As part of an effort by Facebook to be more transparent about the use of their platforms for political campaigning, they created the Facebook Ad Library, a publicly available website that shows information about all the political ads that are run on their platforms (i.e. Facebook and Instagram).
The Facebook Ad Library is a great resource for finding information about a single ad, but it lacks the functionality to compare multiple ads or political parties. To solve this problem, I have created a website that allows you to analyse and compare statistics about the ads by Dutch political parties.

What information does the Facebook Ad Library provide?

The Facebook Ad Library provides the content of each ad and metadata about the ad. The content of an ad is the text, images and/or videos that the user sees.

The Facebook Ad Library provides a lot of metadata on each ad. The most important metadata available is:

Besides information on specific ads, the Facebook Ad Library also provides some basic general information. For example, the spending tracker shows you how much each Facebook page has spent in total.

1. This data is provided as estimated ranges. For example, the Facebook Ad Library does not provide how much an ad costs, but says that between €2000 and €2999 was spend on the ad.

How did you generate these statistics?
This website provides three types of statistics:
  1. General statistics
  2. Party specific statistics
  3. Theme statistics
The data-processing consists of the following steps:
  1. Identifying the Facebook pages of each political party.

    Facebook ads are always linked to a Facebook page. The Facebook Ad Library allows you to search ads by Facebook page. To find all ads ran by a political party, we first need to find all the Facebook pages of that party. Political parties often do not use one Facebook page to run all their ads. Many local party branches and individual candidates have their own Facebook page. The spending tracker lists all relevant Facebook pages. We use this to find the Facebook pages of each party.

    You can find a list of all Facebook pages we found on GitHub.

  2. Downloading the ad data.

    We use the lists of Facebook pages to download all ads ran by the political parties. For this we use the the Facebook Ad Library API. This API allows everyone to download ad data in an automated manner.

  3. Analyzing the data.

    Finally, we wrote an application to analyze the data. This application generates an updated version of this website. As most data that Facebook provides are estimations, we aggregate the data of one party by computing the averages of their ads.

    Although an individual estimation is not that interesting (e.g. it does not tell us much that an ad was seen by a 1000 to 2000 people), combining the data does reveal patterns and makes the data of a party comparable to that of other parties.

Limitations of the Facebook Ad Library
The Facebook Ad Library does have some limitations:
Why is party X missing?

If there is a (new) party with a significant Facebook ad presence that is not included, please let me know by opening an issue on GitHub.

I have found an issue or have a suggestion.

Please open an issue on GitHub.

How do I contact you?

You can reach me at