Facebook ads interface

How to get data from trials of Facebook ad

Using Meta ads manager reporting suite

Extracting simple results

How to get to the 'reporting suite' in Meta ads manager view as above?

2. Specify some filters:

This gets us the screen below

3. Specify the date range.

5. Export simple results for Campaigns

Click 'Reports' ... upper right.

We can 'create a custom report', which saves this for later tweaking, or merely 'export table data'. I will do the latter for now:

csv or xls?

.csv and .xls formats are about equally good; R and other software can import either one. I'll choose csv because it's a tiny bit simpler... but in other contexts, xls might be useful for exporting multiple sheets.

Note: I chose CSV and do not include summary rows, to avoid confusion later.

Exploring alternative: direct input into R

See tools like the rfacebookstat package; docs here

Now I import this data into R (I usually use code but let's do it the interactive way for illustration)...

It seems that the option 'include summary row' was probably not wanted here, and that row with blank 'campaign name' could cause confusion.

It seems to have removed the "bid strategy" column, and added 'reporting starts' and ...'ends' from the filter. Otherwise, everything else seems the same as in the ad manager view, although some labels have changed.

Campaigns, ad sets, ads

What's the difference between these?

FB/Meta gives some explanation HERE, although it leaves some open questions.

You set the advertising objective at the campaign level. Here you decide the end goal for your ads, like driving more likes to your Page. At the ad set level, you define your targeting strategy by setting up parameters like targeting, budget and schedule. Finally, your ads are creative visuals, like pictures or videos, that drive the audience to what you are trying to promote.

Keep in mind that a campaign can include multiple ad sets, each with different targeting, scheduling and budgeting options selected.

Some things are still unclear: Can multiple 'ad sets' use the same 'ads'? (I think so) Why do we seem to see budget and schedule choices listed under 'campaign' in the ads manager?

We see three tabs

  1. Campaigns

  2. Ad sets for 1 campaign

  3. Ads for 1 campaign


Here we have 7 campaigns, each with separate budgets, and start and end dates (although these mainly overlap).

It looks like some campaigns were set up for direct comparison or "A/B" perhaps, with the exact same budgets and end dates, and similar names:\

Ad sets

Here, there are 52 total 'ad sets' across all campaigns.

I'm going to export this as a csv too, in case it's useful.


There are also 52 "ads"; it seems in this case, one per ad set:

Ad sets with multiple ads?

In theory ad sets could contain multiple ads. I wonder when/whether/why it would be worth doing this. __ Luke: In the Giving Guides trial ... we used a smart ad format where you upload lots of creatives (images, videos, post text etc) and it tests them all as a single ad. That particular ad format has a 1:1 relationship with the ad set, and then you investigate the success by pulling other specific reports for the attributes (e.g. “Post Text” or “Image or Video”)

The information in the 'ads' table seems the same as in the 'ad sets table' ... other than a link to preview the ad content itself (which I don't seem to have access to atm).

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