Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook Lead Ads allow advertisers to collect information from prospects directly from mobile ads. They make the mobile signup process easier by automatically populating contact information that users have given Facebook, like email addresses. Instead of sending traffic to a landing page where users manually fill out a form, when users click the ad, the information requested by the advertiser (name, email, etc.) is pre-populated and the user simply clicks Submit. All within the Facebook platform.

When the form is submitted, the information is collected by Facebook (for later access by the advertiser) and--if you have configured our integration--the information from the form is simultaneously passed to Sailthru to create or update a user profile. Additional campaign attribution data is also added to each user profile for use in Audience Builder.

For Facebook users, this is a seamless experience on mobile, and for you it is a very efficient method of capturing new leads. Further benefits of this approach are realized when you use Lead Ads in combination with Sailthru's Lifecycle Optimizer to automate welcome emails or other actions for new users, as well as our Facebook Custom Audiences integration. Using the power of Sailthru's Audience Builder with Facebook Custom Audiences, you can discover new customers that look like your best performing new leads or any other segment of your customer base.

Note: Your Facebook leads will be automatically added to a default list called facebook_lead_ads. You do not need to create your own list.

Set up Lead Ads Integration

When you want to get started using Lead Ads with Sailthru, contact Sailthru support by clicking the blue support bubble at the bottom of your screen. They will send you an application-specific API key to use during your Lead Ads setup.

Use the following instructions to connect your Facebook account to your Sailthru account.

Connect Your Facebook and Sailthru Accounts

  1. Create a new account specific to this integration at this URL. For security purposes, do not use the same password that you use on my.sailthru.com.
    Facebook Lead Ads Integration Account Setup
  2. After logging in, you can connect your Facebook account by clicking the Facebook Lead Ads button with the Facebook logo on it.
    Facebook Lead Ads Integration Connection Finalize
  3. You are redirected to your Facebook account and presented with a permissions screen where you will need to confirm that the Sailthru Custom Audiences app has permission to manage your pages and ads. If you have already added this permission, you will not need to approve the app again and will be connected immediately.
    Facebook Setup Manage Pages Ads Permissions
    Note: The user connecting their Facebook account will need Facebook's "manage pages" permission for their company account.
  4. After completing the Facebook authentication, you'll need to connect your Sailthru account. Click the Sailthru logo, and then underneath it, click Edit. Add the Sailthru API Key and Secret that were provided by your CSM. (This API key must be the one associated with the Sailthru account to which you want to pass lead information.) Reminder: Each separate Sailthru account will require a new integration account to be created at this URL.
  5. Once you have added these Sailthru credentials, you will need to associate the Sailthru account with the Facebook account.
    1. Click the Facebook logo and then the Sailthru logo to open the dialog for the formula template.
    2. Select the formula template by clicking the icon below "Select a Formula Template." (If asked for additional information and an email address for notifications, please add integrations@sailthru.com). image00
    3. After clicking the formula icon, a drop-down opens with a list of the Facebook pages you have access to. Select the page that is associated with your Lead Ads. image05
    4. The selected page will display on the right hand side of the screen when completed.
  6. Once you have connected your Facebook Account to Sailthru's application, you're ready to start using Lead Ads.


When the Facebook Lead Ads Integration is being set up, you may see the following error while trying to connect to your Sailthru account:

If you have verified that the Sailthru API Key and Secret are correct, the issue could be that your Sailthru instance uses an Allowed IPs list. Go to the API and Postbacks page (Settings > Setup > API and Postbacks) to check the Allowed IPs field. If the Allowed IPs field is not blank, contact Sailthru Support to have the appropriate IP ranges added in to this field for successful API authentication.

Create Lead Ads

Facebook Lead Ads are managed by your marketing team within the Facebook Ads Platform. There, a Lead Ad can be created in three easy steps:

  1. Click Create Campaign and give it a name.
  2. Under Objective, select Lead Generation. Keep in mind your buying type must be Auction.
  3. Click Create.

You can learn more about how to set them up on this Facebook help page.

The information from lead form that you create, which is associated with the ad, will be automatically posted to Sailthru when the Facebook user submits the form. We also collect additional information such as the ad_id, the ad_group_id, and the leadgen_id which will be stored on the user profile allowing you to identify groups of users in Sailthru that signed up through a specific Facebook Lead Ad.

Confirm Successful Integration

Facebook offers a Lead Ads Testing Tool which you can use to confirm that Lead Ad information is being captured. This tool will send a mock lead with the email address test@fb.com, including dummy data. It's a good way to test that the integration is connected.

If you want to do a test of an actual ad, you can do that from the Facebook Power Editor tool by clicking the "View in Mobile" link under the ad preview. This will send a notification to your Facebook mobile app where you can complete the form.

In Sailthru, search for the email address you login to Facebook using the search box at the top of the screen, often this will be your personal email address if you use that for Facebook. Please note that after you have submitted the form, it may take a few minutes to appear in Sailthru.

Below is an example of vars added from a Facebook Lead Ad where additional information Country, Gender and City were added to the Lead Ad Form.

example of vars added from a Facebook Lead Ad where additional information Country, Gender and City were added to the Lead Ad Form

Automate Responses to Lead Ad Conversions using Lifecycle Optimizer

Acquiring a new user through Facebook Lead Ads is just the first step of your interaction with the lead. To make the most of this initial interaction, you can use Sailthru's Lifecycle Optimizer to automate the next steps, for example, sending a welcome email, or adding the lead to a particular Sailthru list (in addition to the default list to which all of your Facebook conversions are added).

Example Lifecycle Optimizer flow for Facebook Lead Ads

In the following example, we will create a new flow in Lifecycle Optimizer for Facebook Lead Ad conversions. Every time a new lead is added via Facebook Lead Ads, Lifecycle Optimizer will add users to this flow in order to put the user through a sequence of steps.

Before you begin, ensure that

  • Facebook Lead Ads integration with Sailthru has been tested successfully
  • A 'Welcome' email template exists within Sailthru, if you'll want such emails sent to the users who respond to your Lead Ad.

Configure Lead Ads conversion flow

  1. To create a Lifecycle Optimizer flow, go to my.sailthru.com, select Communications > Lifecycle Optimizer, and then click New Flow.
  2. To begin creating this flow, click the Entry step box, select "Custom Event (API)" from under "Start this flow when...." and use the event name facebook_lead_ad_conversion
  3. You can filter the users you take action on based on the optional event custom fields filter.
Custom fields and Lead Ad triggered events
The custom event triggered by Lead Ads will also pass through the following custom fields (vars) with the event. facebook_adset_nameadset_namestring Active Subscribers Audiencefacebook_lead_type stringCTA (organic lead) or Lead Ad (coming from a paid campaign)
var Facebook Value type Example
facebook_ad_id ad_id string 123456789012345
facebook_campaign_id  campaign_id  string  123456789012345
facebook_campaign_name  campaign_name  string  Lookalike Campaign
form_name form_name string  Lead Form Name
page_id page_id string  12345678901

You can determine who enters the flow based on evaluation of the above custom fields. For example if you want to send a different welcome email based on the specific Lead Ad that the user converted from you can check the value of the facebook_ad_id in the flow entry custom field filter. You would then have a unique flow established for each ad campaign.

Create a new flow for each ad campaign and associated ID. Event custom fields (vars) are a powerful way to segment your messaging around specific Facebook Ad Campaigns or specific variations of Lead Ads giving you complete control on how you want to deliver the right message post-conversion.

Use Facebook Lead Ads with Custom Audiences

If you are running a Facebook Lead Ad campaign to acquire new customers, you can use our Custom Audiences integration to acquire additional users similar to those acquired through your original Lead Ad.

Consider this example:

  1. Using Audience Builder at my.sailthru.com, create a Smart List of all users from a specific Facebook Ad who have spent at least $100. Facebook Lead Ads - Using Query builder, create a Smart List in Sailthru of all users from a specific Facebook Ad who have spent at least 100
  2. On the Lists page, find that list and click on the cloud icon on the right hand side of that list. A dialog window will open, prompting you to share that list to Facebook Custom Audiences.
  3. In Facebook, you can create a Facebook lookalike audience to identify users on Facebook who look similar to this high value segment.
  4. You can then target that new Lookalike Audience with a Lead Ad, closing the loop and acquiring more users!

Lead Ads Forms

To build a lead form:
  1. Open Facebook Ad Manager.
  2. When asked for the objective of your ad campaign, select Lead Generation.
  3. In the Ad Set step, associate a Facebook page with the Ad account (if it doesn't already exist). Accept Facebook's Terms of Service before associating any page with an ad set.
  4. To edit the Lead Form, locate it under the Ad step. You can customize the Welcome Screen, collected user fields (ie. Email, Full Name, DOB, Job Title, etc), and custom questions:

Add Vars with Custom Questions

Within Facebook Lead Forms, you have the option to add Custom Questions. This is where you can set up vars using short answer or multiple choice for the value. When the user submits the form, these custom questions become vars in the user profile.

For more information on how to add custom questions to your Lead forms, please reference this help page from Facebook.

Cloud Elements

Delete Multiple Accounts

If you have multiple Facebook accounts added to your Cloud Elements account and need to remove one or more, follow these steps.
  1. Sign in to the Cloud Elements Console (with same credentials used in Cloud Elements)
  2. Go to Formulas on the left-hand side & Find "Sync Facebook Lead Ads to Sailthru"
  3. Hover and Click into the number that shows. In the example above - 2.
  4. In the next page, hover over the account that needs to be removed & click Delete.

Re-enable Disabled Lead Ads Instances

  1. Visit my.cloudelements.io
  2. Use same login info as sailthru-fb.elementconnect.io
  3. From the left sidebar click Formulas.
  4. Find the tile that says Sync Facebook Lead to Sailthru  with a blue number bubble.
  5. Click the blue number bubble. This will take you to the active instances.
  6. If you see a tile with a red power button, that mean it's disabled. Hover and click the edit button.
  7. From the Edit screen, you should see a greyed-out slider on the right that says Active.
  8. Click Active and the slider should turn blue.
  9. In the bottom right corner click Update.
  10. In a new tab, test via the Lead Ads Testing Tool


If you are having trouble subscribing to the Facebook Lead Ads integration through the Elements Connect console you created an account for, we can lead through these troubleshooting steps to manually connect or identify the error causing the connection to fail. Before running through these steps, visit the Facebook Test Tool and see if Sailthru's app ID "1387369858150302" is under the subscribed webhooks. If it is, we have connected. Example of a working account: Example of an account that is not working:
Reset the Existing Integration
One of the most effective ways to resolve issues with an existing integration is to redo the setup.
  1. Remove the previously connected pages and formulas. Select the Sailthru integration and remove all formulas and connected pages.
  2. When there are no more formulas, navigate back to the main integration page.
  3. Remove the two existing integration pieces by hovering each square and clicking the trash can icon. These actions effectively reset the account and remove all existing integration configuration.
  4. Follow the steps listed in the "Set up Lead Ads Integration" section.
If you need to make sure that users who might have been "missed" while the integration was disconnected are imported into Sailthru, then you can export the leads from facebook via these instructions to import them. TIP: Follow the above steps if you are looking to change your Sailthru API credentials.
Check for failures in API Logs
Another way to find any issues occurring with Facebook Lead Ads is to check for failures in your API logs.
  1. Log into the Elements Connect console with your credentials.
  2. Navigate to Activity.
  3. In the filters section, update the "All Elements" value to "Facebook Lead Ads".
  4. Check for any "FAILED" calls within the logs and click on the line item in the table.
  5. In the opened tab, look for the "provider_message" to see a description of the error occurring.
Common Errors
Common errors you will find are as follows:
  • Error validating access token: The session has been invalidated because the user changed their password or Facebook has changed the session for security reasons. How to resolve: Reconnect your Facebook account with your updated credentials in the Sailthru Facebook Lead Ads UI under the "Select a Service" section.
  • Error validating access token: Sessions for the user are not allowed because the user is not a confirmed user. How to resolve: Update the user account from your Facebook backend and ensure that the user has been given appropriate user permissions and up-to-date access token.
Information to provide to Support:
If you run into an error outside of the list above, please provide the following in a Support ticket:
  1. The email address you're using to login to Elements Connect.
  2. The entire error message you're seeing, and being sure to include the instance_id.

Re-enable Disabled Lead Ads Instances

Using Element Connect:
      1. Visit sailthru-fb.elementconnect.io and login
      2. Click the Facebook tile, then the Sailthru tile.
      3. On the right, you should see the page that is having issues. Hover over the page, and click the red X.
      4. Click the grey Formulas tile on the left side
      5. Select the page you'd like and click Create.
      6. Test again via the Lead Ads Testing Tool.

Helpful Definitions

      • Lead Ads: Ad units that allow advertisers to collect information from prospects directly from mobile ads. They make the mobile signup process easier by automatically populating contact information that people have given Facebook, like email addresses.
      • Facebook Custom Audiences: Custom audiences allow advertisers to target their ads to a specific set of people with whom they have already established a relationship on/off Facebook. Audiences can be defined by a unique identifier ( Sailthru uses email address)
      • Facebook Lookalike Audiences: Lookalike audiences allow advertisers to target more people who look like their established customers. A lookalike audience uses several kinds of user set as a "seed"(i.e. a custom audience) and an audience is built of similar users. Lookalike audiences can be used to support any business objective: Targeting people who are similar to sets of customers for fan acquisition, site registration, off-Facebook purchases, and coupon claims, or simply to drive awareness of a brand, and so on.

We'd love to hear of more ways that you are using Facebook Lead Ads. Please get in touch with our partnership team at partners@sailthru.com and share your stories.

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