How to load data from Bing Ads to PostgreSQL

Access your Data on Bing Ads

The first step in loading your Bing Ads data to any kind of data warehouse solution is to access your data and start extracting it.

Bing Ads has a very rich API that is primarily offered for interacting with the platform and to create and run campaigns programmatically. A big part of it is also a rich reporting system that helps you understand how the campaigns you run perform.

By default, Bing Ads exposes a large number of different reports, the current number of available reports based on the latest documentation is 35.

Reports can have different types of aggregation defined by you. The default is set to “Summary” which means that you will end up with a report for the whole time of your account. For analytic purposes, it is advised to set the aggregation on a daily basis. This is also the lowest time granularity that you can have on Bing Ads.

The Bing Ads API is implemented using the SOAP protocol, this will add some complexity to your development as you will have to manage SOAP and XML responses.

Also, keep in mind that you will have to respect the usage limits and make sure that you handle errors correctly.

Reports in Bing Ads are configured by selecting the following:

  • Columns, the columns that you want to be included in the report
  • Filters, you should provide custom filters to filter the report data
  • Scope, to reduce the data you get based on specific accounts.

Transform and Prepare your Bing Ads Data for PostgreSQL Replication

After you have accessed your data on Bing Ads, you will have to transform it based on two main factors,

  1. The limitations of the database that the data will be loaded onto
  2. The type of analysis that you plan to perform

Each system has specific limitations on the data types and data structures that it supports. If for example, you want to push data into Google BigQuery, then you can send nested data like JSON directly, but keep in mind that in the case of a SOAP API like Bing Ads, you get XML responses. Of course, when you are dealing with tabular data stores, like Microsoft SQL Server, this is not an option. Instead, you will have to flatten out your data, just as in the case of JSON, before loading into the database.

Also, you have to choose the right data types. Again, depending on the system that you will send the data to and the data types that the API exposes to you, you will have to make the right choices. These choices are important because they can limit the expressivity of your queries and limit your analysts on what they can do directly out of the database.

With Bing Ads, you have two main additional sources of complexity. When it comes to data types you have to keep in mind that SOAP is using XML to describe the service and the data, so the data types that you have to map are coming from XML and might have automatically been transformed into the primitive data types of the language that you are using.

Also, you have to consider that the reports you’ll get from Bing Ads are like CSV files in terms of their structure and you need to somehow identify what and how to map a table into your database.

Each table is a collection of columns with a predefined data type as an integer or VARCHAR. PostgreSQL, like any other SQL database, supports a wide range of different data types.

A typical strategy for loading data from Bing Ads to PostgreSQL database is to create a schema where you will map each endpoint to a table. Each key inside the Bing Ads endpoint responses should be mapped to a column of that table and you should ensure the right conversion to a Postgres compatible data type.

Export Data from Bing Ads to PostgreSQL

For example, if an endpoint from Bing Ads returns a value as String, you should convert it into a VARCHAR with a predefined max size or TEXT data type. tables can then be created on your database using the CREATE SQL statement.

Once you have defined your schema and you have created your tables with the proper data types, you can start loading data into your database.

The preferred way of adding larger datasets into a PostgreSQL database is by using the COPY command. COPY is copying data from a file on a file system that is accessible by the Postgres instance, in this way much larger datasets can be inserted into the database in less time. COPY requires physical access to a file system in order to load data.

Nowadays, with cloud-based, fully managed databases, getting direct access to a file system is not always possible. If this is the case and you cannot use a COPY statement, then another option is to use PREPARE together with INSERT, to end up with optimized and more performant INSERT queries.

If you are looking into other data warehouses you can visit here.

Updating your Bing Ads Data on PostgreSQL

As you will be generating more data on Bing Ads, you will need to update your older data on PostgreSQL. This includes new records together with updates to older records that for any reason have been updated on Bing Ads.

You will need to periodically check Bing Ads for new data and repeat the process that has been described previously while updating your currently available data if needed. Updating an already existing row on a PostgreSQL table is achieved by creating UPDATE statements. Another issue that you need to take care of is the identification and removal of any duplicate records on your database. Either because Bing Ads does not have a mechanism to identify new and updated records or because of errors on your data pipelines, duplicate records might be introduced to your database.

In general, ensuring the quality of the data that is inserted in your database is a big and difficult issue and PostgreSQL features like TRANSACTIONS can help tremendously, although they do not solve the problem in the general case.

The Best way to Load Data from Bing Ads to PostgreSQL

So far we just scraped the surface of what you can do with PostgreSQL and how to ingest data into it. Things can get even more complicated if you want to integrate data coming from different sources.

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