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How The Facebook Ads Reporting System Works
Last Updated:  
December 29, 2022

How The Facebook Ads Reporting System Works

It was John Wanamaker who said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

Imagine carefully creating a strategy and painstakingly building what you think is the best Facebook Ad Campaign you’ve ever worked on, but for some reason, you just don’t see any results.

All the countless hours down the drain, and you’re not even sure where things went wrong. If this isn’t a feeling you’re already familiar with, then you’re fortunate, but it’s definitely one most marketers have encountered at least once in their career.

Fortunately, learning how to get the information you need to successfully manage a Facebook campaign and learning how to track, adjust, and tweak your campaign are things you can easily learn if you invest a little bit of time into it. This article will cover all these points and more. 

Let's dive into Facebook!

What is Facebook Ads reporting?

facebook ads reporting system

Simply put, Facebook Ads Reporting is a tool that allows you to get the information you need to manage your campaigns. It also allows you to create, customize, export, share, and schedule reports on your ad performance based on a set of parameters that you choose.

Since Facebook Ads have slowly become a crucial part of the marketing ecosystem, anyone who’s serious about their advertising efforts and improving campaign performance needs to use Facebook Ad reporting. In short: it helps you understand what’s happening on the other side of the screen.

Who can use the Facebook ads reporting system?

Anyone with a Business Manager Account can use the Facebook Ads reporting system. 

Generally, the best way to review the data from your ad campaigns is in the Facebook Ads Manager. You can measure the performance of every ad you run here.

See how Triple Whale helps brands visualize and maximize their Facebook data.

What can you do with Facebook Ads reporting?

So what exactly can you use Facebook Ads reporting for, and what are the most common uses? Let’s take a look.

  1. Create reports for higher-ups.
    Often when presenting the results of a campaign to higher-ups or executives, you may need to present reports about certain ads and their performance. This is easily done using Facebook Ad reporting, and these reports make it easier for higher-ups to analyze and quickly take stock of the situation.

  2. Create reports to assess your progress over time.

If you’re looking to analyze your performance on a campaign over a certain period of time or since you implemented a change, this is another task that you can accomplish with Facebook Ads reporting.

  1. Compare your progress with other ad campaigns.

You can view data through a specific campaign, ad set, or ad. This comes in handy if you’re looking to compare your progress with other previously run campaigns or even ongoing campaigns in a pinch.

  1. Simplify the process of putting together your marketing reports. 

Once you’ve selected the date ranges and the parameters you want to analyze, you can create and save a report using the "Save New Report" button. You can also schedule emails to yourself based on the delivery frequency you want.

  1. Use advanced reports.

Through the "Breakdown Menu" in Ads Manager, you can go beyond basic metrics and see data-specific subsets. This means you can analyze customer behavior and: 

  • See what actions people took during and after their interaction with your ad
  • See who the ad was delivered to and how it was delivered
  • Sort ad data by time increments of days, weeks, fortnights, or months.

All of this can be pretty handy!

How to create a Facebook Ads report (step-by-step)

Step 1. Start your report

Ensure that administrator, advertiser, or analyst access to the ad account associated with the report has already been granted. Then open Ads Manager and log into your account. Select "Reports" and then select "Export."

Either build your own custom template or select one. Once a report has been successfully created, you can customize the way your information appears by using different breakdowns, metrics, filters, and attribution windows (we'll go through each one-by-one). 

Step 2. Select breakdowns

facebook ad breakdown settings

Source: JonLoomer

In ad reporting, breakdowns allow you to customize how your information appears in reports. Breakdowns can include these things:

  • Level (e.g., campaign, ad set, and ad)
  • Time Period (e.g., day, week, fortnight, month)
  • Demographics (e.g., age, gender, age and gender, country, region, location)
  • Delivery (e.g., placement, device, platform, platform and device, time of day by ad account time, time of day by viewer's time zone)
  • Actions (e.g., conversion device, product ID, carousel card, reactions, video view type, video sound)

Breakdowns allow you to better analyze your report according to the things that most interest you. This makes it easier to see if the results indicate improvement and success or just failure and a lack of change.

Step 3. Select metrics 

Next, choose your metrics. Some of the metrics available to you include:

  • Ad performance metrics — such as reach, impressions, delivery, etc. 
  • Engagement — which can be measured through page engagement, likes, mentions, video views, etc.
  • Conversions — which include website views, website adds to basket, and sign-ups. 
  • Settings — which includes objective, ad set budget, campaign budget, etc.

Selecting the metrics relevant to the report you want to generate can add clarity and make it easier to analyze your campaign results.

Step 4. Add filters and attribution windows

You have the same access to filtering within Ad Reporting and Ad Manager. Usually, the "Had Delivery" filter is selected by default — it shows ads that have been delivered with at least one impression. If you want to keep it simple, we recommend keeping this filter. Otherwise, customize as you see fit.

You can also change views if you want to compare attribution windows. Attribution windows are the number of days between when a person viewed or clicked your ad and subsequently took an action. There’s click-through attribution (for clicks) and view-through attribution (for views). 

It's important to remember that there is a finite period during which conversions can be credited to a particular ad and used to inform campaign optimization. You will find the following options under attribution settings: 1-day view, 7-days view, 28-days view, 1-day click, 7-days click, 28-days click.

facebook ad attribution settings
See how Triple Whale helps brands visualize and maximize their Facebook data.

Step 5. Complete and download your report

You can download delivery reports during or after your ad campaign. 

To download your delivery report, open Ads Manager. After choosing your campaign, ad set, or ad, click on "view chart" and select your desired medium. Reports are downloaded as ZIP files. 

Note: Don't be alarmed! If your ad didn't use certain placements, then the spreadsheet appears empty where data for these placements would be.

Tips for getting the most from your Facebook Ads reports

Now, you know how to create a Facebook Ads report. But we have a few more insights to leave you with before we wrap this article up. If you’re looking to get the most out of your ad reports, then try some of these handy tips: 

  • When you store your ad reports, store them somewhere secure so that you can refer to them later. You never know when you’ll need to pull up an old report to go through and analyze the data, so investing in secure storage for old ad reports is a must.
  • Pull Business Intelligence (BI) insights from your reports with BI tools. BI tools allow you to collect and analyze data, extract valuable insights, and present them in a way that can help inform business decisions.
  • Take your data and put it into visualizations (charts, graphs, etc.). Data visualizations can be life-changing in terms of painting a bigger picture for you. It’s hard to look at raw data and know what it points to. Creating graphs and charts allows you to better understand your data in context. 
  • Account for seasonal fluctuations. Keep in mind that the success of your campaign will look different during different times of the year. So, account for this when reporting on your results. 
  • Understand the difference between the different kinds of data and the laws that govern what data you can use and how. Also, learn the difference between zero, first, second, and third-party data and how it’s collected. This will help you better understand how policy changes impact your campaign’s data collection efforts.

Take your reports to the next level with Triple Whale

What makes Facebook Ads so effective is the vast amounts of data that come with Facebook ad reports. Without these data points, most marketers would be taking a shot in the dark. 

Understanding how to properly analyze, understand, and implement this data in your campaigns can be challenging. But not if you follow the steps outlined here.  

Once you’ve understood how to create a report with the right breakdowns, metrics, and filters, you'll get a clear understanding of how your ads are actually performing. Then, all that’s left to do is make slight tweaks or changes to your campaign and start seeing the results you’re really looking for.

Perhaps the most important result of having access to all this data is to let it show you the big picture. That’s why it’s important to centralize metrics from all the tools you use. Fortunately, Triple Whale does exactly this. Triple Whale lets you view all your meaningful data from a central source through a customizable dashboard or mobile app.

If you’re serious about being data-driven, then there’s never been a better tool for the job.

Get Triple Whale now!

About the Author

Colin Dougherty

Colin is Head of Content at Triple Whale. He enjoys long walks on the beach, tequila sunrises, and a quick dip in the ocean.


Colin Dougherty

Colin is Head of Content at Triple Whale. He enjoys long walks on the beach, tequila sunrises, and a quick dip in the ocean.

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