Facebook today announced the global launch of its conversion tracking tool to help advertisers measure and optimize their ads leading off-Facebook.
Marketers will be able to use the new tool to generate a unique bit of code to add to any page on their website where they want to measure conversions, for example, checkout pages or registration forms. When marketers choose Optimized CPM bidding, Facebook’s system will show ads to users who are most likely to convert. This is key for e-commerce and other direct response advertisers who use Facebook ads to lead users to third-party sites.
Some of the social network’s top advertisers have been able to work with the company to do this type of conversion tracking for more than a year, and other large advertisers work with third-party ad companies to track and optimize their campaigns for conversions. However, this new tool will allow conversion tracking for smaller advertisers who are using Facebook ads to drive online actions.
The social network announced this self-serve capability was coming in November 2012 but it hadn’t rolled out until this past week. Offsite pixels became available via the API on Friday and were incorporated into the self-serve ad tool sometime this weekend.
Advertisers who create ads linking off-Facebook will see an option called “Conversion Tracking” in the “Campaign, Pricing and Schedule” section of the ad tool. Clicking “Create Tracking Pixels” will take users to another page where they can create a conversion pixel, name it and designate what category of action they’re tracking: checkouts, registrations, leads, key page views, adds to cart or other website conversions. These actions will be reported in the ads manager.
Facebook then will generate a piece of code for users to put on the page of their site they want to track.
Advertisers will have a dashboard for maintaining all their conversion pixels. If a pixel hasn’t been properly configured, users will see a warning under pixel status, which contains more details when users hover over the status.
Facebook tried implementing a conversion tracking tool in 2010, but ended the beta less than a year later. A Facebook engineer said the test resulted in a lot of confusion among advertisers and required too much overhead to provide user support. The company says the difference now is the combination of conversion measurement and Optimized CPM, which allows advertisers to set their marketing goals, and then have Facebook’s system automatically serve ads in a way that achieves those goals as efficiently as possible. Having a comprehensive FAQ in Help Center and including simple prompts throughout the self-serve tool are also useful.
Facebook does not offer conversion tracking for Sponsored Stories and other ads that link to pages or apps on Facebook.