What is a Facebook pixel and what do I do with it?

How a digital marketing agency can use Facebook pixels for more effective targeting….

If you understand a pixel as meaning the smallest unit of a digital image or graphic then you may be justifiably confused as to why your marketing department or digital marketing agency are now using the term in an apparently different context. What on earth is a Facebook pixel?!

The Facebook pixel is code that you embed into your website. It then uses cookies to track users as they interact with your website and your Facebook ads. The data it collects can therefore help you to build targeted audiences for future ads, in turn ensuring that your ads are seen by the people who are most likely to respond. This then enables you to increase your Facebook ad conversion rate and improve ROI.

The lookalike audience

One of the most effective ways to use the Facebook pixel is to create a lookalike audience. A lookalike audience is a group of potential customers who are similar to a group of your existing customers. The idea being that this new group are more likely to be interested in your products or services because of their range of similarities to the existing customer group.

To set up a lookalike audience you first need to identify common qualities of the audience that you wish to emulate. So for example this may be location, other demographic information, interests, Facebook interaction or email subscriptions. You can then use the Facebook pixel to use data from this selected audience to find people with statistically similar profiles.

When setting up a lookalike audience you can choose the size of that group. If you select a smaller size then you are likely to be able to get the new group to resemble your original source audience more closely. On the other hand if you select a larger size then this will increase your potential reach, but is likely to dilute some of the similarities between the lookalike audience and source audience.

For more detailed information on how to set up a lookalike audience, check out the Facebook guidance here.

Once you have created the lookalike audience you then need to put time and effort into keeping them. So create Facebook Ads that will engage and appeal to this audience. Also ensure that any related landing pages and content are optimised for your lookalike audience to achieve the best results.

So what are the benefits of a lookalike audience?

There are many benefits to setting up and effectively using a lookalike audience. Five of these are as follows:

  1. Improved ROI
    Because you are showing your ads to people that are more likely to respond to them, you are likely to see a higher conversion rate and improved ROI. Also if your ads are proving to have increased relevance to the audience, this will be recognised by Facebook in terms of a better Relevance Score. This can then reduce the price of your Ads – so it’s win-win.
  2. More stable conversion rates
    If you use the Facebook pixel to create lookalike audiences and achieve more finely tuned targeting on an ongoing basis, you are likely to see conversion rates stabilise at a higher level than before. We’ve all had that successful campaign when conversions shoot up but then fall back down again afterwards. But by incorporating lookalike audiences into your digital marketing strategy, you reduce the risk of this happening.
  3. Economies of scale
    When creating then targeting a lookalike audience you can re-use adverts that have already been successful with the source audience on which the lookalike audience was based. Rather than starting from scratch, you are working on the premise that this ad already works with a similar audience to you can deploy it again to another target audience with similar likelihood of converting.
  4. Size matters
    As we referred to above, you can select the size of your lookalike audience. Facebook recommend no fewer than 1000 but no more than 50000: it depends on the level of similarity you are looking for. For example, if you want your new audience to share over 90% of the demographics and characteristics of the source audience then the resulting lookalike audience is likely to be pretty small; but on the other hand if you are prioritising quality over quantity then this may be just the perfectly accurate target audience you need for your particular campaign.
  5. Improved monitoring
    As with any element of your digital marketing strategy, it’s important to constantly monitor the performance of your lookalike audiences. The Facebook pixel tool gives you the ability to monitor who the Ad is being shown to and how that audience is responding. With the ability to register user responses and evaluate the outcomes of your strategies you can also tweak things as you go and ensure that you are implementing a successful ad campaign.

So in this article we have looked at one of the ways that you can use the Facebook pixel to your advantage. Our final point in this article is that it is worth placing Facebook pixel on your website now, even if you’re not already using Facebook ads. By doing this you will enable Facebook to start collecting data now which could provide valuable data for you to target users in the future.