Tracking and measuring facebook performance

by Gabi Barbosa 17th July 2015

Facebook Conversion Tracking: How to measure performance [UPDATED]

Picture this:

You run a marketing campaign…

Spend a ton of money on it…

The end date arrives or the budget runs out.

THE END.

Isn’t that the saddest marketing story ever?


It might sound like a joke but this actually still happens, sometimes where you’d least expect it.

I will never get the point of running campaigns without measuring results properly, and at Driftrock we cannot emphasise enough how important this is. If you’re not tracking the performance of your campaigns in some way, to know what is working and what isn’t, you might as well be throwing your money out the window.

Facebook is no exception to this. Installing conversion tracking should be one of the first steps when starting to advertise on Facebook, and we’ll even say that without setting this up first, it’s probably not even worth getting started.

Why is conversion tracking important?

Maybe let’s start first with what a conversion actually is. A conversion is an action you want the recipient of your marketing messages to perform. It can be a visit to your website, filling out a form, a sign up, a checkout, a newsletter subscription – any action you care about.

There are two main reasons why setting up conversion tracking is important:

  • To calculate your return on investment by measuring what happens after someone views or clicks on your ad. They might fill out a form, make a purchase or sign up to a newsletter, and each of these has a different value to you. In any form of advertising, you spend £1 and want to make more than £1 back, and without tracking conversions it’s very difficult to calculate the ROI adequately and find out if your campaigns are a success or a failure.

  • To help Facebook decide whom the best people to show your ads to are. Facebook’s most popular bidding strategy, optimised CPM (optimised for clicks/conversions/etc), uses the conversion tracking pixel to understand and profile the people who are converting the most in your campaigns and shows your ads to people similar to them, who are also more likely to perform those desired actions. Without conversion tracking you miss out on one of Facebook’s most powerful optimisation features.

By now we’ve hopefully convinced you that conversion tracking is essential if you’re serious about Facebook ads, so let’s get into how you can set it up. It’s really easy to do – Facebook will generate a pixel code for you and that code needs to be placed in your website code.

How to set up conversion tracking

*Update: Facebook has rolled out a new pixel code, which has slightly changed the way of installing conversion tracking. The new steps can be found at the bottom of the post, if you want to use the new pixel.

Step 1: You want to start on your Facebook Ads Manager dashboard, of which there are currently two versions. In the old version of the Ads Manager, click on Conversion Tracking on the left side panel. In the new version, click on Tools on the top bar, and then Conversion Tracking.

Conversion Tracking Table

Step 2: You will be taken to the screen displayed below. If you’ve never had any pixels created in you account, the table will be empty. To create a pixel click on….

You guessed it, Create Pixel.

Create Pixel

Step 3: A modal will open and here you can define what type of pixel you want and name it. There are several types of conversion pixels you can create (and their names are pretty self-explanatory):

  • Leads (for lead generation forms)
  • Registrations (for sign ups)
  • Add to Cart
  • Checkouts
  • Key Page Views (if you want to track views of a specific page)
  • Other website conversions (anything you can think about, perhaps a download or a newsletter signup)

New Pixel Modal

You will need to create a pixel for each different conversion on your website (for example, a newsletter sign up and a checkout require two different pixels).

Step 4: Once you’ve created each pixel, Facebook will generate the JavaScript that needs to be placed on the website, and it should go between the < head > and the < / head > tags on the code.

You'll want to add the code to the page shown immediately after the conversion takes place (for example, a thank you page after a purchase, or a dashboard page after a sign up, etc). The key is to install the pixel on a page that indicates success, so Facebook can know that the conversion actually took place.

You can also email it to a colleague if you require someone to help you with the set up.

Pro Tip: You can set a value for your conversions in the pixel. If you have an ecommerce website that sells t-shirts for £20, for example, you can edit the default value in the code (0.00) to the price of your product (20.00).

Email Pixel


Step 5: Once you’re done, you should see your conversion pixel listed on the table, and the red light helps you understand if the conversion pixel is firing correctly.

Review Conversion

Once someone converts on your website (you can also refresh the page where the pixel is placed), the red light should turn green, as a sign that it’s working correctly.

Active Pixel Status

When you get that green light you can breathe a sigh of relief and give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back, because you’re ready to go!

Using the conversion pixel in a Facebook ad

After installing your conversion pixels, you can (and should) use them in any Facebook campaigns to measure results.

You can choose to track the conversions from all your pixels, or choose only some.

If you bid using optimised CPM for conversions, you will also want to select one of the conversion pixels as the source of the information for Facebook’s auto-optimisation.

Measuring performance of Facebook campaigns

When you look at your reports on Facebook or Driftrock (or some other Facebook reporting tools), you will now be able to know exactly how many conversions have been generated by which campaigns, which ad sets and down to ad level. If you’ve added a value to your pixel, you can even see how much revenue each ad generated (Total Conversion Value in the reports).

On Driftrock you can also filter which pixel you want to see results for, for a deeper dive into your results.

Conversion Pixel Filter

That simple piece of code will definitely help you measure the results of your Facebook activity and get better results from optimisation. Now go try it out yourself, and let us know how you get on in the comment section below!

UPDATE: How to implement the new conversion tracking and Website Custom Audience pixel

Facebook has just announced an upgrade to the Conversion Pixel, which merges it with the Custom Audience Pixel. With this new pixel you can track multiple events, such as page visits, checkouts, adds to cart etc - this means you will only need to install one pixel on your site. This is great, because it makes page load times much faster and is just more efficient.


How is it different?

Instead of multiple pixel codes (one for remarketing and another for each conversion), you now have one pixel that can be tweaked to track events in a much more flexible way and with more options than before. The events you can now track are:

  • View Content (to track views of key pages such as a landing page or product page)
  • Search (to track when someone does a search on your site)
  • Add To Cart (when items are added to a shopping cart)
  • Add To Wishlist (when items are added to a wishlist)
  • Initiate Checkout (when someone enters the checkout process)
  • Add Payment Info (when payment details are entered in the checkout process)
  • Purchase (when a purchase is complete)
  • Lead (when some signs up, expresses interest or fills in a lead generation form)
  • Complete Registration (when a registration is completed, for example a sign up for a service or a subscription)


How to install the upgraded Website Custom Audience/Conversion pixel? NB: Facebook hasn't yet rolled this out to all ad accounts. To check if your is ready, see stp

Step 1. There are still two versions of Ads Manager running, so if you have the old one, click on Custom Audience Pixel on the left side panel. In the new version, click on Tools on the top bar, and then Pixels.

Step 2. If you've never created a Custom Audience pixel from this account before, you will see the screen below. Click on Create Pixel and follow the steps.


Create New Pixel


If you have created a Custom Audience pixel before and want to update it, click on Custom Audience Pixel and then Actions and View Pixel.

View Pixel

A modal will open, containing the pixel code and the installation instructions.

You can tweak that pixel to add conversion tracking by adding the correct event code after the main pixel code, just as it is described in the modal.

So to track a lead submission event, for example, you will have to add the event code

fbq('track', 'Lead');

where that red arrow is, just above the < / script > tag.

Step 3. Add the pixel to the success page code, for example a thank you page after the lead submission, or an order confirmation page, between the < head > and < / head> tag.

IMPORTANT: If you do install the new pixel, don't forge to delete the old one.

Apologies for the long, confusing post. Just wanted to be thorough and cover all potential conversion tracking scenarios. If you have any questions at all drop me a line in the comments box below!

Tags: Facebook Ads
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