Tracking your results - Custom Conversions vs Standard Events

One of the reasons that the Facebook pixel is important when running Facebook ads is because you’re able to track your conversions. Why run ads if you can't track to see if they're getting you the results you want, right?

To do this you need to place your base pixel code on the page you want to track (generally, this is the thank you page (the page someone gets to after they’ve opted in to your offer). Once you place your base pixel code on your thank you page (it should also be on your website pages and landing pages) you’re not done. You will need a way to track these conversions so that you can see if you’re getting the results you want. So, you have a choice.

You can either:

  • Create a custom conversion which is based on the Thank You Page URL or

  • Use a standard event which is a snippet of code that’s place inside the base code and then placed on the thank you page.

Let’s go into each of them now.

Custom Conversion:

As I mentioned the custom conversion is based on the thank you page URL. You will need to create this custom conversion inside of Facebook so that you ‘tell’ Facebook to track this action. To do that go to:

Ads Manager>Hamburger>All Tools>Custom Conversions>Create Custom Conversion. When you select that this screen will appear.

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I generally change the setting to URL Equals (as opposed to ‘contains’). I then put the URL to my thank you page in the box beneath that and select a category. Note: The category can be whatever you’d like it to be. It’s whatever makes sense to you. If I’m list building I generally select ‘lead’ as that makes sense to me. Alternatively, if I’m trying to get webinar registrants, I will select ‘complete registration.’ You’ll then name the custom conversion. (Name it something you’ll remember.) For example, for my free starter kit I named my custom conversion “Starter Kit thank you page.”

The next step would be to opt into your freebie so that the custom conversion / pixel ‘fires.’ Once you do this the light should turn from red to green. But, give it some time. It’s not uncommon to have to wait a couple of hours.

Using your custom conversion:

When you’re ready to run your conversion ad you’ll be asked to select a ‘conversion’ at the Ad Set Level. (see image below) This is where you might see categories like “Lead,” “Complete Registration,” “Add to Cart,” etc. You will also now see your custom conversion. It will say (as in my example from above) “Starter Kit Thank You Page.” It should also be green. If it’s not and it’s been 24 hours I would delete the custom conversion and try again.

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Now you are set to track your conversions based on the thank you page!

Standard Event:

A standard event is a little snippet of code that you place inside of the base code. You then take the entire code (base code and snippet) and place that on the thank you page. If you’re not allergic to code this should be easy for you. If you’re anything like me, you might find a custom conversion a bit easier to deal with. Both work the same. 

Facebook gives us 9 different standard events to choose from. Here is what they look like.

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What you’ll do is copy your base pixel into a google or word document and select the standard event you want to use and place it underneath the ‘Page View” code as you see in the image below. Then, copy the entire code (base code and standard event) and place that on your thank you page.

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Which standard event code should you use? It’s similar to the custom conversion. Select the one that makes the most sense to you but do remember which one you select for each thank you page you create so that you are selecting the correct conversion event inside the ad set level when you’re ready to run your ads.

Using your standard event

When you’re ready to build your ad you’ll now select the category you used for that thank you page. So, if you placed the snippet of code for “LEAD” in the base code you’ll look in the drop down menu for “Lead” and it should be green. Again, if it’s not green, make sure you opt into your freebie and hit that thank you page to ‘fire’ it.

So, which should you use? In most cases, a custom conversion is easiest and will meet your needs. If you run an ecommerce store then you might want to use standard events. Since I work mostly with info based clients and students I always encourage the custom conversion as it's easiest to use. Once you get more comfortable with facebook ads you can certainly venture a go at standard events.