The gradual disappearance of third-party cookies has had a significant impact on advertisers' acquisition costs on major platforms like Meta Ads and Google Ads. This impact is estimated at 20 % today and could reach up to 50 % by the end of 2024.
To cope with this technological shift, almost all advertising platforms have developed Conversions APIs. These tools allow advertisers to share conversion events from their leads and their customers. However, these APIs are still relatively new, and their implementation can often be complex.
If you want to learn about conversion APIs, especially Meta Ads CAPI, this guide is for you!
The imminent end of 3rd party cookies
Sending Conversions: Why It's Important?
Ad platform algorithms are designed to optimize the performance of your advertising campaigns based on the goals you've set. These goals can vary from increasing brand awareness to direct conversion (purchases, sign-ups, etc.). Algorithms use a variety of signals to achieve these goals. Conversion events are among the most critical because they best qualify your target audience.
Without precise event tracking, the algorithm wouldn't have the necessary information to effectively target users, potentially leading to unnecessary expenses. A typical example is ads continuously delivered to a customer after a purchase. The platform may not know that the user has converted, continuing to identify him as a high-potential buyer because he interacted with the ad.
In short, conversion APIs offer several benefits, including more precise event tracking, better attribution, and increased compliance with privacy regulations. In the current context of the disappearance of third-party cookies, they become an essential tool for capturing the entire life cycle of your customers, whether they are new or returning.
Tracking Events via the Conversion API
Unlike traditional pixel-based tracking, which relies on the user's browser and on third-party cookies, Meta Ads' Conversion API allows direct tracking from your server.
This means that every time a user takes action on your website or application, this data is sent directly from your server to Meta Ads, bypassing the user's browser. Then, opting for tracking via the Conversion API enables more precise and reliable tracking on your website, overcoming technological and regulatory constraints.
But the Conversion API doesn't stop there. It also allows you to track a much wider range of events, including those occurring outside your website, such as in-store purchases or interactions in a mobile app. With more precise and comprehensive data, you can create more segmented audiences for targeted advertising campaigns.
However, Meta recommends the implementation of both client-side and server-side tracking to maximize performance. This is due to several reasons, with the main one being that Meta Ads uses matching keys that are not yet collectible via server-side. In particular, some keys associated with events and allowing the recognition of the user initiating the action cannot yet be collected by server-side, such as fbp and fbc.
How to Perfectly Implement Meta Ads CAPI?
Choosing Events to Send to Meta
A customer's buying journey can be broken down into several stages, from discovering your product or service to making a purchase. As you progress through the funnel, the buying intent increases.
Implementing CAPI for events that are most important to you and on which you want to optimize your campaigns is crucial.
Take the example of a B2B company using Facebook to generate leads through forms. Only 20% of obtained leads are genuinely qualified. The company wants to transition from lead management to qualified lead management. To achieve this, it must send events transforming a lead into a qualified lead via the Conversion API. The algorithm will then optimize campaigns to reach more qualified leads.
It's exactly what we've done with Nexity!
Most valuable conversions are at the bottom of the funnel
Collecting Your Events Server-Side
Once your funnel is defined, it's essential to ensure that you can collect these events from your server. For offline events, it's necessary to collect and centralize them in a data warehouse regularly.
Attention, for all types of events, it's important to ensure to collect first-party data, such as email or phone number, to enrich your events and allow Meta to recognize profiles on its platform. The complete list of customer identifiers accepted by Meta is available in the official documentation.
Choosing the Appropriate Integration Solution
Firstly, there are integrated solutions like Shopify, GTM Server Side, or CAPI Gateway. These are solutions that manage both the collection of online data server-side and their sharing with advertising platforms. These solutions are suitable for companies with a simple customer funnel and 100% online conversions.
However, in many cases, you're not only tracking interactions on your website. Event tracking is often distributed among multiple touch points and can be used to fuel your business:
Lead events in the CRM
Product usage events in your product backends
Engagement events in your analytics tool
In-store purchase events in your offline databases
To address this challenge, we recommend centralizing all your conversion data, regardless of its origin, in a cloud data warehouse such as BigQuery or Snowflake. This allows you to have a single source of truth for the customer journey, including both online and offline events.
It also allows you to use first-party information available only in your back office or CRM (external id, Country, City, etc.), which can significantly improve matching rates.
Ensuring Implementation Quality
Once CAPI is implemented for selected events, it's important to monitor three main KPIs:
Pixel vs. Server Event Count: The number of events transmitted by CAPI should be higher than the number of events collected by the pixel.
Event Match Quality (EMQ): This KPI represents the matching rate between sent conversions and Facebook users. The more personal information you send about the customers who performed the events, the higher the score. To find it, simply go to your Facebook Event Manager and click on the score of your events. : ce KPI représente le taux de matching entre les conversions envoyées et les utilisateurs Facebook connus. Plus vous envoyez d’informations personnelles sur les clients ayant effectué les évènements plus le score est important. Pour le trouver, allez simplement dans votre gestionnaire d'événements Facebook et cliquez sur la note de vos événements.
EMQ Score Example
Event Deduplication: If you connect your web events via both the pixel and the Conversion API, Meta can receive the same events from both the browser and the server. If Meta determines that the events are identical and therefore redundant, the platform will keep one and ignore the others. This is called deduplication. You can see the deduplication quality by looking at the event details in your event manager. Meta requires a match of over 70%.
If you want to learn more about Meta Conversions API and its best practices, feel free to download our e-book on the subject.
Why and How to Act Now?
The disappearance of third-party cookies is imminent, and addressing its impact is vital for companies operating online. Advertisers who quickly adopt new technologies and best practices will have a lasting competitive advantage.
If you haven't yet considered how conversion APIs can benefit your business, now is the time to do so. If you want to learn more about our approach, feel free to contact us.