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How to Leverage Pixels to Find the ROI in Facebook Ads

Written by: Laurie Cutts, Director of Marketing

If you were wondering if you can measure the return on investment for your Facebook ads, the answer is yes!  By leveraging pixels for downstream revenue tracking, you can optimize your Facebook ads for predictive lifetime value to acquire the most profitable customers and make the best use of your marketing spend.

Conversion pixels are used to signal events that happened while the user was browsing your website like viewing a product, registering or even adding a product to a shopping cart. It can be represented by an HTML image tag with a height and width of 1.

So why are pixels important?  Nanigans conducted a case study across multiple ecommerce customers to test the significance of pixeling, specifically at the “add to cart” phase of conversion. In total, the test included 8,862,375,162 impressions, split between campaigns operating with an “add to cart” pixel versus those without. The results are telling. Campaigns that included pixeling at the “add to cart” stage of the conversion funnel resulted in a purchase rate percent increase of 688%, and an 88% percent decrease in cost per purchase.

How Tracking Pixels Work

The standard pixel flow works as follows:

  1. A person clicks the ad and a tracking parameter is injected in the Click URL.
  2. A person crosses his/her first pixel point.
  3. Data is passed back (type, name, value, app id, user id).

There are a variety of pixel tracking parameters including:

  1. Install – tracks install or signup events.
  2. Visit – tracks visit events (Landing/DAU).
  3. User – tracks user actions (level ups/add to carts).
  4. Viral  – tracks viral actions (wall posts, invites).
  5. Purchase – tracks purchases (including revenue).

Nanigans pixels can also be used to:

  1. Track the value of a product.
  2. Determine the placement of the ad that was clicked.
  3. Remove duplicate events in case the same pixel fires repeatedly.
  4. Track a unique identifier or SKU for the product the user is interacting with  (FBX dynamic creative).

Nanigans offers two approaches to conversion tracking, client-side tracking and server-side tracking.

  • Client-side tracking allows Nanigans to see what cookies were set on the user during previous pixel fire/view-through ad impression.
  • Server side tracking utilizes a server owned by the client to pass data to the Nanigans API on the users behalf.

Downstream Tracking for FBX

Downstream tracking can be highly effective for remarketing with ecommerce, travel, gaming and financial services companies leveraging pixels for their FBX campaigns.  Some considerations for setting up your downstream tracking include:

  1. A registration pixel for new users.
  2. A client side pixel to track users across browsers and devices.
  3. Product specific pixels (product view, add to cart, purchase).
  4. A value parameter indicating the type of user can be passed (only if a customer segmentation analysis has been performed by the client).
  5. Language can be specified within the name parameter of the pixel.
  6. A product feed is required to serve dynamic creative.

Considerations for External Analytics

If you want to track clicks and impressions you need to provide impression and click tags (click trackers).  We recommend tracking these separately so you can clearly identify what’s driving your conversions.

  • Impression tags – identify people who see the ad but didn’t click.  These are effective for tracking people who view the ad but then open up another tab or browser window and go directly to your website to make a purchase rather than clicking on the ad.
  • Click tags – show the last ad the user clicked on before making a purchase so you can identify your most effective ads.  Nanigans can also dynamically insert certain tracking parameters into destination URLs.

If you are running a performance marketing campaign at scale using an ad platform like Nanigans, data sharing and downstream revenue tracking are critical to your success.  Pixels enable algorithm-based optimization, predictive lifetime value modeling and audience learning for marketers.  Without pixel integration, marketers are operating blindly and missing out on a massive opportunity to scale revenue.

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