In 2021, TikTok is the hottest social media app with over 1 billion monthly active users. That is why most marketers decide to bring it into their advertising strategies.
People use TikTok on their mobile phones more than anywhere else. For quite a while, only Facebook was talking about Apple’s recent privacy updates. Only this time, new iOS tracking restrictions will also apply to TikTok ads. Because of the iOS restriction, TikTok custom audiences and events do not include people who opted out of tracking in iOS 14.
How can you make TikTok tracking more accurate? The answer is server-side tracking. This article will describe how to set up the TikTok events API using Google Tag Manager.
What is the TikTok events API?
TikTok events API is a server-side integration that allows you to send website or app events from your server directly to the TikTok server. It works similarly to the TikTok pixel. You can use TikTok events API to send conversion events, collect custom audiences, dynamic product ads, campaigns optimization.
What are the main benefits of the TikTok events API?
Here are the main benefits of using TikTok events API:
- Accurate event tracking. With server-side tracking, you will be able to collect more events. TikTok events API is resistant to ad blockers, ITPs, and other tracking restrictions. This way, you can increase the accuracy of conversion tracking of your campaigns. It will give you a better understanding of what campaigns are converting and bring more sales.
- Better custom audience quality. Since tracking won’t be blocked, your custom audiences will include all users.
- Data security. With server-side tracking, the personal information of your customers stays secure.
- Privacy controls. Keep your marketing efforts intact with rapidly evolving privacy requirements that let you adapt what data you share and when you share it.
- Enriched data. You can send additional data to TikTok, for example, from your CRM. Use this data to have a better understanding of campaign performance or building custom audiences.
What are the main disadvantages of the TikTok events API?
Even though server-side tracking is a fantastic new technology, it has its disadvantages as well.
- More complicated integration. SS tracking works in a slightly different way than browser tracking. That is why it may take quite some to integrate it with your site. The best way to set up TikTok events API or ss tracking for any other platform is using the Google Tag Manager server container. BTW we can help.
- It requires a cloud server and additional cost. To set up ss tracking, you will need to configure a cloud server that you will use to send requests to different data points.
- It is still new. TikTok events API is a new technology, which means that we should expect more updates to come. That is why you’ll need to stay on top of all the upcoming changes.
How does the TikTok events API work?
TikTok events API works similarly to Facebook conversion API. TikTok uses Click ID and user data to match events with TikTok users. The more user data you send to TikTok, the higher the chances of attributing the events to their users. TikTok events API has the same features and browser events. It can be used to create audiences, measure conversions, and optimize TikTok algorithms.
The main difference is that TikTok does not have event deduplication, so you can’t combine browser and server tracking. You need to choose which one you want to implement and if you decide to use ss tracking when browser tracking already exists you will need to use browser tracking.
Every time someone clicks on the TikTok ad, a Click ID (ttclid) is added to the URL. That is a unique identifier that is valid for 30 days. You can store the TikTok click ID (ttclid) and share it back to the TikTok events API that will help to attribute events to your campaigns.
To increase TikTok API events match quality score, you can send user data, such as email, phone number, user ID, user IP, and user agent. All user information should be transformed to lowercase and hashed using SHA256 on the client-side.
Besides user data, you can send properties, objects and event parameters.
How to set up TikTok events API?
- Create and set up Google Tag Manager server container.
- Send required data to the server container. We have blog posts that describe two methods: sending data using GA4 or using Data Tag.
- Add TikTok events API tag from the GTM template gallery.
4. To set up the TikTok events API, you will need to generate an API Access token. To create an API access token, you need an App ID. You can create an App ID only if you have a TikTok developer account. Open TikTok pixel and click on settings. TikTok pixel should have manual installation type, developer mode, and advanced matching enabled.
If you have a TikTok app ID, add it and click Generate access token. If you do not have a TikTok developer account, you will need to select the last option and create a new TikTok Developer app. And after that, you will be able to generate an access token.
5. Create a TikTok tag in the server container. Choose event -> Add TikTok API Access Token -> Add TikTok Pixel ID (You can only add a single Pixel ID per tag).
6. You can add event parameters under Server Event Data Override. These parameters include event ID, referrer, timestamp, and URL. Our tag will automatically add event parameters, but you can select to override and send it manually.
7. To send user data, open the user data section. Here you can add the IP address, user agent, email, external ID, and ttclid. User IP and user agent will be added automatically.
8. To send product data, use properties sections. You can send content, currency, description, query, and value.
9. Add trigger.
- Test TikTok events API tag. First of all, open server preview mode and check that the TikTok tag triggers and send all required information. After that, go to the TikTok events manager and check if TikTok processed this event.
The TikTok events API allows sending data from your server to the TikTok app. You can use it to improve the accuracy of event tracking and expand the size of your custom audiences. The events API has the same abilities as browser tracking. Still, you’ll benefit from better privacy and performance due to its ability to bypass client-side limitations and have more accurate information about user behavior.