CAPI: Facebook’s Response to the War on Tracking

What’s Going On?

Through now, our team has covered off on Apple’s iOS 14 ticking time bomb and Google’s Privacy Sandbox, but we wanted to give Facebook’s Conversion API, or CAPI, its own moment for discussion as it is going to be a crucial element for many digital advertisers.

Without getting into technicalities, CAPI is Facebook’s pixel-alternative method to tracking; instead of events and data being passed from the user’s browser back to Facebook, important information about your site’s visitors’ actions can be passed back via the website’s server. This data is used in the same way that browser pixel events are, such as in measurement, reporting, and optimization. Better yet, this tracking happens completely independently of cookies which – although are still very much part of most marketers’ tracking method, will likely become obsolete for ad purposes in the coming years.

Pixel vs Conversion API

Source: Facebook

Why Implement Now?

For many brands at risk for being suffocated by the Apple’s upcoming ATT implementation, the move to implement CAPI is going to be instrumental. For example, see some of the pixel data loss risks that CAPI can solve for below:

  • Loss of 28 day (post and view) attribution
  • Partial attribution for 7 day post click
  • Modelled attribution for 1 day post click
  • Maximum 8 conversions events

However, in addition to the above protection against data loss, there are other key reasons you may want to consider implementing CAPI – even if pixel use hasn’t historically been a large part of your ad strategy. Facebook’s Conversion API can also report back on factors that aren’t possible to track with a browser pixel. This not only, most obviously, is great for a more refined analysis of your campaigns, but also means the algorithm will be able to work harder for you and your campaign goals by using a wider array of data to inform optimization. And, as we all know, when the algorithm is working for you rather than against you, you’ll see drastic changes in cost. Facebook has some CAPI case studies on Facebook for Business, but a great study is this success story from HoneyBook – who cut acquisition costs by 50% just by utilizing CAPI.

On top of this, CAPI offers other benefits over browser pixels; By using CAPI, your team will better be able to control when and where you share data, and the API overall is designed to be less vulnerable to browser crashes or gaps in connectivity. Some examples of additional pieces of information CAPI can track include lead scores defined by your team (in order to determine qualification), offline purchases, multi-site conversion paths, and phone calls. 

How To Get Started?

So how can you get started? You may need the assistance of your developer to implement CAPI (instructions can be found here). If you don’t have an in-house developer to complete the switch for you, Facebook is offering to help connect brands with a certified implementation partner in order to help make the integration experience as seamless as possible. If you’re instead working with an agency – they can likely guide your team on setup with help from Facebook. Additionally, most servers (like WordPress or Shopify) have relatively easy assisted integration.

The Bottom Line.

Our agency prides itself on always being proactive – never reactive – to industry changes for our clients. So although moving to Facebook’s Conversion API isn’t an absolute necessity this instant, we’re recommending the implementation to our clients as a means of staying ahead of the curve. The sooner teams begin getting used to the tool, the better handle they’ll have on it when it is a necessity – which, for some brands may be as quickly as when Apple pulls the trigger on ATT, or later in the next couple of years when cookies begin to be phased out for ad use. Regardless, we’ll always try to arm our clients and readers with the tools they need to minimize or eradicate any fallout from industry turmoil.



Want to see more updates from us? Subscribe to our newsletter below.


See More Posts