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How to load data from LinkedIn Ads to PostgreSQL

Access your data on LinkedIn Ads

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

Using the REST API that LinkedIn Ads offers you can programmatically interact with your account in order to gain access to your digital advertising data. By doing so you can get aggregated metrics that, among others, include the following:

  1. Counts of the clicks on the action button and on the ad unit
  2. The number of impressions or clicks for each card of the carousel ad and creative landing page clicks.
  3. Count of comments and of likes on each comment
  4. Value of conversions and cost in the account’s local currency.

All the available aggregated metrics can be retrieved for any user-defined time period.

In addition to the above, the things that you have to keep in mind when dealing with the Linkedin Ads API, are:

  • Rate limits. There are daily request Quotas per application, per user, and per-application developer as described in the documentation. These vary depending on the Application tier. Current day’s usage and limits can be found in the application (choose application → Application Settings → Usage & Limits)
  • Authentication. Linkedin uses OAuth for authentication. An access token is valid for 60 days. Adding the access token to the requests’ header (bearer authorization) is sufficient in order to get the reports.
  • Pagination. API endpoints that return a collection of items are always paginated.

About LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn Ads is an advertising platform that enables businesses to reach their ideal customers on the world’s largest professional network, consisting of more than 560 million users. By using LinkedIn Ads you can effectively:

  1. Increase awareness of your products and services
  2. Lure potential users to click on a new page on your website
  3. Attract new followers to your company’s company page thus increasing its visibility

Additionally, LinkedIn allows getting pretty smart about targeting the right audiences by aiming at specific company size, job title, industry, and geographic location. This granularity enables you to easily reach people and companies that matter to your business.

Regarding the different types of ads that LinkedIn currently supports, the options are quite many:

  1. Sponsored Content: used for promoting content from your company’s page
  2. Direct Sponsored Content: used for promoting personalized content without having to publish it on your company’s page.
  3. Sponsored InMail: allows you to delivered personalized private messages to potential customers.
  4. Text Ads: Just like with other advertising platforms like Google and Bing, these ads are placed on the right rail of the news feed page and are available only on the desktop version.
  5. Dynamic Ads: refers to dynamically generated, highly personalized ads that drive users to your company page or apply to a job post.
  6. Lead Gen Forms: refers to prefilled forms with user’s LinkedIn information that aim to generate quality leads.

Transform and prepare your LinkedIn Ads data

After you have accessed your data on LinkedIn 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.

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.

Also, you have to consider that the reports you’ll get from LinkedIn Ads are like CSV files in terms of their structure and you need to somehow identify what and how to map to 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 LinkedIn Ads to a Postgres database is to create a schema where you will map each API endpoint to a table. Each key inside the LinkedIn Ads API endpoint response should be mapped to a column of that table and you should ensure the right conversion to a Postgres compatible data type.

Load data from LinkedIn Ads to PostgreSQL

For example, if an endpoint from LinkedIn 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.

Updating your LinkedIn Ads data on PostgreSQL

As you will be generating more data on LinkedIn 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 LinkedIn Ads.

You will need to periodically check LinkedIn 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 LinkedIn 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 LinkedIn Ads to PostgreSQL

So far we just scraped the surface of what can be done with PostgreSQL and how to load data into it. The way to proceed relies heavily on the data you want to load, from which service they are coming from, and the requirements of your use case. Things can get even more complicated if you want to integrate data coming from different sources.

A possible alternative, instead of writing, hosting, and maintaining a flexible data infrastructure, is to use a product like RudderStack that can handle this kind of problem automatically for you.

RudderStack integrates with multiple sources or services like databases, CRM, email campaigns, analytics, and more. Quickly and safely move all your data from LinkedIn Ads to PostgreSQL and start generating insights from your data.

Don't want to go through the pain of direct integration? RudderStack's LinkedIn Ads integration makes it easy to send data from LinkedIn Ads to PostgreSQL.

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