How to train your Facebook Pixel
With the pixel, Facebook pursues the goal of placing your ad before the users who will take up your call to action. You can read more about how this works in this article.
The pixel is a piece of code on your website that reports back to Facebook whether or not someone has completed the call-to-action on your website. For example, if your call to action is to buy a teabag, the Facebook pixel code on your teabag website tells Facebook whether or not a user who saw your ad and clicked through to your website also executed the following:
- Put the tea in the shopping cart
- Bought the tea
- Neither done
For marketers, the pixel is badass. It can help you reach the users who are most likely to take the action you want them to take, so your ad budget goes much further than it used to. For example, if they know that a user just looked at different tea flavors on another tea company's website... they can show that user your ad. Pretty cool, right?
But, here's the problem. You need to give the pixel a little help. Although the pixel can be used with their elusive database work, but that doesn't mean it's going to hit the nail on the head the first time.
This is where training your Pixel comes into play.
Why you need to train your pixel
Facebook's goal is to help you get conversions, and your goal is to help Facebook help you get conversions. When you train your Facebook Pixel, you're running a campaign that's not necessarily optimized to make you money. It's optimized to train your pixel.
This is called the learning phase because you're sending your pixel out into the world to learn new things, just like a gap year after graduation. It will come back with a ton of new knowledge, and it will use its new knowledge to help you get more conversions.
During this learning phase, your ad set will be seen by different people who belong to your chosen audience. Facebook keeps track of who takes actions and who doesn't. So it then helps you create a custom audience based on that initial audience.
Start training your Pixel
- Choose a low-ranking goal such as video views, website clicks (not a purchase request), etc.
- Create ONE ad set with a CTA for the low-ranked target
- Choose your target audience
- Run the ad set for about 50 conversions or at least a week.
- Do not change anything after you have published your ad set
It's time to summon your inner patience, because as much as you want to tweak your writing or change your goal - you can't. It's like training your dog to "lie down" while you teach him how to "sit" for the first time. He'll be super confused, you won't get the end result you wanted, and you'll have to start over another day. 🐶
You can turn off these ads once you reach about 50 conversions or after 5-7 days.
Congratulations, you have trained your pixel! True, it's not nearly as cute as your dog sitting when you ask him to. But you'll get that warm fuzzy feeling when you start getting conversions and seeing real people wanting your products and services.
Now that you've trained your pixel, you can use it as a tailored audience for your future campaigns.
Just a quick note:
If you have a larger budget, you may be able to get 50 conversions in a few days. Since Facebook uses your budget to show your ad to more people, you can get more eyes on your ad in less time. If this is the case, you can turn off this ad set and launch your purchase conversion optimized ads to this new custom audience.
If you have a smaller budget - no big deal. Just wait 50 conversions or 5-7 days (whichever comes first), and then start running your conversion optimized ads for your new custom audience.
Create a Custom Audience based on your trained pixel
Let's say your learning ad set was aimed at converting video views. You were able to get more than 50 people to watch your video, and now you're ready to show them your real ads.
When you select your audience for these ads, you have the ability to select custom audiences that were not available to you BEFORE you trained your pixel.
Step One: Go to your ad set and click on "Custom Audience."
Step two: Select "Video Views".
Step three: Select the duration of the video view (you can select more than one)
Step four: Select the video viewers you want to show the set ad to, depending on how long ago they watched your video.
Step Five: Give your target audience a name.
Now you're advertising to a warm audience of people who Facebook knows are interested in your product. Instead of asking them to convert when they first see your business, ask them to convert once they get a better chance to get to know you.
Marketing is like any other relationship - you can't just walk up to someone on the produce shelf and ask them to marry you. The two of you need to get to know each other first. When you train your Facebook Pixel, you skip the shopping cart proposal and build a relationship first, then ask them to marry you (i.e. buy your products) later.
And just like that, you've trained your pixel. Now you can optimize your future ads based on everything your pixel now knows. Technology is crazy...