Why You Should be Using Google Data Studio for Paid Ads Reporting in 2022

Josh Gladstone

Josh Gladstone
Product Manager

Max min read

Reporting on cross-platform paid ad campaigns can be a daunting, arduous task. By providing powerful data organization and reporting tools with intuitive visualization features, Google Data Studio (GDS) is easily one of the most-used business intelligence (BI) tools available for both data experts and novices alike. For marketers trying to get to the bottom of how their paid advertisements are performing, Data Studio offers a host of data sources and connector types to pull in data from all the platforms their ads are running on, report on campaign performance, and visualize their chosen key performance indicators. This guide will walk you through some of the best practices and tips to get the most out of reporting in Google Data Studio.

 

Google Data Studio is a free tool under the Google Cloud that allows data to be connected and transformed into customizable reports and dashboards. Since its inception in 2016, Data Studio has allowed marketers to easily report on their paid ad data across multiple platforms and channels without the need for programming or coding. From expert to novice marketers, Google Data Studio provides a way around the dreaded Excel charts and graphs for ads reporting.

While Google Data Studio is relatively easy to use, no matter your familiarity with the tool, there are a number of best practices to keep in mind.

  • Be clear when setting your goals, understanding what you’re reporting on and why.
  • Google Data Studio is not meant for data unification or manipulation—all data should be unified prior to being connected to Data Studio.
  • Report on multiple data sets from multiple sources with ease by using Google Data Studio Connectors.
  • Remember that Google Data Studio uses UTC—if your data set isn’t reporting in that time set, your data is most likely off or not reporting at all.
  • Work smarter, not harder by utilizing pre-built templates. Templates are especially helpful for novice Data Studio users, but also allow for quick and easy data reporting for seasoned marketers trying to run multiple reports from multiple sources often.

 

Google Data Studio templates for comparing cross-platform paid data

In order to target a specific audience at scale, most paid campaigns are comprised of advertisements running across multiple platforms (cross-platform campaigns). The problem with this is that each platform the ads are running on have their own metrics associated with performance—making reporting on overall campaign success cumbersome and confusing. Because of this, many marketers find themselves evaluating performance not at the campaign level, but at the platform level.

Not to make things awkward but we’re just going to say it: you’re not truly measuring “campaign” performance if you’re viewing separate data with specific metric definitions in separate platforms.

To combat this, many marketers have turned to business intelligence platforms like Google Data Studio to ingest the data from multiple sources and then organize it to report on overall campaign performance. This might sound like a more complicated process, but with the availability of so many Google Data Studio templates, visualizing your cross-platform paid data becomes a much more efficient and effective way to report on campaign success. There are tons of options available for visualizing paid ad performance, but make sure you have an effective way to report on cross-platform paid campaign performance as well.

How to add multiple data sources into a Google Data Studio report

The first step to visualizing your paid campaign performance is to connect your ad data sources to Google Data Studio. Remember, your campaigns are more than likely composed of ads running on multiple platforms—make sure you have a composite list of everywhere your ads are running (or where that data is being stored) so that you can connect everything to Data Studio for reporting.

Once you know what data sources need to be connected, there are several ways of adding them into a Google Data Studio report or template. You can add data from the individual sources via the “Add Data” button in the upper left-hand corner and then select to import data from a known source or to add a new source (more on Data Studio connectors in the next section). To make things even easier, if you’ve already unified your ad data with an app like Joinr, you can simply connect that singular data source and start organizing your campaign data in a way that best helps you visualize performance and extract campaign insights.

Choosing the best Google Data Studio connector for your needs

In order to flow your ad data from its current source into Google Data Studio, you’ll need to select a Google Data Studio connector—an app that allows Data Studio to receive information from a third-party. Publicly available connectors are featured in the Data Studio Connector Gallery. However, with so many connector options available (especially for the more popular data sources), selecting the right connector is both important and daunting.

When considering which connector to select to help with flowing data into Data Studio, there are three questions you should answer first:

  • What type of data source do I want to connect to?
  • Which type of connector is best for my data source?
  • How often do I want the connector to fetch my data?

With all three questions answered, you’ll be able to visit the Google Data Studio Connector Gallery and select the best connector for your needs.

Joinr as a free Facebook Ads connector

Finding the right connector to get your data into Google Data Studio can sometimes be the most frustrating part of the whole process—especially when you need a free connector. Facebook is one of the most popular social platforms for running paid ads, so extracting your ad data and then exporting it to your business intelligence tool is extremely important. Popularity, however, comes with a price. Historically, there are very few free Facebook Ads Google Data Studio connectors … until now.

Joinr automatically unifies Facebook and Google ad data for use within Google Data Studio to help digital marketers understand how their cross-platform campaigns are performing. However, sometimes all you need is a simple (and free) way to get your Facebook data from one place to another. Joinr as an easy, cost effective way to retrieve all your Facebook Ads data into Data Studio to manage any way needed.

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