As browsers and device makers adopt user privacy-oriented policies like Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and similar moves from Mozilla Firefox, Facebook advertisers have been slowly losing insight into the efficacy of their ads. Now, with the pending release of App Tracking Transparency (ATT) by Apple threatening to limit key performance data even further, Facebook has been more vocal about encouraging advertisers to move from the core Facebook pixel to their Conversions API to mitigate data loss.

Moving to Conversions API (CAPI) requires more than simple tag placement, but the performance data you’re losing without it is central to your marketing success, particularly on Facebook. Plus, there are more benefits to using CAPI as opposed to the standard pixel. So to best prepare you for internal discussions on making this move, we wanted to share key information to help you drive them for your brand.

First, what is Conversions API?

The Facebook Conversions API moves your conversion tracking from the client-side (i.e. user’s browser) to the website’s server or “server-side.” Rather than getting into the technical specifics of how it works, what you’ll need to know is that moving to server-side tracking will help in many cases to deliver conversion tracking in scenarios where the Facebook pixel would be blocked by privacy controls. This makes it a more accurate way to track actions (like your conversions) and attribute them to Facebook campaigns and in other 3rd-party reporting. Because server-side tracking uses the website’s server to handle tracking tasks, the user’s browser would no longer need to load tracking scripts leading to faster page loads and avoids tracking errors in scenarios where a user leaves a page prior to the pixel firing.

Why should you implement it?

Once you implement CAPI, you’ll be able to track more conversions, which will give you more insight into Facebook campaign performance and allow both you and Facebook’s algorithms to optimize everything from audiences to budgeting to bidding more effectively. Advertisers who stick with the core Facebook pixel approach will have less insight into post-click actions of all kinds, most importantly, sales, signups, and leads.

Another issue addressed by server-side tracking is the broader industry move away from browser cookies as the method of delivering ad tracking information. Though some cookies are already blocked, even Google plans to phase out cookies for ad data by 2022. Server-side tracking isn’t reliant on browser cookies to capture data, so moving to CAPI now will also keep you ahead of the curve.

But preventing data loss isn’t the only benefit. CAPI also allows you to tie values back to events that aren’t available via the standard pixel. This can be a game-changer for B2B advertisers and consumer app businesses, as you can post back lead attributes to better teach the Facebook algorithm what you’re looking for. Historically, Facebook has only been able to do this for revenue based goals.

Some examples of events that you can post back with Conversions API include:

  • Qualified lead [i.e. lead score above x]
  • Prospect contacted
  • User not subscribed yet
  • Application started
  • Application completed
  • Offline purchases
  • Phone calls

How to get started

As of right now, CAPI can be integrated two ways: through manual integration or through an integration with your server host (like Shopify).

If you use Shopify, they have a very easy integration which you can set up in minutes (choose the maximum level). Other providers may have similarly straightforward ways to upgrade to CAPI, so check with your platform.

If you need to manually implement, it will require work by your developers. You can find developer instructions here.

Within minutes of your events firing after the adjustment you’ll start to see server events populate in your events manager like so:
View of CAPI interface in Facebook Business Manager

View of CAPI interface in Facebook Business Manager

The Facebook Conversions API, while already an improvement over the pixel because of user privacy measures, is going to be a must for any performance marketer once Apple ATT is introduced, which is imminent. For more expertise on improving your Facebook data insight and ad performance, you can contact us.