Facebook offers two ways to perform event-tracking: Meta Pixel and Conversion API.
Meta-Pixel is a browser based/front-end event-tracking and Conversion API is server-side event tracking.
Both of these approaches can be used at the same time or individually. Facebook recommends using both approaches to provide a more complete set of data. Furthermore, Facebook supports de-duplicating of identical events, when sent using both streams.
The diagram below shows a page view event.
The user visits the store page and it is displayed the contents of the website based on what the application has served. The browser then sends an event to facebook using the pixel approach as shown in the last step.
In the above diagram, we can see an additional step. where the application sends an event to Facebook using the conversion API immediately after the user has requested to view the store page. This is known as server-side event tracking and it isn’t prone to connection issues like browser based event tracking.
The dotted line represents the potential failure on the browser based event tracking.
Why implement server-side event tracking?
Recent Apple IOS versions (>14) introduced restrictions to browser based event-tracking. Those devices will be blocked from sending events to Facebook and other marketing event based tracking companies.
Furthermore, with security and data privacy becoming an increasing concern, it is likely that Android and other operating systems are going to introduce tougher restrictions to browser based event-tracking.
Browser based event tracking is less reliable in comparison to server-side tracking. They could be affected by network issues or the operating system restrictions.
With GDPR and other regulations introduced to provide more control of the data shared with Facebook and other external data based companies, server-side tracking provides greater control on what data you want to send.
Sensitive data like email address, addresses and phone numbers will need to be hashed using SHA-256 before sending it to Facebook.
With our platform supporting imported orders and shipments, browser based tracking will not capture those events but can be tracked from the application side.
Full Funnel Visibility
Relying solely on front-end based event tracking means that we won’t be able to track all types of conversions.
We will be able to track online based purchases which will be considered as standard conversion. Imported orders and shipments will be considered as offline conversions which will require server-side event tracking to feed this data to Facebook for marketing purposes.