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Tracking Facebook Offline Conversions is Still a Priority in the Digital Age

August 2, 2017 | Andrew Brown

With the majority of sales still taking place offline, tracking how your social advertising is impacting them needs to remain top-of-mind. To do this, make use of Facebook Offline Conversions product.

Understanding Facebook Offline Conversions

Facebook’s Offline Conversion product tracks when offline sales come after someone sees one of your ads on Facebook, Instagram or the Audience Network. Facebook does this by matching your transaction data, called Offline Event Sets, to people within your target audience who saw your ad.

Getting Started: Uploading Offline Event Sets

The crux of Facebook’s Offline Conversion product is Offline Event Sets. There are two ways you can upload them: manually or using Facebook’s Offline Events API.

Facebook Offline Events

Your options:

  • Manually: Your first option is to upload your Offline Event Sets manually. This requires someone to go through your transaction data, decide what’s important, and upload it to Facebook. This is time-consuming, cumbersome, and makes regular uploads nearly impossible.
  • Offline Conversion API: Your second option is to use Facebook’s Offline Events API, which automatically uploads your data daily. This can be done by someone in-house or by working with an API partner like Brand Networks. By automating this process, Facebook will always have the most current data to drive optimal Campaign performance.

Did You Know: You can streamline this process by running your Offline Conversion Campaigns through the Brand Networks Platform. By leveraging HTTPS or SFTP/FTP protocols, your Offline Event Sets will be automatically pushed to Facebook daily.

Note: For a deeper dive into setting up Offline Event Sets, take a look at Jon Loomer’s guide.

Regardless, it’s always best to include as many user identifiers as possible like email addresses and phone numbers. Historically, we’ve seen these return the highest match-rate due to their direct link to a user’s account.

That said, don’t be afraid to layer on additional identifiers like zip code, name, and location. This will help Facebook identify matches, especially if a customer’s email address doesn’t match the email address they provided Facebook.

Setting Yourself Up for Success with Advanced Audience Targeting

Brand Networks recommends a targeting strategy built around Custom and Lookalike Audiences comprised of high-value subsets like loyalty card members.

  • Custom Audiences: If your CRM is up-to-date, Facebook will likely return a high match-rate. Why? Because data sources like name and email address are readily available to Facebook and easy to attribute to individual users. The possibilities are plentiful, but consider creating a Custom Audience of your best customers to get them spending more. You could also create one comprised of those who haven’t purchased in over a year to re-engage them. What you decide to do ultimately comes down to your goals.
  • Lookalike Audiences: Take your Custom Audiences and create Lookalike Audiences to reach people similar to those who’ve already converted offline. For example, if you see results from retargeting your best customers, create a Lookalike Audience from them. You can even take it a step further with Value-Based Lookalikes, which helps guide Facebook’s retargeting based on how valuable you consider a customer.

Note: To create a Value-Based Lookalike Audience, you must use a Custom Audiences that includes customer value. (The net profit you predict will be attributable to them during your relationship).

Still Not Sold? Here’s Data-Driven Proof.

One of our clients expressed uncertainty about the impact its social ads were having on offline sales. To paint a quantifiable picture, our Media Services team recommended Facebook’s Offline Conversion.

Using first-party transaction data, the Brand Networks Media Services team put Facebook’s Offline Conversion product in motion. Using a combination of Link and Carousel ads, the Campaign targeted users more likely to convert. These included Custom Audiences of rewards program members and acquisition audiences created from Website Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences. Additionally, to drive the highest financial returns, Facebook’s Brand Awareness Objective helped was used to optimize toward offline ROAS.

In total, the Campaign generated a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) 73% lower than the client’s goal. It also reported that offline conversions drove a 3.9X higher ROAS than online conversions when Campaign settings were identical.
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Although the digital age continues to consume us, the reality is that brick-and-mortar isn’t going away; either is social advertising. In turn, connecting the dots between the two is critical to long-term growth and sustainability. Thankfully, Facebook’s Offline Conversion product is here to help.

Avatar for Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown

Marketing Coordinator