3 Ways Facebook’s New Offline Conversions API Can Help Marketers
Facebook’s announcement of its Offline Conversions API generated a lot of buzz and excitement among marketers, and for good reason: API provides retailers with a way to see how many people made offline purchases after seeing a Facebook campaign. The tool connects offline activity to digital campaigns. Retailers can then use these offline activities to optimize their ad campaigns and ad spend.
Facebook’s array of marketing partners makes this news even more exciting. The social network's integrations enable expansion of this offline conversion concept to a much broader set of use cases that apply to all marketers, B-to-B marketers included. Before I get into the details, let’s start with some basics.
What's an Offline Conversion Event?
In this case, an “offline” conversion event happens when a contact in your database performs a desired action on a channel not measured by Facebook. Offline conversion events can give marketers a complete omnichannel view of all the sales and conversions attributable to Facebook, regardless of location, channel or campaign.
Here are a few examples of offline conversion events:
- MQL (marketing qualified lead);
- SQL (sales qualified lead);
- event attendance;
- target account;
- on-site sales consultation
- automotive test drive;
- sports game attendance;
- demo given;
- content downloaded;
- score threshold met;
- call occurred;
- call duration; and
- postal mail/package received.
Here are three unique ways to use offline conversion events to improve your marketing campaigns:
1. Increase MQLs. Let’s say that you’re a retail marketer that needs to increase the number of on-demand generation leads for a SaaS company. If your team buys Facebook Lead Ads to drive top-of-funnel growth, you shouldn’t just optimize your campaign based on form submissions. Instead, tie it to a metric that’s measured internally — e.g., the number of MQLs it drives.
All leads move through a conversion funnel based on pre-defined criteria to determine if they're ready to be passed to the sales team, and they're considered MQLs only if they meet the right qualifications. This is an important metric to track, since MQLs that are further qualified by sales become SQLS, which can ultimately translate into new opportunities and revenue.
For example, in a revenue model leads come in at the top-of-the-funnel as names, then progress further into the funnel as they continue to engage with your company. By optimizing your Facebook campaign for MQLs and not form submissions, you can increase the number of conversions that drive more qualified leads down the funnel.
2. Boost the metrics that matter. If your company sells products that require an additional step before purchase (e.g., an in-home consultation or a demo in-store), you may want to optimize your Facebook Ads towards this additional step, rather than the number of online requests.
It’s likely there’s a discrepancy between the number of requests booked and the actual activities completed. Previously, this type of data was hard to track, making it difficult to follow up. Now, because of this integration, you can log the activities that actually happened with one of Facebook’s marketing partners, and the data will be sent to Facebook as an offline conversion. Then, your paid media team can re-evaluate its campaigns to understand how to optimize ad spend to drive more of the metrics that matter.
3. Track follow-throughs. For a digital marketer at a car dealership, one of your initiatives probably includes increasing visits to your showroom and test drives by prospective customers. Previously, you might’ve used Facebook Ads to encourage prospective customers to fill out their info in forms online, but it was tough to tie those initial interest requests to actual test drives. Now, with Facebook’s Offline Conversion tied to a marketing automation platform, you can capture how Facebook Ads result in in-person interest and test drives, connecting your Facebook ad spend directly to a test drive of a car so you can better optimize and improve sales.
Mike Stocker is the senior director of business development at Marketo, a marketing automation software provider.