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Everything you need to know about Facebook Conversions API

The world of advertising nowadays relies completely on data. Most often, this data comes from browsers. However, new data privacy regulations are pushing the marketers towards cookieless tracking.

So if cookies are no longer the cornerstone of online advertising, how do we stop privacy implications from blocking data collection with cookies and Pixels? 

The solution is to use Facebook Conversions API (formerly known as Server-Side API), which we are focusing on in this article.

As an official Meta Business Partner, LeadsBridge offers several Facebook CAPI integrations to cater to all your business needs. Schedule a demo to find out more: 

What is Facebook Conversions API?

Facebook Conversions API (or CAPI) used to be known as Facebook Server-Side API, and it’s designed to help businesses maintain data privacy, all while delivering personalized advertising experiences to customers and audiences. The entire process is done without having to rely on browser-based tools like cookies.

Facebook’s Conversions API offers:

  • Full funnel visibility: Conversions API allows businesses to share exactly the data they want to, and nothing else. This is more than what Facebook Pixel alone currently offers. That being said, combining both Pixel and Conversions API means full-funnel visibility.
  • Actionable insights: Pixel offers insight into actions that occur on the website. These actions could be something like a page view or a purchase. When combined with Conversions API, you truly get the full picture of the customer journey. Actions like off-website purchases and whether or not a customer continues to use their free trial and then converts are now tracked.
  • Accurate data sharing: Sharing data through Conversions API is more accurate than any other method in the mid-funnel and lower funnel. Businesses don’t have to worry about any data getting lost due to a browser crash or an ad blocker.
  • Data control: Conversions API gives businesses control over what data they share. This means businesses can implement Conversions API in addition to Pixel and decide what to share and when to share it. By contrast, Pixel sends all events in real time.

Facebook Conversions API and data privacy

With the development of Intelligent Ad Tracking Prevention (ITP) systems, we’ve seen trends in the past few years where browsers are phasing out third-party data entirely.

Source: TrueData

Instead of sharing data with the browser, companies can use conversions API to share the data that matters with Facebook through their server. This means that if a customer uses a privacy tool for non-Facebook activity, their actions will be extended to data sent through Conversions API.

So where does the end-user opt in to get recorded? The user opt-in is recorded on your website. That consent is then passed to Facebook when uploading conversion activity via Facebook Conversions API. If the user then opts out, a new event is fired with this information – consequently removing it from the audience.

Additionally, there are major differences between how cookies collect data vs. how the API collects data. In short, what cookie-based data alone is able to collect is strictly dependent on end-user browser preferences – particularly for what concerns ad-blocking extensions. CAPI sends server events instead, bypassing these limitations. This Blueprint training is a pretty good resource for more information.

Server-side API Facebook

Server-side APIs are programmatic interfaces that contain at least one publicly open endpoint to a request/response system. Mostly, these are expressed in JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) or XML (Extensible Markup Language). These are exposed through the web, usually by means of an HTTP web server.

Of course, as we mentioned briefly above, the Server-side API from Facebook is no longer called such. Instead, it is completely referred to as Conversions API.

Conversions API Facebook

Facebook itself encourages advertisers across the board to implement Conversions API in addition to Pixel for optimal full-funnel tracking and much more reliable data sharing. This way, advertisers can transmit a larger array of data in order to back their advertising efforts. With the implementation of Conversions API, data such as CRM data and lower funnel events can be captured. This is more than Pixel can offer alone.

Moreover, companies with high-security needs can use it to decide which data they want to share. Implementing Conversions API will require some development resourcing, but a network of Facebook certified partners or your own existing system integrator/marketing platform provider can make the process effortless.

What is the API and Conversion process?

This is all very technical, but it’s not as difficult to understand when laid out in a step-by-step process. Here’s a quick rundown of how Facebook Conversions API works:

  1. First, the customer enters the website.
  2. The website has to have Facebook Pixel. Facebook Pixel documents first-party user data in cookies.
  3. The server will save user information in the same way that it saves IP addresses, user agents, Google Analytics client_id, and other parameters.
  4. When the user (with their saved user data) triggers an event, the server will make a request that contains information about the said event and said user data to the Facebook server.

Facebook Conversions API is very intuitive, and it doesn’t take much know-how in order to set it up. In fact, all you really need is to set up:

  • Meta Business Manager (this is a must, as you cannot use Facebook Conversions API without it);
  • A Facebook Pixel with your website. It’s important to note that it should be correlated with the Business Manager;
  • The specialized Facebook App. This is an app for working with Facebook Conversions API, and it’s combined with Business Manager.

What conversions can be tracked with Conversions API?

With all this talk of event tracking, it’s important to note what type of events are tracked through Conversions API. Here are the events that can be tracked:

  • Leads
  • Affiliate payments
  • Find locations
  • Phone calls
  • Form submissions
  • Purchases
  • Email subscriptions
  • Subscription changes

CAPI has a unique set of benefits that browser Pixel does not, including a better overview of omnichannel customer journeys. This is done by conquering things that used to be challenging for event tracking, challenges such as:

  • Bad network connections
  • Long loading times for pages
  • Ad blockers

Possibly the best benefit of Facebook Conversions API is that you can control the data that is shared with Facebook servers. This gives you the ability to track offline conversions like in-person purchases and sales made over phone calls.

With Conversions API, you can send offline events’ data directly to Facebook.

What is Conversion Leads Optimization on Facebook?  

The Conversion Leads Optimization Facebook delivery option is a new feature for Facebook Lead Ads. It allows you to optimize your ad delivery by displaying your ad to users who can be converted to high-quality leads easily. 

While Facebook Lead Ads prioritize the volume of leads, the Conversion Leads Optimization delivery feature prioritizes the quality of your leads. So to display your ads to higher-quality potential leads, Facebook gathers your existing customers’ data and creates audience segments. 

The data about conversions, events, and customers is collected using the Facebook Conversion API integration with your CRM, and without cookie-based tracking. 

Learn more about Conversion Leads Optimization here. 

CAPI Facebook iOS 14

Apple implemented its new App Tracking Transparency framework in iOS 14 back in 2020. This implies that app developers must let users know that their data is being collected. They need to ask for permission from users to track how they engage with apps. Overall, advertising and marketing as we know it is changing drastically, mostly due to the GDPR’s data privacy laws and regulations.
However, if users opt out of tracking, their behavior cannot be tracked again. The iOS 14 changes will impact all apps, which is why Facebook is encouraging marketers to switch to server-side tracking.

The impact of this change includes:

  1. Inability to track iOS users after they opt out; you cannot use retargeting campaigns for them.
  2. Events are limited to 8 per website; you cannot use custom events.
  3. Unverified domains are unable to use events; you cannot optimize your campaigns for outside events.
  4. Facebook no longer supports the attribution windows of 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows. This makes it difficult to analyze campaigns.
  5. There will be no real-time reporting anymore. Data will experience delays.

How to tackle iOS 14 changes

  1. Use Facebook Conversions API to track conversions, optimize campaigns and create custom audiences. Instead of using the browser pixel, events are sent through the server.
  2. Verify your domain.
  3. Use aggregated event measurement tools to choose the eight events available for a website.

Facebook Conversions API vs. Facebook Pixel

Conversions API helps businesses share specific online and offline events between their server and Facebook’s Server. While Facebook Pixel – which has been around for quite a while now – helps businesses track the effectiveness of their product or service. It basically tracks what people do on your website, including the pages they visit, what actions they take on those pages, etc.

Conversions API vs. Facebook Pixel: What are the differences?

The Facebook Pixel and conversions API tools are fundamentally different in functionality, yet they are combined as a unit to improve marketing performance on Facebook. That being said, let’s have a look at the major differences between CAPI and Pixel below:

CAPI makes up for the ad tracking obstacles by managing problems such as lengthy load duration, inadequate network connections, and ad blockers. 

Unlike Pixel, conversion API does not show the customer’s complete journey and presents only the end result. However, it helps measure customer actions using the Facebook pixel to gain visibility into your buyer’s entire journey. Facebook CAPI helps you control the data you share and when you share it. In addition, it offers accurate information you can use for ad targeting, measurement, and optimization (if used with Facebook pixel). Overall, it enables you to keep your social media marketing campaigns efficient. 

On the other hand, Facebook Pixel gathers important data for creating optimized Facebook ads and audience targeting. It also helps you track your customers’ interaction with your products or specific conversion events across your business page.

Weighing your options to know which is the best for your business? The answer is using the conversions API in addition to Facebook API, since both tools are very consistent and extremely effective if used as a unit.

Benefits of Facebook CAPI

CAPI is capable of letting you share data directly from your server to Facebook. Sharing data like this allows you to do a number of things:

  • Accurately measure actions in multiple ways – it allows you to share things like delayed values and user/lead scores so that you can use them for further optimization with other Facebook tools.
  • Improve targeting data accuracy with measurements and optimizations when paired with Pixel.
  • Gain complete control over the data you share – it gives you complete control over what data you share and when you share it when implemented separately from Facebook Pixel.

This is all possible because server events are linked to your pixel and behave like browser events. This is how they do it:

  • They’re used for the same ad optimization, including conversion and value.
  • They appear on almost all of the same surfaces. Two of which include Ads Manager and Events Manager.
  • They abide by the same controls and restrictions implemented by Facebook, like with the Off-Facebook Activity tool and the Facebook Business Tool Terms.

When using Facebook Conversions API along with another tool from Facebook’s arsenal, you can gain massive insight that would otherwise be impossible to have.

The use of the API to send conversion info goes around the IOS restrictions. When CAPI is purely used to track offline activity with lower-funnel events (e.g., Purchase), iOS 14 restrictions will not be taken into consideration as such activity doesn’t come from any specific OS.

When CAPI is used together with the Pixel to measure online activity, however, we recommend following Facebook’s guidelines.

This is where Facebook Pixel & CAPI come into play. Although it’s uncertain exactly how this will immediately affect the marketing industry, it is almost guaranteed to make it evolve quickly. Facebook’s solution to this is, of course, server-side tracking with their lineup of tools.

Remember that with the iOS 14 update, it will be required for apps in the App Store to ask for specific permission before using customer data. This’ll take the form of an in-app prompt that will detail how the data is being used, and give the user explicit permission to opt out if they want to.

Why use LeadsBridge as a Meta partner

This is a great point to think about. Many companies have the option to develop CAPI technology in-house, but is that the best solution?

The answer is no, for several reasons companies need to address to get the most out of this technology. For example:

  • Having a deep understanding of CAPI
  • Quickly develop the necessary integrations and keep them up to date
  • Properly manage complex data while avoiding leaks

So, how can companies use this technology without encountering the problems listed above? Simple, they need to use an FMP like LeadsBridge.

LeadsBridge is an FMP-Meta Business Partner, which is a Meta-approved App for API management and maintenance. Therefore, by using our platform for CAPI technology, customers will always have up-to-date and functional integrations (usually, Facebook updates its APIs every two or three months).

Like all data partners, LeadsBridge can troubleshoot technical issues for the Side-Side program along with the length of service. And if your team needs to update the integration and add more data, our Solution Specialist will guide you using our UI or talk to your tech team to understand how we can retrieve more data.

Our tailor-made integrations are built to match your company’s exact requirements, while allowing to decrease the “time-to-market significantly”. Once integrated with LeadsBridge, you will be able to send your data to any other platform (e.g., Facebook, Google, or Business Intelligence (BI) tools).

Integrations available for Facebook Conversions API

In order to get the most out of Facebook CAPI, you’re going to want to integrate it with your favorite CRM. LeadsBridge offers pre-built integrations to help you set up and run campaigns on Facebook and get optimum results. What’s more, you can get tailor-made integrations to meet your exact advertising needs and stay ahead of competition. 

Schedule a demo to discover all the possible integrations with Facebook Conversions API through LeadsBridge.

Facebook Conversions API + Salesforce® integration

In order to have a clearer idea of what LeadsBridge can do for you, let’s dive into the features of a specific integration: the one between Facebook Conversions API and Salesforce®, which is also one of our most popular ones.

Connecting Facebook Conversion API with Salesforce® allows you to send new Salesforce® records to Facebook Conversions as lead events and also create new leads.

Salesforce®  is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application for small, medium, and large businesses, which makes it easy for businesses and companies to track and connect with their customers, employees, partners, and products.

Integrating the two tools enables automated lead data sharing in real time. Although Facebook does have data about its users, your Salesforce® CRM contains all your customer’s details – which Facebook does not have. Therefore, you can leverage this information to build better-targeted ads and make more sales.

With the Facebook Conversions API + Salesforce® integration, you can share and sync different types of data – compared to Facebook Pixel – such as CRM data, lower-funnel events, and multi-site conversion paths on a website and offline location.

Learn more about our Salesforce® – Facebook integration here.

Facebook CAPI + ClickFunnels integration

Another one of our sales-funnels focused bridges is the integration between Facebook CAPI and ClickFunnels.

ClickFunnels is a tool for service-based businesses – especially popular amongst fitness coaches and gyms. It’s a drag-and-drop funnel creator and editor that allows even the least tech-savvy creators to build marketing and lead funnels to fill their pipeline and turn prospects into clients. 

This tool lets you create landing pages and sales pages, accept payments, and manage multiple sales funnels with just a few clicks.

By connecting Facebook CAPI with ClickFunnels, you can upload to Facebook the exact segments of leads that you want to track and use them as the target of your campaigns, which will also help you build more accurate audiences.

HubSpot + Facebook Conversions API

Another popular tool for businesses of all sizes is the HubSpot – Facebook Conversions API integration:

HubSpot is a cloud-based CRM platform with several marketing features that help companies deliver an outstanding customer experience, grow their team, manage marketing campaigns, build landing pages, and more. 

By creating the HubSpot and Facebook CAPI, you can share your website data and conversion events with Facebook. This data bridge offers better visibility into customer interactions with your brand, allowing you to optimize your ads better.

How to connect your data with Facebook Conversions API

It’s easy to see how important CAPI is and will continue to be in the marketing world. But, how to pass conversion data to Facebook API? All-in-all, there are two ways:

Direct connection

With a direct connection, there are pros and cons to weigh.

Pros

  • Full control over your connection. No middleman and complete customization capabilities.
  • A direct connection could mean saving money when it comes to upkeep.

Cons

  • Requires access to server codebase and in-house developer resources.
  • Requires setup and management of customer information parameters.

Partner connection

Using a partner connection means using a platform like LeadsBridge to provide an integration between CAPI and a data destination.

Using a partner like LeadsBridge gives you a much faster setup and a turn-key feel, allowing you to skip all the technical aspects of connecting CAPI, and jumping right to collecting lead data.

Also, you’ll have access to a team of experts that keep up with anything and everything related to CAPI, so you can focus on what’s most important to you: New leads.

One of the only downsides to this approach is that you don’t have full control or customization options. Instead, you have a quick and easy connection made by an intuitive tool, allowing you to focus your efforts on your expertise.

Although a direct connection (at face value) is free, it can cost a decent amount when it comes to maintenance. With LeadsBridge, with your monthly or annual subscription, you will have full access to experts, ready to help you at any time.

How does LeadsBridge help with Facebook CAPI?

LeadsBridge offers easy-to-use and practical integrations to connect all the data points in your marketing technology stack. One of these integrations enables automated data sync for CAPI.

The biggest setback any marketer can face is the need for repetitive, manual, and time-consuming tasks. With simple integration, you can forget about manually importing CSV files every few days, and get the important marketing data instantly.

By automating your Facebook CAPI experience, you’re able to jump on lead data as soon as it comes in, giving a boost to their journey through the funnel, and giving you precious insight throughout the entire process.

So what integration is done within the CRM tool to sync your lead data? If you have access to the website backend Facebook Conversions API is fairly easy to implement! You can choose to integrate either with the CRM or directly with the website’s back end. In both cases, LeadsBridge could help you out.

How to set up Facebook Conversions API through LeadsBridge

Still wondering how to pass conversion data to Facebook API without any of the technical headaches? We have made it simple! Like any integration on LeadsBridge, it only takes a few clicks.
First, log in to your LeadsBridge account. If you haven’t registered yet, you can create your account here.

Once signed in, you’ll be taken to the main dashboard.

How to create a new bridge on LeadsBridge

Step 1: To start, you’ll need to create the connection between Facebook Conversions API and your CRM. Simply click “Create new Bridge”

Step 2: Find the desired source, for example, your favorite CRM from the drop down menu and select Facebook Conversions API as destination. Then, click “Continue”.

Select source and destination on LeadsBridge

Now, you can name your bridge by clicking on the edit pencil icon. This can help you easily find your bridge later.

Step 3: Here, you’ll need to connect your accounts by selecting your source- let’s say, Salesforce® – and your destination, Facebook CAPI, and connect your accounts for both tools.

Create your bridge on LeadsBridge

Step 4: At this point, you have to make sure that all fields of data are mapped correctly between your source and destination apps.

LeadsBridge fields mapping

Step 5: Once everything is matched correctly, click “Save & publish”. Your bridge will be officially completed and you’ll see it added to your bridge dashboard.

Testing the CAPI integration

You can also test your new integration in your LeadsBridge dashboard. If you want, you can choose to test the integration with either a new (made-up) lead or an existing one. For the sake of this article, we’ll use a mock-up. Remember, you can do this while creating the bridge or even after your bridge creation.

After inputting all that information in the fields mapping stage, simply click the “Test now” button. Now head over to your inbox, and see if all the information has been sent. If the integration was set up correctly, you should have an email describing all the information you added in the testing stage.

Just like that, your flawless integration is ready to go live, and you’re ready to receive new leads!

Facebook API’s use cases

Let’s take a look at a couple of Facebook API’s use cases, to show you how this tool can actually help marketers in the real world.

Tentree

Since the Pixel’s ability to track data is slowly decreasing, and the Conversions API helps fill those gaps, the clothing brand Tentree tested two data tracking setups against each other. One used the Pixel alone. The other used the Pixel plus the conversions API. According to this case study, it’s been proved that the combination of the Pixel and the Conversions API provided a 12% increase in conversion attribution.

As a result, Tentree had better data to analyze, which helped them make better decisions about how to spend their ad budget.

They also found that the additional data from the Conversions API helped Facebook to better qualify users, reducing the cost per action by 5%.

Lava Art Cosmetic

Another delicate issue when it comes to advertising is retargeting properly (aka, advertising to people who have already interacted with your business). Retargeting only works when your tracking works effectively. Without the Conversions API, you might miss the opportunity to reach those prospects who are most likely to convert.

To this matter, the Norwegian beauty company Lava Art Cosmetic (LAC) found that when they added the Conversions API to their Facebook Pixel tracking, they improved their customer journey tracking on their website.

As a result, they were able to create better custom audiences.

Compared to using the Facebook Pixel alone, they saw a 16.5% increase in subscriptions to their service. 

Read this article to discover the best strategies for Facebook retargeting ads in 2022.

Clip

This feature helps reduce the cost per action of your Facebook ads by sending better data to the Facebook algorithm. As a result, you can rest assured that your ads will be shown only to the most targeted potential customers.

To this matter, the Mexican digital payments company Clip saw 46% more conversions when they added the Conversions API to the Facebook Pixel. At the same time, they saw a 32% decrease in the cost per conversion.

How the cookieless world will impact advertising: A take on our webinar on Facebook CAPI

In April of 2021, we held a webinar with Facebook to talk about how a cookie-less world would impact advertising and how cookieless targeting will be possible in the future. We were very excited to be joined by Emily Wilson, who is a product manager at Facebook. She gave us some amazing insight into the cookieless targeting situation on Facebook’s side and even answered some great questions proposed by the audience.

With the help of LeadsBridge’s own VP of Sales, Leonardo De Stefanis, we answered dozens of questions, some of which we want to display below:

Question: Are Conversions API and Offline conversions parts of the same thing?

CAPI and Facebook Offline Conversions API are both products supported by LeadsBridge. Each allows you to track and measure offline activity, with a few technical distinctions. For instance, Facebook OC API allows you to upload conversion activity within 62 days of the conversion, while CAPI only has a 7-day conversion window. The data measured by Facebook OC API is gathered in a container called offline event-set, while data measured by Facebook CAPI is gathered in the Facebook Pixel.

Question: Does the conversions API bypass the CMP (Cookie Management Platform), especially for remarketing in regards to user consent?

Facebook CAPI helps to increase the quality of the conversions you track online or offline by using a server connection. For instance, as a cookie-less solution, it allows you to fetch data directly from your CRM. Yet, it is important to clarify that Facebook CAPI does not bypass governmental legislation about remarketing in regards to user consent management; you still need to gather user consent when storing user information for marketing purposes.

These are just a few of the many incredible questions that we answered during that webinar. By the end of it, it was clear that Facebook was on top of things and working diligently to make cookie-less targeting mainstream, all while dealing with consent management and abiding by data privacy laws.

You have more questions? We’re always here to help. Contact us by filling out this short form, and we’d be happy to assist.

Takeaways

In summary, Conversions API is a great tool for advertisers. Advertisers worldwide use it to gain better insight into the customer’s funnel journey and customize their ad experience to achieve better results.

All of this unique ad experience is done while maintaining data privacy. Data privacy is a massive deal in advertising since cookies and browser-based tracking are dying off fast, especially in the mid and lower funnel, where customers share important and personal data.

Businesses are looking more into first-party data within their CRMs and other assets in order to create campaigns that make more of an impact. That being said, not being able to use cookies can result in some problems. It affects retargeting, tracking conversions, business intelligence systems, and a lot more.

The best solution to this problem is connecting first-party data directly to the advertising platform. Using Conversions API allows you to push data directly to Facebook, thus avoiding using cookies entirely, and making your campaigns that much more effective.

To top it all off, by using LeadsBridge and automating the process. Connecting Facebook Conversions API to your CRM means that data is getting pushed to the platform and the results are being recorded properly. If you’d like to test our platform out for yourself, then sign up for free today.

Zachary McDaniel

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