One who has just got started with Google Data Studio would have probably experienced the ‘blank-page syndrome’ where the data source connects, opens up a new file, and then, you have no idea what to do next because there are no instructions or guide rails. It’s just an empty page to fill.

Though you can start with a template as Google Data Studio Report Gallery has several,  it’s still not easy to know how to customize it to perfectly fit your needs.

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Mentioned below are some tried-and-true elements that can be included in PPC dashboards and reports which will help to banish the blank-page syndrome and will give your stakeholders the insights that they crave.


1. Titles, subheads, and context

As you add a chart in Google Data Studio, you get to select the data source, dimensions, metrics, and date range from the Data Panel to populate your visualization.

But your reader doesn’t get to see the Data Panel and will not have the knowledge of what your chart is about unless you include it in your dashboard.

With these tips, you can make your graphs and tables easier to understand at a glance 

– Give a title to your data visualizations.

– For additional context, use subheadings and microcopy.

– Include legends.

– Mention the date range if it’s not included in the chart.

– In case multiple data sources are used throughout your dashboard, clarify which is used in specific charts.


2. KPI scorecards

There’s no need for an article to tell you that your dashboard should include your key performance indicators (KPIs).

But as you plan your dashboard, you must pay special attention to where to include them.

Your KPIs deserve top billing as it matters most in your report. Understand that tables make it hard to identify KPIs as languages that are read left to right, tucking KPIs on the far right of the table will indicate to your reader that these metrics are low priority.

Instead keep your reader focused on your key growth metrics like lead volume, revenue, or return on ad spend (ROAS), instead of vanity and traffic metrics like impressions and clicks.

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3. Goal pacing

Are you someone who uses fixed monthly or annual marketing budgets with no room for adjustments? Or do you have sales or efficiency goals with flexible budgets?

No matter what your approach is, your dashboard should answer the question:

Are we meeting our objectives, and how do we know?

Account objectives and the approach for including goal pacing in your dashboard aren’t standardized. But Data Studio gives you many options for adding objectives and pacing, from literally charting against a goal to adding a written description of the target.

Your reader will get confidence in how to interpret performance data by including goal pacing.


4. Trends and historical comparisons

These let your reader know if things are improving or need improvement over time.

Sometimes you fall short of the goal, but you always miss it because it’s unrealistic. Maybe you hit your goal, but you’re down compared to the previous year, and you need to take corrective action.

Never make your reader wonder whether your current performance is average, down, or the best month ever.

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5. Categorical tables

It’s true that tables aren’t that glamorous, but if your Data Studio dashboard doesn’t have a table, you are probably missing something.

There are times when your audience needs to compare multiple categories across multiple metrics. And a table does this most efficiently.

Use tables for comparing default categories like:

– Campaigns

– Ad groups

– Keywords

– Search terms

– Final URLs


Depending on the complexity of your PPC dashboard, you can also create tables for:

– Engines and platforms

– Channels and networks

– Funnels / intent / stages of awareness

– Brand vs. nonbrand

– Pivots of time segments, conversion types, and other categories


It’s easy to build tables and add metrics, and it’s easy to get carried away. Exercise some restraint and limit the number of metrics in your table, so it remains useful to your reader.

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In a Nutshell

Data Studio dashboard can technically include whatever you want, but it should at a minimum include these:

– Title and context

– KPI scorecards

– Goal pacing

– Historical comparisons

– Categorical tables

Though there are many other charts and visualizations that can take your PPC dashboard from good to great, getting started with this list will set you up for success.

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