How to create a Google Analytics PPC dashboard in Google Data Studio
Google Analytics helps you keep track of the success of your paid search campaigns. You can monitor and analyze the types of traffic that you’re receiving – increased website activity or conversions – and determine what you need to do to be more effective. But this data will mean nothing if you can’t easily share it with your audience and stakeholders. This is why building a Google Analytics PPC dashboard is so important. But how do you start?
Building your GA dashboard
Before you ever decide to start creating your PPC dashboard, you need to consider what you do and do not want to report. Just because you’ve gotten stats on everything from age range to traffic sources doesn’t mean that your stakeholders are interested in them. Instead, really think about the goals and objectives that have been set before you.
From a paid search standpoint, you probably want to be looking at these KPIs – but that might not always be the case. So, you need to be flexible and respond to what your clients really need to see:
- Click-through rate
- Cost per click
There may be others that you want to include like bounce rate or pages per session, but you shouldn’t overwhelm the reader with too many meaningless stats. Only put in ones that will support your overall objectives.
Now that you’ve determined what stats you want, you need to figure out how often your dashboard will be distributed to your stakeholders. Typically, reports are sent on a weekly or monthly basis. This is especially true for clients, upper management and certain members of your team. People working alongside you on projects might need to see these reports more often, and your direct manager – as well as yourself – may want to look at daily reports. But determine the cadence ahead of time to avoid any issues.
How to create your dashboard
It’s now time to come up with a layout for your report. Review your metrics, and decide if those would look better as line or bar charts, graphs, etc. The more visual that you can make your reports the better.
While there are many that are willing to look at raw data, most people want something better than a simple download of numbers. This is where visuals can really make your reports more meaningful – and help you stand out from the crowd.
Google Analytics dashboards are pretty rudimentary. This is where third-party tools can really help. Google introduced Data Studio over the past few years as a way to ensure that your data is presented in a more visually stunning way – and that you can automate those reports.
Plus, Data Studio has templates that you can use. While they aren’t very robust, you can actually pull in third-party tools like Supermetrics, which comes with a gallery of templates for nearly all types of reports imaginable. And, you can add connectors to allow you to pull in data from your other paid search platforms like Bing or Facebook to which Google Analytics and Data Studio don’t natively connect.
Step-by-step process for setting up your Google Analytics PPC dashboard
If you plan on building your dashboard strictly in Google Analytics, then the process is pretty straightforward. You simply need to go to Reports, Customization and Dashboards. Click Create, and add the PPC elements that you want to your dashboard.
The problem with Google Analytics is that it’s pretty limited and won’t show off your data adequately. If you wish to connect Google Analytics to Data Studio, your PPC dashboard will be much more robust. Here’s how to build a dashboard in Data Studio.
When you log into your account, you’ll have a couple of options. You can create a blank report or use templates. Data Studio already has a number of prebuilt templates, where all you need to do is adjust your data and add different data sources if you don’t want to use the ones already in the system. You can find the templates within the Template Gallery.
Psst! Make sure to also check out Supermetrics’ PPC reporting templates for Google Data Studio.
While Data Studio has quite a few dashboards, one of the problems with using the Data Studio templates is that you can’t export them as Excel documents, which many companies still prefer to use. You can share the dashboard with via email with your stakeholders or even allow certain people to have access.
This is where Supermetrics can really assist you. If you connect Data Studio to Supermetrics, you can download your reports as Excel documents as well as share them with your clients and management.
Building your report
The most important part of your Data Studio dashboard is the data sources. This is where you’ll connect your different channels, including Google Analytics. On the right-hand side, you’ll see Create New Data Source. Click this, and navigate to Google Analytics.
You can find a full guide for adding data sources here.
Designing your report
Once you add all of your connectors, it’s time to come up with a design – if you’re not using a template. Why is this important? Your report should tell a story. Start with the most important stats – the ones that the stakeholders will want to see front and center. Then, move down to the supporting data.
Think of your report as a thesis. At the top, you should have a brief outline of goals, objectives, challenges, etc. The rest of your report should say how you’re addressing those goals. For example, if you the whole point of the campaign is to increase conversions, then the dashboard’s top chart should be how conversions have increased from week to week or month to month.
Add enough stats on the main dashboard page to ensure that you address any questions that the client may have. You can add additional pages to your dashboard to show supporting data or even raw numbers.
There are more than 30 different types of charts, graphs and tables in Data Studio. Look at your data, and decide what type would best show off your stats. Feel free to experiment with different charts to see which ones best display your data.
If your dashboard is showing too much data, you can reduce the amount shown with the Filter option.
Be sure to add text headers to make sure that your readers know what each chart represents. You can simply drag a text box over the data. Also, adding the logos of your client to the report can make it more personalized.
From there, you can also add different color schemes and themes to your dashboards as well.
It’s worth making a note of blended data and calculated metrics. While the goal of this might be to show off your Google Analytics data, you might also want to pull in some additional data outside of what Google Analytics provides – again, your Facebook or Bing ad campaigns.
Blended data allows you to combine these different data sources – as long as they’re connected to your dashboard – into a single metric that can adequately show off how all your PPC efforts are working. It’s pretty straightforward to create blended data sources in your reports.
How to ensure your reports stay relevant
The problem with manual reports is that you have to “manually” update them. With a dashboard, your data is always current – constantly refreshing with the latest information from all your different channels. But just because you have the latest data doesn’t mean that your report will remain relevant to your clients or stakeholders.
So, be sure to check with your audience to ensure that they’re getting the stats they need for their current goals. Also, double-check the goals and objectives, and see if they have changed. If so, update your stats to meet the current push.
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