Mastering the Facebook Pixel for More Profitable Ad Campaigns

Maximizing Efficiencies

Photo of Jennifer Spivak

Mastering the Facebook Pixel for More Profitable Ad Campaigns

Aug 30, 2016 | Maximizing Efficiencies

Mastering the Facebook Pixel for More Profitable Ad Campaigns

Aug 30, 2016 | Maximizing Efficiencies

Without a doubt, one of the biggest and most common mistakes that brands make when it comes to Facebook Advertising is choosing the wrong campaign objective from the start.

What is your marketing objective

And let’s be clear – this is a mistake that’s costing you money.

Facebook is literally asking you what results you’d like to get from your ad campaign so that they can use their super sophisticated algorithms and billions of data points to auto-optimize your ads in order to make them as profitable as possible. So when you choose the wrong objective – for example, when you select website clicks or (god forbid) boost post when you really want conversions – you’re limiting your results and spending money on actions (like engagement or website clicks) that don’t really matter to you.

More often than not, a Facebook ad campaign involves driving users to a website or landing page in the hopes that they take a certain action – fill out a form, subscribe to a newsletter, make a purchase, etc. When this is the case, website conversions should always be the chosen objective (so that you are paying for the action that does matter, instead of just clicks). This requires setting up the Facebook Pixel.

First rolled out in late 2015, the Facebook Pixel (which replaced a simpler conversion tracking solution) is a magic, money-making line of code that allows for robust tracking of all the actions people take on your site after clicking on one of your ads. The setup may seem complex, but this tool is a must for maximum-profitability campaigns.

To begin, go the Pixels section within your Facebook Ad account. If you haven’t created your pixel, you’ll see a screen that looks something like this:


Creating Your Facebook Pixel

To create your pixel, click (you guessed it) Create a Pixel, give your pixel a name (this should be something generic like the brand name since this will be used for all campaigns), agree to the Facebook Pixel terms, and click Create Pixel once again.

Now you should see a screen that looks something like this:

Facebook Pixel Screen

From the Actions dropdown at the top, you’ll want to select View Pixel Code. And there she is – your base pixel; the line of code that will track visits on every page of your website (once added between the <head> and </head> in the site code, per the instructions provided by Facebook).

View Facebook Pixel Base Code

Here’s where things can get a little tricky.

Your base pixel only tracks pageviews (and makes it super easy to set up Website Custom Audiences for retargeting – something I talk about at length in my online course on Facebook Advertising). In order to track specific actions as conversions for your Facebook Ad campaigns, there’s another step you have to take, which involves altering your base pixel to include specific event codes which will then be placed on specific pages across your website.

To do this, head back to the Pixels section in your Facebook Ad account, and click the Create Conversion button towards the top. Then select Track Conversions With Standard Events.


ConversionTrackingNow you should see a list of conversions with their associated event codes – in other words, the additional text you must add to your base pixel in order to optimize your campaign for a specific action.


Let’s say you’re gearing up to launch a lead-gen campaign. The Lead event would be the most applicable, so you’d want to copy the Lead event code provided by Facebook, which is: fbq(‘track', ‘Lead');

Now you’ve just got to add this code into your base pixel, immediately after that part that reads: fbq(‘track', “PageView”); (hit enter to move </script> down to it’s own line).

Tracking Code screenshot

And voila! You’ve just created a pixel that can be used to track leads on your website!

The last step, of course, is placing this pixel in the correct place, which should be on the page that users land on after they’ve converted – i.e. the Thank You or confirmation page, and not the landing page itself. How this looks logistically will differ depending on which platform your site is built on and/or if you’re using a common landing page tool builder like Unbounce or LeadPages. If you’re using WordPress, you’ll definitely want to check out a plugin called PixelYourSite, which makes the entire placement process super easy and automated.

Once you have everything placed properly, you’ll be positioned to create and launch a successful, conversion-optimized Facebook Ad campaign. Go you!

Want access to my free video training on the Facebook Pixel? Get it here.

Jennifer Spivak is a Solo PR Pro Premium member and Solo PR Pro Facebook columnist. She is a digital marketing specialist,  marketing instructor and curriculum architect at the Startup Institute and an adjunct professor at The City College of New York. Jennifer has been recognized by PR News’ Digital PR Awards and PR Daily’s Social Media Awards. 

Written By Jennifer Spivak


  1. Great article, Jennifer. I’ve read a lot on the Facebook pixel, and you’ve done a great job explaining it. One question that I haven’t figured out. I’ve been tracking custom conversions instead of standard events (so I didn’t have to alter the code). Would you recommend this option?

  2. Really good question. Custom Conversions are totally fine and an alternative option to standard events; however each ad account is limited to creating only 20 custom conversions and as of now there is no way to delete them. So for many of my clients where we are advertising short-term or very specific initiatives that are not evergreen, using standard events makes more sense.