Google Data Studio is a fantastic tool that allows you to take data from your Google or Microsoft Ads campaigns and turn it into a customizable reporting sandbox that ultimately delivers more insightful reporting to yourself or your clients.
This article will focus on the main benefits of using Google Data Studio, the issues it solves with the limited reporting capabilities of the Google Ads interface, and tips on how to get started building your own. first custom Google Data Studio report.
Google Data Studio is a very powerful tool, but – and I’m not going to sugarcoat this – it’s also a rather overwhelming tool at first due to its inherent complexity. At its core, however, Google Data Studio is a (FREE!) tool that connects to data from myriad data sources (Google Ads is just one of them) and then lets you create Fully customizable reports containing a wide range of tables, charts, and graphs that update as quickly as your actual data source updates.
The personalization element is its main advantage over the lack of personalization available in Google Ads. We’ve all been stuck inside the interface, trying to make sense of data by manually exporting reports and then stitching together charts in Excel or Google Sheets. This is a laborious task at best, and Google Data Studio offers a solution for this.
If you’ve ever been frustrated with putting together complex reports on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, you definitely need to check out what Data Studio can do. The solution he offers is that once you are in Data Studio, you just need to connect to your Google Ads or Microsoft Ads data and create this report once. The power of the data connection then takes over so that the report begins to update automatically and in near real time.
Create your first Data Studio report
If you’re new to Google Data Studio, I strongly encourage your first experience to be one where you’re just playing around inside the tool. Personally, I consider myself “savvy” with Data Studio, but I’m by no means an experienced user. Yet when I was a novice, I found it incredibly valuable and satisfying to use. Although I’m completely self-taught, I’ve found that if you run into a problem or can’t find a solution (you will), remember that Google search is your friend, and more than likely, someone. one wrote about this very Solution.
So let’s start with the basics. Once signed in to the Google account you use to access Google Ads, go to https://datastudio.google.com/ and click on the create button:
Next, you’ll be prompted to connect to a data source, because what good is a report if there’s no data?
If you’re signed in to the correct Google account, your Google Ads account(s) should be populated. Select the account and click on “Add”, then you will directly access your very first report with an automatically created table.
The table is at the top of a page. If you’ve ever done a collage, the page is the piece of paper you glue all your little Barry Bonds or Wayne Gretzky magazine cutouts to (I’m really dating that one) and then think of the magazine cutouts as individual tables. , tables and graphs that you can place on the page. The page is customizable in terms of size, shape and even background color. All of this can be customized by right-clicking on the page itself and going to “Current Page Settings”.
Now that your page is sized and ready to go, it’s time to think about the problem you’re trying to solve that Google Ads can’t solve. My most common use of Data Studio is to create custom dashboards at the request of a client. The best place to start here is under the horizontal menu bar, and it’s called “Add Chart”:
Okay, so in the interest of not turning this article into a thesis, I have to go back to my “play around” advice, because that’s where this wide range of customization options floods in. Great for you as someone who needs custom reporting solutions, bad for the guy who writes a finite word blog post.
I’ve provided you with the tools you need to create a report, connect your data, and start adding charts. From there it really takes a trial by fire to start learning the tool. It will really start to look like a real report once you add text boxes, shapes, images, etc., all of which are very easy to find right in the interface.
The main component that drives the creation of your charts appears when you click on a specific chart and see the menu on the right side of the screen:
Depending on the type of chart you choose, your customization options will be different. However, what you are essentially doing is taking elements or data fields available in Google Ads or Microsoft Ads and using them as dimensions or metrics. Dimensions are usually non-numeric things you want to report on, and metrics contain numeric values (which you can customize to count, sum, average, etc.). In the example above, the dimension is ad group and the metric is clicks.
If you click that green ‘Ad group’ button, you’ll see a list of other available dimensions you can use. You can also add multiple dimensions if, for example, you want to report at both campaign and ad group level.
Again, my advice is to start playing with it. Create a report containing several tables, several graphs, etc. Creating them is the same process whether it is a pie chart or a pivot table. Go to a Model, and click “Edit & Share” in the top right. You can then begin to see how some of the more complex graphics are created by clicking on them in Edit mode. I also encourage you to review the “Welcome to Data Studio! (start here)” report created by Google to get acquainted with the basics.
In conclusion, Google Data Studio is an overwhelming tool at first glance. It certainly was for me, at least. But any good PPC expert knows that the ability to learn new strategies, tools, or skills on your own is a prerequisite for professional growth. I therefore encourage you to follow the advice given to you today and start writing your first report. You will not regret it!
I leave you with some examples of individual graphics that you can create yourself when you start testing its capabilities:
Tables (with conditional formatting):
Example of a complete dashboard:
Example of a multi-channel dashboard: