Facebook Pixel Guide - Fixing Common Errors
Written by Ben Culpin, Posted on December 9, 2019
(Last Updated: July 28, 2020)
When you are using Facebook Ads, there is one factor which is crucial to get right from the start: The Facebook Pixel.
When helping clients to effectively optimize and manage their Facebook Ads, we often get questions regarding the pixel: How to set it up, why it isn't working correctly, etc.
Therefore, this article is intended as an educational resource to provide a quick reference to answer some of those commonly occuring issues for e-commerce retailers and digital markters running Facebook Ad Campaigns.
What is the Facebook pixel?
This pixel is simply code that you add to your website - you may already be familiar with the concept from Google Shopping tracking codes. It works by placing and triggering cookies to track users as they interact with your website and your Facebook ads.
How can it be used?
We won't go into too much detail here as the article is focused predominantly on verifying and solving common issues! Here is a (brief) overview though, just to show the diversity of the pixel's usage.
Once added to your website the Facebook pixel collects data which helps you:
- Track conversions from your Dynamic Ads.
The Facebook pixel allows you to see how people interact with your website after viewing your Facebook ad. You can even track customers across their devices. This lets you see if people tend to see your ads on mobile but switch to a desktop before buying. Or, maybe it’s the other way around. This information can help you refine your ad strategy and calculate your return on investment.
- Construct detailed audience targeting.
Facebook can use its targeting data to help you build a lookalike audience of people who have similar likes, interests, and demographics to people who are already interacting with your website. This can help expand your potential customer base.
- Retarget people who took a specified action on your website.
Facebook retargeting pixel data and dynamic ads allow you to show targeted ads to people who have already visited your site. You can choose to get really granular here. For example, you can show people an ad for the exact product that they abandoned in a shopping cart or added to a wishlist on your website.
- Optimize your Facebook Ads
As Facebook collects data on who buys from your site and how much they spend, it can help optimize your ad audience based on value. That means it will automatically show your ads to the people who are most likely to make high-value purchases.
Creating and adding your Facebook pixel to your website
So know we know the why's of using the pixel, let's take a look at the how's of getting started and putting it to work on your own, or your clients, website. Let's dive in.
Step 1: Create your pixel
Start by navigating to your Events Manager on your account and select the 'Pixels' section from the dropdown menu.
You'll then be taken to a screen that looks a little something like this.
I probably don't need to point this out, but the next step is to click the green Create a Pixel button!
You will then be taken to a creation screen where you have the chance to name your pixel, provide a valid URL of your website and finally....Create that pixel!
A word of advice on the pixel name
In Events Manager, you have one pixel for each ad account you manage. However tempting it is to call your pixel something short and easy to remember (e.g. Dave or Bob), the name should represent your business, rather than a specific campaign. You can see below that we opted for the very original name of WakeupData Advert's Pixel 👌
N.B. You can use Facebook Business Manager to add more than one pixel per account.
Step 2: Add that pixel's code to your website
The way that you add the pixel code to your chosen web pages will vary depending on the platform you use. As stated above, for those familiar with the Google Ads setup, this choice might look somewhat familiar:
- You might be using an e-commerce platform like Shopify or Woocommerce. Alternatively, you might already be using a tag manager like Google Tag Manager.
In this case, the first option (integration or tag manager, above) means you can install your Facebook pixel using these third-party tools - without having to touch the website code!
Check out this Facebook article on third-party integrations for more details.
- The final option on the list above is, as you can see, fairly straightforward too. You simply select a developer who will be able to edit your website code and send them all the details they need to install the pixel.
- If the first two options are not possible, it's up to you to add the pixel code directly into your web pages.
So let's take a look at how that works:
After choosing to Manually Install the Code Yourself, you simply need to paste the pixel code Facebook provides into the header code of your website.
As stated below, ensure you paste it after the <head> tag but before the </head> tag.
Ideally, you want to paste the code into a template instead of having to manually apply the tracking to every page of your website.
Now you have the option to choose whether you want to use automatic advanced matching.
This option matches customer data from your website to existing Facebook profiles.
As stated in the screenshot below, it helps track your conversions more accurately and also reach more people through your remarketing campaigns.
Now you can check whether you’ve installed the code correctly by typing your website URL and clicking Send Test Traffic.
Step 3: Ensure you are tracking the right events for your business
First up, select which industry you are in from the dropdown menu (screenshot below). This will have a bearing on the events you'd like to track.
Once you've made your selection, you'll be greeted by a list of possible events (view content, search, add to cart, etc). For each event you select, you'll need to choose whether to track on page load or on inline action.
- Track event on page load: Use this to track actions that involve going to a new page, like a purchase complete or sign-up success page.
- Track event on inline action: Use this to track actions within a page, like clicking an “add to cart” button that does not open a new page.
You can also set parameters for some events. For example, maybe you specifically want to track purchases over a set dollar value.
Step 4: Check that your Facebook pixel is actually working
But before you start relying on the data from your Facebook pixel, you should confirm that it’s also tracking properly.
- Add the Facebook Pixel Helper extension to your Google Chrome browser. (It’s only available for Chrome, so if you use a different browser, you’ll need to install Chrome to use the Pixel Helper.)
- Visit the page where you have installed the Facebook pixel. If the extension finds the pixel, the </> extension icon will turn blue, and a popup will indicate how many pixels it finds on the page. The popup will also tell you if your pixel is working properly. If not, it will provide error information so you can make corrections.
Step 5: Add pixel notice to your website
To comply with Facebook’s terms (and, in some cases, the law), you need to make sure visitors to your website know you’re collecting their data.
That means you need to provide clear notice that you’re using the Facebook pixel and that their information may be collected through cookies or other methods. You also need to let users know how they can opt out of having their data collected.
To get all the details, go to the Facebook Business Tools Terms and scroll down to point 3: Special Provisions Concerning the Use of Facebook Pixels and SDKs. Or, check out Facebook’s cookie consent guide for sites and apps.
Troubleshooting problems with the Facebook Pixel
So now that we've had a quick look at what he pixel actually does and how to set it up, let's take a look at some common pitfalls that often occur and how to avoid them.
Troubleshoot Pixel Helper errors
As mentioned above, the Facebook Pixel Helper reports common errors than can happen when you install a pixel on your website:
Error 1: 'No pixel found'
If the Pixel Helper icon in web browser bar displays a message that no pixels were found on that page, it means that you need to place the Facebook pixel code on your website.
Refer to the step-by-step instructions above on how to do this.
Error 2: 'Pixel did not load'
This means that the Pixel Helper may have found Facebook pixel code on your website, but the pixel isn't receiving information from your website back to Facebook.
There are two reasons that this might happen:
- You set up your pixel to receive information about a dynamic event (e.g. If someone adds an item to a cart on your Page).
When this happens, click on the specific button where you attached your pixel code and click on the Pixel Helper again to see if this fixes the problem.
- There could be an error in your pixel base code. If this is the case, you can try deleting the Facebook pixel code you've placed on your website and adding the code again.
Again, refer to the step-by-step instructions above on how to do this.
Error 3: 'Not a standard event'
This means that the Pixel Helper has found event code on your website that doesn't match one of their standard events. Usually, this is due to a typing mistake (e.g event is named "Purchased" instead of "Purchase") In this case, refer to Facebook's standard event names to make sure that this matches with the event names in your website's own code.
Error 4: 'Pixel activated multiple times'
This means your Facebook pixel has sent the same message several times to Facebook.
To fix this:
- Ensure you have used the Facebook pixel base codejust once on each page that has an event you'd like to track.
- If you have event code on your website, don't place it several times on the same page.
Error 5: 'Invalid pixel ID'
This means that the pixel ID in your Facebook pixel base code hasn't been recognized by Facebook. To fix this, you'll need to replace the pixel ID in your pixel base code with the pixel ID assigned to an active ad account.
Error 6: 'Product ID Errors'
This might include a message such as:
'Products are missing from your catalogs'
First thing, unless you are running Dynamic Ads, you can ignore this message. It will be a yellow sign on the Pixel Helper - meaning it's optional and doesn't mean your pixel is not working.
In contrast, if you are running Dynamic Ads then this is an important message, meaning that you have provided the incorrect product IDs in your feed.
If the product Content IDs in your feed don't match the one identified by the Facebook Pixel ID, then you’ll need to fix how you create the Content IDs in a feed marketing tool - such as WakeupData 🙋♀️
By using our software, you should be able to extract the correct Product IDs from your ecommerce platform.
Error 7: 'Error due to Lack of Traffic'
This means that your pixel is very new and you still need to wait from a few hours to see the pixel data in the Events Manager. If your site is new and there’s no traffic, you'll need to get your team onboard and browse through the site yourselves to get the pixel to register traffic! On the Pixel Helper, a green check like the one below indicates that it’s working.
We hope this article has given you some insight into the setting up of your Facebook pixel, and provided some solutions regarding how to troubleshoot some of the most common issues.
If you have any questions about the Facebook pixel, please don't hesitate in reaching out to us or consulting their own help text.
Want to learn more about Dynamic Ad campaigns? Check out our free Facebook Dynamic Ads ebook, which takes you through the How's, Why's and What's of running effective, optimized campaigns which build revenue.