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Avoid Facebook ads’ performance plummeting with conversions API and Exponea

Jan 08, 2021 Martin Simo 6 min read

Advertising with Facebook Ads has long been the lifeblood of marketing efforts from businesses small and large across the globe.

But as privacy laws have clamped down on how businesses can legally use or acquire customer data, and data breach fines skyrocket, questions around the value and risk of Facebook advertising have emerged.

What data is Facebook mining from an advertising company’s customers? With Facebook’s noted past issues with data, can the company be trusted? Just a couple of many very fair questions to ask of the social networking site as customer privacy becomes increasingly important in the marketplace.

“Privacy never used to really be a topic marketers talked about,” said Peter Jakuš, Exponea’s VP for Market Insights. “It became a huge topic in the last couple of years. Digital tracking has grown up in a world where everything was trackable. That is now changing and marketers need to adapt.”

While individual businesses must craft their own strategy for advertising with Facebook based on their personal level of trust, Exponea offers a marketing automation solution that can help bridge the gap.

Exponea’s Facebook Conversions API (FB CAPI) integration offers the possibility of sending important events, such as purchases or leads, to Facebook Ads. That in-turn allows for better optimization of Facebook Ad campaigns.

The FB CAPI solution directly responds to the decreased reliability of the Facebook pixel (more on that later) and offers more control over what data is being sent to Facebook. The API allows you to send events to Facebook Ads’ platform directly without having to rely on browser pixel tracking.

It’s also a step in the direction towards more equal partnership between brands and Facebook when it comes to customer data. With FB CAPI, brands are in total control of what data they choose to share with Facebook.

FB CAPI is the key to avoiding lackluster campaign performance with your company’s Facebook Ads. Let’s dive deeper to learn more about Facebook Ads and why this tool is so useful.

Facebook pixel tracking

Facebook Pixel tracking has been the standard way of tracking Facebook Ads Campaigns for many years. Users just simply plug a line of javascript into the website and it’s done.

If you want to track specific events, e.g. add to cart, lead form submissions, or purchases, it’s another line of code for each. Doing this allows you to see everything in Facebook Ads interface and optimize campaigns accordingly.

However, did you know that page views and events aren’t everything Facebook is tracking with these scripts?

The basic Facebook Pixel actually tracks everything visitors do on your website. Every click, every element they hovered over, including buttons they clicked.

Since Facebook does not have the cleanest reputation when it comes to data protection and customer privacy, companies may want to think twice about letting the Facebook pixel track whatever it wants. When developing your Facebook Ads strategy, keep the aforementioned things in mind.

Last year, Apple released a new version of their Intelligent Tracking Prevention for Safari.

The new version has pretty much meant the death of cookie-based tracking for Safari users. Certain campaign cookies in certain browsers are now limited to a 24-hour life span, which is much less than any advertiser would like. Others in different browsers can last up to seven days.

Some workarounds have been found, but Apple is making sure those are eliminated with time. With more browsers picking up ITP, it is now time to stop thinking about workarounds and develop a comprehensive plan for what tracking looks like for your business moving forward.

Another strong force that is pushing against the use of cookies in tracking is legislation.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came out in 2018 in the European Union. Since then, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Brazil’s LGPD legislation have also come into effect.

These laws are quickly becoming more than just scary four letter combinations. GDPR fines have skyrocketed in 2020, catching the attention of business powers worldwide.

What does all of this mean? That the feedback loop between Facebook Ads and the behavior of customers on your website is being broken. Facebook Ads can no longer track conversions reliably if your customers make a purchase 25 hours after they clicked on your ad.

This means Facebook Ads has much less data to optimize your campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. And that means worse performance for the campaigns.

Brands need to own customer interaction data

Fortunately, there is a new way to collect data about customers and their interactions with your website. Owning the customer data, whether that’s first party or even zero party data is something all companies need to move towards. Not only because it respects customers’ right to privacy, but also because it’s in the brand’s financial interest.

Arguably the most appealing benefit of investing in a first party data strategy is the performance lift. According to a 2020 Boston Consulting Group study commissioned by Google, marketers that use all of the first party data available to them can generate double the incremental revenue from a single ad placement, communication, or outreach.

Juraj Frank, Senior Business Consultant at Exponea, believes that using Exponea’s FB CAPI integration is essential in the battle against lackluster Facebook Ads campaign performance.

Tracking with Facebook Conversions API

Facebook has come up with a way to help brands track the performance of their campaigns that doesn’t require cookies and the tracking pixel.

Facebook has also owned up to privacy shortcomings and designed a way that gives control over what data is sent back to brands and their customers.

This is a huge step for privacy and Exponea is excited to help our clients get on board.

With the FB CAPI integration, all conversion events are sent from the back end. The customers are identified by Exponea’s single customer view and the data is then sent to Facebook Ads via a scenario node.

facebook capi - exponea

Not only does the Conversions API allow you to bridge the gap created by ITP, but it also unlocks new use cases for your ad campaigns. Since you have the freedom of choosing when to send a conversion, you can optimize your campaigns in ways that were previously impossible.

Impact on brand and customer privacy

The most important part of the new integration is that the brands are in full control of what data gets sent to Facebook. With Conversions API, Facebook only receives data you are explicitly sending. Nothing more. Ever.

And since customer privacy is something Exponea values so highly, we’ve made it mandatory to select a relevant consent policy when sending customer data to Facebook. This means not only do brands get to control what data they send to Facebook, but customers also get the control.

Fortunately for companies, consent management is a well-developed feature inside Exponea. Brands using it will likely already have the consents necessary to fully utilize the Facebook Conversions API.

All in all, moving from pixel tracking to Conversions API is a great step towards privacy and data security for both brands and their customers.

Listen to our Deputy Data Protection Officer Annabel Pemberton go into more detail on why.

Ease your privacy concerns with Exponea

Exponea is leading the market when it comes to data security and customer privacy. Forrester recognized Exponea as one of only three vendors to receive a perfect score in the privacy & security category of the Forrester Wave: Email Marketing Service Providers Report in 2020 quarter two.

The Facebook Conversions API integration is just one of the privacy tools Exponea has that allows your company to be worry-free when it comes to data.

Exponea is the teammate you want in your corner helping your company with data privacy concerns. In addition to a full suite of data privacy tools, Exponea’s world-renowned Customer Data & Experience Platform provides a single customer view that makes producing elite customer service experiences second nature.

Exponea gives you all the tools you need to transform your customer data into magical marketing campaigns. Schedule a demo today with Exponea to see how you can take the next step in organizing and collecting your data in a way that allows you to retain your new customers and take your brand to the next level.

If you are interested in learning more about our new soon-to-be cookieless world, watch our “Future of Cookie Control, Consumers, and Commerce” webinar on-demand. 


Discover The Next Generation Of CDP

Exponea's CDXP gives marketers the complete toolset they need for creating incredible customer experiences, by bringing together AI-driven marketing automation, real-time analytics and UX optimization with a best-in-class CDP.

meet the author
Martin Simo
Product Marketing Manager
Martin Simo is a product marketing manager who has a deep understanding of marketing technologies. He has experience from various marketing roles including Head of Marketing for a €2M annual revenue e-commerce brand. He's obsessed with asking the right questions that lead to achieving objectives.

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