Microsoft and Facebook Partner for Social Ad Tracking in Excel

Microsoft and Facebook team on an Excel add-in that makes it easier to work with advertising statistics generated by the social media giant.

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Marketing folks who use Excel to analyze the performance of their social media campaigns now have a new reporting tool to help make sense of their Facebook advertising data. And there's a good chance these days that more marketers are keeping a close eye on their Facebook stats.

Last week, media planning firm ZenithOptimedia reported that Facebook raked in $26.9 billion in advertising revenue, second only to Google's parent company Alphabet ($79.4 billion) and ahead of traditional media companies like Comcast and Walt Disney.

To make the modern marketer's life a little easier, Microsoft and Facebook have teamed up on a new add-in for Excel that allows users to streamline the data gathering and report creation process in Excel, particularly when it involves more than one Facebook ad account. "Starting today, Facebook Ads Manager for Excel (FAME) will allow advertisers to quickly run a single report to download data from multiple ad accounts," blogged Microsoft staffers on May 5.

"With FAME, you can build and share common reporting templates in Excel and download performance data directly into worksheets without manual integration, while the refresh capability ensures your reports are always up to date," continued the blog post.

FAME enables users to integrate data from multiple advertising accounts without having to manually download files, typically in XLS or CSV format, that contain information on the effectiveness of their campaigns. The add-in can be configured to automatically download the data directly into an Excel sheets, with refresh rates of as little as 15 minutes for the most current information.

FAME is currently available in the Microsoft Office Store at no cost. The add-in is compatible with Excel 2016 and features templates for common metrics.

Excel also features in a new Visio feature that allows users to create process diagrams using Excel data. Often called flow charts, process diagrams are used to illustrate the steps involved in a business process or other workflow.

A new feature in Visio Pro for Office 365 called Data Visualizer enables users to create diagrams using mapping table data from Excel files. The feature supports both premade templates—Microsoft offers a basic and cross-functional flowchart templates—and custom spreadsheets. While Excel data is being imported into Visio, the tool employs a wizard to guide users to the finished product.

"If you customize the premade template or create one of your own, the wizard helps you map certain flowchart parts, like swim lanes and connectors," informed Microsoft's bloggers in a separate post. "The resulting diagram is linked to the Excel table, so if the underlying process data is modified, the diagram updates accordingly. Likewise, shape modifications in Visio are preserved if the Excel data changes."

In a collaboration-enhancing move, Microsoft has made it possible for users to save their new Visio diagrams along with the Excel mapping tables they are based on. Using the 'Export as a Template Package' option, colleagues can share, reuse and maintain constituency in the diagrams used by their organizations. The underlying Excel data is also included in the Visio Pro for Office 365 file to further help workforces stay on the same page.

Instructions on the Data Visualizer feature in Visio are available in this online support document.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...