Server to Server Integration in a World Where We are Losing Cookies

May 15, 2020 | Facebook

What is Server-Side API? Facebook explains server-side API as: 

“The server-side API is one of our Facebook Business Tools that lets you share key web and offline events, or customer actions, directly from your servers to ours. The server-side API works with your Facebook pixel to help improve the performance and measurement of your Facebook ad campaigns.

  • Measure customer actions in more ways. For example, you can share delayed values, user scores or lead scores and use them for optimization in our other business tools.
  • Improve reliability to send events for measurement and optimization when used along with the pixel. The server-side API will help capture events that may be lost due to problems like poor network connectivity or long page load times.
  • Control the data you share. You can include more meaningful data about your users, such as their user scores, alongside the event data you share with Facebook via the server-side API.”

So…what server-side API does is allows the advertiser to send website and offline events from their server directly to Facebook enabling them to use that data for measurement, reporting, and optimization as they would pixel events. 

Advertising before server-side API:

The Facebook pixel tracks how successful your ads are by giving the advertiser data on conversion events like adding products to a shopping cart or checkouts as a direct result of your ad. The Facebook pixel does this using cookies and device identifiers to track and associate users with these activities. Using the information gathered via the pixel, Facebook will optimize and serve your ads to the people who are most likely to complete these specific actions.

The problem here is that not all purchases or steps in the buying process are made on the advertiser’s site or even online at all. As the war against cookies gets more intense, how are advertisers supposed to track purchases that began with a Facebook ad and end on an affiliate’s site? Or what about the purchases that started with an ad and ended in-store?  Or resale of leads that generates revenue overnight, once customers are off the site?

Advertising with server-side API:

Facebook recently released the ability for advertisers to pass over their off-website and offline data from their servers to Facebook’s servers enabling them to optimize, target and learn from this data as if it was collected from Facebook’s pixel. 

This gives advertisers the ability to act and optimize off the full picture of their customer journey instead of just a defined portion. Advertisers can optimize for multiple parts of their sales cycle like page views, free trial subscriptions, and whether they converted at the end of the trial period. This is particularly useful for more complex purchases, multi-step action tracking, and products that take a significant time before a customer makes their purchase. The server-side API also enables tracking of purchases outside the usual Facebook attribution window. 

For example, a credit card company will run ads optimized to drive applications to become a customer and use their credit card. But running ads to drive applications does not capture the full picture. After the application process is whether the applicant decided to sign up for the card and whether they took advantage of any new customer promotions, like spending X amount in the first 90 days. This process could take place over several months and involve multiple sites, phone conversations, in-store visits etc. Facebook’s server-side API would allow the credit card company to close a full loop attribution on this event.

Social Fulcrum and server-side API:

Success on the server-side API requires two things; correct tech setup and correct data-usage to use the server-side data to maximize ad revenue. This can be a challenge for most advertisers so it is important to make sure you choose the right partner if your team is not confident they can do it themselves.

Social Fulcrum’s deep expertise in Offline Conversions aligns extremely well with both the setup and data usage of server-side API.

As global leaders in Store Visit Ads + Offline Conversions spending, we have extensive experience helping clients set up offline tracking, which uses a very similar API. 

Far more important, however, is the post-setup optimization using the server-side data.  This is where Social Fulcrum’s dominant position in Offline Conversion & Store Visits comes in.  Once the server-side data is coming through, it looks just like Offline Conversion data, and can be optimized the same ways.

We have begun to roll out server-side API with our clients as we believe it will help them get a better understanding and full picture of their Facebook advertising success.

If you have questions about server-side API, implementation, Facebook advertising, or any media related questions please contact us here!