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Pixels not working right?

Facebook Pixels not working right?

If you’ve gotten very far into the world of Facebook ads, you’ve probably heard about pixels. Pixels for retargeting. Pixels to track conversions. Pixels to create a custom audience.

It’s a lot to take in, and Facebook recently complicated things with the rollout of the new Facebook Pixel “to rule them all”. (I dive into the how-tos of that in my $10 ads class, but I won’t get into logistics here, this is about a cool tool that can help with any error messages you might get on your pixels.)

Firstly, what is a pixel anyways?

To keep it simple, a pixel is just a little bit of code that goes onto your page. (No one can see it, it’s just “hidden” in the code in the header area.) It’s the way that Facebook tracks when people are landing on certain pages of your website. This can be used to retarget site visitors or to track conversions (actions people take) on your site.

In this post, we’re going to focus on how can you tell if pixels are properly installed and what to do about it if you’re receiving errors after set-up.

The Facebook Pixel Helper is a tool that helps you get some important info on your Facebook Pixel. Using this tool you can:

  • Verify your pixel works properly
  • Troubleshoot common errors
  • Learn how to improve performance

Whenever you first create a pixel, you need to activate it. And to do this, you actually embed the code onto the desired page and then visit that page to get the red dot next to the pixel to go from red (no activity yet) to green (active) in your ads dashboard.

Screenshot 2016-01-25 23.02.30 Screenshot 2016-01-25 23.03.02

Sometimes, however, you do this and the status indicator stays red (no activity yet), or you might notice something “off” about your reports and wonder if something isn’t working properly after an ad has run.

When that happens, you need a way of troubleshooting what’s going on with your pixel and that’s where the pixel checker tool comes in.

This tool is only available in Google Chrome, but if you’re using Power Editor you should be using that as your browser already. (Power Editor, my preferred means of creating Facebook ads, only works in Chrome.)

The first step is to install the tool, which you can do by clicking the “Download Now” button on this page: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/facebook-pixel/pixel-helper

Once you have it installed, you’ll see this icon like this </> in your browser window (top right corner of Chrome, by the URL bar).

When a page has a Facebook Pixel installed the </> icon turns blue and a number appears telling you how many pixels were found on the page. If the icon does not turn blue, then there are no Facebook pixels installed on this page.

Click the </> icon and a popup box appears with information about your pixel(s) – sort of an event log. If there are any errors, you can click to learn more about the issue and how to fix it.

Screenshot 2016-01-27 09.36.24

For a deep dive into troubleshooting common issues with pixels, visit the Facebook help section here.

What’s your experience been like with pixels? Share your victory and stories in the comments!

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5 Responses so far.

  1. Hi Julie,

    Thank you for sending this email. I used the $10 trainging and again, it was right on point. I was curious about the pixel and if I had set it up correct, but this email has help me to see that I did with your training.

    Thanks,
    Shaneaka Price

  2. Tania says:

    Hey Julie! Very helpful blog, and I found your $10 mini course very helpful too! I recently installed the new FB pixel, and 16 new Custom Conversions pixels. When I had installed the Custom Conversion pixels, they all said “Active”, but because there’s been no activity on some of these since, some now say “No recent activity – no activity for 12 days”. Do you know if FB gives a time limit where you have to show activity on these? Also, I’ve recently created 2 video view ads, and am not sure how those are tracked in terms of audiences. Can you only create a custom audience from video views in Power Editor? I’m still in Ads Manager, just started with FB ads last week. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • Julie Lowe says:

      I’m glad it was all helpful, Tania! It’s OK if they go inactive, they will turn back on when someone visits the page. If you’re creating a new ad that uses the pixel though, I’d visit the page yourself to turn it back on before you go to create the ad to avoid any issues. You visiting the page will reactivate it though. I really never use the regular ads manager because I find it so limiting, some I’m not 100% sure if the video audiences will show there, but I would assume so. Just starting typing “video” in the custom audiences box and a list should pop up. You DO have to have used Video Views as the campaign objective in order for FB to create the video viewers audience though. They won’t create the audience for you on ads with other objectives.

      • Tania says:

        Thanks so much for your reply Julie! I just reactivated all my Custom Conversion pixels with your FB Pixel Helper. They were installed properly, but just didn’t show current activity. As for the video ads, yes, the campaign objective was video views for both, and they’re not showing up in Audiences when I type in “video”. I think it’s time for me to take a walk on the wild side, and start exploring Power Editor haha. Hopefully these video views will show up in there. Thanks again for your help!

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