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Hosted by Jennifer Denney (@DenneyJenn) owner of Elevated Marketing Solutions, this week’s PPCChat session discussed about Google Data Studio, why PPC experts use it, their favourite data source, insights they get from GDS and more.

Here is the screencap of the session:

Q1: Are you currently using Google Data Studio? If so, how are you using it?

I am not a big fan but for clients who care about dashboards and something close to real time – I have found Google Data Studio to be a good option – @andreacruz92

Yes. We use it for reporting and also alerting – @SarahScarfeMktg

Yes, we use it with all clients. We are using it to help automate the numbers we track visually. – @elevatedmrktng

we are. Using it for internal and client reports. We do a lot of wrangling with supermetrics in Google sheets and then pull it in and more – @AskYisrael

I am not really using Google Data Studio very much at all. I tried using it and found it to be so frustrating I gave up. I’m hoping it has improved since then and I get some great ideas to try from today’s – @NeptuneMoon

I use occasionally for clients that want a more visual report but prefer to use Sheets for my reporting. It’s just easier to work with for me – @selley2134

No. I explored a few time over the years. Was missing the nuanced features I was looking for so I didn’t use it. Seemed like they made many improvements since, and need to revisit! – @yaelconsulting

yes, but it’s such a frustrating, closed system that I only use it for Google products. I have to excel or other reporting for social, don’t get me started on brand lift studies. – @JuliaVyse

Yes! I use Google Data studio to create reports that automatically update for my clients. It’s connected to Supermetics so I can show data from multiple channels in one report. I know I’m not utilizing it to its full potential. I hope to get some good tips today! – @FindingAmanda

Data studio is my go to for client dashboards. I usually do page one as goals, and then sub pages for additional metrics. But some clients need it different ways esp if they are brining in multiple channels ala supermetrics – @armondhammer

We absolutely use it, but it’s notoriously glitchy and a bit…fickle relative to other data viz platforms (i.e @Tableau). That being said, it’s a great, low-cost (plugins) option for clients that don’t live + die by the dashboard. – @DigitalSamIAm

Q2: Why do you use Google Data Studio?

Mostly because it’s free and therefore I can use it as a proof of concept and spend budget on getting data into GDS instead – @SarahScarfeMktg

Cause it’s free #ppcchat I don’t really have any other reason – @andreacruz92

Google Data Studio allows us to be able to get all data into one document – @elevatedmrktng

live dashboards for clients and goal tracking across at the account level. plus doing things that aren’t native in the platforms – @AskYisrael

For years we used different reporting. This is the one end up liking the most. We created a unified look for all our clients and it’s easy and it’s free – @360vardi

Two reasons. While it’s gotten a bit bloated, it’s still one of the best ways push out reporting in the format you want it to show. It can be a great way to have a single view of the truth. And keep people out of rabbit holes. – @armondhammer

for dataviz mostly. Not all clients are the right fit for a giant BQ onboard with Tableau, so it’s a simpler option – @JuliaVyse

Sometimes client prefer graphs to tables of data, which gds is great for. – @selley2134

I use Google Data Studio because It automatically updates the reports. I’m all about automating any task I can. – @FindingAmanda

despite having multiple flaws it is still one the easiest (and free) tool to automate reports in my knowledge – @leo_pinon09

I WOULD use it because it’s free and had many of the capabilities that paid tools offer. As they expand functionality and flexibility it will be an easy replacement for many tools out there. – @yaelconsulting

Q3: What is your favorite source of data to connect to Google Data Studio?

We use Funnel to pull in data and converge all those sources. A lot of our clients have 3-4 platforms and they all need to be reconciled, so we do that first, then hookup GDS – @360vardi

Google Sheets (populated by Supermetrics for Google Sheets or another add-on) or BigQuery – @SarahScarfeMktg

supermetrics by far – @AskYisrael

My favorite source is actually Facebook ads data. It is clunky inside of the Facebook platform and I am able to visually see the data. – @elevatedmrktng

I use @Supermetrics@FindingAmanda

really google Ads. The analytics connector is super weird and finicky, and SA360 actually reduces some of the functions you can get. so it’s ads and sheets for now. – @JuliaVyse

I’ll echo @JuliaVyse on using DS first with Google products like GA. Other ad platforms aren’t difficult to add directly, but if they’ve been UTM’d properly, much of their data is there for GA to relay to DS. – @heyglenns

Big fan of pulling search console data in. (yes this is #ppcchat I know) That data isn’t easy to extract otherwise in any usable form. – @armondhammer

We usually create the tables in sheets first from each data source and then connect the sheet to GDS to graph the tables. We find its less glitchy this way and we can get our social data in there. – @selley2134

Q4: What data connectors do you use with Google Data Studio? What is your favorite?

I’ve dabbled with the AdStage connector – @heyglenns

I will also say I absolutely hate doing reporting, so whatever tool I can use to make it efficient, I will use. We also wanted that tool to be as simple as possible to train and use, so we don’t have to rely on one person to troubleshoot when something isn’t working – @360vardi

We only use @Supermetrics although they don’t have all the connectors we would like but they have most! – @elevatedmrktng

It depends? It obviously works best with Google products (i.e. Analytics, Optimize), but you almost never get a complete picture of a business from those data points alone. For “AH HAH” moments, probably Optimize. So much easier to show test impacts. – @DigitalSamIAm

Google analytics, supermetrics, Google ads, Google sheets, SQL connector, search consol3. Favourite is supermetrics for sheets, very easy to join blend data – @AskYisrael

I’m going to express surprise that so many third party connectors are needed. As avaricious as G can be, I’m shocked they don’t play nice with other platforms directly. Even Tag manager does a lot of stuff natively. Because while I’m a fan of things like super metrics, it can be really slow when it’s pulling from several channels. That’s not the experience I like to have when I’m trying to ad hoc analyze on a zoom meeting – @armondhammer

I just wish there were an easier way to get Hootsuite data (not just sparklines but actually multi-reporting) ads reporting, not just ad types, and overall conversions across channels into one place. I have yet to see a platform that does everything I want simply. – @JuliaVyse

Q5: What Insights from what platform are easier to see in Google Data Studio?

We pull in Google ads analysis dashboards that are nice for the client to look at, specifically ones they ask consistently (audience, device, competitors, geos). I also hooked up our time tracking software, so we can analyze our agency profitability – @360vardi

Anything visual, such as as charts and maps. I also like adding the customizable filters they launched earlier this year – @andreacruz92

The best one I can describe is Facebook ads and being able to see the gender, age, device hour of the day, and so forth and sort by a myriad of metrics. – @elevatedmrktng

I built a creative reporting for Google ads that makes it easier to see headlines and whatnot, and it deduplicates. – @AskYisrael

Probably @SuperMetrics — though I wish they’d stop with the random price increases. Still the best connector out there, though. – @DigitalSamIAm

I always find that people adore the maps, particularly the new Google Maps, drilling down, impression share is a great metric to show in GDS, auction insights too when it works. – @SarahScarfeMktg

GDS works great for graphs or anything visual. For Google Ads in particular I like MoM graphs to show longer-term trends such as CPC changes or progress we’ve made over the year – @leo_pinon09

it can be easier to see seasonality & longer term trends that can get lost in a table of data. particularly when looking year over year or quarter over quarter – @selley2134

I use the templates in Google Data Studio unless the client needs something specific (which, let’s be honest, they usually do), then I’ll create a custom report. – @FindingAmanda

Q6: Do you create your own boards with google data studio or do you have templates?

We have base templates that we use for every client but they get customized to what is important to each client. – @elevatedmrktng

I create my own templates, after starting out using templates and adapting them as we needed – @SarahScarfeMktg

We have our agency’s templates, so we can copy from one to the other and just change the connector and filters – @360vardi

both. I but several templates for different kinds of clients and u have for my own internal use – @AskYisrael

we tend to make our own depending on client needs. – @JuliaVyse

Both — we created a set of templates for various client types/platforms that we tailor to each client’s needs. For most clients, that includes dashboards for overall program performance, platform performance and performance relative to projection + benchmark. – @DigitalSamIAm

I’ll add that I found clients don’t read reports. They care maybe about 2 numbers in there which is fine. They pay us to care about the rest. That’s why it’s critical for PPC managers to try and reduce the reporting time as much as possible and be more active – @360vardi

Q7: Bonus: Can you share your resources for boards?

Here are a couple of resources #ppcchat…

Still a WIP but I’m uploading all of my templates and blog posts and talks about GDS to here –

Q8: Do you automate your reporting being emailed to clients, bosses, etc?

It depends on the client, it’s too much data for some. Others it works well to send up and follow up with a meeting – @elevatedmrktng

Yep! whever possible. the big post-buy is a call where we take them through everything, but the weekly/bi-weekly is automatically sent. – @JuliaVyse

Unfortunately not. We have an email write-up for each report. At this point, with the automation of data and GDS, that’s the major pain point, time consuming portion of every report – @360vardi

I generally don’t automate reports going to clients. I have links to the reports in our weekly call agendas. I go over the report myself before the call to be prepared for anything they might question. – @FindingAmanda

Where ever possible, absolutely. Makes life so much easier for the team, and allows for client status calls to be more strategic + actionable, since everyone has already reviewed the performance and any notes our team has made on it. – @DigitalSamIAm

I always use the automated report send for internal stakeholders. I also use it for client who are more familiar with what we’re doing and don’t need to be walked through it weekly. – @AllyQuilty_MKTG

Q9: What do you wish Google Data Studio could do that it currently cannot?

Use Custom channel groupings – @philip_a

We wish it was quicker in loading pages. – @elevatedmrktng·

#1 – consistently pull data without errors – making a table shouldn’t be different if I copy-paste from another report or create new in the app #2 – feature parity with Google Analytics – let me pull in imported cost data #3 – consistently apply layout features. #4 – work consistently across browsers – use firefox for work mostly because I like its inspect element better, but I can’t for data studio because the interface doesn’t play nice #5 – more useful errors – tell me what the issue is, not just that there’s an issue – @ferkungamaboobo

Perform different joints. Fix their damn null issue. Provide a stable experience. Use Custom Channel Groupings w/o workarounds Support different data models. Actually invest in the product? – @DigitalSamIAm

Q10: Sooooo, why do you use Google Data Studio?

Once you get past starter boards you can really build and customize to each client. It saves a lot of time to visually be able to see the data story we want to tell. – @elevatedmrktng

it’s live data, which I prefer to pulling into excel to share/observe/use. it’s better data vis than excel. wish it was bigger/more supported. – @JuliaVyse

Because it’s free. Literally the only reason. – @DigitalSamIAm

Because when you use something like @Supermetrics you can pull all your PPC and website data in live. It cuts down on time to put together reporting for clients and it gives internal users a great status dashboard for a project. – @AllyQuilty_MKTG·

Q11: What are your helpful resources for Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio Video Tutorials… #ppcchat Google Data Studio Help Forum… Google Data Studio Facebook Group

Q12: Alright that’s all of our questions, what questions do you have for @elevatedmrktng or the group about Google Data Studio?


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