That also means exploring some of the major pitfalls marketers run into when choosing to optimize an ad campaign for conversions.
Why Optimize For Conversions?
When running a Facebook ad campaign, you have a few options for goals: Traffic, Engagement, Page Likes, Conversions, and more. By opting for conversions, you’re telling Facebook to optimize the delivery of your ads to users most likely to achieve a specific goal.
So say, for instance, you want to run a Conversions campaign to optimize for sales on your website. Using your previously installed Facebook Pixel, you can use your ads to drive users to the page on your site most likely to lead to a conversion event.
From there, your pixel will recognize when that event has been reached - say, reaching a “thank you” page after checkout, or submitting an order through your sales CRM integration.
Given that a) your user reached your website via your Facebook ad campaign, and b) that they achieved the desired conversion event as a result, Facebook will count that interaction as a successful “Conversion” in your ad campaign. Congratulations - you achieved a Conversion!
Sounds Easy… What Could Go Wrong?
As it turns out, there are a few key mistakes marketers and advertisers make when running Conversions campaigns. Separately, each can have a negative impact on your Conversions reporting… and together, they could hamstring your Conversions campaign entirely.
Mistake #1: Bad Facebook Pixel Installation
As foolproof as Facebook may try to make their campaign attribution methods, there’s not a lot that can be done to improve your Conversion tracking if your Facebook Pixel isn’t installed correctly.
There’s no “one right way” to install a Facebook pixel on your website, but there are a few common (and relatively foolproof) ways to get your pixel up and running quickly and efficiently.
The first is manual installation, which involves adding a short snippet of code to the <head> section of each page of your website. Don’t worry - you can email this to your developer to add manually if you need help, or just insert yourself directly into your page’s code.
Alternatively, you can opt for installation of your pixel through a third-party integration. We like to use Google Tag Manager because we already utilize Tag Manager for many of our websites, and adding the PIxel this way ensures uniformity across all pages of your site.
Mistake #2: Bad Facebook Pixel Event Setup
The next key to getting your Conversions tracking up and running is ensuring your Pixel is correctly registering the right Events on your website.
Honestly, the easiest way to go about this is to opt for Facebook’s native Event Setup Tool, which lets you specify key Events on your website (like Newsletter Signup, Add To Cart, Purchase, etc.) without having to install a single line of code.
Using the Event Setup Tool, Facebook will guide you through your website with options to select buttons, links, and specific pages to specify Standard Events on a case-by-case basis. It’s an easy way to ensure your most important website actions are being captured and attributed correctly.
But if you’re more of a custom or hands-on kind of person, you can add Events to your website manually using specified bits of code across whichever pages on your site you prefer. That way, you can get even more specific about types of events, including specific purchase actions, specific page views, and more.
Mistake #3: Poor Conversion Event Choice
Ok, it might sound self-explanatory, but your conversion tracking isn’t going to get anywhere if you don’t pick the right Conversion Event for your ads.
Say, for example, you want to create a retargeting audience of everybody who’s added a specific product to their on-site shopping cart, but who did not actually complete the purchase process. You want these people to actually move forward with purchasing that specific product moving forward.
First and foremost, you’ll want to create a Custom Conversion Event that is specifically tied to a “Purchase” event for that product. That likely means specifying which page on your website should fire that specific Purchase Event, and assigning that Custom Event a specific name.
At this point, you can create a custom audience based on your website data of everybody who completed an “Add to ImageCart” event but who did not complete that custom Purchase Event. If you don’t specify this particular Custom Purchase Event (or its affiliated URL), you’ll be pulling in everybody who Added to Cart and didn’t make a Purchase for any of your products, not just that one targeted product.
This won’t be specific enough to accurately achieve your goal of driving those would-be purchasers to actually nab that specific product. That’s why it’s critical to keep a close watch on which Conversion Event you’re driving toward and to make sure your ads are reaching the right audience and pointing them toward the right destination,
Mistake #4: Relying Solely on Last-Touch Attribution
You don’t have to be a marketing genius to know that the path from ad delivery to purchase isn’t always a straight line - something Facebook has been pretty keen on communicating to advertisers in the past.
In most cases, a user will actually interact with your brand several times before making a purchase decision. After seeing an ad, a customer will likely undergo an evaluation process before making a purchase, which may include research and verification of things like cost and availability.
But this doesn’t mean your initial advertisement wasn’t effective—rather, it was the genesis for a longer, more involved purchase decision. Facebook helps advertisers capture and measure that attribution… but only if you’ve accounted for that process.
That said, it’s all too common for advertisers to instead rely solely on Last-Touch Attribution when measuring Conversion data. That means only counting those purchases which directly results from clicking on an ad, rather than accounting for all purchases that may have touched your Conversions ads at some point along the journey.
That’s why Facebook allows advertisers to specify more distinct attribution windows for Conversions ads from the very beginning, allowing you to set up windows and timeframes in which a user who has interacted with your ad can still be counted as a “Conversion” for your campaign.
That way, you can get a better sense of how effective your Conversions ads are toward driving sales or Event completions, even if it’s not a direct 1:1 path from your ad directly to that Conversion Event.
Don’t Miss Out On The Best of What Your Conversion Ads Can Deliver
If you’re not accurately tracking your Conversion Attributions, you might just be missing out on some of the most useful data your Conversions Ads can offer: how successful your campaign actually is at driving your main objective. That’s why it’s critical to make sure your ads are not only bringing your users to where they need to be, but also accurately tracking and recording what happens when they get there.
Without the right Attribution setup, you may not be seeing the whole picture of your Conversions Ads—and that could cause you to jump ship on an ad campaign that might actually be delivering real, positive results.
We should know - we’ve been running Conversions campaigns for our clients and partners for years, and we’ve seen just how powerful they can be for businesses looking to maximize the attention and motivation of their online customer base.
If you’re interested in getting started with Conversions Ads on Facebook, or if you just want to make sure your ads are delivering an accurate picture of their results, get in touch. We can help make sure your Conversions Ads are doing what they’re supposed to—and that they’re letting you know about it.
- Megan O'Keefe
- Social Media & Content Specalist