Initially developed for brick-and-mortar stores, Facebook offline conversions have become a crucial solution to capture all cross-channel conversions for anyone running Facebook ads. That includes your business too.
Are you accurately measuring the full impact of your Facebook ad campaigns? Do you know if your ads result in conversions and if you’re attributing these conversions to the correct Facebook ads?
To avoid losing any conversions on your website, you need to leverage Facebook’s offline conversion tracking. This solution gives you more freedom to report events back to Facebook than pixel tracking, which is limited by privacy policies related to third-party cookies.
The latest limitations, including Apple’s iOS 14.5 privacy update, have turned offline conversions from a solution for brick-and-mortar stores to a must-have for everyone who advertises on Facebook—no matter what kind of business they have. And in this article, we’ll explain why that includes you.
What are Facebook offline conversions?
The mechanism behind Facebook offline conversions allows you to upload “offline” events data to Facebook and match transactions that occurred in your online and offline channels with people who saw or clicked on your Facebook ads. If Facebook finds a match, it will attribute the conversion to your ads.
Your offline events data could come from a variety of sources, including your customer relationship management software, point of sale system, call center technology, and marketing automation.
Offline conversions were initially developed to help businesses track conversions that took place in “the real world”. These include in-store purchases, bookings made over the phone, and in-person consultations. And while these conversions took place offline, the customer journey may have begun online, with people seeing and clicking on your Facebook ads.
You can also use Facebook offline conversions to accomplish the following tasks:
- Measure the offline return on your ad spend
- Create custom audiences from offline events and dynamically retarget people who’ve interacted with your business through offline channels
- Create lookalike audiences to deliver Facebook ads to people who’re similar to your offline customers
- Scale your best-performing ads to optimize sales
- Drive better results with your campaigns by identifying where lead captures and conversions occur
Why is it important to track your offline conversions on Facebook?
Offline conversions offer advertisers and business owners many benefits in the post-iOS14.5 world. Apple’s iOS 14.5 privacy update made it mandatory for apps to ask their users for permission before tracking their activity across other companies’ websites and apps for ad delivery and sharing with data brokers.
The update has had a negative impact on Facebook advertisers; it impeded their ability to monitor conversions, show targeted ads to potential customers, and build lookalike and custom audiences.
By setting up offline conversions for their businesses, advertisers and business owners can enjoy the following benefits:
- Regain access to the 28-day attribution window: The 28-day click and 28-day view windows are no longer supported under Facebook’s new ad set level attribution setting for web conversions
- View performance breakdowns again: By gender, age, location, platform, device, etc.
Additionally, setting up offline conversions along with other tracking tools like Google Analytics and the Facebook Conversions API allows advertisers to capture all of their cross-channel conversions and attribute them to the correct Facebook ads and ad sets.
These various tracking tools give business owners and advertisers access to a broader range of data. That makes it an excellent solution for eCommerce businesses dealing with the privacy restrictions imposed by the iOS 14.5 update.
How to set up offline conversions on Facebook
Before you can start tracking your offline conversions on Facebook, you’ll need the following:
- An active Facebook Business Manager account
- An active Facebook ad account
- An offline event data set
First, you’ll need to create an offline event set in Meta Events Manager (formerly Facebook Events Manager). You’ll then need to associate your offline event set with an ad account.
Once you do that, you can start uploading interaction data from your eCom and physical stores to the Events Manager. Facebook will then match your offline event set (which contains your offline event data) with your site conversions. It does this to identify the ads that generated conversions on your website and avoid event duplication.
How does Facebook do this? Facebook Click Identifiers (FBCLIDs) are used to track outbound clicks from Facebook ads. In other words, if a Facebook user clicks on an ad and is redirected to your website, a unique FBCLID is generated and appended to the URL.
All of the Facebook user’s unique identifiers are kept in the FBCLID. Once a conversion has been captured, Facebook scans all of your offline event data to see if it can match any of it to the conversion, resulting in improved conversion attribution.
You can either report offline conversions manually to Facebook or automate the process by using the Facebook Offline Conversions API or leveraging existing Facebook partner integrations. Alternatively, you can use Madgicx Cloud Tracking, which sets up all the tools you need to optimize your conversion tracking.
For now, let’s discuss creating an offline event set and manually uploading your offline event data in Events Manager. We’ll discuss other methods later.
Set up Facebook offline conversions in Events Manager
Create an offline event set in Events Manager
- Go to Events Manager and navigate to the green plus (+) sign on the left-side menu. Click “Connect Data Sources.”That will create a pop-up. Select “Offline” and click “Connect.”
- Name your offline event set and add a description (optional). Click “Create.”
- Select the ad accounts for ad performance tracking using this offline event set.
- You have the option to switch on auto-tracking so that the new ads you create in this ad account will default to this offline event set. You can also switch on auto-assignment so that new ad accounts will automatically be assigned to this event set. Once you’re done, click “Next.”
- Now that you’ve created an offline event set, you can start adding people to it and managing their permission settings. Make sure that all authorized users have the correct permissions so that they can upload interaction data to your offline event set. For more information, check out Facebook’s guide to managing permissions for offline event sets.
Upload offline event data using a CSV data file
You can then upload offline event data and begin to measure the offline impact of your Facebook ads. Create a CSV data file with your interaction data. This file should contain as much information as possible to ensure accurate reporting:
- Precise timestamps (accurate to the minute or second for each event)
- Customer details (e.g., customer’s first and last name, email address, phone number)
- Location (e.g., country, city, state/province, zip code)
- Event name (e.g., purchase, lead, booking)
- Item numbers and order IDs (so that Facebook knows your transactions aren’t duplicates)
- Additional info: transaction value and currency
You have 90 days from an ad impression to upload your offline event data. However, if you create an offline event set without uploading any data within 90 days, Facebook will reduce your timeline for uploading data to 35 days. If you can upload data within the 35-day window, your timeline will be extended back to 90 days.
Note that Facebook recommends uploading offline event data within 48 hours after event occurrence for optimal reporting. Moreover, you should upload offline events sequentially by date (i.e., the order in which they occurred).
How to upload your CSV data file
- In Events Manager, select the correct account.
- Under “Data sources,” select the offline event set you want to upload data to.
- Click “Upload Events.”
- In the popup that appears, drag and drop your CSV data file into the box or click “Select CSV File” to upload it from your desktop. If you want to double-check you entered your data correctly, select “View Examples” under “Customer Details,” “Event Time,” or “Event Details” to see what data types you should provide.
- Click “Next: Map Data,” and Facebook will review a sample of your data file and identify the type of data in each column. Review each column to verify that Facebook has correctly mapped your data.
- If any data is missing, was incorrectly mapped, or improperly formatted, these will appear as errors or warnings. Resolve as many of these as you can before uploading the file. Note that once you’ve uploaded your offline event data, you cannot delete or update it. You can check out Facebook’s guide to troubleshooting offline event upload issues.
- You can edit a column by hovering over its header and selecting the pencil icon. Then, select the correct data type from the dropdown menu. If you can't find the right data type in the menu, you can select “Custom” to create customized audience segments (and build custom audiences based on them). Note that you can't use this custom data to match offline events to people on Facebook. You can also select “Ignore” if you don’t want to upload a specific column.
- When you’re ready, click “Next: Review”. You’ll then see how many rows are ready to be uploaded, your estimated match rate, and any additional warnings.
- Select a warning to learn more about it and see recommendations on fixing it. If necessary, click “Back” to modify your file or upload a new one. If everything is good to go, click “Start Upload.”
It may take up to 15 minutes or longer to see your results in Events Manager and Facebook ads reporting.
Once you’ve uploaded your data to your offline event set, Facebook will match it with the active ad campaigns assigned to the event set. You can now go to Ads Manager to see which events can be attributed to the people who saw or clicked on your Facebook ads.
Set up Facebook offline conversions with the Offline Conversions API
As previously mentioned, the Offline Conversions API is one method of automating the data upload to your offline event set (the other being through a partner integration).
To use this API, you’ll need the following:
- An active Facebook Business Manager account
- A Facebook App ID
- The correct app review and permissions: The rules will depend on how you implement the API. Advertisers who want to use offline conversions directly will not have to undergo an app review and do not need to request any permissions. However, if you’re a third party offering these functionalities to advertisers that use your service, you must undergo an app review and request the ads_management permission during the review.
- Business Manager System User Access and Access Token
- An ad account to run ad campaigns on Facebook
- Offline event set - When creating an ad, set tracking_spec to the offline event set ID to attribute the offline events correctly. Once you do this, you can create event sets, view stats on your imports, and delete and modify your interaction data in Business Manager.
For more information on uploading offline event data via the Offline Conversions API, check out Facebook’s guide.
Set up Facebook offline conversions with partner integrations
Facebook offers many partner integrations for tracking offline conversions. Implementing one of these partner integrations can help minimize repetitive manual tasks and facilitate the automatic uploading of offline event data.
- Point of sale (PoS) systems
- Call center technologies
- Customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing software
- Digital receipts and loyalty companies
- Integration platforms
- Facebook business partners
For the complete list of partner integrations, check out Facebook’s list. You may either access the partner documentation, contact the partner directly for the integration setup, or visit the partner website for more information.
How to view your offline conversion reporting
- Go to Ads Manager and select the relevant tab—“Campaigns,” “Ad sets,” or “Ads” based on the results you want to view.
- Select the “Columns” dropdown and choose “Offline Conversions” to view your offline conversion reporting.
- If you wish to make changes to this view, select “Customize Columns” from the “Columns” dropdown and check the box for each metric you want to measure.
- To save your customized selections as a preset, check the “Save as preset” box in the bottom-left corner and name your preset. Select “Apply.”
Capture all your conversions with Madgicx Cloud Tracking
To ensure that you’re tracking all your website conversions and attributing them to the correct Facebook ads, you’ll need to set up as many tracking tools as possible.
Our latest service, known as Madgicx Cloud Tracking, will set up all of these tracking tools for you the right way, including Facebook offline conversions, ensuring that you’re not missing out on conversions or over-tracking. Our services include setting up…
- Cloud Tracking (Facebook server-side tracking)
- Google Analytics
- UTM Tracking
- Google Tag Manager
- Facebook Offline Conversions
- Conversions API
- Meta pixel
In addition to setting up Facebook offline conversions for you, we’ll help you with Facebook server-side tracking. That is another way to get more conversion data using first-party cookies.
Moreover, our team will also handle your Google Analytics setup, ensuring the GA code is set up correctly on every page of your website. That gives you a better overview of your Facebook advertising performance. As for UTM tracking, we’ll enforce a consistent UTM structure across your entire ad account to track conversions more efficiently on CRMs and Google Analytics.
Finally, we’ll set up your conversions API, review your Meta pixel, and set up first-party server-side tracking using the Conversions API Gateway.
Unlock these and other benefits by signing up for Madgicx Cloud Tracking today!
Stop wasting money on inaccurate tracking. Get the only tracking system that sends accurate data back into your Ads Manager.
Michael is a Content Writer at Madgicx. He is passionate about crafting compelling content that educates Facebook advertisers, agency owners, and eCommerce entrepreneurs.