If you work for a marketing agency, and whether it’s with paid ads, SEO, social media, email marketing, or web analytics, you must have faced the task of creating client reports or dashboards. And most clients are not looking for granular data on a spreadsheet.

They want to see KPIs that show their overall advertising performance and how much profit you’re getting for their spend. This is where data visualization tools such as Google Data Studio come along. But what is a KPI dashboard in fact? It’s simply a visual representation of the most important measures of performance that should drive decision-making. Ideally, your client gets an idea of the results just by skimming through the charts.

Why use templates?

By using templates, you will save time by not having to build the layout and format or choosing between different components such as charts, tables, time series, and scorecards.

Before we get started, it’s also good to acknowledge that these dashboard templates are not meant for deep analysis. If you want to manipulate your data, pull it into a spreadsheet first, for example Google Sheets or Excel, before visualizing the data for your clients on Data Studio.

What metrics to include?

Most clients are concerned with the following metrics:

  • Clicks
  • Conversions
  • Impressions
  • Click-through rate
  • Cost per click
  • Cost per conversion
  • Cost
  • Revenue

These common metrics are good indicators of your campaigns’ overall performance. Depending on which specific area of marketing you’re working with, you might want to add other metrics such as open rate for email campaigns or bounce rate for website and blog content.

How to set up your dashboard?

Google Data Studio has its own report gallery where you can find some handy marketing templates for free.

But if you’re looking for more template options, there are also multiple template galleries available on third-party websites. These templates are also free, even if the tools offered by these websites require paid subscription.

Here, I will use a paid ads template called Google Ads vs Facebook Ads. This is a free dashboard template for Google Data Studio by Supermetrics. I’m using the Supermetrics tool to avoid collecting and organizing the data from these two different sources. I can pull it directly to the Data Studio platform using their partner connector.

When you join two or more data sources to your dashboard, this is called data blending. You can blend up to 5 data sources in your charts and they need to have at least one dimension as a join key. Blended data is especially useful for comparing performance between channels.

It’s also worth mentioning that Google Data Studio doesn’t natively connect to advertising platforms which are not Google properties, such as Facebook Ads in this case. Follow these three steps to get started:

  1. Make a copy of the dashboard template.
  2. Add data by connecting to your data sources.
  3. Under Partner Connectors, find Ad Data + Google Analytics By Supermetrics.

Remember to select the correct view for your Google Analytics when adding the connector.

Also, if you’re dealing with large data sets, Google might sample your data. Data sampling can happen when you have more than 500K sessions included in your selected date range. It means that Google takes only a portion of your data and uses it to estimate the total.

Sampled data is fine for analyzing overall trends. But it can lead to inaccuracies and might not be the best choice if you want precise numbers, for example in terms of your conversion rates. You may tick the box if you wish to avoid it but that also tends to slow down the fetching process.

After connecting to the data sources, your charts will seem to have some missing metrics, which makes them look like this:

Click on a chart and fix the invalid metric by selecting the right calculated field from the sidebar.

Repeat the same procedure for each chart with missing metrics to finalize your dashboard.

You can also further customize the dashboard template based on your needs. For example, you may adjust the headings, delete items, change your date range, or filter out specific campaigns.

Once you’re done with the adjustments, you will get your KPI dashboard. The first page should look like this:

On top, you have the scorecards for both Google Ads and Facebook Ads, covering your key metrics: click-through rate, cost per conversion, and cost per click. The same data is also represented in the time series right below.

In this sample, Facebook seems to drive clicks and conversions at a lower cost than Google Ads but here we have no data on the lifetime value of these conversions. For that, we would need to build another report with more granular data.

Below, we have the pie charts showcasing the share of costs, impressions, clicks, and conversions for each advertising platform. The same data is used in the table where it’s split by campaign, allowing your clients to compare the performance between different campaigns.

Since targeting is an integral part of advertising campaigns, this template also has a second page where the click data is split by your audience’s geography, device, and age.

In general, it’s a good practice to add additional pages to your dashboards if you want to include more charts. Instead of having all charts on one page, adding a second page minimizes the complexity of your dashboard and makes it more user-friendly for your clients.

The second page should look like this:

On top, you have geographical maps showing the locations from where you’re getting clicks. Below, you have bar charts displaying the click distributions by users’ device and age.

Here, for example, clicks from Google Ads campaigns are more focused on the Americas, desktop users, and especially those under the age of 45. This is useful data for targeting.

Useful dashboard features

These dashboards have a refreshing feature. You can refresh them automatically from all of your different channels at once. This means there’s no need for manual updates.

To share the dashboard with others, click the share button in the upper right corner.

Simply add the people that you want to send your dashboard to, or get a shareable link.

You might also want to download your dashboard as PDF, or schedule an automatic email delivery to your clients.

These features together with free templates make your reporting process fast and efficient. And your clients get a visually appealing KPI dashboard that shows them the numbers they actually care about.

Conclusion

To avoid creating templates manually from scratch, you can save time by using third-party templates. It takes only a few minutes to set up your KPI dashboard on Google Data Studio using templates such as the one used in this article. You can find a suitable dashboard template for any niche, including affiliate marketing. And your data always remains up to date.

You can also access other useful templates from Google Data Studio’s own report gallery or third-party websites. Always place your audience at the forefront when creating dashboards. It’s usually better to focus dashboards around just a few KPIs, especially if you’re showing your results to clients who are non-marketers.