Nimble Digital

The Rise of Conversion APIs

Part 2

If you’re still relying on browser-based web analytics to report back on the traffic, conversions, and events that your website is generating, you’re basing your findings on incomplete data. Since Facebook admittedly underreports conversion, due to iOS 14 and browser privacy frameworks, not to mention ad blockers.

In Part 1 we discussed in more detail these changes in the digital advertising landscape and how server side tag management systems can help you to accurately track conversion events. The TL;DR of it is that, of course, advertisers still want to track conversions—which is why Facebook is recommending server-side conversion tracking as the solution, via Conversion API (CAPI). CAPI relays information gathered by your webserver to Facebook’s servers, such as purchases and add-to-carts. That allows Facebook to attribute conversions on your website to ad impressions and clicks. They can be set up within the same provider as your pixels and in combination with them can provide a robust and more complete tracking of your customer information. CAPIs will be the new primary way to fuel your digital advertising ecosystem.

What will change

Server-side tracking is overall an excellent solution for marketers dealing with browser and third-party cookie restrictions. All of the major networks are rolling out server-side conversion trackings as a way to share events server-side. It gives marketers access to assess campaign performance and ROAS. Not to mention the fact that migration of the data collection from the site to a server leads to faster page loading times.

A disadvantage of these CAPIs is that their setup and control tends to be more tedious than simply embedding a web pixel in a website. Luckily with the correct implementation and architecture the development process and setup of CAPIs can be significantly lowered. For example, Tag Manager allows you to control the behavior of third-party tags using a sandboxed version of JavaScript. As a result, every tag added to your server container would have to declare how it will behave. You can also set policies to auto-control the behavior of tags.

“This helps you ensure that any new tags added to your container follow the same permissions, so you do not need to check tag behaviors in the future continuously,” Google said.

Making the most out of your data

Collecting conversions server-side leads to an overall more exhaustive view of customers and the associated events. This in turn leads to improved ad performance, as laid out by Facebook in their “Best practices for Conversions API”.

However, that is not all. The interplay between server-side conversion data and Reverse ETLs (Extract, Transform, Load), i.e. the process of copying activated data from your data warehouse back to your operational tools, can dramatically reduce the amount of work that needs to be invested in order to start supporting advertising endpoints, not to mention the reduced amount of work for data teams time, by enabling automation.

Reverse ETLs aren’t even limited to marketing data. Product and support as well as sales are also potential use cases. The combination of Reverse ETL with Customer Data Infrastructure effectively creates a secure and cost efficient Customer Data Platforms, by unifying customer data from multiple sources. Reverse ETL and CDP tools can also work together directly. This can lead to enriched customer profiles and customer segments.


CAPIs allow you to keep tracking conversion and to forward this data into a data warehouse. However, data that sits idly in a warehouse only provides a vague potential to add value to the business. Using Reverse ETL to return insights to your advertising channels, allows for proactive approaches from data, in contrast to reacting to data from a dashboard. This leads to data being a concrete and measurable component when used in activities such as product development and marketing campaigns.

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