How can I improve the accuracy of my Facebook pixel data?

If you’re running Facebook campaigns the chances are that you’ve heard of the Facebook pixel. For those of you who haven’t, it’s the glorious bit of code that you add to your site to understand how your Facebook campaigns are performing – are you getting leads, donations or whatever else your objective may have been.

What are the disadvantages of using the Facebook pixel?

The reliability of the data sent by the pixel is limited, this is because it relies on javascript and cookies that are triggered within the user’s browser.  The main issues with the reliability of browser data are:

  1. Common challenges:
    1. Connectivity issues – potentially caused by intermittent connectivity at the users side
    2. Loading errors – potentially caused by other software running on the users machine or browser plugins
  2. Larger industry change:
    1. Loss of cookie support – driven mostly by a desire for increased user privacy many browsers are already blocking third-party cookies with Google Chrome to start blocking in 2022

How do I fix the reliability of the Facebook pixel?

If you’re starting to question the reliability of the conversion data you’re seeing in Facebook for your ads campaigns then it might be time to consider another solution.  This solution comes in for the form of the Facebook Ads Conversions API (CAPI).

As shown in the diagram below the main difference between using the pixel and CAPI to capture conversion events is that CAPI doesn’t rely on the user’s browser triggering a pixel.  Instead, all conversion events are passed directly to Facebook by your website’s server.

What is Facebook Conversions API?

Conversions API gives advertisers the ability to collect and share customer data for targeting, optimising, and measuring Facebook ad campaigns through a server to server integration. This cuts out the pixel and means your campaigns are no longer relying on browser data of questionable quality.

Unlike Browser-based data collection, Conversions API works by collecting and sharing data directly from the advertiser’s own servers. 

Passing usage and conversion data directly from server to server helps improve data quality  and gives you absolute control over the data points to be shared.  This is all much more reliable than browser-based methods and allows us to leverage data that Pixel doesn’t capture.  These other data points might include items like ‘Monthly Donation Payments’ and ‘Donation Cancellation’ events.  Although it’s worth considering how useful the data will be in optimising your campaigns before going through the effort involved in implementing all of this.

Why should I consider implementing conversions API?

Browser changes are impacting cookies and other tools, that support performance and tracking. Over the last 2 years, browsers (Safari, Firefox) blocked third-party cookies by default. One of the world’s largest browsers (Chrome) is taking a phased approach and may completely limit the efficacy of third-party cookies by 2022. These developments are impacting tracking and data-driven marketing. This all means that the reliability of browser data is not assured.

What are the benefits of using the Conversions API?

  1. Discrete Data Control: You can control what and when to share.
  2. Provides a direct channel: Send customer actions directly to Facebook. Examples include website events, in-person activity or any other off-Facebook conversion data.
  3. Reliable Data Sharing: It’s designed to be less susceptible to issues such as browser crashes or connectivity issues.
  4. Full-Funnel Visibility: Provides more insights on a Customers’ Journey and Advertisers can use a wider array of data to guide their advertising than the Facebook pixel currently captures, such as CRM data, lower-funnel events (including qualified Tele-calling leads) or multi-site conversion paths.
  5. Generate outcomes: – Even without the pixel, it generates the outcomes we seek with information we control, rather than data from a browser.

Do I need to scrap the Facebook pixel and just use the Conversions API?

Don’t rush out and throw your existing pixel implementation in the garbage.  There are a few different ways of getting the conversion API up and running. We’ve listed them out below – note: using both the pixel and CAPI together is the recommended approach for now:

  1. Using CAPI for all events.
  2. Passing Upper Funnel events with Pixel and lower funnel events with CAPI.
  3. Passing All Funnel Events with both Pixel + CAPI (Recommended) – Ensures Data Reliability + Multi-point Visibility into Online Consumer Journey.

How do I start?

You can read more about how to implement all of this in Facebook’s CAPI gateway. Or reach out to a Ninja today, we’re always happy to talk tracking!

If you are worried about Facebook’s upcoming changes or have any questions regarding your digital marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us using the form below.

Talk Tracking Today

Talk Tracking Today

Tracking campaign performance is a fundamental part of everything we do at Digital Ninja’s.  We’d love to help you get started with Facebook’s Conversions API.

    Jon Dawson, CEO of Digital Ninjas
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