions of existing customers and targeting our activity to users who share traits with those that have already converted. Post click, these new prospects will then fall into the retargeting pool and so move further down the funnel.
Custom audiences are a useful and powerful tool for targeting both existing and new prospects, but they also allow marketers to exclude audiences. The most common way that we adopt this function is excluding those that have already converted. This is essential when working on our home builder clients because those who have bought a house recently will clearly not repeat the purchase within the lifespan of a cookie. Excluding these individuals means that we can avoid serving a message to an audience that has little to no interest in making a purchase. Exclusion audiences can also have a tactical use when promoting incentives or price points that previous purchasers might not have benefited from.
3. Offline Events
Offline events have particular value for bricks and mortar retail. A major challenge for digital marketing in that sector is proving the causal association between online awareness and real-world sales. It’s always great news when a store opening or show home launch is well attended, but how can we know where the footfall came from? Facebook’s offline conversion tool helps to provide an answer. It allows us to track when activity occurs in a given location after people saw or engaged with an advert.
The offline conversions tool also allows for a CRM database to be connected with Facebook campaigns, making a bridge between a digital and a non-digital conversion and helping to illuminate the connection between online marketing and offline interactions.
CRM integration can also have benefits for exclusion: ensuring that a prospecting budget isn’t used to reach people who are already an active lead.
Optimising is central to everything to do, whether that’s across channels, across campaigns or within a single advert. Put simply, we want always to make sure that we reach relevant people who are going to convert at the lowest cost. By implementing a pixel, we can understand more about our audience and analyse how they interact with our client’s website. Ultimately this will improve our reach of potential customers, deliver a higher relevance score and drive down costs per click.
Facebook rewards ad relevance, which means that when we create lookalikes from custom audiences to make our target more granular, our advert not only performs better but Facebook distributes it more efficiently.
The Facebook pixel can also allow Facebook itself to optimise towards conversions: the pixel gives the ad server visibility on which clicks eventually lead to a conversion, allowing the algorithm to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Where conversion data is only available within Google Analytics, such real-time optimisation cannot be achieved.