Facebook Ad Conversion Tracking for Smart MarketersNot tracking conversions on your Facebook ads is like giving someone your bank card and not tracking how much money they are taking out of your account!

With a little bit of work, you can start tracking the conversions from your ads on Facebook and begin to make more money!

If one ad is converting at 5% and another ad is converting at 10%, which one will you use?

If you don’t know your conversion numbers then you won’t know!!

Have I got your attention…? Well, read on and the answers to your questions are all below.

How does Facebook track conversions on your website?

**Note:  this article is based on the new Facebook pixel.

Before you can track conversions you need to install a piece of code called ‘Facebook pixel’ on the pages of the website where you want to track conversions.

Once this is installed you have two options to set up conversion tracking.

  1. Create a custom conversion – There is no additional code required.  Once you have the Facebook pixel set up you can tell Facebook to track conversions on specific pages.
  2. Add additional code to the Facebook pixel – Although this is more complicated it gives more flexibility.


No time to read this article now? Download the PDF version for future reference!


Why do you need to install Facebook pixels to set up conversion tracking?

Before we talk about conversion tracking, you need to understand Facebook pixels and what Facebook has recently changed.

A pixel is a piece of code you put onto pages of your website to help Facebook track activity on your site.

There used to be two tracking pixels:

Custom audience pixel – This tracked all the activity on your website so this pixel was on every page

Conversion tracking pixel – This was put on specific pages where you wanted to convert.

There is now one pixel:

Facebook pixel – This replaces the custom audience and conversion tracking pixels.

The new Facebook pixel makes things a little bit simpler and Facebook has also expanded the functionality of the pixel tracking.

This table shows what is supported with all three types of tracking pixel:

Facebook tracking pixels
The pixels old and new – this shows what it was like before and what it is like now.

All you need to know at this stage is that the Facebook pixel includes everything the existing pixels supported, plus more.


… when you install the Facebook pixel, it doesn’t magically track all your conversions. You need to add additional code to your pixel for the specific pages you want to track.

This extra code is called ‘events’.

How do you add the Facebook pixel code

In your Facebook Ads Manager, select the ‘pixels’ option (you don’t need to use Power Editor)

Finding the pixel menu option
Select the ‘pixel’ menu option

You can then view, email or share your pixel code.

selecting the pixel
This is where you can email, copy or share the pixel

You then need to give your pixel code to your developer to add to every page of your website.

When you want to track specific events, you tell your developer to add the event code to the particular pages you want to track.

How do I set up custom conversion tracking

You can set up conversion tracking without adding any extra code to your page by setting up a custom conversion.

This isn’t as flexible as a standard event but it’s quick and easy.

When you are setting up a website conversion ad you will see the following option:

custom conversion
Setting up a custom conversion

You then specify when this conversion happens.  For example, when someone lands on a thank you page this could signify a conversion has happened.  Now select the category of conversion e.g. it’s a purchase.

Conversion tracking pixel
Conversion tracking configuration

Facebook will now start tracking!

How can you take advantage of Facebook standard events? (Alternative to custom conversion tracking)

You start off using custom conversions but if you want more flexibility you can use standard (or custom) events.

Events add a whole new layer of functionality to your Facebook pixel.

Here’s how it works in simple language!

You add your Facebook pixel code to your website.

You add additional code onto this Facebook pixel for the pages where you want to track specific events (e.g. a purchase).

This is how it looks:

The pixel code
This is the pixel code with an event included

1. This is where the code should be placed on your website.

2. The total piece of code displayed = Facebook tracking pixel + one event.

3. This is the event code you have added specifically for this page.

What are all the standard events?

There are 9 events you can track (i.e. 9 different pieces of code you can add to pages to track different things). Here are the 9 events:

  • View content
  • Search
  • AddtoCart
  • AddtoWishList
  • InitiateCheckout
  • AddPaymentInfo
  • Purchase
  • Lead
  • CompleteRegistration.

As you can see, most of them are related to conversions.

Here’s how it works.

Someone goes to your product page and decides to buy. When they submit their payment, they are brought to a confirmation page and this is where the event code is added.

We know a conversion happened whenever someone hits the confirmation page.

tracking a purchase
The event code is added to the last page in the process

Here’s is an example of the code you would add to your Facebook pixel:

fbq('track', 'ViewContent', { 
    content_type: 'product',
    content_ids: ['1234'],
    content_name: 'ABC Leather Sandal',
    content_category: 'Shoes'
    value: 0.50,
    currency: 'USD'

As well as a standard event, you can add additional information to the event, for example, if you want to track the cost of whatever has been purchased.

Note: you can use google analytics goals in conjunction with conversion tracking.

This extra information can include:

  • value – The value of the transaction
  • currency – The currency
  • content_name – The name of the product
  • content_category – The category of the product
  • content_ids – This could an SKU (i.e .an id associated with the product
  • content_type – This can either be a product or product group
  • num_items – The number of items passed
  • search_string – The search string used by the user
  • order_id – The unique order id
  • status – Used to track status of registration.

‘Effective conversion tracking is paramount to optimise the results of your Facebook advertising campaigns, and now this is easier than ever thanks to a range of new tools designed to suit the needs of all accounts: from small ad-hoc advertisers to large companies requiring tracking of hundreds of sales’ – Antonio Calero

What about Facebook custom events…?

If the standard events are not sufficient for you, you can create your own custom events.

Here’s an example of a custom event where you specify the event with the custom parameters you want to track:

fbq('trackCustom', '<CustomEventName>', {
    custom_param1: 'ABC',
    custom_param2: 123,
    value: 10.00,
    currency: 'USD'

What can you do with all that tracking information?

Here are some ideas:

Use the information to see which ads are performing the best – When you run ads, you can track conversions. It makes sense that you would spend more money on a higher converting ad.

Target people who didn’t complete a purchase – You can track people who went to the purchase page but didn’t go ahead with their purchase. This means you can now retarget these people with ads.

Note: your audience needs to be at least 20 people before you can start retargeting.


Facebook conversion tracking is absolutely essential if you are running Facebook ads.

Even if a conversion is not a product purchase (e.g. it’s sign up to a newsletter), you should still be tracking it!

Are you using this? Do you want to share any tips?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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