How to configure the conversions API to avoid losing data in your Facebook campaigns

TOMMASO BIANCHINI

SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST

27 May, 2021

Wondering how iOS 14 and other pixel locks will affect your Facebook marketing? Did you know that the Facebook Conversion API can help you?In this article, you will discover how to configure the Facebook conversions API to be able to measure correctly and not lose data in your Facebook and Instagram Ads campaigns.

What is the Facebook Conversion API?

You may have recently noticed that Facebook has been sending out notices about the iOS 14 changes and how they will affect your ads.

With iOS 14, Apple is making it much more difficult for apps and websites on Apple devices to track user behavior. Apple is doing a few things to make this happen, including giving iOS 14 users the ability to turn off device-level tracking and putting limitations on event tracking, regardless of a user’s settings.

These changes have been in effect since the end of April, and some accounts are experiencing significant data loss.

However, it is not just about the iOS 14 update. Increased user controls based on privacy laws such as the EU GDPR and the California Privacy Rights Act, as well as the increasing use of ad blocking software, have already limited Facebook’s ability to track events.

In this time of change, Facebook is finding alternatives and a good advertiser has to cleverly find stability in their Facebook campaigns. However, one of the most effective solutions is already offered by Facebook, and it is called the Conversion API (or CAPI).

The Conversion API is a Facebook Business tool that allows you to share key events on and off the web, or customer actions, directly from your server to that of Facebook (Sever-by-Server). With this tool the website server (unlike the browser) tracks the user while visiting your website. The server takes note of the actions carried out by the user (add to the basket, buy, become a potential customer …) and then sends the information to Facebook.

There are things that potentially happen that only the server knows about. The web page does not know it because it happens in the background: a user orders a product, but we only register it as a sale when it is sent, or a customer returns their purchase; it is an event that happens on the server, not on the page. It’s a way for the server to inform Facebook of things happening on the server, so that events can be tracked later, after the initial event.

Why is the Conversion API the solution?

Currently, most accounts have the Facebook pixel installed directly on the website or indirectly through Google Tag Manager.

When a user loads a website page, the pixel is fired at the browser level. With each page that the user visits and each action they take (“Add to cart”, “Buy”, “Lead”, etc.), the browser sends an update to Facebook. Next, Facebook informs the Events Manager of the number of actions of each type that generated the ad.

With the Conversion API, when a user clicks on a Facebook ad and lands on your website, Facebook will send a unique ID for that user to the server. The server will track the user through this identifier while visiting different pages of your website and will note if they complete a purchase, opt for a lead magnet, add a product to their shopping cart or perform other actions. The server will send a message to Facebook indicating what action this user has taken.

At least for now, both browser and server events will continue to fire. When Facebook receives the event from the server, it checks if it also has a corresponding browser event. If the browser event is blocked – for example, because Apple has blocked browser-level tracking – Facebook will use the server event instead. If Facebook has both events, it will “duplicate” the events and use only the browser event.

Facebook has also launched the Aggregated Event Measurement. Aggregate event measurement is a protocol that allows you to measure conversion events even with iOS 14 restrictions. However, you will be limited to eight events, events are prioritized, and Facebook only records the highest priority event per transaction. Therefore, if you have the “Start Checkout”, “Add to Cart” or “Buy” actions configured, only the action that you have identified as having the highest priority will be recorded.

In the Events Manager section you can already find the first added events resulting from this new measurement tool.

Configure the API Conversion

Conversion API settings depend on the platform your website is on. Most e-commerce platforms have been proactive in creating integrations for the Facebook conversions API. Some, like WooCommerce, have established partner integrations with Facebook. Others, like Shopify, have their own setup procedure.

How to set up the Shopify integration:

Step 1: From the home screen of your Shopify store, click on the “apps” tab and install the new Facebook sales channel app.

Step 2: You will be asked to enter your Facebook login information to proceed. If the agency and the client are separate, and you lose access to Shopify, all connectivity to the CAPI & Pixel facility will be disabled.

Step 3: Shopify wil confirm you wish to integrate Facebook.

Step 4: Verify each of the assets that you are integrating in Shopify through the Facebook sales channel application. If you or your client manage multiple assets, select through each asset dropdown to ensure the correct asset has been selected.

Note: Make sure the advanced automatic matching feature is turned on. This saves you steps later and ensures that Shopify is passing all relevant customer data to Facebook in order to match users.

Step 5: Review and decide what functions and features Shopify will have access to. In this case, we have all the functions activated to allow us to manage the activity of the Facebook account within the Shopify platform. This is also relevant to later be able to create stores on Facebook and Instagram (Facebook Shops).

Step 6: Once the Facebook sales channel app has been set up, jump into settings. Here, we will proceed to the data configuration, where we can activate the CAPI.

Step 7: Once we get to the data exchange settings, we will need to verify 3 things:

  • Ensure data tracking is enabled.
  • Select “Maximum”, as it combines all the data tracking options and starts the conversion API.
  • Confirm that the correct pixel is connected within the application. If it is not its pixel, you can disconnect it and it will ask you to connect the correct one.

Note: After these steps are confirmed, you may notice that the purple confirmation button is still grayed out. If this is the case, you will have to go to the merchant settings in the middle column to accept the Facebook terms and conditions.

Once this is done, you should be able to proceed to confirm the data exchange settings.

Step 8: Once this has been activated and confirmed – you are good to go! However, you will have to go back to the home screen and click on the Purchase Preferences tab (this is where the Pixel ID is placed). Remove it and save the settings.

Note: If you originally encoded the Facebook pixel on your Shopify site, at this point you will need to remove that code from all pages. If you don’t, the events will be double counted.

Step 9: Finally, test to make sure that browser events are fired correctly on your site.

Note that there are currently add to cart and buy events triggered from the server side; and that more such events will be available over time, as sites need to rely more on server-side data to be passed to Facebook.

You can use the Payload Helper tool to test these events. Make sure you select the type of event you want to test (Buy, Add to Cart, etc.) and put its pixel ID in the designated spot before starting the test.

Once the test has been triggered, a new window tab will open and take you to the test events screen within your Business Manager account. You can then go to the Event Summary tab and select a specific event to see if the server side is sending / adding events.

Why work with us?

Rocket has a multidisciplinary team, expert in all aspects necessary to carefully plan and carry out a complete and effective online campaign in order to boost the sales of your business on all digital platforms and social networks.

With a team with extensive experience in leading companies such as Mango, Stradivarius or Desigual, Rocket adapts to the needs of each client to design a plan focused on improving the conversion rate of their business.

If you believe our team of specialists can help you consolidate or improve your business’ digital strategy, let’s get in touch!

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