On Thursday morning, Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee released 8 gigabytes of archives containing more than 3,500 documents detailing advertisements run on Facebook from 2015 to 2017 and paid for by Russians attempting to interfere in American politics. We analyzed those files to get a better sense of how the Russian interference effort operated — and how well it worked. Overall, the files provide information on thousands of ads, including data on when ad campaigns began, when they ended, how effective they were and how much they cost. The two months in which the most campaigns began were May 2016 and April 2017 — shortly before the Russian effort was curtailed. (No data for June 2017 were released.)
In total, the ad campaigns racked up more than 37 million impressions — how often the ad was displayed to a user. The three peak months for impressions were October 2016, December 2016 and February 2017.
The most popular ad campaign was the one below, encouraging people to support the police. It was targeted generally to American adults with an interest in supporting law enforcement, including those with the following interests: “Support Law Enforcement, The Thin Blue Line, Officer Down Memorial Page, Police Wives Unite, National Police Wives Association or Heroes Behind The Badge.”
It earned 1.3 million impressions alone and 73,000 clicks. It ran starting Oct. 19, 2016.