5 Facebook Ad Tracking Techniques Used in Every Profitable Campaign

Last updated on by Ted Vrountas in Facebook Advertising

By now you’ve narrowed down your ideal audience using Facebook’s targeting tools, and you’ve optimized every one of your ad creatives.

Time to start your campaign and put your feet up, right?

Not exactly.

Running Facebook ads without tracking their success is like playing darts blindfolded; chances are, you might hit the board once or twice if you throw enough darts, but you’re not going to nail that bullseye.

Facebook ad tracking allows you see how your ads fit into your overall marketing scheme, so you can optimize your strategy as you go. By finding out things like…

… you bring yourself one step closer to hitting the bullseye that represents a successful campaign.

Without Facebook ad tracking, you’re in the dark, throwing money at ads with the hope that eventually you’ll stumble upon the perfect one.

Save yourself time and money by using these Facebook ad tracking tips.

1. Tag your URLs

Let’s say you’ve created an ad campaign with the objective of driving clicks to your landing page.

Like any good marketer, you’ve created a number of ad creatives to test against one another. You decide the winning ad will be the one that generates the most website visits at the lowest cost.

You set a test budget of $20 for each ad, and run them over the next two days to the same audience.

As the Social Media Manager, you’ll be able to use Facebook’s reporting tools to figure out which ad is most successful after those two days pass.

However, if you’re using a third-party analytics software like Google Analytics, or you’re part of a marketing team, measuring your success isn’t as simple as having access to Facebook metrics.

You see, when you create two ads for the same destination URL — and both get clicked — there’s no way of differentiating those clicks by looking at your site’s analytics.

If Ad Creative 1 has generated 500 clicks with the $20 test budget, and its variation, Ad Creative 2, has generated 300 clicks, it’s clear that the former is the victor.

But… if you or a team member are looking at Facebook campaign results via Google Analytics or another third-party software, all you’ll see is 800 clicks to your landing page via Facebook.

By tagging your URLs with a unique combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, you’ll be able to identify which ads are driving what traffic. Look at one of our ads’ URL tag, for example:

Learn more about how to add URL tags to your ads here.

2. Install a conversion tracking pixel

When your goal is conversions, always take the time to install a conversion pixel. It’s a small snippet of code that’s placed on the back end of the “Thank You” page that your prospect will reach after they convert on your landing page. Every time someone reaches that page, the pixel fires, and it will show in your ads manager.

Now you’ll be able to track how many conversions you’re generating.

If you don’t know how to install it yourself, here’s a plugin for WordPress that will make it easier. Facebook also allows you to copy the code and send it to someone who does know how to do it, like a coder or a web developer.

Here are some instructions from Facebook on how to install it. (Caution: Facebook is phasing out the conversion pixel later in 2016 and hopes to have advertisers transition to the Meta pixel, discussed later in the post).

3. Install a Custom Audience pixel

With a Custom Audience pixel, you’ll be able to track visitors to specific pages of your website, and turn those visitors into an audience to serve highly relevant ads.

The way it works is this:

You install the pixel on a particular page, the same way you would the conversion tracking pixel. Now, whenever someone visits that page (whether through Facebook or another referrer), they’re added to an audience list that you can target with a specific ad for that page.

For example, let’s imagine you’re a clothing retailer.

If you install a Custom Audience pixel on a product page for, say, a particular sweatshirt, then everyone who views that sweatshirt on your site will be targeted with Facebook ads that you create for it.

(Take a look at what happened when I logged into Facebook after shopping for a Kindle on Amazon.)

This allows for highly effective remarketing that brands have used to boost ROI by as much as 32 times.

Learn more about how to install Custom Audience pixels here.

4. Learn how to use the new Meta pixel

In the second half of 2016, Facebook is phasing out the conversion tracking pixel, as well as the Custom Audience pixel, and replacing them both with the new “Meta pixel.”

According to Facebook:

“The Meta pixel combines the power of the conversion pixel and the Custom Audience pixel into a single pixel. You can now use the Meta pixel to measure, optimize and build audiences for your ad campaigns, and no longer need to implement the conversion pixel and Custom Audience pixel.”

A Custom Audience pixel is used to track visits, page views, and used to retarget to website visitors.

A conversion pixel is used to track conversions like sales, sign-ups, and it’s used for reporting.

Here’s a table from Facebook diagramming the functions of all three pixels:

As you can see, the new Meta pixel does the job of both the Custom Audience pixel and the conversion tracking pixel, and even allows for tracking of custom conversions (which neither did).

With this singular pixel, you can track conversions, create audiences, retarget to those audiences and deliver them highly relevant advertisements.

For now, if you’re more comfortable using the Custom Audience pixel and the conversion tracking pixel, you can continue to use them. However it’s wise to begin learning how to incorporate the Meta pixel into your marketing since it’s more powerful than the other two pixels combined, and will ultimately replace both later on this year.

5. Set a conversion value

When you’re running an ad with the goal of converting prospects, it’s important to know the value of those conversions.


So you can easily track your campaign spend versus campaign revenue.

“But there’s no revenue attached to an e-newsletter sign-up,” you say. “The value of a conversion is irrelevant here.”

Well, if you believe that, your business might be in trouble.

That kind of thinking is the reason a lot of start-ups fail so quickly today. Their business model is completely out of whack.

Usually what ends up happening is their customer acquisition cost exceeds their customers’ lifetime value. Essentially, the amount it costs for them to bring in a customer is much higher than the amount of money they can earn from a customer over their lifetime.

What happens next is obvious.

Over time, if you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, your business won’t stay afloat.

Setting a conversion value and knowing where you stand in relation to customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value will help you figure out whether to kill a wasteful campaign, or scale up a valuable one.

Learn more about how to set a value for your conversions here.

Stay out of the dark

Setting up these Facebook ad tracking tools means you’re setting yourself up for success. Knowledge of what’s working and what’s failing is essential to running profitable Facebook campaigns.

Start driving traffic to your landing pages via Facebook today. Sign up for an Instapage 14-day free trial and create your very own landing page in minutes.

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