How to Use Google Data Studio to Track Cross-Platform ROAS

Optimize your paid advertising campaign’s return on ad spend (ROAS)

You’re tracking lots of important performance metrics for your campaigns. But are you tracking return on ad spend (ROAS)? It’s one of the most important indicators of how successful your campaigns are overall and on an individual basis. And while it can feel overwhelming to attempt to find your ROAS data (especially for a cross-channel campaign) there’s a simple way to do it: A Google Data Studio ROAS dashboard template powered by a data unification tool, like Joinr, lets you see ROAS at any level of your paid media program at a moment’s notice.

In this article:

Get a Handle on ROAS

You launched your ad campaign with great messaging, graphics, and compelling CTAs. You targeted your audience properly, ensured your campaign aligns with a key business objective, and feel confident it will move the needle for your organization. But how can you really tell if your work is paying off?

There are many metrics you can use to evaluate your campaign, and your choice of which ones to track should be based on what kind of campaign you’re running, i.e. where it falls in the marketing funnel. Digital marketers should choose one major key performance indicator for every campaign, while also keeping a close eye on several other performance metrics.

A quick refresher on the marketing funnel, as it applies to paid media:

Joinr Funnel - Joinr

How do you know what part of the marketing funnel your campaign applies to? First, make sure your campaign aligns to a key business objective. Then set an appropriate advertising KPI to help you align with that objective. Here’s what that might look like:

Business Objective: Common Advertising KPIs:
Increase sales of core product offering
by 20% in the first half of the year.
Conversion Rate
Cost Per Conversion (CPC)
Increase website visits by 30% in Q1. Click Through Rate (CTR)
Introduce your brand to a new
market and drive awareness.
Impressions
Reach
Sessions Per Day

While all of these are great KPIs, one metric you shouldn’t overlook is return on ad spend, or ROAS.

ROAS is the metric marketers need to determine their marketing and advertising campaigns’ success. It’s vital for new campaigns since it allows you to see how much revenue a campaign generates against costs in real time.
Neil Patel

ROAS helps you focus on a core question your marketing leadership is definitely going to ask: Are your campaigns resulting in the expected amount of company revenue? We say “expected” because not every campaign will be expected to result in a high return. A brand awareness campaign, for example, will have little projected return on your ad spend, while a conversion-level campaign for increasing sales, will, obviously, have a high revenue return benchmark.

Okay, so we’ve done a little backtracking to get to this point. But what the heck is Return on Advertising Spend, anyways? ROAS can be calculated with a simple formula:

Revenue Generated / Money Spent = ROAS ratio
Ex. $20,000 revenue / $5,000 spent = 4:1 ROAS

ROAS is expressed as a ratio. In the example above, the campaign generated $4 for every $1 spent. That’s a great return!

If you’re attempting to calculate ROAS on a cross-channel campaign, things get a little more complex. You’ll need to gather data from all ad platforms, clean the data, and then determine ROAS for the campaign as a whole.

Pro Tip: Using a pre-designed ROAS dashboard template in Google Data Studio (GDS) powered by a data aggregation and cleaning tool can help you to quickly and accurately import all of your data and see exactly where you stand with your return on ad spend.

Unify cross-channel ad data with Joinr and supercharge your ROAS with the Revenue Performance overview dashboard.

 

Keep Score on All Campaigns

Here’s something else to love about ROAS: you can use it to assess the health of your overall paid advertising program by viewing your overall return on advertising spend. Or you can look at each campaign individually. And you’ll want to do both. If you’re running campaigns across the entire marketing funnel, your overall ROAS will help you see how you’re averaging out with dollars made to dollars spent.

Looking at each campaign individually will then provide perspective on which ones are driving the biggest return on your advertising budget. Again, you’ll have a larger ROAS benchmark to hit for conversion campaigns than awareness or consideration. Do your expectations align with the results?

If your awareness-level campaign is resulting in more conversions than expected, you may have particularly compelling messaging and a truly unique approach that could be further leveraged in other campaigns. Or perhaps your conversion campaign is not resulting in the ROAS benchmark ratio you hoped for. In this case, you might consider if you properly warmed up your audience to your brand before attempting to convert users. Perhaps you need to launch more awareness campaigns to the audience before asking them to make a purchase. Or it could be that your ad messaging and creative need work.

Can Google Data Studio give you transparency into overall and campaign-specific ROAS? Yes – but you need an intermediate tool between your paid advertising platforms and GDS. A free advertising data unification tool will pull your performance data from advertising platforms and standardize it automatically. Using a free ROAS dashboard template in Google Data Studio, you can then see ROAS at any level you like. Which brings us to our next section…

 

Find Your Winning (& Not Winning) Ad Groups

You’ve zeroed in on the campaigns that are providing the best ROAS. Now you can take a closer look at your ad groups and individual ads. While a particular campaign may look successful overall, a more granular approach to evaluating ROAS could lead to additional insights that will help you target your actions for further optimizing your ad spend.

Insight: Possible Actions:
One ad group is overperforming, while another is underperforming Shift budget to the more effective ad group.
Tweak messaging and creative for the underperforming group and run an A/B test.
A specific ad within the overperforming ad group seems to be particularly effective Analyze why that ad may be outperforming the others and consider how you can adjust messaging, CTA, creative, etc for your other ads. Perform A/B testing on one element at a time.

The key to successful ad group analysis: Make sure to find a Return on Advertising Spend dashboard template for GDS that offers the ability to get below the surface of your campaigns. You’ll never know what opportunities exist to improve your already-impressive results unless you dig into the data at an ad group and individual ad level.

Use Joinr’s Revenue Performance template with unified cross-channel data to uncover granular, actionable insights.

 

Pave the Road to Rad ROAS

At some point, every digital marketer faces the question: what’s the revenue return of your paid media programs? Many marketers will find themselves scrambling for clues in disjointed reports and complicated spreadsheets. Most won’t have had the transparency into aggregated, clean, cross-channel data that makes it easy to see what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to their campaigns, ad groups, and ads.

Digital marketers must keep their return on advertising spend on their radars at all times and have consistent, documented steps for review, analysis, and A/B testing. But here’s the great news: it doesn’t have to be overwhelming to track cross-channel campaign return on ad spend. Using a Google Data Studio ROAS dashboard template powered by a data aggregation and cleaning tool (you might have heard of one called Joinr[BP1] , wink wink) takes the complexity out of reporting and acting on ROAS data at every level of your paid media program.

Get Free Access to Our GDS Revenue Performance Overview (ROAS) Template