Except for SSO

For conversion objective campaigns, the standard conversion event location options are website, app, Messenger and WhatsApp. Offline events do not surface as conversion event options for any of these conversion event locations (even if you create a custom conversion using offline events). However, Facebook does offer a special alternative that allows for campaign optimization based on offline events.

Facebook Store Sales Optimization is driven by offline event sets

For offline purchases Facebook has a product called Store Sales Optimization (SSO) that optimizes for offline “purchases”/events once enough signals are available to predict behavior. This is different from a purchase event associated with a website conversion event location which relies on pixel signals for website and optimizes accordingly.

There are requirements to surface this option in your account. See the Store Sales Optimization help content and your Facebook account manager for details. When this option is available in your account, you’ll see “SSO” as an additional conversion event location (in addition to website, app, Messenger and WhatsApp). Selecting “SSO” as your conversion event location will surface events with offline sources in your conversion event options for ad sets. The offline event you select will be the basis of campaign optimization.

Lookalike audiences based on offline events can help

If SSO is not an option, you can create a lookalike audience based on an offline event set that includes up to 720 days of offline event data. You’d first create a custom audience, and then create a lookalike audience based on that custom audience. The longer possible duration for keeping users in an audience gives you flexibility to target based on historic purchases, reminding users to purchase again – or excluding them to only find new customers.

If you target a lookalike audience based on an offline event set with ads – Facebook will have in theory added users to the lookalike audience that are like those that have converted offline, and therefore have a better chance of doing the same themselves. But, if SSO is not a conversion event location option, you can’t chose the offline event as the conversion objective event, so Facebook wouldn’t be optimizing for that specific user action.

Facebook server-side API to the rescue

You can also send standard events using the Facebook server-side API. This is especially helpful if the user action is not recordable via a pixel based event, but otherwise is very similar to activity that would be associated with a pixel (e.g., a user action associated with their digital property session, but for some reason not trackable with a client-side originated pixel signal).

An order taken by phone might be a good use case for sending a standard purchase even with the server-side API. If a user clicks an ad, lands on a store web page, and then calls to purchase instead of purchasing on-line, you can send the related purchase standard event via the server-side API with a server-side script that executes when the order is entered into an order processing system (e.g., a Shopify admin interface).

The server-side API sends standard events to Facebook just like the pixel does – and they get treated just like a pixel based event in measurement, reporting, and optimization. This means if you have a pixel based standard event selected as a conversion event for a conversion objective campaign, if you send the same standard event via the server-side API, it too will be considered in optimization algorithm.

NOTE: Events sent via the server-side API are not considered in Facebook Analytics reporting.

Can I use Facebook offline event sets as conversion objectives?