Technology and information are constantly evolving, changing, and undergoing innovations. As such, it’s important for marketing professionals, organizational leaders, and decision-makers to be up to date and well-informed on all the current happenings within the arena of technology and information. Especially as it applies to marketing, advertising, sales, growth, and development. The technology and tools around collecting, analyzing, and visualizing consumer data have truly come a long way since their introduction. Consumer data has always been a valuable asset for organizations. However, in today’s economy, the value of consumer data has sky-rocketed. Now, it’s one of the most valuable currencies in the global economy.
The importance and value of consumer data has long been understood, though. Going back a-half-a-century, ETL technologies have been around since the 1970’s. ETL stands for extract, transform, and load. These are data-specific terms that refer to extracting data from a source-pool, transforming it to be readable, and loading it into a data-warehouse. The ETL process came about in response to the presence of data-silos throughout a company.
In order to try and break down the walls between various data-silos, ETL technology was developed in order to funnel important consumer data from the various unconnected sources to a single, centralized data warehouse. By doing so, data was in fact centralized. Other issues presented themselves though. Most notably, the data-warehouse became a silo in and of itself, only accessible to data engineers fluent in SQL. This created the need for an additional technology to then redistribute the important consumer insights and information from the data-warehouse to the other SaaS tools a brand implements for growth, development, sales, and marketing. This technology is known as reverse ETL.
It’s this same technology that enables organizations to integrate Facebook conversion APIs.
Understanding What Conversion APIs Are
An API is an application programming interface. In other words, it’s a piece of middle-man-technology that bridges different applications together. The result is that the bridged applications can then communicate with one another, share and transfer data, and work together in a variety of other ways.
Conversion APIs, however, are a little bit unique. A conversion API was the internet’s response to the increased consumer privacy protections that have recently rolled out and been implemented in the virtual world. These consumer privacy protections hindered the impact of pixels. Pixels are (now) an outdated consumer-metric-tracking device. Put simply, pixels were little pieces of code that lived on a company’s web-page and tracked various consumer actions that took place. The technical-load was very light, and the consumer-insights provided by pixels were relatively helpful, too. However, pixels have now been rendered almost completely useless by most ad-blockers, and other built-in features that protect consumer privacy.
In the wake of the pixel, was born the conversion API, aimed at once again delivering highly impactful consumer insights to the fingertips of marketing professionals, data-engineers, and others.
The Difference Between Conversion APIs and Pixels
The main difference between a pixel and a conversion API is where the data is coming from, and who owns that data. With pixels, all of the data being tracked and all of the insights gathered don’t actually ever belong to the brand itself. Rather, they belong to the 3rd party whose pixel they’re using. This is also known as web-page-side tracking.
Conversion APIs work on the server-side of things. This means a few things. Firstly, it means that the consumer data and analysis being tracked is actually owned by the company using it. Not only that, but conversion APIs are much more sophisticated than pixels, meaning the insights and tracking-features are much more powerful. In fact, with server-side tracking, even offline consumer events and metrics can be tracked and analyzed.
Benefits of Server-Side Tracking
There are a plethora of benefits to performing server-side tracking as a company. However, developing server-side tracking functionality in-house can be both time consuming and expensive.
By using reverse ETL, though, a lot of the labor involved in managing conversion APIs is already handled. Not only that, but the reverse ETL technology will make it easy for anyone and everyone to access powerful consumer insights that inform day-to-day decision making.
Making the Most out of Consumer Data With Reverse ETL
The most competitive organizations out there have reached their status through strategic decision making, strong brand positioning, and powerful marketing tactics. Netflix serves as a great example of how understanding the consumer through data-analytics can lead an organization to successfully pivot their services on multiple occasions in the face of bankruptcy.
All of these strategies are informed and empowered by understanding and analyzing consumer insights. With reverse ETL any organization can make the most out of their consumer data and set themselves up for continual success with strategic decision making and positioning.