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Configure the conversions API to avoid losing data in your Facebook campaigns.

Wondering how iOS 14 and other pixel blocking will affect your Facebook marketing?

Did you know that Facebook's Conversions API can help you?

In this article, you will discover how to configure Facebook's conversions API to be able to measure correctly and not lose data in your Facebook and Instagram Ads campaigns.

What is the Facebook Conversions API?

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

With iOS 14, Apple is making it much harder 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 already gone into effect since the end of April, and some accounts are experiencing significant data loss.

However, it's not just the iOS 14 update. Increased user controls from privacy laws such as the EU's GDPR and California's Privacy Rights Act, as well as the growing 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 Conversion API (or CAPI).

The Conversion API is a Facebook Business tool that allows you to share key on- and off-site events or customer actions directly from your server to Facebook's server (Sever-by-Server). With this tool the website server (as opposed to the browser) tracks the user while visiting your website. The server takes note of the actions the user performs (add to cart, buy, lead...) and then sends the information to Facebook.

There are things that potentially happen that only the server knows about. The website doesn't know about it because it happens in the background: a user orders a product, but we only record it as a sale when it ships, or a customer returns their purchase; it's 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 page on the website, the pixel is triggered at the browser level. With each page the user visits and each action they take ("Add to cart", "Purchase", "Lead", etc.), the browser sends an update to Facebook. Facebook then reports in the Events Manager the number of actions of each type, which the ad has generated.

With the Conversions 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 ID as they visit different pages of your website and note whether they complete a purchase, opt-in to a lead magnet, add a product to their shopping cart or take other actions. The server will send a message to Facebook indicating what action this user has performed.

At least for the time being, both browser and server events will continue to be triggered. When Facebook receives the server event, it checks to see 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 the restrictions of iOS 14. However, you will be limited to eight events, events are prioritized and Facebook only records the highest priority event per transaction. So if you have "Start Checkout", "Add to Cart" or "Buy" actions configured, only the action you have identified as the highest priority will be recorded.

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

Configuring the Conversion API

Setting up the Conversions API depends on the platform your website is on. E-commerce platforms have, for the most part, been proactive in creating integrations for the Facebook Conversions API. Some, like WooCommerce, have set up partner integrations with Facebook. Others, like Shopify, have their own setup procedure.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up the conversion API in an e-commerce created with Shopify.

How to set up 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 prompted to enter your Facebook login information to log in. If the agency and client are separated, and you lose access to Shopify, all connectivity to the CAPI & Pixel installation will be disabled.

Step 3: Shopify will confirm that you want to integrate Facebook.

Step 4: Verify each of the assets you are integrating into Shopify through the Facebook sales channel app. If you or your client manage multiple assets, select through each asset dropdown to ensure the correct asset is selected.

Note: Make sure the advanced auto-matching feature is turned on. This will save 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 which functions and features Shopify will have access to. In this case, we have all the features enabled to allow us to manage Facebook account activity within the Shopify platform. This is also relevant for being able to create Facebook and Instagram stores (Facebook Shops) later on.

Step 6: Once the Facebook sales channel application has been configured, jump to the settings. Here, we will proceed to the data settings, where we can activate CAPI.

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

  • Ensure that 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 your pixel, you can disconnect it and it will prompt you to connect the correct one.

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

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

Step 8: Once this has been activated and confirmed - you're done! However, you will need 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 coded the Facebook pixel on your Shopify site, you will need to remove that code from all pages at this point. If you don't, events will be double counted.

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

Keep in mind that, currently, there are add to cart and purchase events firing server-side; and that more such events will become 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. Be sure to select the type of event you wish to test (Purchase, Add to Cart, etc.) and place its pixel ID in the designated location before initiating the test.

Once the test is 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 in all digital platforms and social networks.

With a team with extensive experience in leading companies in the sector 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 your business.

If these results have convinced you and you believe that our team of specialists can help you boost your business' online sales, do not hesitate to contact us!


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