What is the Facebook Conversions API
Unlike the times when companies bought up specific advertising spaces in newspapers, on billboards, and eventually on pages of the internet, ads are now tied to the person, not the space. Every user sees targeted ads based on their online activity, as tracked by cookies and other analytics.
HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS:
the algorithm is often accurate, meaning you see expertly curated content that might actually help you find what you’re looking for.
BUT HERE’S THE NOT-SO-GOOD NEWS:
people want their privacy back.
And the people are getting what they want. The privacy laws, browser restrictions, and public sentiment are changing. To accommodate for this shift in digital advertising, Facebook Conversions API provides an alternative access path to much-needed consumer information without data breaches and user distrust.
Learn more about Facebook Conversions API through our guide below:
01 The Problem: the Evolving Ecosystem of Advertising
When legislation changes faster than the technology it governs, there will always be a gap between the old ways of operating and the future we’re creating. These are the kinds of changes companies are currently facing around digital advertising:
So, how do companies continue to provide relevant, persuasive advertising content after losing their almost unrestricted access to user data?
Hopefully, in part, with Facebook Conversions API.
02 What Is Facebook Conversions API? And How Is It The Solution?
Conversions API is simply another way of tracking and communicating relevant information about consumer behavior, but with a few small tweaks that better match our new environment.
So, what’s so new and improved about it?
For starters, one of the biggest challenges with digital marketing, in general, is that the web server (which delivers websites to users) and the ad server (which places advertisements on those websites) don’t directly communicate with each other.
Originally, there was no exchange of data. That made it difficult to determine whether or not ads were translating into conversions like purchases, downloads, and sign-ups.
That’s where cookies and pixels came in—and where Conversions API now follows.
Let’s use the differences between these digital tools to better explain the current shift.
COOKIES & PIXELS
Pixels are short pieces of code placed on websites, which serve tracking cookies. These cookies are then placed on your browser by the web server to store information about your web activity. Cookies have made it easy for advertisers to target the right audience, especially with the rise of social media shopping. Think of it like this: the cookies are plates of food, and the pixels are the waiters that bring them to you.
Much like your SSN or phone number, cookies are individual to you. But in this case, what is your data actually used for?
Well, there are two primary types of cookies (and no, chocolate chip isn’t one of them):
This type of cookie was placed and is used by the website you’re visiting. Websites can store your login credentials, location, shopping cart, and more to create a positive user experience. It also doesn’t feel like an invasion of privacy because you willingly gave the website your personal information.
Alternatively, ad servers and other third parties (hence the name) place cookies to track behavior across a wider range of sites and then target and re-target advertisements. These are more broadly seen as violations of user privacy, since you didn’t want nor explicitly allowed this server to have your information, but now it does.
Facebook pixel, as one example, is an advertising tool powered by third-party cookies. Through this platform, companies can track users that come to their site through Facebook ads.
So let’s break down how a pixel actually works, using the Facebook pixel as a template:
Companies would only have a small piece of the picture if they couldn’t create this visibility across the ad and web servers through pixels.
But the same visibility that helps businesses also violates the privacy of its users.
FACEBOOK CONVERSION API
This emerging Facebook Business Tool lets you share both online and offline events with Facebook’s server, directly from yours. There are some events that the pixel can’t track, but the API can, like:
- Opening an email from a campaign
- Making an in-store purchase
- Calling for more information
- Attending a real-life event
This creates a holistic picture that would otherwise be incomplete. Having this information can make decisions like ad placement and ad campaign optimization easy.
03 Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Facebook Conversions API
Beyond the simple fact that times are changing and advertising strategies have to adapt, Facebook Conversions API has several benefits for before, during, and after the potential phase out of the pixel. These include but are not limited to:
But Facebook’s API doesn’t just bolster your options and conversion rates. It will quickly become an essential feature of your digital marketing strategy.
Here are some of the emerging roadblocks that API will help you navigate around:
ASK APP NOT TRACK OR ALLOW
Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency – Apple’s iOS 14 update now requires users to opt into data tracking when prompted with a pop-up. Initial data suggests that 70% of users will select “Ask App not to Track,” rather than “Allow.”3 As more people opt out, API’s server-to-server connection will become a more reliable source of first-party information as it bypasses the browser altogether.
Basically, the cookie is beginning to crumble.
As we replace it with a new snack of choice—Conversions API—what are all the different flavors available?
04 Different APIs Offered by Facebook
API, which stands for Application Programming Interface, is simply a software middleman between two separate applications, and they exist in many forms. For example, APIs can integrate the product with a third-party facebook developer to collaborate on applications, games, and more.
Here are the top six most important Facebook APIs to be aware of:
With all these APIs and more, managing your digital marketing is almost as difficult as running the business itself. Beyond just the logistics, consumers want genuine content from their favorite brands, not empty words and impersonal posts.
Organic social media is a relatively new movement within digital marketing, but it can make all the difference when coupled with the right ad content, APIs, and professional marketers.
To that end, here at Power Digital, we specialize in social media content and strategy that is genuine, relevant, and sustainable—that achieves and maintains the kind of results you’re looking for on your Facebook Graph API.
05 How to Use Conversions API & Data Sharing Responsibly
The data you collect and analyze through Conversions API can be revolutionary. It can drive growth, lead you down new advertising paths, and create lasting change. However, this kind of power needs to be coupled with responsible and ethical data sharing best practices.
What do those look like? Here are four places to start:
06 How to Set Up Facebook Conversions API
To get started with Conversions API, there are just a few simple steps you need to take:
Once you’ve got everything set up, you can start creating, testing, and managing events that you’d like the API to track. From here, plenty of opportunities open up in terms of ad optimization—if you know how to fully capitalize on them.
Unfortunately, many companies miss out because they don’t.
Here at Power Digital, we can advise, facilitate, and integrate Conversions API into your digital marketing strategy, including your social advertisement and the various partner platforms you rely on, like Shopify, WordPress, and WooCommerce.
You have the power to reach new heights. We can help you get there.
That’s the upside of Facebook Conversions API.
Facebook for Business. Accelerate: The Ads Ecosystem Is Evolving. https://www.facebook.com/business/m/signalshealth/accelerate/the-evolving-ads-ecosystem
The Verge. Google to ‘phase out’ third-party cookies in Chrome, but not for two years.
The Next Ad. Everything you need to know about Facebook’s Conversions API. https://www.thenextad.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-facebooks-conversions-api/
Facebook for Developers. Cookie Consent Resource. https://developers.facebook.com/docs/privacy/
Facebook for Developers. Get Started. https://developers.facebook.com/docs/marketing-api/conversions-api/get-started