Have you ever wondered how you can visit a website and then suddenly you start seeing ads for that business in your Facebook feed? Do you think that is something that only those with lots of money can do, through some secret super expensive technology? Or maybe you just find it creepy.

Ok so maybe it is a little bit creepy. As is all that information that is sitting there on Facebook ready for ad ninjas to use. But if you can get past the creep factor it is something most of you can do fairly easily, especially if you have a self-hosted WordPress site. While I haven’t done it myself I have been assured it is not that complicated in Squarespace either.

How does the magic happen? With a conversion pixel and some instructions you need to give to Facebook. Sounds too easy doesn’t it! And especially easy if you follow the guide below.

Step 1: Create a Facebook Pixel

If you have an existing Facebook ads account you probably have two options, a Facebook pixel and a conversion tracking pixel (old). If you are new to Facebook ads you’ll only have the option to create the Facebook pixel. For simplicity I am going to walk you through using the new Facebook pixel.

Head on over to your ads manager. If you have only boosted posts before you get to it by clicking on the Ads manager:

You might read on some posts that you have to use the Power Editor for Facebook ads to create a custom audience. Handily Facebook has now updated the ads manager which is easier to use than the Power Editor. Once you are in the ads manager select the drop down menu in the top right hand corner:

You will then get a drop down menu. If this menu has the pixel option, click on that but if the word pixel isn’t appearing click on all tools and then pixel.

If you don’t already have a pixel Facebook will ask you if you want to create one. If you do have a pixel then you can skip this step.

Facebook will ask you to name the pixel and then you will have the option to install or email the code. If you select install it will show you the code to pop on your website. Email is a great option if you are going to get a developer to put the code on your website.

If you already have a pixel or aren’t quite ready to install you can always get the code later. To get to the pixel code follow the instructions above from the drop down menu next to ads manager to click back on pixel. Then click on the drop down arrow next to actions and click on view pixel code.

The code will then appear on your screen. Copy it and head on over to your website. You can also email the code by clicking on email pixel code.

Step 2: Pop it on your website

I am not going to give detailed instructions here because it depends on what system you are using to manager your website. If you are using WordPress you need to pop the pixel code in to your header. Not sure how to do that? You can also use a plugin to get that code on there. I prefer to limit the use of plugins as much as possible (and I know I use too many) so if you can get it in the header code all the better. But using a good plugin is better than not having that pixel on there. There are a few good plugins out there for adding code to your header including the insert header and footer plugin or the Facebook conversion pixel plugin. Depending on when you are reading this post make sure you check out when the plugin was last updated and  that it is compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

Step 3: Check the pixel is working

I use the Facebook pixel helper to check my pixel is working. It is an extension you add to your Google Chrome browser. If you are on a Mac and are using Safari, I know this might feel like a bit of a scam to make you use Chrome but just go with it and download Chrome. As you get more comfortable with Facebook ads you are going to want to use the Power Editor which is only Chrome friendly.

Click on the link above and install this handy little helper. Then open up your newly pixeled website and hopefully the little helper will turn blue. If it doesn’t turn blue it is saying that it can’t find a pixel. I would rinse and repeat steps 1 and 2 and if that doesn’t work then if you are on WordPress and putting the code in the header, check you have it in the right spot and then look at using a plugin to get you going. If you really can’t get it to work then getting in touch with your website developer should be your next port of call. If you have created your website yourself, then getting in touch with your theme developer through their support forums can also get you on your way.

Sometimes the pixel helper turns blue but there are still problems. Click on the helper to check all is good – it will tell you if there is a problem and give you some hints as to what is wrong.

Even if the pixel helper does turn blue it might also give you some error messages – if you head back to the page from where you downloaded the pixel helper you will see some tips on what could have gone wrong. To be honest I often just shut everything down, have a nice cup of tea, come back and it has often fixed itself.

Step 4: Tell Facebook about your new pixel and what you want it to do

You have your pixel on your website and the helper is all happy and blue. The next step is to tell Facebook to create an audience based on visitors to your website. To do this you are going to create a custom audience.  Head back to you ads manager and select Audiences from the tools:

Once you are on the audience page click the arrow next to create audience and select custom audience.

Facebook will then ask what kind of custom audience you want to create. Select the second option Website traffic and click on it. The following pop up box will appear:

To create the audience all you need to do is enter a name in the Audience name box and click the button that says Create Audience. But you can also be more specific about how far back Facebook should look (taking into account when Facebook started getting information from your pixel). There are also options to be more specific about which page the person visited by clicking on the arrow next to Anyone who visits your website. But that is for another post.

Once you have done that when you go in to create an ad you will be able to select this as a custom audience when you are creating your audience.

When should you bother to do this?

I know you have five million things you are already trying to do with your business. But put popping a pixel on your website near the top of the list. That way Facebook can start collecting information and when you are ready to use it whether it is tomorrow or in two weeks, there is data for you to use. You don’t need to go through all the steps of actually creating the audience just yet, you can do step 4 when you are ready to advertise. You will need an audience of 20 to get going with custom audiences.

Who should use Website Custom Audiences?

At some point this audience is going to be useful to just about everyone. If someone visits your website there is a pretty good chance they are interested in what you are talking about. Ok so some people will have stumbled on your website by accident but they aren’t going to be a high percentage. And you aren’t always going to want to use a Website Custom Audience. One of your ads might be targeted at people who have bought from you before and a Website Custom Audience is not going to be the way to target them. But chances are high the Website Custom Audience is going to come in handy and the sooner you get started on tracking people the bigger and better the audience will be.

Want more information on using custom audiences in your Facebook ads? Pop your details below and it will wing its way to you.

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