A Guide to Facebook Offline Conversions API: How to Tie In-Store Sales to Social Ad Campaigns

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Closing the loop between in-store sales and online advertising campaigns is a pain point for many brands. There are often multiple touchpoints between a consumer and a brand before the consumer makes a purchase, which gives little visibility into the impact of an individual advertisement on the consumer’s purchase journey. To solve that, social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are developing technology to tie in-store sales and foot traffic back to social campaigns.

Facebook’s Offline Conversions API is a dedicated solution that enables brands to tie offline sales to Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. By matching transaction data from a brand’s customer database or point-of-sale system to ads reporting, marketers can better understand the effectiveness of Facebook advertising campaigns and use those learnings to drive incremental return. For most retailers, more than 90% of transactions happen in-store, and while Facebook’s pixel provides information on online sales, it’s not reflective of all the transactions that are happening in-store.

How does the Offline Conversions API work?

Facebook Marketing Partners like Adaptly help advertisers use the API integration to dynamically pull in a store’s transactional data, then track offline conversions tied to a specific Facebook campaign. The final campaign data can then be reported on separately to build out unique strategies.

Offline Conversions APIHaving access to in-store sales data gives advertisers a fuller picture of how consumers are behaving, and provides key learnings and insights that can help inform future campaigns. Adaptly can use this data to inform creative strategy and help build cohesive cross-platform approaches. Read on for three ways to leverage offline conversions data, plus a case study showing how one advertiser achieved 25% higher returns using the Offline Conversions API.

1. Personalize Creative

Understanding which users shop in-store vs. online allows brands to implement customized messaging based on those behaviors. Your brand can use the data to identify audiences who purchase in-store but haven’t purchased online, in order to increase online penetration. Serve in-store shoppers with messaging that explains the benefits of shopping online, or provide an incentive for their first online purchase. You can also create audiences based on in-store shoppers’ product preferences, then retarget them with similar products to drive online sales.

2. Boost Performance

Having access to offline conversion data provides a much fuller picture of how campaigns are performing and which elements are impacting performance. Adaptly can leverage audience and creative learnings to inform the strategic direction of future campaigns, helping brands determine which tactics are most effective at driving online or in-store sales.

3. Improve Targeting With Audience Insights

Analyze the audience makeup of your store purchasers vs. online purchasers. Understanding which types of audiences bought in-store vs. online can help inform your brand’s targeting strategy. Build lookalikes of users who have a high average order value or have bought a specific product to find similar users to retarget.

Increased Returns With the Offline Conversions API

Adaptly worked with a major women’s retailer to increase revenue and engage a segment of loyalty card users who were not redeeming points online. The campaigns drove the target audience segment in-store, measuring foot traffic with Facebook’s Offline Conversions API. Customers were targeted with an in-store deal aimed at driving users to their nearest retail location, measuring success with the Offline Conversions API. Results showed a 25% increase in return on ad spend (ROAS).

The US retailer also partnered with Adaptly to test Facebook objectives and determine which drove the best performance. Multiple objectives were run, combining the data again with Facebook’s Offline Conversions API to determine success. Optimizing for brand awareness drove the strongest return on ad spend for offline activity, with a 56% lower CPA and 53% higher ROAS vs. other objectives. Building on the success of optimizing for brand awareness, Adaptly tested different ad formats. Video link ads drove the strongest return on ad spend (+41%) for offline activity when optimizing for brand awareness.

Being able to attribute in-store sales to advertising campaigns on Facebook and Instagram gives advertisers a leg up when it comes to understanding the impact of an ad on a consumer’s purchase journey.

For brands that have Offline Conversions set up and business locations uploaded to Business Manager, you can use Facebook’s retail-specific versions of dynamic ads (Dynamic Ads for Retail, or DAR) to drive people in-store to convert offline.

Want to learn more about Facebook’s Offline Conversions?
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