The world of advertising nowadays relies completely on data. Most often, this data comes from browsers. This can be a massive problem for users with connectivity issues. And, as we’ve talked about before, the industry is moving away from cookie-based server tracking.
In order to fully understand audiences, companies need to dig deep into their funnels to get a good grasp on the customer’s journey and optimize their ad experience. That all sounds great, but how is it done?
Since cookies are no longer the cornerstone of online advertising, how do we stop privacy implications from blocking data collection with cookies and pixels? 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.
The answer to these questions is Facebook Conversions API (formerly known as Server-Side API).
As a Meta Business Partner, LeadsBridge offers many Facebook CAPI integrations. Find the most popular ones below:
If you’d like to look for a specific Facebook CAPI integration, you can easily do so yourself by typing your desired source below.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Facebook Conversions API.
- What is Facebook Conversions API?
- What is the API and Conversion process?
- CAPI Facebook iOS 14
- Facebook Conversions API vs Pixel
- Why use LeadsBridge as a Meta partner
- Integrations available for Facebook Conversions API
- How to setup Facebook Conversions API
- The benefits of Facebook CAPI
- How to connect your data with Facebook Conversions API
- How does LeadsBridge help with Facebook CAPI?
- How to setup Facebook Conversions API with LeadsBridge
- Facebook API’s use cases
- How the cookie-less world will impact advertising: FAQs from the latest LeadsBridge webinar on Facebook CAPI
- Conclusions and takeaways
What is Facebook Conversions API?
Facebook Conversions API 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. This is all done without having to rely on browser-based tools like cookies.
Facebook’s Conversions API is thorough and provides businesses with a wealth of helpful tools and insights. Here is what it provides:
- Full funnel visibility: Conversions API offers businesses the ability 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.
Pixel alone 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 that 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.
Instead of sharing data with the browser, Facebook Conversions API companies can 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.
Server-side API Facebook
Server-side APIs are programmatic interfaces that contain at least one publicly open endpoint to a request/response system. For the most part, these are expressed in JSON or XML. These are exposed through the web, usually by the 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/lower funnel events can be captured. This is more than Pixel can offer alone.
Companies with high-security needs can use Conversions API to decide which data they want to share. Implementing Conversions API will require some development resourcing, but a network of partners that are certified through Facebook or your own existing system integrator/marketing platform provider can help in the implementation.
What is the API and Conversion process?
This is all very technical, but it’s not as difficult to understand when it’s laid out in a step-by-step process. Here’s a quick rundown of how Facebook Conversions API works:
- First, the customer enters the website.
- The website has to have Facebook Pixel. Facebook Pixel documents user data in cookies (which is 1st party).
- The server will save user information in the same way that it saves IP addresses, user agents, Google Analytics client_id, and other parameters.
- 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:
- Meta Business Manager (this is a must, as you cannot use Facebook Conversions API without it).
- Set up a Facebook Pixel with your website. It’s important to note that it should be correlated with the Business Manager.
- A 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:
- Affiliate payments
- Find locations
- Phone calls
- Form submissions
- Email subscriptions
- Subscription changes
Facebook’s Conversions API has a unique set of benefits that browser Pixel simply does not. Some of these benefits include a better overview of omnichannel customer journeys. This is done by conquering things that used to be challenging for event tracking. These overcoming challenges include:
- 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.
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 trackhow they engage with apps. However, if users opt out of tracking, their behavior cannot be tracked again. The iOS 14 changes will have an impact on all apps and that is why Facebook is encouraging marketers to switch to server-side tracking.
The impact of this change includes:
- Inability to track iOS users after they opt out. This means you cannot use retargeting campaigns for them.
- Events are limited to 8 per website. This means that you cannot use custom events.
- Unverified domains are unable to use events. This means you cannot optimize your campaigns for outside events.
- 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.
- There will be no real-time reporting anymore. Data will experience delays.
How to tackle iOS 14 changes
- 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.
- Verify your domain.
- Use aggregated event measurement tools to choose the 8 events available for a website.
Facebook Conversions API vs Pixel
Facebook 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. This includes the pages they visit, what actions they take on those pages, etc.
There are differences between Facebook Conversions API and the Pixel:
- Facebook Conversions API gives you insight into the entire customer journey on your website pages. While Facebook Pixel helps you see how users are engaging with your website pages after viewing your Facebook ads.
- Facebook CAPI helps you control the data you share and when you share it. While Facebook Pixel helps you track pixel data for conversion events on your website pages.
- Facebook CAPI helps you share web events from your server while Facebook Pixel helps you share web events from your web browser.
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 that 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 2 or 3 months).
During the onboarding phase, our team will talk to the customers’ tech team to understand the most efficient and least expensive way to retrieve data from their data warehouse and keep the data up-to-date with Facebook SS-API.
Like all data partners, LeadsBridge can troubleshoot technical issues for the Side-Side program along with the length of service. Plus – if over time 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.
As a Meta Business Partner, LeadsBridge offers the ability to develop integrations that are tailor-made for businesses. With 380+ different “out-of-the-box” integrations, and 400+ “custom” integrations, the average development time required for these types of integrations is 2-6 weeks.
This allows companies 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, BI tools).
Integrations available for Facebook Conversions API
In order to get the most out of Facebook Conversions API, you’re going to want to integrate it with your favorite CRM. Through LeadsBridge, those integrations are possible.
Here are a few of our most popular Facebook CAPI integrations available:
If you’d like to look for a specific Facebook CAPI integration, you can easily do so yourself by typing your desired source below.
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 Facebook Conversions API leads with Salesforce.
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 so that they can share lead data automatically and in real time is extremely useful to gain an overall view of your prospects: 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 conversions paths on a website and offline location.
If you’d like to learn more about our integrations between Salesforce and Facebook’s tools, you can read this article on our blog.
Facebook CAPI + ClickFunnels integration
Here’s another example: the integration between Facebook CAPI and ClickFunnels.
ClickFunnels is a tool for service-based businesses – especially popular amongst fitness coaches and gyms. At its core, 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.
How to setup Facebook Conversions API
Advertising is all about timing. You need to reach out at the perfect time, on the ideal platform, and to the right people. It’s an art, to say the least, and one that not a whole lot of people have mastered. This is where Facebook Conversions API comes in handy.
Facebook Conversions API (or CAPI, as it’s been called) is a powerful tool with loads of possibilities. Now I’m going to go over how to set it up and provide some use cases with how people are using it to get the absolute most out of their incoming marketing data. Along the way, we will discuss some helpful details. Let’s start with the basics.
The benefits of Facebook CAPI
In truth, there are many benefits to Facebook Conversions API. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, 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 – With CAPI, you can 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 – CAPI is designed specifically to give 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 have the ability to gain massive insight that would otherwise be impossible to have.
It is important to note 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 will 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.
That being said, advertising and marketing as we know it is changing drastically. With the implementation of the GDPR’s data privacy laws and regulations, businesses can no longer rely on cookie-based tracking and instead must revert to server-side tracking.
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.
How to connect your data with Facebook Conversions API
There’s a lot of information above. It’s easy to see how important CAPI is and will continue to be in the marketing world. But, how do you connect your data with Facebook Conversions API? All-in-all, there are 2 ways:
With a direct connection, there are pros and cons to weigh.
- Full control over your connection. No middle man and complete customization capabilities.
- A direct connection could mean saving money when it comes to upkeep.
- Requires access to server codebase and in-house developer resources.
- Requires setup and management of customer information parameters.
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 set-up and a turn-key feel, allowing you to skip all the technical aspects of connecting CAPI, and jumping right to collecting lead data.
When using a partner, you have access to a team of experts that keep up with anything and everything related to CAPI, again allowing you to 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, nor do you have 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?
At LeadBridge, we pride ourselves on easy and helpful integrations with your marketing stack. One of those integrations is CAPI.
The biggest setback any marketer can face is the need for repetitive, manual, and time-consuming tasks. We aim to fix that. 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.
Since LeadsBridge is an official Meta Business Partner, you’re guaranteed the best service with direct support and data straight from Meta themselves.
How to setup Facebook Conversions API with LeadsBridge
Just like any integration on LeadsBridge, it really only takes a few clicks. The first thing you’ll want to do is log in to your LeadsBridge account. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, you can create one for free here.
Once you’re signed up and signed in, you’ll be taken to the main dashboard, and it will look something like this.
As you can see on the left-hand side, highlighted in blue, it says “Bridges”. This is where we will begin creating the connection between Facebook Conversions API and your CRM. To start, simply click “Create new Bridge”.
Now, it’s time to start working on your lead data source and destination.
Inside the search bar, type your desired source – for example, your CRM – and destination – in this case, Facebook Conversions API – and click on “Continue”.
Now, by clicking on the edit pencil icon, you can name your bridge to help you find it later.
Then, you’ll be required to choose between a simple or complex bridge. According to what kind of automation you’re trying to build – easy or elaborate – pick one or the other.
Now, you’ll be required to select your source- let’s say, Salesforce – and your destination, Facebook Conversions API, and connect your accounts for both tools.
Now, you have to make sure that all fields of data are mapped correctly between source and destination.
Once everything is matched correctly, your bridge will be officially completed and you’ll see it added to your bridge dashboard.
Testing the CAPI integration
Once all is said and done, you can 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 make one up.
And once you input all that information, simply click the blue, 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 put in in the testing stage.
Just like that, your integration is ready to go live, and you’re ready to receive new leads!
This whole cookie-less marketing world is a fairly new idea as of writing this article. Although we’ve been well aware of the importance of server-side tracking and tools like Facebook Conversions API, the effects of the new data regulations have really just started to get serious.
As a marketer, there’s no need to worry. Although things will change as we know them, that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to do our jobs. With tools like Facebook CAPI and LeadsBridge, all the headaches of cookies and accurately tracking customer data can be left alone. For you, all you really need to worry about is setting up an integration ASAP. But, as we’ve explained above, it’s easy, too.
Facebook API’s use cases
Now that you’ve gained a pretty well-rounded idea of what Facebook Conversions API is and how it works, 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.
Since the Pixel’s ability to track data is slowly decreasing, and the Conversions API helps fill those gaps, providing better conversion attribution, 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 were able to better track the customer’s journey 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.
Conversions API can help 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 cookie-less world will impact advertising: FAQs from the latest LeadsBridge 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 cookie-less 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 cookie-less 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 here today.
Q: Is there a specific date when cookies will no longer be as effective?
A: There isn’t an exact date being proposed just yet. The bottom line is that Google Chrome, probably the most used browser in the world, will soon stop supporting third-party cookies. Rumors say that this will happen before 2022, but we don’t have an actual date yet.
Q: Is Conversions API and Offline conversions part of the same thing?
A: Facebook Conversions API and Facebook Offline Conversions API are both products supported by LeadsBridge. Both products allow 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.
Q: Does the conversions API bypass the CMP (Cookie management Platform), especially for remarketing in regards to user consent?
A: 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 Conversions API does not bypass governmental legislations about remarketing in regards to user consent management. In other words, you still need to gather user consent when storing user information for marketing purposes.
Q: Where does the end-user opt in to get recorded, on the website during opt-in or on Facebook?
A: 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.
Q: How do the new IOS14 changes affect things? Will the use of the API to send conversion info go around the IOS restrictions or will it respect it?
A: 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, especially in regards to higher-funnel events (e.g. Add To Cart), however, we recommend following Facebook’s guidelines.
We’ve extensively covered Facebook Pixel and iOS14 and the impact they could make on the marketing world in a previous blog post. Be sure to check that out to learn more.
Q: Are there any resources that explain the difference between how cookies collect data vs how the API collects data and how the API would be better?
A: 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.
Q: What kind of impact will this have on Lead Generation campaigns on Facebook with that data collection happening on the Facebook platform?
A: No impact at all for the foreseeable future. Once the beta for Lead Ads Quality (a “new” Facebook Marketing product) will roll out, we’ll see.
Q: Is Conversion API integration easy to implement if we have access to the website backend? We have access to the CRM tools, but what integration is done within the CRM tool as we are already sending leads to the CRM anyways?
A: Yes, 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 back end. In both cases, LeadsBridge could help you out.
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.
Any questions? We’re always here to help. Contact us by filling out this short form, and we’d be happy to assist.
Conclusions and takeaways
In conclusion, Conversions API is a great tool for advertisers. It’s used by advertisers around the world in order to gain better insight into the customer’s funnel journey, and customize their ad experience in order 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.
The best solution to this problem is connecting 1st-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, you can automate 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.