This article describes the Meta Pixel (a.k.a. Facebook Pixel) and Conversions API, explains why you should use both in your Run Free eCommerce store, and steps you through setting them up.
What is Meta Pixel? What is the Conversions API? What's the difference?
The Meta pixel (very commonly referred to as the Facebook pixel) is a tracking code you install in the admin area of your Run Free Project eCommerce store that feeds data about shoppers who visit from Facebook and Instagram to Meta Business.
It is a browser-side data collection tool that presents shopping analytics to you within Facebook and Instagram. The purpose is to enable you to measure the effectiveness of your advertising by understanding the actions people take on your eCommerce site when they click through from your shops or ads across Meta's platforms.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), the pixel's effectiveness has degraded in recent years. Ad blockers, cookie blockers, and other masking tools built into modern browsers and phones have begun to cut down on the amount of data the pixel receives. To add insult to injury, the default privacy settings in Apple’s iOS 14 (or later) created even bigger hurdles to tracking data through the pixel. In other words, If someone clicks through to your website from Facebook using a certain browser or device, the pixel may not be able to track them or attribute them to your ads.
To "fix" this issue, Meta created the Conversions API.
The Conversions API is a server-side tool designed to be used with the Meta pixel. It allows you to track conversions through your eCommerce store’s server in addition to your customer’s browser. Instead of tracking “browser pixel events,” it tracks “server events.”
The conversions API does not rely on cookies. That means your website visitors’ browser settings and performance don’t affect the Conversions API's tracking capabilities.
It improves the accuracy of your Facebook and Instagram tracking by capturing data that would be lost if you were relying on the pixel alone. It also helps to improve the performance of your Meta platform ads by providing more complete data for optimization.
In short, you should be using both the Meta pixel and the Conversions API. This article explains how to set them up.
Setting up your Meta Pixel
Before you set anything up in Run Free, you'll need to set up your Meta Pixel in the Meta Business Events Manager.
Click Connect data sources and select Web
Enter a name for your pixel and click Create pixel
Enter your Run Free eCommerce store's URL (for example: shop.yourrunningstore.com or yourrunningstore.com)
Click Check. Meta will look for a pre-built integration for your store. Make sure you uncheck any results it presents, then click Next
Select Do it yourself and click Next
Select Meta Pixel only, then click Next
Select Set Up Manually and click Next
Select Install code manually
Click Copy to enable the Continue button (but do not do anything with the copied code)
Toggle Automated Advanced Matching to your preferred setting, click Continue
Once the pixel is set up, Once you've set your pixel up on the Meta side, find your pixel tracking code and copy it. It'll appear after "ID:" and look something like this:
Since Meta's portal layout changes very frequently, it may help to reference their support page here for the most up-to-date instructions.
Setting up the Meta Conversions API
The Meta Conversions API should be set up after your pixel is created. This can be accomplished in a number of different ways, but to ease the process for our stores, we built an integration. All you have to do is generate a token inside Meta Business Manager, copy it, and paste it on the Run Free side as outlined in the next section.
To generate a Meta Conversions API token:
Log into your Meta Business Events Manager account
Click Data Sources
Select the pixel you created in the previous section
Select the settings tab to the right
Scroll down until you see the Conversions API section
Under Set Up Manually, click Generate Token.
Copy the token, which will look something like this:
Configuring the Run Free Platform
Next, log into the Run Free Project platform (a.k.a. the admin area of your eCommerce store), click the settings icon in the upper right corner of the browser window, then choose "Store SEO" from the drop down as shown below:
From there, you will be taken to the SEO Settings page of your Run Free platform, which will look like the screenshot below:
There are a bunch of sections to add tracking codes on the SEO Settings page, but when it comes to Facebook, we recommend you add BOTH a Pixel AND the Conversions API Key.
Your Pixel should be pasted into field #1 as shown in the image above.
Your Conversions API Key should be pasted into field #2 as shown in the image above.
Facebook may ask you to verify your domain by placing a file there. If that is requested, paste the filename (without the .html at the end) into field #3.