The Meta Ads Reporting tool is an excellent feature of the Meta advertising suite, and serves an important role – especially when it comes to sharing results with clients, a team of associates, or throughout an organization. It has features and capabilities that go beyond what’s available in the Ads Manager reporting tables. I find it indispensable, and I like to use it daily to see the data that’s most important for me to check.

Getting started and initial options

There are several ways you can open the ads reporting tool. One is to click the “hamburger” menu link while in Meta Ads Manager, then click Ads Reporting. Another is to click the Reports dropdown menu in Meta Ads Manager (above and to the right of the results table), then click “Create custom report.”

You’ll then be able to give the report a unique name on the upper left and choose which ad account(s) will be included in the report. (Yes, you can include as many ad accounts as you want in the same report – as long as they are in the same business/ business manager tool.) Also, choose the date range you want from the date range dropdown menu.

Whenever you make any changes to the report, be sure to click the Save button on the top right. When you do, the changes you make will apply for the next time you view the report. You can also click “Save a copy” if you want to create an alternate version.

There are three chart types that you can choose from for displaying the data: Pivot table, Trend chart, and Bar table chart.

Pivot table — The data is shown in a table with rows and columns. The rows can be for campaigns, ad sets, or ads. Rows can also be added with breakdown data, such as time, age, and gender. The columns show metrics, such as reach, clicks, conversions, and many other options.

Trend chart — This option is very helpful when you want to see data over a time span. For example, you might know that an ad got 50 clicks in the last 14 days. But which days were the most active and least active? You can include up to two metrics for trend lines, which will be graphed on different charts. You can include up to ten lines to represent breakdown values in your chart.

Bar table chart — The bars in this chart represent selected metrics. You can select up to three metrics per chart. You can include up to ten bar groups that represent breakdown values in the chart.

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Customizing the report

There are many ways that the report can be customized. When you click the “Customize” button on the top-right (under the date range), a panel opens on the right where you can choose the metrics and breakdowns you want to see. There are separate tabs for metrics and breakdowns, and each has a lot of options that are categorized. In the metrics tab, the category options are popular metrics, custom metrics, performance, engagement, conversions, custom conversions, and settings. In the breakdowns tab, the category choices are popular breakdowns, custom breakdowns, level, time, delivery, action, settings, and dynamic creative asset.

When adding metrics, the columns will appear from left to right in the order that you add them. If you want to rearrange them, you can by dragging and dropping – however, this feature has never worked very well for me. Sometimes I can manage to do it, and sometimes I can’t. So, I’ve found it’s usually best just to add them in the order I want them when clicking the boxes in the right panel. Once you’ve added the metrics you want, you can drag the individual divider lines to make the columns thinner or wider. If you want to change them back to the default width, click the “Reset column widths” button above the table.

You can also apply filters to the data in the report. One filter is applied automatically and is not removable: That’s the “Had delivery” filter, which means that items (such as campaigns, ad sets, or ads) won’t show up if they had no impressions in the selected time period. There are several categories of filters, including:

Name/ ID – Filter by the names or IDs of campaigns, ad sets, or ads.

Delivery – Filter by delivery status for campaigns, ad sets, or ads, such as active, inactive, scheduled, completed, not approved, or deleted.

Objective – Filter by objective, such as awareness, brand awareness, catalog sales, conversions, desktop app engagement, desktop app installs, engagement, event responses, lead generation, leads, messages, mobile app engagement, mobile app installs, offer claims, page likes, post engagement, reach, sales, store traffic, traffic, or video views. (You can choose several.)

Creative – Filter for words or features in the ad creative specific to the headline, description, URL, or other element.

Audience – Filter by custom audience

While spending time customizing your report and analyzing its data, you can click the Refresh button on the top right to make sure the numbers are updated.

Another feature that I haven’t used much but am planning to use more is the Format feature. Clicking the Format button opens a panel on the right for creating rules that apply colors. For example, you can choose to highlight table cells in the CPM column when the cost is above or below a certain threshold. The rule can apply a single color for highlighting or a color scale so that the color varies based on the numeric value or percentage.

Sharing the report

There are three general ways your report can be shared — sharing a link, exporting to a file, and scheduling an email. Here’s a description of each of those options and the sub-options they offer:

Sharing a link – When you click the Share button, a box opens that provides a shareable URL for viewing the report. For someone to use this link, they must have appropriate access to the ad account. There is an option, however, to share a link with others who don’t have access, which can be toggled on. Using that feature requires that a link expiration date be set. It will only allow a maximum period of one month for the link to be active.

Exporting to a file – Clicking the Export button allows you to choose a name for the exported file and a file format. The choices are Formatted data table (.xlsx), Raw data table (.xlsx), CSV (.csv), and Image (.png). There’s also a checkbox for including a summary row if you want one included.

Scheduling an email – This is a handy feature, but I find it a little perplexing where it’s placed. To find it, click the Ad account button on the top-left, next to the report name. That will open a box that provides an option to schedule an email. Once you toggle on the email option, you’ll choose how often you want the report delivered. The choices are daily, weekly (you can choose which day of the week), and monthly (1st). Then, finally, you’ll use a search field to search for people who have access to the ad account and are eligible to receive the email reports.

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In closing

I’m a big fan and regular user of the ads reporting tool in Meta Ads. I think it’s one of those things that once you start using it for your own benefit, you won’t want to stop. And, of course, it’s indispensable for providing sharing options for a team, a client, or any type of collaborator. I use browser bookmarks to access certain reports on a daily basis. I hope you find this tool useful as well.