We were learning about the new Facebook Ad Archive the other day, and found ourselves thinking about the interesting signals that are available within the archive, that would help paint a picture of how publicly traded companies are advertising on the social network. Allowing us to reverse engineer how companies are targeting Facebook users, and what types of ads they are spending their money on.
The Facebook Ad Archive lets you search for current and historical ads that are related to politics or issues of national importance that have appeared on either Facebook or Instagram. Anyone can search for ads in the Ad Archive as long as they are logged into Facebook, but are also opening up an API for the Ad Archive, which you can request access to. Each ad included in the Facebook Ad Archive will include the following data points:
– Active or Inactive – People can see whether or not the ad is currently running.
– Disapproved Notice – If an ad in the Ad Archive was active but then became disapproved, it will show as “disapproved” in the Ad Archive.
– Duration – People can see the duration of the ad (ex, October 18, 2018 – October 23, 2018).
– Impressions – People can see a range for the number of impressions the ad received (ex 1K-5K), not the exact number.
– Amount Spent – People can see a range for the amount spent on the ad (ex, $1K-$5K), not the exact amount.
– Demographic Information (Age and gender) – People can see the % of people by age and gender who had an impression on the ad.
– Location – People can see information about the location(s) where the ad was viewed.
The Facebook Ad Archive provides a unique look at the landscape of political spending, and what topics publicly traded companies are interested in when it comes to influencing elections. We are still playing with the search to learn more about what type of data is available, and have requested access to the API. Once we get more programmatic access we will play around more with what is available, and how we might be able to define some interesting signals using the data Facebook is opening up to the public.
As part of our work on the API Gallery, we are always keeping an eye on new and interesting data sources, and historical archives like the Facebook Ad Archive. Profiling the platform, and the API using OpenAPI, allowing data scouts, analysts, and the data curious to easily discover and integrate with valuable sources of data like this. We’ll keep an eye on the accessibility and road map for the Facebook Ad Archive API and tell any stories that we can here on the blog.