From the Old Conversion Pixel to The New Facebook Pixel: Safe Migration Setup

If you’re using the old Conversion Pixel you will have to set up a migration plan to the New Facebook Pixel because Facebook will retire the old code at the end of February 2017.

Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated, and if you take care of a few critical points this will be a pain-free transition.

If you are not familiar with some of the terminology you might find this article  (and the process itself) a little too complicated. The good news is that you can take it one step at the time. You don’t have to be a coder expert either to implement the new pixel because there are solutions to help you install it the easy way, with just a few clicks (we offer a very popular WordPress plugin that does just that).

What’s the deal with the New Facebook Pixel

NOTE: this article is not meant to explain hot the New Facebook Pixel works. We have an in-depth FREE guide about the pixel that you can download from here.

The new code is definitely smarter than the old one and can be used in a number of ways:

  • Conversion Tracking: see what exact results each ad measure ads performance.
  • Ads Optimization: tell people to optimize your ads for a particular conversion (pixel event).
  • Remarketing: retarget people that visit your site. You can segment your audiences by pages that they visit or by actions that they take on your site.

Pixel Events

What is an Event: it’s a part of the code that tells Facebook when a user does something on your site.

Event Parameters: each event can have various parameters that send additional data to facebook, like content name or id, post category, product price and so on.

An event can be fired when a particular page is loaded or when a particular action is performed on your site (like a newsletter signup, or a product added to the cart).

Standard Events

Facebook has a list of 9 standard events that you can add to your site. These events can be used for ads optimization, tracking (you can track each of them and their value with custom reports), custom audiences and custom conversions.

  • ViewContent: When a page viewed such as landing on a product detail page
  • Search: When a search is made, such as a product query
  • AddToCart: When some adds a product to a shopping cart
  • AddToWishlist: When a product is added to a wishlist
  • InitiateCheckout: When someone starts a checkout flow but does not
  • AddPaymentInfo: Payment information is added during checkout
  • Purchase: When a purchase is made or checkout flow is completed
  • Lead: When a sign up is completed, such as signup for trial
  • CompleteRegistration: When a registration form is completed, such as signup for a service

Custom Events

Additionally to the standard events, you can create your own Custom Events. You can give any name you want to these events.

The Custom Events can be used for Custom Audiences and Custom Conversions. You can not optimize the ads directly for a Custom Event and you can not track them with the ads reports (you can achieve that by using a Custom Conversion).


Example: PixelYourSite automatically adds a custom event named GeneralEvent. The purpose of this event is to optimize your site for Custom Audiences. It tracks super useful parameters that can be used when you create your retargeting audiences:

  • name
  • id
  • post type
  • category
  • tags
  • traffic source
  • URL parameters (UTM)

Dynamic Events

A dynamic event will not be fired on a simple page load, but when a user performs a predefined action.

Usually, you can trigger dynamic events when:

  • A link or a button is clicked
  • The user scrolls the page up to a percent
  • The mouse is moved over some elements

They are super useful if you want to optimize your ads for specific actions, like clicks on affiliate links, newsletter signups or contact form completion.

Dynamic Events can be also used to create extremely powerful Custom Audiences from the most engaged people on your website. Retargeting such audiences is a proven successful strategy that you should not ignore.

Important: As you can see, the new pixel events will perform the role that the old Tracking Pixels used to have.

From the old conversion pixel to the new one

Prepare this transition in advance and be careful at each step. You don’t want to miss some of the key things that must be implemented or changed because this can totally ruin your ads performance.

Install the New Facebook Pixel

There are several ways to install the pixel. You can simply use a plugin to inject the code on every page of your site. This solution will prove to be totally inspired because it will be hard to fire events.

Recommendation: Use PixelYourSite Plugin (free and pro version), because it’s super-easy to install, and automatically tracks important parameters useful for remarketing. It also lets you trigger events and dynamic events and comes with WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads integrations. The plugin comes with detailed help pages, but all you need to get started is to add your new pixel ID and click on a save settings button.

We won’t go into more details about how to add the pixel at this point because we want to concentrate on the transition process. We will assume that you have the pixel installed and you are able at least to fire events on the page load (easily achievable with PixelYourSite free version).

What to do with the Old Conversion Pixels

Replace each old conversion pixel with a pixel event

Go inside your Facebook ads account and open the Pixels page. Click on the Conversion Tracking Pixel (Old) tab. You will see the list with all the tracking pixels that you ever used.

Make a list of the ones that you really need.

It’s possible that some of your old conversion pixels are out of use for some time and they just sit there purposeless. This is the perfect moment to put things in order.

For every important old Conversion Pixel that you want to keep using, you must have a corresponding Pixel Event.

The old conversion pixels were fired when a key page of your site was loaded, so you need to create similar events for the same URLs (usually you’ll find an event with an identical purpose, like Lead or Purchase).

How to do that:

If you’re using PixelYourSite it will be extremely easy to fire events on any page you want. We have a dedicated menu that is very easy to use. Open the Events tab and you’ll find a large Add New Event button. Click on it, add the URL where you need to fire the event, select the event type (you have a list of standard events or you can define a custom event), add all the parameters you want and click on the Add button.

PixelYourSite automatically adds a few events:

  • PageView – the standard pixel event
  • GeneralEvent – a custom event designed for Custom Audiences optimization
  • Search Event – fired on the search results page, it will track every search as a parameter.

 

IMPORTANT: If you are using WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads, the key events that you’ll need are automatically added, packed with super-useful parameters and conversion value. You DON’T need to manually add ViewContent, AddToCart, InitiateCheckout or the Purchase Event.Once you are 100% sure that you have a corresponding event for all your important old Conversion Pixels, you can move forward.

What to Do With Existing Custom Audiences:

If you have existing Custom Audiences based on site URLs they will work fine in the feature. The new facebook pixel will send the same sort of traffic data as the old remarketing pixel use to, feeding the existing audiences without any problems.

TIP: start to use Custom Audiences based on events. They can be really powerful and you can segment them in smart ways, like using dynamic events triggered by actions on the site (newsletter signups, button clicks, affiliate links clicks and so on). This way you can have a Custom Audiences of people that bought something from you or people that sign up to your newsletter, or people that visited blog posts under a specific tag or category.

What to Do With Existing Custom Conversions:

Your existing Custom Conversions based on URL will continue to work as before. You don’t have to take any measures.

TIP: think about implementing Custom Conversions based on events. You can achieve some sophisticated results this way. For example, using PixelYourSite custom GeneralEvent (fired on every page and packed with useful attributes) you can create a custom conversion that will fire when a user visits at least 3 articles from a particular category or tag, or when a client buys products worth at least 100 USD.

Existing Ads – Super Important

Take particular consideration to your existing ads, because, depending on their objective, you will probably need to take immediate action.

Ads Optimized for Conversion

All your running ads optimized for an Old Conversion Pixel MUST be switched to the New Pixel corresponding event.

How to do this:

Open the ad set you have to fix, and in the top section, “Optimize for a conversion”, delete the existing Conversion Event and add the corresponding New Pixel Event. Click the “Save and Close” button.

Repeat this action for all your ad sets that you want to keep using.

Promoted Posts

All your running promoted posts ads tracked by the Old Conversions Pixels MUST be switched to the New Pixel.

How to do this:

This time you will have to edit each ad one by one (not the ad set, like in the previous example).

Open the post ad and in the “Pixel Tracking” section select “Track all conversion from my Facebook pixel”. Click the “Save and Close” button.

Repeat this action for all your running ads that are promoting posts (and are tracked by old conversion pixels).

Remove the Old Code

Once you have all things in place and you are sure that the new setup is working, you can delete the old conversions pixels from the site.

Remove old Audience or Remarketing Pixel code from your site too. If you have them installed (and if you’re into Facebook ads for a long time and you haven’t use the new code before you probably are), now is the time to remove these completely. The new Facebook Pixel will take care of everything.

If you are not  sure if the code you are using is the new one or the old one, look for something that contains something of this sort:

window._fbq.push([“track”, “PixelInitialized”, {}]);

You won’t find any mention of PixelInitialized in the new Pixel Code.

NOTE: If are using PixelYourSite you don’t need to do anything because we always used and implemented the new code.

Custom Reports – Why You Are Going to Need Them

The New Facebook Pixel will start to track a lot of useful data related to your ads performance, but in order to be able to see it, you might need to create Custom Reports.

In the default ads report, all the standard events are considered a conversion, so the number you will see there may be confusingly high. What you have to do is to create custom reports to individually track each event (and event value, if that’s the case).

We have a short article here about how to create Custom Reports.

New Pixel Suggested Strategies:

Once you start to get familiar with this new tool you will discover how many things it can help you achieve. True to be told, the New Pixel it’s really a powerful and versatile weapon when use at its true potential.

These are a few things to consider:

Optimize your ads for Events: fire events on key pages and optimize some of your campaigns for those events.

Optimize your ads for Dynamic Events: set up Dynamic Events fired by actions that are important for your business. These can be clicks on affiliate links or newsletter signups, page scroll or mouse over some key page element. Optimize your ads for them.

Create Custom Audiences based on Events and Dynamic Events: following this strategy can prove to be extremely profitable, letting you retarget highly engaged segments of your site audience. You should have an audience based on the Purchase event when you run an e-commerce site, for example.

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