Facebook Conversions API: Everything Marketers Need to Know

If you use customer data to target your ad campaigns and measure their ROI, you’ve probably been concerned about recent security measures that block your ability to collect information about customer actions. Cookie and ad blocking measures on browsers, as well as iOS security updates, can all negatively impact the accuracy of your marketing data, which can result in false assumptions and throw off your marketing strategy. Facebook pixel, a tool used to track the performance of Facebook ad campaigns, has become less effective in recent years due to these measures.

Facebook pixel was created to track customer data through the user’s browser, but without the ability to collect cookies, that tracking method has become less effective. Facebook’s answer to this pervasive issue? Facebook Conversions API, or CAPI.

What is Facebook Conversions API, what can it do for your ad campaigns, and how do you set it up? We’ll explain what Facebook pixel is, get into the details of why it has been declining in effectiveness, and go over how the Facebook CAPI can help improve tracking for your ad campaigns.

What is Facebook pixel?

Put simply, Facebook pixel is a piece of code installed on websites that is designed to help companies measure the conversion rates of their ad campaigns. The Facebook pixel works by placing and triggering cookies to track users as they interact with your business both on and off of Facebook and Instagram. If someone clicks on your ad and then makes a purchase, that action is recorded by the pixel. 

Some other actions, referred to as “standard events”, that the Facebook pixel tracks include add to cart, using the search function on your site, booking an appointment, and completing a registration form. Check out this post by Meta for a full list of standard events that the pixel tracks. 

Gathering this data helps companies:

  • Target their ads to individuals who are most likely to take action
  • Optimize the tone and cadence of their ads based on past success
  • Create personalized remarketing campaigns with dynamic content based on what ads and webpages an individual has interacted with previously
  • Measure cross-device conversions
  • Deliver more relevant ads to users

How have recent security updates and laws affected Facebook pixel data?

Since the Facebook pixel’s tracking capabilities rely on collecting cookies from a user’s browser, its accuracy can be hindered by cookie disallowment and ad blockers. Automatic cookie blocking is prevalent these days on computer browsers due to new GDPR regulations, and Apple’s recent iOS updates have set up more roadblocks for marketers. iOS 14.5, which was released in the spring of 2021, requires apps to obtain explicit consent from iPhone users to collect and share their data. This means that if an iPhone user taps an ad in the Facebook app and it takes them to a company’s website in Safari, where they then complete a purchase, Facebook may be unable to track that event.

iOS 14.5 had a significant impact on the ability of advertisers to personalize their content and track the conversion rates of their ad campaigns.

What is Facebook Conversions API?

The Facebook Conversions API is a tracking tool that works alongside Facebook pixel and is meant to capture data that the pixel may miss. Unlike the pixel, CAPI collects data from your website’s server, and doesn’t rely on cookies. It’s designed to fill in the gaps in tracking data that have made the pixel less effective.

The tool is able to track all the same standard events that the Facebook pixel can, including web conversions such as sales and newsletter signups, and post-conversion events such as subscriptions, etc. It tracks some of the same events that the pixel does, but don’t worry about the prospect of single actions being counted twice; Facebook has baked in an automatic deduplication process that prevents duplicate events from being recorded.

How does Facebook Conversions API work with the pixel to improve ad campaigns?

The goal of Facebook CAPI is to increase conversions through highly targeted advertising. Getting ads in front of the right people also decreases customer acquisition costs and increases ROI, since the ads are being displayed to the people who are most likely to convert. 

It’s not meant to be used by itself, but rather as a boost to the Facebook pixel. The Facebook CAPI collects and attributes data by assigning IDs to individual users. But since the CAPI only has server-side data at its disposal and doesn’t rely on browser tracking history, it needs to use less reliable identifiers such as IP addresses. The only cases in which the CAPI can use more specific identifiers for users is when the user inputs information such as their name or phone number into your website (during actions such as making a purchase) or if they’re logged into their account on your site.

The Facebook pixel helps to collect more specific user information such as demographic and psychographic data, and connect it to the actions recorded by the Facebook CAPI. Together, the pixel and the CAPI give you a complete picture of your ideal customers.

How do you set up Facebook Conversions API?

The Facebook Conversions API works similarly to Facebook pixel in that it’s a tool used to capture customer event data and deliver it to Facebook Ads Manager. But the key difference between them is that with the pixel, Facebook is the one collecting and transporting the data, while with the Conversions API, the data is collected on your server and then transferred to Facebook. Due to this, you need to set up an integration between your server and Facebook.

There are two ways to set up the Facebook Conversions API: through partner integration, or manually through Events Manager. 

Many website hosting services, such as Wordpress, Shopify, and Woocommerce, offer guided integrations to connect your site to the CAPI. However, not all hosting services have this, and even if yours does you may have a need to customize your integration. The main reason it may benefit you to create a custom integration is so you can track events beyond the standard events offered by the pixel.

Customizing your integration will require some coding knowledge, though. For more information about how to set up the CAPI, check out the resources published by Meta. If you’re unsure where to start or in need of some assistance with this implementation, reach out to us. Here at Mind and Metrics, we specialize in digital transformation and help companies utilize the newest technological resources to boost their ad campaigns and, ultimately, revenue.

Need to install the new Conversion API on your site? Reach out to us today for a consultation, and see how we can help.

Contact us