One of the most important aspects of running any business is introducing the products or services offered by that business to a wider audience. To do this, marketing campaigns are usually organized with the intention of wooing new customers and improving sales. With the rise of the internet, advertising is increasingly being done through online channels and Google Ads is the most popular platform.
In this blog post, you will learn how to connect Google Ads to Google Data Studio, a business intelligence platform, in order to analyze data generated during the course of your Google Ads campaigns, with a view to understand your market segment better and fine-tune your outreach efforts.
This blog post assumes that the reader is familiar with the concept of accessing digital resources on the world wide web and has a basic notion of online advertising. The tools that will be covered are Google Ads and Data Studio, particularly how to set up a seamless interaction between them so that data flows from the former to the latter.
At the end of this article, you will be able to not only hold conversations on topics related to digital advertising and Google Ads but will also be able to use the step by step instructions provided to supercharge your Google Ads campaigns by leveraging the power of data analysis through the connection of your Google Ads data to Data Studio.
What is Digital Advertising?
Digital advertising as the name implies is a form of advertising in which content is promoted to users via digital channels. This type of advertising usually happens online across emails, social media apps, search engines, video streaming sites, etc. It has the advantage of being able to be placed in front of more eyes as the internet has now become an integral part of everyday life.
When compared to advertising on traditional channels like radios and newspapers, digital advertising can be laser-focused by aligning advertisements to users’ interests such that those users are more likely to be persuaded since the advertisements are relevant. Digital advertising which is sometimes known as online advertising, web advertising or internet advertising in recent years has started taking a larger portion of the entire worldwide advertising spend as brands, companies and individuals are forced to move their campaigns to where their users are which is increasingly online.
Coupled with the fine-grained targeting that is only possible in the online domain, advertisers are turning to online channels to move users along the customer journey so as to increase sales and meet revenue targets. Beyond advertising to attract new customers, a good digital advertising strategy can help foster long term relationships between brands and individuals as individuals now expect to be able to connect with brands online.
There are many types of digital advertising such as search advertising, display advertising, social advertising, influencer advertising, etc. and the right fit for a marketing campaign will be dependent on the end goals set forth by the campaign as each type of advertising has its unique set of advantages when applied correctly. The biggest online player in digital advertising is Google with its Google Ads product although social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. are beginning to receive more and more advertising dollars because of the promise of an engaged audience.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads as mentioned in the last section is a dominant online advertising platform. It is developed by Google and is made up of the Google Search Network and Google Display Network. Advertisers pay to show their advertisements either on Google Search results with the ads displayed just above the organic search results or on Google Display Network which includes mobile apps, videos, Gmail and other third-party websites that are a part of the Google advertising ecosystem.
Google Ads uses an auction-based system in which advertisers bid for the right to display ads based on certain keywords related to their products or services. Google Ads uses a Cost Per Click (CPC) model for ads displayed on the Google Search Network, so advertisers that utilize its platform are charged when the ads they display are clicked on. Another benefit of Google Ads compared to other online advertising platforms is “buyer’s intent”.
Most people today begin their research with a Google search whenever they want to purchase a new product or service, so Google optimizes the ads that are shown to users based on their keyword queries. It is these keywords and the right to display ads to those users that are auctioned to advertisers. Since the user is already interested in that search term, there is a higher likelihood of the ad converting (making the user perform an action deemed beneficial to the advertiser) than if it was shown to just about anyone.
Google Ads also provides metrics like the Click Through Rate (CTR), which is the ratio of people that clicked on the ad compared to the total number of times it was displayed, the number of clicks, the cost per thousand impressions (CPM), the number of conversions, the Cost per Conversion (CPC), etc. Using these metrics, advertisers can know how well their marketing campaigns are performing vis-a-vis their stated goals. It is these metrics that you will feed into Data Studio in a later portion of this blog post when you connect it to Google Ads.
What is Data Studio?
Data Studio is a data visualization tool by Google that is primarily aimed at giving non-technical users the ability to analyze and visualize data from a variety of sources. It is an easy-to-use dashboard and reporting tool that can be used for business intelligence to glean insights from data. Data Studio can connect to databases such as PostgreSQL and MySQL, it can also connect to data warehouses like BigQuery. Data Studio features about 17 connectors to Google-related products like Google Sheets, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Ads, which is what you will employ in this article.
Through Data Studio, once an appropriate source of data has been connected to it, one can ask questions about their data and display the answers in plots, graphs, charts, tables, etc. by way of an intuitive point and click interface. Similar reports can even be grouped together to produce holistic dashboards that tell a specific data story.
An Overview of the Data Studio Interface
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Connect Google Ads to Google Data Studio
To complete this section, it is expected that you have access to a Google Ads account which you will connect to Data Studio but before you do that it may be worthwhile to ponder on why you want to do so. Assume you are running a large-scale online advertising campaign and you want to be able to get a sense of the overall direction of the campaign and its performance so you can gauge areas you want to improve on using the hard numbers as a guide.
Then it becomes immediately clear that you need a way to crunch those numbers, analyze trends that may not be obvious, summarize your findings, and present those results in a format that makes your conclusions actionable. This is where a tool like Data Studio comes in handy as it gives you an embedded platform to perform the desired analytics without the steep technical skills. All you need to do is point it to the right data source, in this case, your Google Ads account, and you are ready to begin exploration.
To connect Google Ads to Data Studio, you will first of all need to log in to Data Studio. You can use your Google account to do so at this address – https://datastudio.google.com/
After a successful login, follow the series of steps below to properly set up the connection from Google Ads to Google Data Studio:
- Click on the Create button in the left panel, then select Data Source.
- Next click on the Google Ads connector from the list of connectors.
- Select your Google Ads account.
- Click on the Connect button that appears at the top right corner of the page.
- Then click on the Create Report button at the top right corner of the page.
- Click the Add to Report button that is presented as a modal as part of the report creation step.
The newly created report will now be displayed with a valid connection to your Google Ads account. You can then start customizing the report to suit your use case by taking advantage of the available data and visualization controls provided by Data Studio.
Below is a sample Google Ads dashboard built using Data Studio.
In the above sections, you learned about digital advertising, the prominent position Google Ads occupies in the online advertising sphere, and how to use it. You also gained an understanding of the importance of data analysis and how it can guide an online campaign to achieve its desired goals. You were also introduced to Data Studio which contains data visualization and reporting controls that can easily be harnessed to create dashboards. Finally, you were able to connect your Google Ads account to Data Studio using Hevo for free. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what is achievable by using Google Ads in conjunction with Data Studio to map out your marketing strategy.
If you want to explore further, feel free to check out the official documentation for both tools. Also, Data Studio can be augmented with data from various sources to enrich the reports that you create and there are several third-party vendors that provide connectors to a disparate set of storage solutions.
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