We need to talk about the Pixel Event Setup Tool. Conceptually, it is a great idea. The Event Setup Tool allows advertisers to add standard events for conversion tracking to their website without code, which is pretty great. But… Should you use it?

I first wrote about the Event Setup Tool when it came out more than three years ago. Here’s the crazy thing: It still has the exact same limitations and bugs that I experienced way back then.

That doesn’t make the tool worthless. It still has value for very specific situations. But, it’s mostly frustrating at this point that it’s not better than it is after all of this time.

Let’s talk about how the Event Setup Tool works and its limitations…

How it Works

Let’s assume you’re not technically savvy. You need to create a standard event, but you either don’t know how or don’t have access to the backend of a website to add the proper code.

If that’s the case, the Event Setup Tool is your solution. Go to Events Manager, click the “Add Events” drop-down, and select “From the Pixel.”

Pixel Event Setup Tool

Now you’ll get the following message…

Click “Open Event Setup Tool.”

Now paste in the URL where you’ll want to add standard events and click “Open Website.”

Pixel Event Setup Tool

It will open that page of your website, and it will include a floating dialog that looks like this…

Event Setup Tool

All great so far, right?

Events by URL

Let’s assume that you want to fire an event any time someone opens this page. An example would be a CompleteRegistration confirmation. By loading the page, you know that the registration has been completed.

So, you would click “Track a URL.” It will look something like this…

Event Setup Tool

You can use “URL equals” or “URL contains” (you’ll then be able to edit the URL) logic. It’s up to you. You then select an event. We’ll go with CompleteRegistration.

Event Setup Tool

Click “Confirm,” and you’ve successfully set up an event! You’ll just need to click “Finish Setup” and you’re done.

Event Setup Tool

Really easy. I have some reservations about it that I’ll get to in a moment, but this is a pretty darn good option.

Problem: Parameters

Okay, now let’s start talking about the issues with this tool.

Having the ability to create a standard event without code is great. But, Facebook provides very limited opportunities for adding parameters. Parameters pass additional details about the event — like the name of the product.

Well, in the example above, I can’t do that. I created a CompleteRegistration event, but that event will not send details beyond that.

The only way to do that now would be to create a custom conversion based on the URL. Something like this…

Custom Conversion

And really, this is fine. It’s not the end of the world. But, it limits options for the advertiser. It would be nice if we could simply pass the parameter from the start.

Problem: Track New Button

Maybe it’s a browser issue (I’ve tried both Chrome and Safari), but I know I’m not alone in this. If you try to create an event based on button click, Facebook tries to detect where the button is. Well, the detection is an absolute mess.

Here’s an example…

Event Setup Tool

What in the actual… What is it that I’m supposed to select here??

“Buggy” does not begin to describe this issue. It’s unusable.

Problem: Purchase Value

Another issue is adding the Purchase value for any event. You have a few options for this.

Event Setup Tool

One is that you can have Facebook detect that value from the page. But once again, the tool’s ability to detect that value is absolutely horrendous.

Here’s an example…

Event Setup Tool

Facebook highlights the entire line that includes a dollar amount. If I select that, here’s the value it will try to send…

Event Setup Tool

Yeah, no. That’s not a value at all.

One of the other options is to pass the value from the Initiate Checkout event. That assumes, however, that Facebook was able to properly detect the value on that page (which I doubt it will!).

The final option is “Don’t Include Value.” NO! That’s not what we want either! Can’t we just manually enter it? Why is this so hard?

Of course, we can’t pass the name of the product with parameters either. So, once again, our last option is to create a custom conversion that will include the name of the product and the value.

Custom Conversion

So, fine. Another workaround. You can make it work. But the point is, it sure would be easier if this all just worked properly in the first place.

It Still Has Potential

Yes, the Event Setup Tool has some value. It has potential. But, it’s had the same potential and limitations for the past three-plus years now. It’s amazing that none of these issues have been corrected or improved in any way during that time.

So for now, this tool is a good option when you can’t get access to the backend of a client website to add code. Or maybe you have no confidence in your ability to add event code to a website. This remains, though imperfect, a stopgap solution.

I just can’t help being left with how disappointing it is that this tool, which has so much potential, isn’t better than it is.

Your Turn

Do you use the Event Setup Tool? Do you run into these same issues, or how do you deal with them?

Let me know in the comments below!

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