Meta CAPI vs Pixel: A Guide to Powering Meta Ads

Get to know the differences between Meta CAPI vs Pixel and why it’s a best practice to set up both on your Shopify store.

Meta CAPI vs Pixel: A Guide to Powering Meta Ads

Kayle Larkin

Head of Marketing

Let’s discuss the differences between key tools powering your Meta ads: the Meta Pixel and Meta Conversions API, or CAPI for short. 

The Meta Pixel, previously known as the Facebook Pixel, is a snippet of JavaScript code on your website that sends conversion and event data from your customers’ browsers to Meta, known as client-side tracking.

Meta CAPI, which stands for Conversion Applications Programming Interface, lets you share your Shopify store’s conversion and event data server-side (directly from your servers) to Meta. 

Both of these tools are essential for improving Meta Ad performance but go about it in different ways.

You can follow the step-by-step below or jump to the section that interests you most in this guide, which covers:

Meta CAPI vs Meta Pixel

Meta CAPI and Meta Pixel are essential tools for optimizing Meta ads, each with its unique strengths and functionalities.

One key difference lies in their tracking methods. Meta CAPI operates on the server side, providing robust offline event tracking capabilities and greater resistance to ad blockers. 

On the other hand, Meta Pixel uses client-side tracking, which may be more prone to issues like browser loading errors and ad blocking.

Another distinction is in data control. 

Meta CAPI offers high data control, allowing for more customization options, including tracking actions post-purchase and in-store interactions. 

Whereas, Meta Pixel provides limited control over tracking parameters.

View the table below to become more familiar with the differences between Meta CAPI vs Pixel:

table comparing Facebook Pixel and Meta CAPI

How CAPI works with the Standard Meta Pixel

Think of the Meta Pixel and Meta CAPI, not as competing tools, but as complementary tools for capturing complete accurate data on your Shopify store. 

Below are a few ways that CAPI and Meta Pixel can complement each other:

1. Data reliability

CAPI is less affected by browser loading errors, connectivity issues, and ad blockers than Meta Pixe. This can help create a more reliable connection and decrease the cost per result.

2. User information

CAPI can use specific identifiers for users when they input information like their name or phone number into a website, or if they’re logged into their account. 

Meta Pixel can collect more specific user information like demographic and psychographic data, which can be connected to the actions recorded by CAPI. Together, they can provide a complete picture of ideal customers.

3. Event tracking

CAPI can track custom events like product views, add to cart, and purchases, which can provide more detailed information on user behavior and help with marketing decisions. 

4. Post-Purchase Ad Optimization

CAPI enables you to optimize Ads for post-purchase events like subscriptions, in-store events, and even customer scores.

This information helps Meta show your ads to customers who are likely to generate more value for your business.

How to Set Up Meta Pixel and Conversions API

To set up Meta Pixel and Conversions API effectively, consider using a server-side integration like Elevar. 

This approach allows you to integrate Meta CAPI seamlessly with Meta Pixel, providing a holistic view of your conversion data.

You will get the additional benefit of Elevar’s proprietary feature, Session Enrichment, which enhances this data by identifying more returning users, leading to deeper insights and improved targeting strategies.

For step-by-step guidance on setting up Meta CAPI through Elevar’s server-side destination, check out our detailed instructions in The Elevar Knowledge Base.

Questions about Meta Pixel and Conversion API for Shopify?

Take the guesswork out of your Shopify Meta Pixel and Conversion API implementation and get it done for you by expert analysts.

Learn how the Elevar Facebook integration can help you solve your eCommerce business’s conversion tracking challenges and improve your Facebook ad performance by 20% or more.

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