Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has created another reason why Excel is such a necessity for countless businesses: a partnership with Facebook Inc. (FB) to help advertisers track social media advertising spending.

Microsoft and Facebook recently joined forces to create a new add-in for Excel that improves the data gathering and report creation in Excel that will make it easier for advertisers to track ads in Facebook. In a blog post last week, Microsoft said Facebook Ads Manager for Excel enables advertisers to “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."

The Facebook Ad Manager for Excel tool lets users integrate data from several advertising accounts without having to download files manually. eWeek noted in a report that refresh rates can be set for as short as 15 minutes so advertisers have access to nearly real-time information. The Facebook Ad Manager for Excel is free in the Microsoft Office Store and is compatible with Excel 2016, noted the report.


Automated Reporting

“Advertisers frequently depend on Excel to evaluate and report on digital campaigns. However, creating custom reports from multiple accounts and tracking performance across numerous campaigns can be tedious and time-consuming. Microsoft Office and Facebook are partnering to empower advertisers with a new Excel 2016 add-in solution designed to simplify exporting data and streamline campaign reporting,” Microsoft noted in the blog post.  (See also: Microsoft to Include Augmented Reality in Windows 10.)

Microsoft’s new partnership with Facebook to make it easier for advertiser to track social media campaigns come at a time when Facebook is dominating in the world of social media and digital ads. In April, Facebook announced it reached more than 5 million monthly advertisers. In September, Facebook said it had 4 million advertisers, and in March of last year it counted 3 million advertisers. Facebook has 1.9 billion users on its social network around the globe. Of the 5 million advertisers, Facebook said the largest industries include ecommerce, entertainment/media and retail. About 75% of the advertisers are from outside of the U.S. with India, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina among the fastest-growing markets. What’s more, market research firm eMarketer is forecasting the amount of money going to U.S. digital advertising in 2017 is expected to increase nearly 16%, reaching $83 billion, with Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG​) and Facebook the main beneficiaries. (See also: Google, Facebook Dominate Digital Ads in 2017.)

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