Facebook Event Tracking with Google Tag Manager

Brent Barnhart

February 10, 2019

Brent Barnhart

February 10, 2019

Anything you can do to align your social media campaigns and your on-site analytics is a huge plus, right?

After all, we want to be able to prove the ROI of our social efforts.

And we also want to know which ads and interactions result in the most revenue.

That’s where Google Tag Manager can be a game-changer, especially when it comes to Facebook ads.

For example, let’s say that somebody clicks on your latest Facebook ad. They’re then funnelled to your website or landing page, but then what happens?

The Facebook Pixel does most of the legwork to figure out what your social traffic is doing next.

But Google Tag Manager makes it simple to define and organize specific visitors as they move from Point A to Point B. The end result is a more comprehensive overview of your Facebook ad performance and what you can do to create more customers.

In this quick guide, we’ll break down how to use Google Tag Manager and the Facebook Pixel in tandem to get the most out of your Facebook ad campaigns.


How to Set Up Event Tracking with Google Tag Manager

Note: Assuming you already use Google Analytics, you don’t need to do anything special to get started in terms of your Tag Manager account.

Now, first thing’s first: you’re going to need to install the Facebook Pixel base code using Google Tag Manager.

1. fb pixel setup

Although this might sound complicated, it’s actually a fairly straightforward matter of copying-and-pasting.

If you want a simplified walkthrough on how to install the Pixel code on-site using Google Tag Manager, check out the video below from Measure School:



In short, you just need to copy the Pixel code from Facebook, make a few small tweaks, save and publish. You can also test your Pixel to ensure that it installed correctly (the video covers this as well).

With that out of the way, let’s get onto the good stuff: setting up event tracking and understanding how events are fired.

Start at the Facebook Pixel setup screen just as you did when setting up the Pixel base code. Select “Manually Install Pixel Code Yourself” and then select #2 to see a list of events you can choose from.

2. event creation

Then, choose a relevant event based on your business. For example, “Add to Cart” is a fairly universal event to track for most e-commerce stores.

You’ll then see a drop-down which allows you to copy the event code in one click. Don’t worry about variables and specific parameters of your events quite yet.

3. step 2

Once your code is copied, head on over to Google Tag Manager. Select “Add a new tag” and assign a name to your tag based on your event. There is no “right” format here - just make a point to note the event itself and the fact that it’s for Facebook.

4. step 3

Select “Tag Configuration” and then “Custom HTML” on the sidebar.

5.step 4

Here’s you’ll paste the event code you copied from Facebook earlier.

6. step 5

Now you need to select the triggers that fire off your events. Do so by selecting “Triggering.”

For this example, our event is triggered when somebody clicks a link containing the text “Add to cart.” Name your trigger to reflect your event and then hit “Save.”

7. step 6

As a side note, you may need to configure your variables based on the specific actions you want to track. You can find and edit these options under the “Variables” tab on the home page of Google Tag Manager (just hit “Configure” once you’re there).

8. variables

Once saved, your event is good to go! You can then rinse and repeat these steps for different types of events and triggers such as form submissions or other types of clicks. With the help of the Pixel Helper Chrome extension, you can double-check that your events are being tracked appropriately.

9. pixel helper

That wasn’t so bad, was it?


What Events Can I Track from Facebook Ads?

Now that you understand how to set up event tracking, it’s time to figure out exactly what you want to track.

It really depends on what type of business you’re running and what your conversion goals are.

Below is a breakdown of all the current Facebook event types available to give you an idea of what actions you can track and tag.


Event Description

Standard Event Code

“Add to cart”

Triggered when items are added to a shopping cart (a click on a landing page with an “Add to Cart” button)

fbq('track', 'AddToCart');

“Add payment info”

Triggered when payment information is added via form fields during checkout (a click on a landing page requesting billing information)

fbq('track', 'AddPaymentInfo');

“Add to wishlist”

Triggered when items are added to a wishlist (a click on a landing page with an “Add to Wishlist” button)

fbq('track', 'AddToWishlist');

“Complete registration”

Triggered when a signup or registration form is filled out and submitted (a completed subscription for sign-up)

fbq('track', 'CompleteRegistration');


Any point of contact between a customer and business such as an email, live chat, SMS or phone call

fbq('track', 'Contact');

“Customize Product”

The customization of products through a configuration tool or other application your business owns

fbq('track', 'CustomizeProduct');


Tracks funds donated to an organization or charity (click on a page with a “donate” button)

fbq('track', 'Donate');

“Find Location”

Tracks when a person finds one of your locations on the Internet or application with the intention to visit

fbq('track', 'FindLocation');

“Initiate checkout”

Triggered when visitors begin the checkout process  (a click on a landing page with a “Check Out” button)

fbq('track', 'InitiateCheckout');


Triggered when someone expresses interest in your product or service (a form submission,  trial sign-up or clicking through to a pricing page)

fbq('track', 'Lead');


Tracks purchases or checkout completions (initiated when someone lands on a "Thank You" or confirmation page)

fbq('track', 'Purchase', {value: '0.00', currency: 'USD'});


Tracks the completed bookings or appointments for your services

fbq('track', 'Schedule');


Tracks searches within your website or app (think: internal product searches)

fbq('track', 'Search');

“Start trial”

Tracks the beginning of a free trial of a product or service you offer

fbq('track', 'StartTrial', {value: '0.00', currency: 'USD', predicted_ltv: '0.00'});

“Submit application”

Tracks when a registration form is completed for a product, service or program you offer (for example, a job or service application)

fbq('track', 'SubmitApplication');


Tracks the start of a paid subscription for a product or service you offer

fbq('track', 'Subscribe', {value: '0.00', currency: 'USD', predicted_ltv: '0.00'});

“View content”

Tracks key page views (ex: product page, landing page, article)

fbq('track', 'ViewContent');


What Exactly Can I Do With My Tags?

Great question!

For starters, you can customize the names of your conversion events based on your business.

Although Facebook does offer quite a few options as noted above, these events mostly apply to e-commerce businesses.

Let’s say you’re not an e-commerce business but you still want to track different conversion events. You could then rename the “Add to Cart” event “Homepage Contact Form Submissions” or something similar.

The point of tags is to get as granular as possible when it comes to tracking your traffic. For example, custom conversions allow you to break down your customers by variables such as specific pages they landed on or how much they spend.


 With Google Tag Manager, you can organize these segments of your customer base with ease.

Beyond organization, event tagging can help directly influence your Facebook remarketing campaigns.

For example, let’s say you want to remarket an offer to former customers who’ve spent less than $25 to encourage them to buy a big-ticket item in the future. With your tags and events in place, creating that custom audience just means choosing the appropriate visitors and parameters.

Additionally, you can use tags to create lookalike remarketing audiences. This allows you to uncover new customers based on your biggest spenders or frequent buyers.

11. lookalike audience

Again, the benefit of Facebook is that you can get so hyper-specific with your targeting. Events and tags help ensure you’re reaching the most relevant prospects possible.


Ready to Start Tracking and Tagging?

Tools like Facebook event tracking and Google Tag Manager can help your Facebook ads so much more robust.

The best part? Integrating these features into your campaigns doesn’t cost you a cent!

As Facebook ads continue to boom for social-savvy businesses, having fine-tuned tracking strategy is essential.

And if you have any more questions about how to approach your Facebook ad campaigns, feel free to get in touch with Hello Social today to see how we can help!


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