Stop Wasting Money by Properly Tracking e-Commerce Data

7 min reading

Ever hear about John Wanamaker? He was a marketing pioneer and a hugely successful US merchant. He’s famous for a quote that goes like this:

‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.’

Can you believe he said that over 100 years ago? And the kicker is, so many merchants today are still wrestling with that same issue. They’re not sure which of their advertising dollars are truly making an impact and which ones are just disappearing into thin air.

But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. We have powerful tools at our disposal today to solve this very problem! Enter Meta Pixel and Conversion API. These aren’t just fancy tech terms, they’re your secret weapons to conquer this marketing conundrum. With these tools, you can confidently pinpoint what’s working and what’s not in your advertising strategy. You’re no longer taking shots in the dark; you’re making informed, effective decisions to drive your business forward. That’s not just clever—it’s downright empowering!

Avoid this costly mistake

Running ads for your e-Commerce without setting up Meta Pixel and Conversion API is a major waste of money. If you want to harness the full potential of the Meta platform and make the most of your budget, follow this guide to install them properly before spending your first (or your next) dollar on ads.

Ever heard the saying “You can’t improve what you don’t measure”? When it comes to advertising your e-Commerce products, that should be taken as a cardinal rule. Especially with the precise measuring tools you have at your disposal in Meta advertising.

Accurately measuring and optimizing your campaigns will help you identify the best-performing ad sets and campaigns, allowing you to double down on the top-performing ads and cut your losses by identifying and stopping bad ads as early as possible.

It will also allow you to have a better understanding of your audience at each step of the funnel, allowing you to create tailored content with higher conversion rates.

Although it is true that in marketing there are plenty of subjective variables that may impact your results, once the ads are out there the undeniable truth is that you shouldn’t put your money into ads that are not bringing home the bacon. And it’s really easy to spot good ads from bad ads if you have your tracking tools properly set up.

Meta Pixel and Conversion API: What They Are & Why You Need Them

Simply put, Meta Pixel and Conversion API are tracking tools that you install in your e-Commerce to monitor your user’s activities and keep a detailed log of what they do when they are on your website.

Picture this: if your e-Commerce was a brick-and-mortar store, the tracking tools would be a special camera that could detect every time a customer:

  1. Enters your store;
  2. Checks a product price;
  3. Put the product in their cart;
  4. Leave a product behind before finishing the purchase;
  5. Complete a purchase (also what they bought and how much they spent).

Now imagine you could grab all that info and use it to show laser-focused ads to people with similar behaviors and interests. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Well, you can stop imagining because that’s exactly what we’re all about here: making sure you have proper tracking tools to get accurate data and run killer advertising campaigns.

Learning From Your Customer’s Behavior

That is possible because the tracking tools allow e-Commerces to monitor everything that is happening in their digital stores, and effectively measure their ads on Facebook and Instagram. Every click is tracked, logged, and analyzed – all so you can detect what’s working and what’s not.

For instance, if you run an ad with a link to a landing page, the tracking tool will detect if that user added the product to their cart or made a purchase, sending that information to your ad account and allowing you to keep track of sales and even how much revenue a specific ad campaign generated.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Meta Pixel and Conversion API to make the most of your e-Commerce advertising budget. 

First and foremost, both are proprietary tools of Meta Inc. and were designed to better serve their advertisers (and, of course, their bottom line which relies heavily on ad spend).

As well as helping businesses, and especially e-Commerces track user data, they also provide essential tracking back to Meta itself, feeding Meta’s AI and their algorithm with the real-time information they use to match the right people to the right audiences.

Don’t worry: we’ll explain everything in detail without using technical jargon. When you’re done reading this guide, you’ll know how to use Meta Pixel and CAPI to grow your business and make the most of your ad budget!

Let’s begin by taking a closer look at each of these tools, shall we?

Meta Pixel: Accurate Data Tracking Made Easy

Introduced in 2012, the Facebook Pixel (today known as Meta Pixel) is a small snippet of code placed in the header code of your website. The header section is a universal piece of code that is accessible on all pages of your website and stores tools and information to help both developers and machines “read” your website properly.

When properly set up, each time someone does something on your website the Pixel will log their activity as an “event” and send that information to the ad account it’s connected with. 

Meta Pixel offers 17 standard events. For your e-Commerce advertising strategies, though, we strongly suggest that you focus on these five events:

  1. View content (product detail, category)
  2. Add to cart
  3. Initiate check-out 
  4. Add payment info
  5. Purchase

All that info is gathered through third-party cookies. Now it all makes sense, doesn’t it? Every time you go to a website for the first time and ask for “cookie permission” they’re asking your permission to store, use, share, and sometimes even sell your data.

Third-party cookies allow businesses to keep tabs on the consumer’s journey within their website and target or retarget them with ads. Along with the events, the Meta Pixel will automatically track which device was used and which URLs were visited.

According to Meta:

Tracked conversions appear in the Ads Manager where they can be used to measure the effectiveness of your ads, to define custom audiences for ad targeting, for Advantage+ catalog ads campaigns, and to analyze that effectiveness of your website’s conversion funnels

You can use that information in many ways. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. Create Lookalike Audiences that will leverage Meta’s algorithm to potentially reach millions of people with higher chances of becoming new customers; 
  2. Run laser-focused retargeting campaigns that will show ads relevant to the stage of the funnel where your prospect is, increasing conversion rates and providing a higher ROAS (Return Over Ad Send).

But there is one downside for Meta Pixel: it won’t work if the user has ad blockers, cookie blockers, or other masking tools. Also, stricter data privacy and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) made it harder and harder to grab user data through cookies, forcing marketers and platforms to adapt and change the way they gather and process data for advertising purposes.

And thus, our beloved CAPI (Conversion API) was born out of the necessity to circumvent ad blockers and cookie blockers while respecting data-privacy rules.

Conversion API: The Sheer Power of Cookieless Data Collection

The Conversion API has ultimately the same goal as the Meta Pixel: track events from your audience to help you deliver personalized advertising experiences to your audience. 

In Meta’s own words:

“The Conversions API is designed to create a connection between an advertiser’s marketing data (such as website events, app events and offline conversions) from an advertiser’s server, website platform, mobile app, or CRM to Meta systems that optimize ad targeting, decrease cost per result and measure outcomes.”

Here is the difference: as mentioned above, Meta Pixel is a piece of code that is easily installed on your website’s code header, while the Conversion API (a.k.a. CAPI) is a server-sided tool installed in the backend. 

Whereas Meta Pixel gathers user data from a third-party cookie, the Conversion API gathers data directly from the server, bypassing ad blockers and cookie blockers whilst respecting data privacy regulations.

One of the main advantages of the Conversion API is that it helps streamline the data right from your e-Commerce platform (Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix etc.) to your Meta advertising account securely and with higher tracking reliability than the pixel.

This allows you to get more insights than the Pixel alone. On top of gathering data for ad targeting, it also provides data for ad reporting, audience insights, dynamic ads, and Facebook ad conversion optimization.

It has one disadvantage, though: setting up and implementing the CAPI is more complex and time-intensive. Luckily, some plugins can help you install your Conversion API without any programming knowledge. We’ll see more about that later on.

Which One Should I Use? Meta Pixel or Conversion API?

The answer for this is rather simple: e-Commerces big and small should use both as per Meta itself: “We recommend that you use the Conversions API in addition to the Meta Pixel and that you share the same events using both tools.”

We suggest you start with Meta Pixel and then move to Conversion API. But don’t beat around the bush! You will only unlock Meta’s full potential when you have both installed in your e-Commerce, as it will allow you to grab each drop of vital data and increase your chances of getting higher conversion rates on your ad campaigns.

Here’s the big picture: Meta’s AI has access to a humongous amount of data every single day. They collect and cross data from each Meta Pixel and/or Conversion API installed in the whole world. By crossing real-time data from billions of e-Commerces and purchasers, Meta’s algorithm is a crucial tool for e-Commerce growth.

This means that having both installed in your e-Commerce allows you to benefit from all the data gathered by Meta worldwide – each click, each purchase, each abandoned cart… long story short, together they become the most powerful sales tools ever invented.

What About Duplicated Information?

Meta has a formidable deduplication algorithm to make sure each event is only counted once, even if the same information is coming both from Pixel and CAPI. But attention: you need to follow all deduplication best practices when setting up the Pixel and CAPI.

Make sure you pay extra attention to this step: failing to deduplicate will impact your numbers and hinder your decision-making capacity. Counting the same events 2x will confuse you and lead to bad decisions (e.g. where to put more ad spend or which ads to kill). It will also hinder Meta’s algorithm itself, as it will think the creative with duplicated results is getting 2x the results than it actually is.

Will It Affect Data Privacy?

Both your data and your customer’s data are safe and sound: information goes directly to Meta and no one else has access to it. Meta has the highest standards when it comes to security and data privacy, as every year the rules are getting more and more secure both for your customers and for your business.

Important: according to the current data privacy regulations, data can’t be stored by Meta Pixel or Conversion API for more than 180 days. That’s the maximum time window you can select for retargeting or when creating Lookalike Audiences.

Maximize Your Results: The Benefits of Having Both Pixel and Conversion API Properly Installed

Still not convinced you should have both? Here’s an overview of the greatest benefits Meta Pixel and CAPi will bring your e-Commerce:

It helps you measure the success of your ads

Thanks to pixel and CAPI, you will see exactly how many sales each campaign, ad set, and ad brought you. If you mean it seriously with your business and don’t want to waste your hard-earned dollars, set up the pixel and CAPI before spending your very first buck on ads.

You can optimize your budget

By allocating your budget to the best-performing campaigns and ad sets, you can get even more purchases and a higher ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). This means you can get more and more results for each dollar you spend on your ads. Also, by turning off the ads that are not bringing you sales, you reduce your spending without reducing your sales. 

You can fully leverage the Meta algorithm

Meta has one of the most powerful AIs in the world. It can serve your ads to the audience that has the best chance to buy from you. But for this, you need to give Meta some data about your users: do they just look around? What kind of products did they view? Do they buy? When the algorithm identifies the behaviors you want (e.g. purchases) it will find similar people on both Facebook and Instagram (and now even on Whatsapp).

You will pay less for the delivery of your ads

Meta recommends advertisers who have all the essential tracking set up properly, as it gives them a better chance to drive sales. Driving more sales will make your e-Commerce grow, and that growth will unlock revenue that you can allocate to ads and grow even more. It’s a win-win for everyone!

You can create better ads and scale your business faster

Once you use Meta Pixel and Conversion API, you will be able to see what content works better for your audience. You will be able to instruct your creative team to create ads that will have a higher chance of converting the customer on any funnel stage. 

Pro tip: groost also has a powerful AI that learns from the data automatically! This means each new ad builds on the learnings and takeaways of all the ads you created previously, making groost more and more effective every time you use it.

Use Advantage+ Shopping Ads or Catalog ads

Meta is constantly improving the types of ads they offer to businesses, and some of these ads bring amazing ROI (Return Over Investment). But to use some of the ads, like Catalog, you need to have full tracking in place. You’ve probably been targeted by these types of ads, but you might not have noticed it.

Usually, it goes like this: you go to an online store and check a product. Let’s say, a cool sneaker. But you don’t buy it right away – something interrupted, or you were not ready to make the purchase yet.  But lo and behold – when you’re scrolling your Facebook or Instagram, you see an ad for that same product in your feed!

That is not a coincidence or a “sign of the universe” for you to buy it. They’re Catalog Ads!

In fact, Catalog Ads is a great example of the Meta Pixel and CAPI in action, and how much you can accomplish with them: when you visited the store, either one of them or both grabbed your data and automatically sent it to the store’s ad account. Then, semi-automated ads were targeted at you to offer the same product and push you to the next stage of the buyer’s journey. 

Meta Pixel and CAPI Best Practices for e-Commerces

If you don’t want to miss out on those amazing advertising resources, you need to set up your Meta Pixel and CAPI properly. There are five main events that you need to track, so you can later use them to optimize your ad budget.

These events are customer touchpoints that every user needs to go through before completing a purchase and becoming a customer:

  1. View the product landing page
  2. Add to cart
  3. Initiate check-out
  4. Add payment info
  5. Purchase

After setting them up, you will need to evaluate your ads based on the metrics from the aforementioned events. You can either rely on your analytical skills, or use groost’s recommendations to optimize your budget if you’re not familiar with all the ad metrics you will need to consider. 

But there is more. We don’t want to track only what the user did on each step. That’s cool, it gets even cooler when you track even more data, like:

  • Which product was displayed, from which category, what was its price, and was it in the sale?
  • Was the product added to the cart? What was the total value of the cart? And what other products were in the cart?

This works for all the events. The more details, the better for your advertising – especially if you’re considering Catalog Ads. With such a wealth of data, you can run all sorts of winning campaigns. These are a few of them:

  • Nurture campaigns: After a user views a product, you can serve them with ads that talk about the benefits to convince them to come back and actually buy it. You can use video ads, customer reviews, or other UGC (user-generated content).
  • Abandoned shopping cart campaigns: After a user adds a product to the cart without completing the purchase, you can target them with ads so they come back and buy it. You can give them discounts, promotions, or free shipping.
  • Repeating sale: It doesn’t stop even after a customer buys a product! Much the opposite: now, it gets even easier and cheaper to sell to them again. You can offer upsells, supplementary products, cross sales, refills, or even the same product again (e.g. you sold them a package of gourmet coffee. By showing them ads a couple months later, they will probably have used it all, and will be likely to buy it again).

OK, But How do I Set Them Up?

You have three ways to choose: either you can do it yourself, hire a developer, or use a plugin. 

Do it yourself

If you are a skilled developer and you have time to study the Meta documentation, you can install the whole tracking infrastructure on your own. It can be quite a laborious task if you are doing this for the first time, and you need to consider a lot of testing to ensure that things work properly. 

This may become a trap if you want to install your pixel using Google Tag Manager and the basic Pixel Setup Tool. Although Local Businesses might manage to do this on their own without expertise, setting Meta Pixel and Conversion API for e-Commerce is much more complex. You need to send custom event parameters (what product was added to the cart, what was the value of the cart, what was the order value etc.), and not always the events can be triggered by button clicks or page URLs.

Hire a developer

This will be the most expensive way – and yet, the riskiest one as well. If you have a developer who understands e-Commerce marketing, congratulations! You can ask them to set it up. From our experience, though, most businesses waste money and time trying to hire a developer freelancer that doesn’t really know their way around e-Commerce and Conversion API. 

They spend hundreds of dollars on letting a developer learn and try. Then they end up with a big mess that causes them to lose even more money on their ad spend. You can imagine what happens if you send the wrong data to Meta – it will use the algorithm the wrong way, and show your ads to the wrong people. 

Use a reliable plugin or ready-made solution

In our opinion, this is hands-down the best way to install your Meta Pixel and Conversion API. Some good plugins or services can do all the heavy lifting for you. 

IMPORTANT: Always choose a plugin or service that is specially designed for e-Commerce. Also, look for details like the number of downloads, ratings, user reviews, and customer support. Don’t install shady plugins as they can cause a big mess or even cause harm to your business.

Here’s a quick list of our suggested plugins for WooCommerce:

Best Plugins for WooCommerce

  1. Meta Pixel Pro for WooCommerce (FREE)
  2. PixelYourSite (199 USD / year)
  3. Pixel Manager for WooCommerce (from 129 USD / year)

Best Plugins for Shopify

  1. Meta Pixel Pro for Shopify (FREE)
  2. Trackify X Facebook Pixel (29.99 USD)
  3. Omega Multi Facebook Pixels (17.99 USD)

Can I Trust Meta Pixel Pro Free?

Yes! We developed this tool to help our community get the correct data and leverage Meta’s full potential without hassle. Also, tracking data is indispensable to our platform, groost. We also use it to improve the ads our AI creates for our customers.

You can always rely on the safety of our tools, as your success is very important to us. We want to see you running more and more ads, and for that to happen, your ads need to be profitable!


Meta Pixel and Conversion API are your e-Commerce best friends.

They offer automated solutions for businesses seeking to elevate their advertising results by accurately tracking user data and feeding it to Meta’s algorithm. Without them, your ability to optimize targeting and enhance conversion rates will be greatly hindered. 

We strongly advise you to install both Meta Pixel and Conversion API as soon as possible, if you haven’t already. They will help you make the most of your ad spend, grow your sales, and reinvest in scaling your business.

Last but not least, with the Meta Pixel Pro Free plugin you can easily integrate this powerful technology into your WooCommerce within minutes. 


  • Should I use Meta Pixel or Conversion API? The best practice is to use both simultaneously. If you use both tools, it will provide much more accurate data to Facebook. Meta Pixel works only when the user provides cookie consent. For some events tracking using Meta Pixel can be difficult. Conversion API is the ultimate solution. However, it is more difficult to set up without a professional.
  • What if I send the same event with both tools? Will the data be correct? Yes, Meta has a powerful deduplication algorithm, so your event will only be counted 1x. For this to work, you, however need to follow the best practices when setting up the Pixel and CAPI.
  • Are my customer data safe? No need to worry. All the data will go directly to Meta; no one else on the way can see or access them. Meta follows the highest standard in security, and every year the rules are becoming more and more secure for both your customers and you as an advertiser.
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