[Update: Seeing some of your comments has made me realise how this article wasn’t clear on several points. I’ll re-write a new version of this article and put it up again]
A month ago when I was setting up Facebook tracking tools for a client, I made a mistake during the pre-launch phase.
As the title of this post suggests, the mistake had to do with both conversion pixels and website custom audience.
However, after conducting some trial & error tests during the pre-launch phase, I discovered a few key differences between both features which even beginner advertisers need to understand.
Defining conversion pixels and what they do
Conversion pixels are essentially trackers.
These conversion pixels are quite powerful. Typically, they are placed on specific pages, such as a registration page or ‘thank you’ page.
Its key purpose is to track conversions. In other words, conversion pixels tell you how many people have completed an action which you desire and attribute the visits to ads where relevant.
For instance, you will place a conversion pixel on your article if you want to track how many people have visited that page. Then, you’ll assign the conversion pixel to ads that are driving traffic to those pages.
You can also place conversion pixels elsewhere, like on a landing page to see how many people have visited that page.
The same principle applies to registration pages and ‘thank you’ pages. Placing a conversion pixel on your ‘thank you’ page helps you determine how many people have landed on the page.
As a result, it is imperative that you set up your website conversion funnel right. For instance, if you are selling multiple products, you should make use of a separate ‘thank you’ page to track how many people have purchased a certain product.
This is even more important if you’re using a third-party tool to sell your product. You should speak to the service provider to see if they can route your customers to a separate ‘thank you’ page.
I made this mistake with one of my client’s during pre-launch. I didn’t understand their complete conversion funnel and had no idea that they were going to use a third-party service provider to sell their product. The consequences were disastrous for the first week. Let me explain why.
You see, although conversion pixels serve the primary purpose of tracking your conversion figures, Facebook also allows advertisers to lever on this powerful feature to optimise their ads to reach people who are similar to those who have taken an action you specified.
In other words, if you’re tracking more than just your own customers, you will end up with a pool of un-targeted audience who have landed on that ‘thank you’ page. Facebook will serve your ads to people who are similar to these converted people, which includes customers who have bought products that are unrelated to yours.
If you’re a local business, you might end up serving your ads to people outside of your geographical targeting, who can’t even buy your product in the first place. That is a huge waste of money.
So within days of launch, I had to remedy the situation for my client and settle for a less than optimal solution. I placed the conversion pixel on the registration page instead, which was customised to my client’s products. We could only optimise our ads to reach people who visited that product page and had to take extra care when marketing their products to make sure that the people who come into their website were at least interested in what they sold.
Defining website custom audiences and what they do
Website custom audience is an incredibly useful feature. It is one of the four types of custom audiences offered by Facebook.
In essence, any advertiser like you who may have a website may make use of this feature to remarket to people who visit your website during a specified period, up to the past 180 days/6 months.
Like conversion pixels, this feature gives you an estimated number of how many people have visited your website or a specific part of your website.
However, it does not optimise your ads for people like those who visited your website. That is the job of conversion pixels. Website custom audience, as mentioned, serves the primary function of allowing you to reach the same people who visited your website.
With this feature, you may specify which website visitors you want to reach during the setup process. To see how specific you can be, check out Facebook’s very own tutorial.
I know that majority of you advanced advertisers out there are already using both of these features. But I thought I’d share about my own experiences because I find that these two features look very similar when they are supposed to be different.
If you have experienced similar confusion before, give me a shout out below! Otherwise, stay tuned for more real Facebook marketing tips as I share more of my experiences with clients in the coming weeks.