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  • Writer's pictureSandra

How to Track Customers and Collect Data with Facebook’s Conversions API

With data protection and privacy concerns at an all-time high, the iOS14 Privacy Update announced by Apple sounded like a dream-come-true for concerned users... But it came out as a huge shocker for tech giants that rely on the data and insights they collect with their cookies, such as Facebook.

However, Facebook was quick to roll up its sleeves and find a solution to this inevitable change. Lo and behold, Facebook already has an existing solution, once known as the server-to-server (S2S) alternative to the pixel: Facebook Conversions API!

What is Facebook Conversions API?

Given that the Facebook Pixel acts as a third-party cookie, users with an Apple device will be prompted to either opt-in or opt-out of being tracked. As Facebook advertisers are anticipating that most users will choose to opt-out due to privacy concerns, this would mean that means that the Facebook Pixel won’t be as effective in reporting the actions that users take on your website after clicking on your ad.

With this data being crucial for the success of Facebook and Instagram ads, Facebook introduced a new way of tracking actions taken on an advertiser’s landing page that won’t trigger the iOS14 prompt from Apple, which is the Conversion API tool.

This tool allows you to:

  • Measure the actions taken on your website by those who clicked on your ad

  • Improve the accuracy of your ad’s targeting, measurement, and further optimization, which the Facebook Pixel can’t do as well anymore

  • Control exactly which data you want to exchange with Facebook and when you want to send it from your server

For more information about the Facebook Conversions API, click here. To learn how to set up Conversions API step-by-step, click here.

How is this different from the Facebook Pixel?

I know what you’re thinking right now: how does Apple allow for this tracking to happen? What’s the difference between the pixel and conversions API?

Well, the Facebook Pixel is a snippet of code that when integrated into your website’s code, would allow the browser to send the data and insights to Facebook. But with the Conversions API, there is no third-party sending information to Facebook. A recent article from Social Media Examiner explains this perfectly:

“ The website’s server (as opposed to the browser) tracks the user as they visit your website. The server notes what actions the user takes (add to cart, purchase, lead), and then the server sends the information back to Facebook.”

So by using this method to track events, we get to bypass pretty much every type of ad-blocker out there as the Conversions API does not use cookies.

Should I still use the Facebook Pixel?

For now, the answer is YES. If your customers don’t use ad-blockers, opt into the being tracked, and haven’t blocked cookies on their browser by default, the Facebook Pixel STILL works!

In the case that your customers DO block cookies, then the Conversions API tool will kick in and take care of picking up the data on your website about your customers.

And don’t worry, Facebook’s tools are robust enough to deduplicate data that is received from both the pixel and the conversions API, so that the data is clean and free of duplicates.

And there you have it! While third-party cookies may still be around, some marketers are predicting that they won't be for much longer. What do you think?

Share your thoughts with me in the comment section below!

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