How to load data from Twitter Ads to MS SQL Server
Access your data on Twitter Ads
The first step in loading your Twitter Ads data to any kind of data warehouse solution is to access your data and start extracting it.
By using the Ads API program businesses can create, run and manage ad campaigns programmatically on Twitter. A big part of the API is also a rich reporting system that helps you tailor your campaigns by selecting different targeting options and placement parameters. You can also retrieve detailed statistics on the performance of your campaigns by generating reporting or historical backfills.
Using this API, a user can retrieve details associated with the current account regarding the following resources:
- Lineitem Apps & Lineitems
- Promoted Accounts & Promoted tweets reference
- Scheduled promoted tweets reference
- Funding Instruments
- Media Creatives
- Targeting Criteria
- Account Media
- Scheduled/Promoted/Organic/Draft Tweets
Various reports can also be fetched as long as they are valid combinations between an entity and segmentation types, such as:
- Reach Campaigns Report
- Reach Funding Instruments Report
- Auction Insights Report
In addition to the above, the things that you have to keep in mind when dealing with the Twitter API, are:
- Rate limits. There is no restriction for concurrent API calls. There is a restriction for API calls per endpoint in 15-minute windows. However, in general, limits are generous for most endpoints and should not impede use cases.
- Authentication. You authenticate on Twitter Ads using OAuth.
- Pagination. There is a pagination ability for retrieving data in some resources, with a page count that varies from 200 to 1000 depending on the specific resource endpoint. There is also a sorting method for retrieving data in some resources.
About Twitter Ads
Twitter Ads is a self-service advertising platform, announced in April 2013 by Twitter. The ads launched within this platform belong to one of the following categories:
- Promoted Trends. A sponsored topic on the top of the trending news section is supposed to be one of the most discussed topics at the given time.
- Promoted Accounts. Accounts that are put at top of the suggested accounts box. They are usually a way for brands to gain more followers.
- Promoted Tweets. Tweets that shown first in the search results of related topics.
Transform and prepare your Twitter Ads data for MS SQL Server
After you have accessed your data on Twitter Ads, you will have to transform it based on two main factors,
- The limitations of the database that the data will be loaded onto
- 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.
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 it 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.
Load your Twitter Ads data into Microsoft SQL Server
So, after you have managed to access your data on Twitter Ads and you have also figured out the structure that the data will have on your database, you need to load the data into the database, in our case into a Microsoft SQL Server.
As a feature-rich and mature product, MS SQL Server offers a large and diverse set of methods for loading data to a database. One way of importing data into your database is by using the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard. With it and through a visual interface you will be able to bulk load data from a number of data sources that are supported.
Another way for importing bulk data into an SQL Server, both on Azure and on-premises, is by using the bcp utility. This is a command-line tool that is built specifically for bulk loading and unloading of data from an MS SQL database.
Finally and for compatibility reasons, especially if you are managing databases from different vendors, you can BULK INSERT SQL statements.
In a similar way and as it happens with the rest of the databases, you can also use the standard INSERT statements, where you will be adding data row-by-row directly to a table. It is the most basic and straightforward way of adding data in a table but it doesn’t scale very well with larger datasets.
Updating your Twitter Ads data on MS SQL Server
As you will be generating more data on Twitter Ads, you will need to update your older data on an MS SQL Server database. This includes new records, together with updates to older records that for any reason have been updated on Twitter Ads.
You will need to periodically check Twitter 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 SQL Server 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 Twitter 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 MS SQL Server features like TRANSACTIONS can help tremendously, although they do not solve the problem in the general case.
The best way to load data from Twitter Ads to MS SQL Server
So far we just scraped the surface of what you can do with MS SQL Server and how to load data into it. Things can get even more complicated if you want to integrate data coming from different sources.
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