If you’re getting people to sign up for your mailing list by advertising on Facebook and you’re not using a conversion pixel, you are absolutely missing out on some absolutely fucking incredible data.
It’s all good and fine to know what ads of yours get the most clicks, and the cheapest clicks, and are the most cost-effective.
But what if I told you that could you get all that info about people who actually signed up for your newsletter?
That’s right – using conversion pixels you can separate the wheat – the people who click your ad and sign up for your newsletter – from the chaff – the people who click the link and cost you money, but then go “ehhh nah” and don’t sign up.
Sounds awesome, right? That’s because it is. So let’s get right into things.
First of all, what is a conversion pixel?
Basically it’s a piece of code that you put on a certain page of your website. When a person goes to that page, the pixel “fires”, and counts a conversion. So what we’re going to do is create a page that everyone who signs up for your newsletter is redirected to when they click “subscribe”. We’re going to put a pixel on that page.
That way, whenever someone subscribes to your newsletter, they will be directed to this thank you page, and the pixel on that page will “fire”, which will register a conversion. Facebook then knows that that ad registered a successful conversion.
This gives you access to so much data.
You can see exactly which ads are getting the conversions.
You can see what age groups are converting best.
You can see whether you’re getting more signups from people using their desktop, their cell phones or Instagram.
This means you can start eliminating both the ads and the groups of people who are seeing your ad but not signing up, making your overall cost to convert cheaper.
Look at this example below. This is from a brand new campaign and I don’t have a lot of data for it yet so it’s not quite statistically relevant, but it still can give you an idea of just how much of a difference a different picture can have on ad results:
Right now, one of the images is costing me over $3.50 per conversion, while the other is at $0.65. If this holds up over around 100 conversions, I’m going to be killing that bottom ad, and keeping the top one for sure!
Without the conversion pixel I would know which ad generated more clicks, but this way I know how many people are actually signing up, which is much more valuable information.
And you can get the same information for your demographics, too:
The 35-44 year old age group is signing up (the blue line) in a much higher proportion to the reach (the green line) than any other age group. You can’t see the number in this screenshot, but while the average cost per signup right now is $0.98, for women in the 35-44 age range it’s actually only $0.68.
Again, this is data that I only have because I’m using a pixel to track actual signups, and not just clicks to my page.
Now that I’ve shown you why you need to be using conversion tracking with your email campaigns on Facebook, let’s look at the how.
Step 1: Create a thank-you page on your website and add the pixel
If you don’t have a website set up already, click here for my handy guide on how to do it quickly, without breaking the bank.
Now the first thing you need to do is create your thank you page. In your WordPress admin dashboard, go to Pages -> Add New.
I usually title mine “Signup Confirmation” and add a simple sentence of text along the lines of “Thank you for signing up to [author name] newsletter! You are now subscribed.”
Great! Now we just need to add your pixel code.
Go to your Facebook Ads Manager. Now, under tools, select “pixels”, the third option down.
Now if you’ve never used a pixel before, you’ll get a window pop up that will have an option to create a pixel.
Click that. Now, choose a name for your pixel. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, I just used my author name. As far as I’m aware no one can see what your pixel name is, but I’m not 100% sure on this.
Click “Create Pixel”
Then, you’ll have the option to “Install Pixel Now”. Click that. A bunch of code will pop up, that looks something like this:
Copy all of this code. Paste it into an empty Notepad file.
Now, go back to your WordPress admin dashboard on your website. On the menu bar on the left, go to Appearance -> Editor. On the right hand side is a list of files. Click on the Theme Header (header.php) file.
SUPER IMPORTANT: COPY AND PASTE EVERYTHING IN THIS FILE INTO ANOTHER EMPTY NOTEPAD FILE. SAVE IT AS HEADERBACKUP.PHP (or whatever) ON YOUR COMPUTER BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ELSE. SERIOUSLY. DO THIS.
Now go back to your first Notepad file, the one with your Facebook pixel code. Highlight all the code and copy it once more.
In the header.php file, scroll down until you see <head>
IMMEDIATELY AFTER the <head> code, press enter to get to a new line, and paste the pixel code. Press enter again for another empty line after the code.
Then, click “update file”.
Go to your site’s homepage to make sure nothing looks screwed up. If it does, copy all of headerbackup.php (this is why you backed it up!!) and replace everything in the header.php screen on your dashboard with it. Update again and everything should be back to normal. Then, try the pixel code again.
Now, let’s make sure the pixel we installed is working.
Go to the thank you page you just created. Then, click here (or go back to Tools -> Pixels in your Facebook ads manager). Your pixel should show as active.
If it’s not working, there’s a Chrome extension you can install by clicking here. When you’ve installed the extension you’ll see this picture show up in the top right corner of your browser, next to the URL bar:
Go back to your thank you page, and click that little </> image in the top corner. You should see something like this pop up:
If the pixel failed to load, the box will give you hints as to why that might be.
You can also look at this page for help:
Once you have your pixel loaded and working, it’s time for step 2!
Step 2: Change your mailing list form thank you page
Now, these instructions are for anyone using MailerLite, because MailerLite is awesome and I will always recommend them to anyone.
Go to your account, and select “webforms” at the top of the page.
If you don’t already have a form for your site that you want to use, click on “Add New Webform” in the top right. If you do have a webform that you want to use already, then simply click on that form to open it.
If you’re creating a new form, fill out the next box, making sure it looks something like this:
Then click “Save and continue”
Select a subscriber group (or “list”) and click Save and Continue again.
If you already have your form and simply clicked on it, you can keep reading again from here.
The first thing you want to do is turn off double optins:
I never, ever run my campaigns with double optin turned on. It’s just not necessary these days, and makes you more likely to lose subscribers.
Now, design your form however you want. BUT you need to make sure that the thank you URL at the bottom of the “details” screen is changed to the thank you page you made in step one:
Once you’ve created your form and saved it, make sure to record the Form Landing Page URL given to you by MailChimp:
Copy/paste that URL into an empty Notepad file (my favorite temporary storage solution, have you noticed that yet?)
Step 3: Register a custom conversion with our thank you page
Now, we need to set it up so that Facebook knows that whenever someone hits the thank-you page specifically, to register a conversion.
In your Facebook ads manager, go to Tools -> Custom Conversion (fourth option down)
Click the “Create Custom Conversion” button.
Fill out the form.
In this example, my thank you page might be: http://www.thewritersblueprint.com/your-thank-you-page
So I’ve made sure that only the thank you page will generate a custom conversion.
Then click “next” and give your pixel a name, then click “create”.
You’ll get a little box that tells you the custom conversion was created sucessfully. When you close the box, the manager will refresh and your new pixel will appear. The box on the far right, that says “status” will be red, saying “no activity yet”.
Go back to your thank you page and refresh the page. Then go back to your pixel page, and refresh that. It should turn green and say “Active” now.
Step 4: Make your ads!
Finally, a normal step!
Go to create a new campaign. But instead of choosing “clicks to your website”, click on “increase conversions on your website”
Paste your landing page URL into the box that comes up, then the pixel you created will automatically pop up as well.
Your screen should look something like this.
Then, press continue, and make your ad sets and adverts as normal!
Note: sometimes the continue screen blanks out like it is in the photo above, sometimes it doesn’t. If it does blank out for you, press the ‘x’ on the right of the conversion pixel (the bottom option) and then click that box and re-select the pixel. That seems to fix the glitch.
A second note: I always make sure that Facebook charges me per clicks to my website:
The default is to be charged per conversion, but in my experience Facebook is AWFUL at telling who’s going to convert. I’ve found that you end up paying a lot less by changing the optimization to link clicks to your site. Obviously you should test this yourself, since you might find your results completely different from mine, but it’s something to keep in mind for sure.
And so now you’re done! Your results will now be listed as conversions, or sign ups to your mailing list, instead of clicks. You’re now able to track your actual mailing list signups instead of just clicks, giving you much, much more valuable data!
Now if only there was a way to place a conversion pixel on Amazon’s site…
Stay tuned as I plan on doing a whole series of posts on everything to do with mailing lists, from how to create one, to how to set up an email address without using Gmail, and more! But that’s it for now…