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Facebook Conversion API and its importance

Facebook recently launched the Conversion API. As we already know, cookies are disappearing. However, the best alternative solution for this big change in digital marketing is sometimes unclear.

The Conversion API offers advertisers another option than the pixel for sending conversion data. What does it involve? How do you set it up? This article explains everything you need to know!

What is the Conversion API?

According to Facebook, the Conversion API (CAPI) is “designed to create a direct connection between your marketing data and Facebook’s servers”. It helps optimize ad targeting and measure results. It also helps improve conversion attribution and lower cost-per-action.

CAPI enables advertisers to send web events. It also enables them to share user data from their servers to Facebook Ads Manager. According to Facebook, the condition for doing so is to have “all necessary rights and permissions and a legal basis”.

When a user clicks on a Facebook ad and goes to your website, Facebook assigns your server a unique identifier for that user. The server will then track the user as they perform specific actions (such as visiting a page or adding items to the shopping cart). The server then reports the user’s actions to Facebook.

Although the Conversion API seems to work in a similar way to the Facebook pixel. Although they achieve similar objectives, the main difference lies in the way the data collected is transmitted. The pixel transmits web events and conversion data to the Ads Manager via a web browser. The CAPI performs server-to-server data transfers without the use of third-party cookies.

Facebook Conversion API
Facebook Conversion API

How do the Conversion API and Facebook Pixel work in synergy?

Until now, the Meta pixel has been very useful in providing advertisers with the data they need to create better ads and target audiences more accurately. As it happens, recent tech updates and other ad blockers have reduced its effectiveness.

Ad & cookie blockers and other masking tools have dramatically reduced the amount of data the pixel receives. What’s more, the most popular browsers, including Google Chrome, are set to drop support for third-party cookies by 2023. The iOS 14 update has only amplified this, drastically reducing the amount of data the pixel can report to Facebook.

Does this mean you have to abandon the Meta pixel in favor of the Conversion API? Absolutely not! In fact, setting up the Pixel on your website is one of the three conditions required by Facebook for API integration (the other two being a Business Manager account and an access token). Facebook also explicitly recommends using the CAPI interface with the pixel to maximize the effectiveness of events on your website.

As you’ve probably guessed, the pixel and Facebook’s CAPI interface use the same type of conversion events, which can lead to duplication. To avoid this, every time Facebook receives a server event, it checks whether there is a corresponding browser event. If the browser event is blocked (for example, because ad blockers have disabled web browser tracking), Facebook will use the server event instead.

On the other hand, if Facebook receives both events, it will “de-duplicate” them and use only the browser event (in other words, the duplicated event will not be counted).

What types of events can you track with the Facebook Conversion API?

The good news is that you can choose to track all the events you already know about. For example, you can track content views, page visits, newsletter sign-ups and, of course, purchases.

You probably already know your most important events, but here’s what we recommend for e-commerce sites.

  • Purchase
  • Start payment process
  • Add to cart
  • Content view
  • Page visit

With these basic events, you’ll be able to make the most of the Facebook Conversion API to improve your tracking and optimize your ads more effectively.

How do I configure the Facebook Conversion API for website events?

Note that there are specific Facebook APIs designed for apps and offline sales. These allow you to track app-related events, as well as sales and store visits, respectively. To find out more, check out Facebook’s resources on App Event APIs and Facebook’s Offline Conversions APIs.

There are two ways to set up the Facebook Conversion API for website events: through web partner integrations and through manual implementation via Events Manager.

Configuration via partner integration

If your website runs on one of Facebook’s partner platforms, you can use Events Manager to configure the pixel and CAPI interface. This operation can be carried out without modifying your website’s code and, potentially, without the intervention of a developer.

You are authorized to work with customer data platforms (CDP), social commerce and e-commerce platforms (including Shopify, WordPress and WooCommerce), system integrators, facebook ads agencies and Google Tag Manager. Some partner integrations can be configured in Events Manager. Others will require you to contact the partner directly or set them up on the partner’s website.

For a complete list of Facebook Conversion API partners, see this resource.

Here are the steps involved in setting up the conversion API via a partner integration.

  1. In the event manager, go to data sources, choose your pixel and click on Settings.
Setting up the conversion API via partner integration
First step in setting up the conversion API via partner integration

2. Scroll down to “API conversions”. Click on “Choose a partner” under “Set up via partner integration”.

Setting up the conversion API via partner integration
Second step in setting up the conversion API via partner integration

3. Select your partner and follow the instructions.

Setting up the conversion API via partner integration
Last step in setting up the conversion API via partner integration

Manual integration via the event manager

If you’d like to set up CAPI manually, or if you don’t have access to a partner integration, you can use Events Manager to create your own custom instructions for your developer. A manual setup will give you a little more control over the configuration process, as you’ll be able to track events and parameters that Pixel alone can’t.

You’ll need access to your server’s source code and your developer’s help to perform the manual configuration.

Here’s how to configure the CAPI interface manually via the Event Manager:

  1. Go to the Event Manager and select the pixel ID you want to use to configure the CAPI interface.
  2. Click on “Add events” under the activity graph and choose “Use conversion API”.
  3. Click on “Install code manually”. Make sure you read the preview and click “Continue”.
  4. Choose the events you wish to track (you can use the event recommendations in the drop-down menu as a guide). Click on “Continue”.
  5. Select the parameters for each event. Note that you must select at least one customer information parameter. Click on “Continue”.
  6. Check your events and settings, then click on “Confirm configuration”. Click on “Send instructions”.
  7. Enter your developer’s e-mail address and click “Send”.

Your developer will then complete the configuration process according to the events and settings you have selected.

Conclusion

The implementation of the Facebook Conversion API will be a first step towards server-side tracking. As mentioned above, server-side tracking has many advantages and, given current privacy and data trends, we at Impulse Analytics expect server-side tracking to be used more and more.

Here’s what we recommend you consider next:

  • Don’t forget to test whether your Facebook Pixel is working properly with Facebook’s Pixel Helper browser extension for Google Chrome.
  • Test your conversion API with Facebook’s Payload Helper.
  • One week after installing your conversion API, monitor the deduplication and matching performance of all your events in Events Manager.

Remember, the more accurate your data, the better Facebook will be able to optimize your ad campaigns to achieve the desired result.


Did you enjoy this article? Want to read more about Facebook-related topics? Visit the Facebook section of our blog.

L'Auteur
Jordan Maurer

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