• GenX Blog Team

What Is a Facebook Pixel & What Does It Do?

Updated: Jan 26

This is a complete guide to the Facebook Pixel.

In this new guide you’ll learn everything there is to know about this outstanding marketing tool, including:

  • Key features

  • Real-life use cases

  • Advanced tips

  • Lots more

So if you want to get the most out of the Facebook Pixel, this guide is for you.

Let’s jump right in.

The Facebook Pixel

Whether you’ve heard about it or not, the Facebook Pixel is something that all online advertisers need to fully understand. It’s the most innovative tool that Facebook has ever created because it allows marketers to take their ads to the next level.

Simply put, the Facebook Pixel is a short line of code that you install on your own website that sends user data back to Facebook’s servers. This small line of code is the engine that will drive all of your Facebook ads.

The Facebook Pixel allows you to do 3 main things.

1) Track the actions of all your website visitors

2) Create Custom Audiences & Retargeting Campaigns

3) Create Lookalike Audiences

These 3 actions are what make the Facebook ads platform so powerful.

Be sure to keep reading until the end so you have a full understanding of the Facebook Pixel.

Audience Tracking & Data Collection

The main feature of the Facebook Pixel is that it tracks the “actions” of everyone that clicks your ad and then displays the results in the Ads Manager.

“Actions” are everything the viewer does on your website.

If your website is an online store, a few examples of “actions” include what products they view, which categories they view, which products they add to cart, and which products they actually buy.

Remember, these are just examples. The Facebook Pixel literally tracks everything the viewer does.

The Pixel then sends the data, which consists of the actions the user performed and who the user was, back to Facebook.

As the Facebook Pixel continues to collect data from incoming website viewers, your ads will start to automatically optimize.

Based on the data of users who purchase products from your website (or users that complete the conversion if your business isn’t an online store), Facebook will take this data and show your advertisements to people who are most likely to purchase products.

Furthermore, you can then view all the metrics based on the actions that users performed in the Ads Manager. Based on these metrics, you can determine which ads are successful and which ads you need to modify.

Here’s a timeline to help you visualize the process.

  1. You create a Facebook Pixel

  2. You install the Facebook Pixel onto your website

  3. You run advertisements to your website

  4. A customer clicks the advertisement and browses your website

  5. The Facebook Pixel tracks each page they view and action they perform

  6. The Facebook Pixel sends the data back to Facebook

  7. Facebook accepts the data, determines who triggered the event, and log it in their systems, associating that user with the actions they performed

  8. View the results of this data in the Ads Manager (e.g. Website Clicks, Page Views, Cost per Click, Cost per Purchase, etc.)

  9. You can use this data to determine how the ad is performing

Furthermore, the other main features of the Facebook Pixel are creating Custom & Lookalike audiences with your data.

Custom Audiences

Custom audiences are audiences that you can create on the Facebook ad platform based on data from your Pixel.

In other words, these are audiences that consist of people who have already clicked your advertisement.

You can then create narrow audiences based on the action they performed.

For example, you can create a custom audience that includes everyone that’s viewed a certain page on your website in the past 180 days.

More importantly, custom audiences allow you to perform a very important task in advertising called retargeting.


Retargeting is when you advertise to people who have already interacted with your website.

By using Facebook’s custom audience tool, retargeting campaigns allow you to remind website visitors of your brand, offer additional discounts, promote new products, and build brand awareness.

Here’s an example of one of our successful retargeting campaigns.

To help paint a clearer picture, let’s pretend you have an online store with a Facebook Pixel already installed.

You run ads for a few weeks with some success, but you realize that a lot of website visitors are adding products to their cart but not checking out.

This is the perfect time to create a retargeting campaign.

You create a custom audience of users who have added to cart in the last 30 days. Then, you create a new advertisement offering an additional 15% off their purchase.

Afterwards, you create a new ad campaign using the custom audience and new advertisement.

The campaign runs for a week, and you see that the cost per purchase is extremely low.

Your retargeting campaign was extremely successful in helping you generate revenue for your store.

According to some studies and our own experiences, around 97% of online store visitors don’t buy anything on their first visit.

Although they may be interested in your products, they need a little reminder in the form of a retargeting campaign to actually complete their purchase.

Retargeting is an essential aspect of marketing and a tool that can take your brand to the next level. With the amount of competition in the digital space nowadays, it’s extremely useful to constantly remind people who have already shown interest in your brand.

Along with retargeting campaigns, custom audiences also allow you to make lookalike audiences.

Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences are audiences that Facebook generates based on your custom audience. Facebook finds an entirely new list of people based on the data points in your custom audience such as interests, demographic, age, and so forth.

Using our online store example, let’s say you want to find users who are likely to purchase products from your website. Rather than using standard interest targeting, you can create a lookalike audience. Let’s break it down into steps.

  1. Create a custom audience of people who have purchased from your website in the last 90 days

  2. Create a lookalike audience using the custom audience

  3. Facebook will create an entirely new audience based on the data of the users who have purchased from your store already

  4. You can target this lookalike audience for your ads in the Facebook ads manager

Furthermore, when creating your lookalike audience you can specify how similar of an audience you want to have, ranging from 1% to 10%. 1% similarity is more specific and a smaller audience, whereas 10% is a bigger audience and less narrow.

This allows advertisers to test a variety of different lookalike audiences to see which one performs the best.

Why Use A Lookalike Audience?

Lookalike audiences allow advertisers to reach massive groups of users who are more likely to be interested in your brand.

Rather than spending money testing different interest groups, you can use the data from your Facebook Pixel and find people who are similar to your current customers.

The lookalike audience feature is one of the many reasons why Facebook is such an advanced advertising platform.

Instead of trying to find people who may be interested in your products, Facebook gives you an audience of users who are already likely to interact with your website.

This can ultimately lead to lower ad costs and more profit for your store.

As the advertiser, it’s important to test a variety of lookalike audiences along with standard interest targeting.

The Facebook Pixel FAQ

Why Do I Need to Set Up A Facebook Pixel?

At this point, you should understand the importance of the Facebook Pixel and all it has to offer.

The Facebook Pixel gives you access to an incredible set of tools that takes your marketing to the next level.

However, the Facebook Pixel is still just a piece of the Facebook Ads puzzle.

Are major companies using Facebook Pixels?

Every major online retailer or brand is 100% using Facebook Pixels. Digital ad spending finally surpassed TV ad spending in 2019 largely due to the dominance of the Facebook ads platform and the Facebook Pixel.

Think about all the times you browsed an online store and then suddenly started seeing the products you looked at while browsing Facebook or Instagram. This is only possible because of the Facebook Pixel.

Example of a Nike retargeting ad

Major brands have dedicated marketing teams that focus on retargeting consumers until they purchase an item. If this is a tool that the world’s best marketers are using, there’s no reason you shouldn’t because it’s completely free.

The ability to track your consumers and continuously remind them of your company can boost your brand awareness and revenue extremely high.

Marketing at the highest level is all about data, and the Facebook Pixel is the tool that companies use to gather a significant amount of their consumer data.

Next time you are browsing around H&M or your favourite online store, don’t be surprised when you start seeing H&M ads every time you scroll through Facebook.

Does the Facebook Pixel support cross-device tracking?

In other words, can the Facebook Pixel track users who use multiple devices? If you aren’t amazed yet by the Facebook Pixel, now’s the time to say “WOW”. Facebook is the only platform that will track conversions across multiple devices.

They will accurately show you which device actually completed the purchase or conversion.

Furthermore, when you’ve built your custom audience and run retargeting campaigns, you can retarget them on all devices that they use Facebook on.

For example, if they click through your ad on their PC and then you run a retargeting campaign, they will see your retargeting ad on their phone as well.

This is just another reason why the Facebook ads platform is so advantageous. You have the ability to constantly remind people of your brand.

What’s the added value for my campaigns?

The added value from the Facebook Pixel is priceless.

The amount of data and features offered to you as an advertiser are a gold mine.

It’s up to you to make the most of it and continue testing and learning. We have built multiple 6 and 7-figure businesses by using lookalike audiences and retargeting campaigns.

The ability to find people who are likely to purchase products based on a custom audience of people who have already purchased products is incredible. The lookalike tool and its ability to optimally find purchasers is outstanding.

By using a lookalike audience, your cost per purchase can potentially be lowered, earning you a higher net profit. We highly advise all advertisers to indulge themselves inside the Facebook Pixel and find a way to optimize their business with it.

The ability to create retargeting campaigns used to be incredibly difficult. Marketers would have to manually collect emails one by one, make a spreadsheet, and then launch massive email campaigns. Now you can do all of this extremely quickly with the Facebook Pixel.

What are the standard conversions that the Facebook Pixel tracks?

There are 17 main actions that the Facebook Pixel tracks. If Facebook’s standard conversions don’t fit your needs, you have the ability to create custom conversions as well as using your own parameters.

  • Purchase: Simply when someone completes a purchase on your website.

  • Lead: When someone signs up for something this will identify them as a lead on your site.

  • Complete registration: When someone completes a registration form on your site, such as a subscription form.

  • Add payment info: When someone enters their payment information in the purchase process on your website, but may not necessarily checkout.

  • Add to cart: When someone adds a product to their shopping cart on your site.

  • Add to wishlist: When someone adds a product to a wishlist on your site.

  • Initiate checkout: When someone starts the checkout process to buy something from your site.

  • Search: When someone uses the search function to look for something on your site.

  • View content: When someone lands on a specific page on your website.

  • Contact: When someone contacts your business.

  • Customize product: When someone selects a specific version of a product, such as choosing a certain colour.

  • Donate: When someone makes a donation to your cause.

  • Find location: When someone searches for your business’s physical location.

  • Schedule: When someone books an appointment at your business.

  • Start trial: When someone signs up for a free trial of your product.

  • Submit application: When someone applies for your product, service, or program, such as a credit card.

  • Subscribe: When someone subscribes to a paid product or service.

Does the Facebook Pixel work automatically?

As soon as your Facebook Pixel is installed and it shows that events have been received, the Pixel will automatically work. Through Facebook’s impressive technology and software, the Facebook Pixel automatically attaches itself everywhere on your website. Viewers who click on your advertisement will immediately be tracked with all the data being fed back into your ads manager account.

If you found this helpful, book in your free marketing consultation here.

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