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How To Build A Facebook Ads Dashboard In Google Data Studio



How To Build A Facebook Ads Dashboard In Google Data Studio

Facebook Ads are an important part of many businesses’ digital marketing strategies.

Whether the objective is to build awareness or generate sales and revenue, measuring and reporting on campaign efficacy can be challenging.

You may wonder, are my Facebook Ads working? Or should I invest my marketing budget elsewhere?

The Facebook Ads platform allows you to create reports with data sliced and diced in many different ways, providing great insights into the ads’ performance.

However, Facebook Ads reporting can be overwhelming and confusing.

Even a simple dashboard can help you raise the bar and elevate your reporting to a new level.

In this column, you’ll learn how to do just that using a Google Data Studio dashboard for your Facebook Ads performance reporting.

Why You Need A Facebook Ads Dashboard

There is no lack of reporting solutions out there, but Google Data Studio, in our opinion, tops the list.

It’s easy to use, fast, and most importantly, it’s free.

There are also several additional benefits, starting with your ability to natively import data from Google Analytics.

That means you can measure the effectiveness of your Facebook campaigns and compare how they do against the performance of other channels.

Additionally, a dashboard enables you to easily manipulate the data and present it in multiple reports or charts.

But that’s not all. From the user perspective, dashboards are much easier to manage than reports when analyzing and comparing data sets and/or date ranges.

How To Get Started With Google Data Studio And Facebook Ads

While Google Data Studio is an amazing tool in the digital marketer’s arsenal, integrating Facebook Ads data requires a few additional steps compared to Google’s native platforms such as Google Ads, Google Analytics, etc.

Fear not. Countless manual and automated solutions allow you to import the data from Facebook Ads into Data Studio.

Whichever you choose, you should still be able to achieve a beautiful and valuable dashboard for you and your business.

Importing The Data Manually

Let’s start with a manual import of the data.

1. Exporting The Data

The easiest way to get this underway is to create a downloadable report in Facebook Ads.

Be aware that if you want to measure the success of your ads by platform (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and/or placement (Instagram Stories, Feed, Right Hand Column, etc.) you will not be able to see metrics such as Purchases, Purchases Conversion Value, or Cost per purchase.

That level of data is not available on the (Facebook Ads) platform, so it is also not accessible through the data no matter how you pull it, whether via the API, a connector, or manually downloaded as in our case.

Conversion data is only available at the top level.

If you want to see how your ads perform and measure their ROI (return on investment) or ROAS (return on ad spend), you will need to download the data broken down by Campaign, Ad Set, and/or time – only.

You can still create and download an additional report that breaks the data down by delivery and, therefore, Platform and Placement.

However, that will only show you performance metrics such as Impressions, Reach, Clicks, CPC (cost-per-click), CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions), etc.

There is still a great case for using this data to evaluate and understand the performance of our ads across each platform and placement, and to use those lessons to optimize the campaign delivery.

Step 1: Head to Ads reporting and create a new report.

Screenshot from Facebook Ads Manager, June 2022creating a new report in FB ads reporting

Step 2: Choose the metrics and dimensions for your report.

choosing dimensionsScreenshot from Facebook Ads Manager, June 2022

Here, it’s important that you have the final outcome in mind and what data you will require for the dashboard.

Step 3: Schedule the report.

scheduling reportsScreenshot from Facebook Ads Manager, June 2022

This is optional, but getting the reports sent to your inbox instead of downloading them every single time will make your life much easier!

Step 4: You might need to manipulate the data.

data manipulationScreenshot from author, June 2022

Aligning the data downloaded from Facebook Ads might require some small changes.

In our example above, we changed the date column to ensure that Google Data Studio would recognize it.

2. Importing The Data

Once you download the data in a CSV or Excel format, you can import it into Google Sheets.

Step 5: From Excel to Google Sheets.

importing Google Sheets fileScreenshot from Google Sheets, June 2022

If you have scheduled the report to be emailed regularly, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, you can automate some of the steps above.

Solutions like Zapier allow you to set up auto-imports of the data from the email attachment directly into Google Sheets.

Since this can be different from setup to setup, we won’t cover that process in this guide. However, a quick Google search should help.

After you import the data, connect the sheet to Data Studio as a data source.

Step 6: Add the data.

adding dataScreenshot from Google Data Studio, June 2022

You will only need to connect the Google Sheet to the Data Studio Dashboard once.

Once connected, any changes to the data in the sheet will be reflected in the dashboard.

When adding data to Data Studio from a CSV or Google Sheets, note some really important things.

Treat metrics such as reach and frequency and calculated metrics such as CPC, CPM, etc., carefully when combining and aggregating the data.

More on that in a few minutes. In the meantime, we can start designing and building our dashboard.

Designing And Building The Dashboard

Step 7: Start adding some design and feature elements.

Google Data StudioScreenshot from Google Data Studio, June 2022

We added a logo and date range control in our example and made them “report-level.”

That means that these elements will be copied across all of the pages of our dashboard, which can be very handy!

From here on, the options are endless.

Step 8: Change theme, add the data with scorecards and tables, visualize it with charts, and more.

Facebook ads dashboard on Google Data StudioScreenshot from Google Data Studio, June 2022

We started with a few scorecards to show top-line performance and KPIs in our example.

top-line performance and KPIsScreenshot from Google Data Studio, June 2022

You can also add free text to include commentary, insights, and recommendations.

Step 9: Add additional features to your dashboard.

add additional featuresScreenshot from Google Data Studio, June 2022

You can now customize your pages and how you access the data with filters, segments, sliders, drop-down lists, and more.

Going back to our example, the screenshot above shows how using drop-down lists makes it possible to zoom into subsets of data.

Here, we can choose to segment it by platform (i.e., Instagram, Facebook, etc.).

Rinse And Repeat

And there you have it – the basic steps to create a Data Studio dashboard for your Facebook Ads.

It is that easy.

You can add new data sources, bring additional datasets into the report, and create even more granular and advanced reports within your dashboards.

Metrics Such As Reach And Frequency

As mentioned above, some metrics need to be managed carefully.

For example, if we have a report that includes the frequency of the ads broken down by week, neither the sum nor average of those values will give you the accurate number as it would be reported on the Facebook Ads platform or reports.

I suggest downloading and adding the data for the period you would like to report on and adding it as a separate sheet (or tab if included in the existing report).

Calculated Metrics

For values like average click-through-rate, CPC,  CPM, or even ROI (return on investment) and ROAS, I suggest adding these as metrics calculated within Data Studio.

Doing so is simple.

In the metrics, select Add Metric, Create Field, and there you can build your values.

Note that this is not limited to just these simple metrics, but you can also create and add your own metrics.

Platform placement performanceScreenshot from Google Data Studio, June 2022

For instance, you could add values such as Gross Profit Margin or other financial metrics that allow you to better understand how your business is performing in relation to the Facebook advertising, and straight from within the dashboard!

Connectors And Automation

It’s easy and quick to create an integrated solution that relies on manually downloading the data or setting up a workflow that uses tools like Zapier.

However, there are also more advanced options.

These are particularly useful for agencies and large-scale businesses that need to minimize manual tasks and favor full automation for reliability (i.e., reducing the margin of error) and speed, especially when working with large datasets.

For this purpose, our company uses Dataslayer (though there are others, too), a reporting tool that provides a powerful and easy-to-use Google Sheets connector.

The benefit is that you can create and save queries in your sheet with the connector and, once they’re set, can automatically pull the data and refresh it regularly.

So, for example, we could set the query to download the data every Monday for the previous seven days and therefore have the Data Studio dashboard automatically refreshed and updated every week – without having to lift a finger.

Final Considerations

As we have seen, creating a useful dashboard requires a bit of planning and work to set up.

But the beauty of it is that dashboards (as a collection of reports and charts) are extremely powerful and flexible by nature.

Don’t be afraid to start with a simple version and keep creating multiple iterations of it with different views, tables, charts, and more.

The time and efforts invested will be more than worth it!

Featured Image: Griboedov/Shutterstock

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What went wrong with ‘the Metaverse’? An insider’s postmortem



What went wrong with 'the Metaverse'? An insider's postmortem

It’s now two years since Facebook changed its name to Meta, ushering in a brief but blazing enthusiasm over “the Metaverse”, a concept from science fiction that suddenly seemed to be the next inevitable leap in technology. For most people in tech, however, the term has since lost its luster, seemingly supplanted by any product with “artificial intelligence” attached to its description. 

But the true story of the Metaverse’s rise and fall in public awareness is much more complicated and interesting than simply being the short life cycle of a buzzword — it also reflects a collective failure of both imagination and understanding.  


The forgotten novel

Ironically, many tech reporters discounted or even ignored the profound influence of Snow Crash on actual working technologists. The founders of Roblox and Epic (creator of Fortnite) among many other developers were directly inspired by the novel. Despite that, Neal Stephenson’s classic cyberpunk tale has often been depicted as if it were an obscure dystopian tome which merely coined the term. As opposed to what it actually did: describe the concept with a biblical specificity that thousands of developers have referenced in their virtual world projects — many of which have already become extremely popular.


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Snow Crash.

You can see this lack of clarity in many of the mass tech headlines attempting to describe the Metaverse in the wake of Facebook’s name change: 

In a widely shared “obituary” to the Metaverse, Business Insider’s Ed Zitron even compounded the confusion still further by inexplicably misattributing the concept to TRON, the original Disney movie from the 80s.

Had the media referenced Snow Crash far more accurately when the buzz began, they’d come away with a much better understanding of why so many technologists are excited by the Metaverse concept — and realize its early incarnation is already gaining strong user traction.  

Because in the book, the Metaverse is a vast, immersive virtual world that’s simultaneously accessible by millions of people through highly customizable avatars and powerful experience creation tools that are integrated with the offline world through its virtual economy and external technology. In other words, it’s more or less like Roblox and Fortnite — platforms with many tens of millions of active users. 

But then again, the tech media can’t be fully blamed for following Mark Zuckerberg’s lead.

Rather than create a vision for its Metaverse iterating on already successful platforms — Roblox’s 2020 IPO filing even describes itself as the metaverse — Meta’s executive leadership cobbled together a mishmash of disparate products. Most of which, such as remotely working in VR headsets, remain far from proven. According to an internal Blind survey, a majority of Zuckerberg’s own employees say he has not adequately explained what he means by the Metaverse even to them.

Grievous of all, Zuckerberg and his CTO Andrew Bosworth promoted a conception of the Metaverse in which the Quest headset was central. To do so, they had to overlook compelling evidence — raised by senior Microsoft researcher danah boyd at the time of the company acquiring Oculus in 2014 — that females have a high propensity to get nauseous using VR.

Meta Quest 3 comes out on October 10 for $500.
Meta Quest 3.

Contacted in late 2022 while writing Making a Metaverse That Matters, danah told me no one at Oculus or Meta followed up with her about the research questions she raised. Over the years, I have asked several senior Meta staffers (past and present) about this and have yet to receive an adequate reply. Unsurprisingly, Meta’s Quest 2 VR headset has an estimated install base of only about 20 million units, significantly smaller than the customer count of leading video game consoles. A product that tends to make half the population puke is not exactly destined for the mass market — let alone a reliable base for building the Metaverse. 

Ironically, Neal Stephenson himself has frequently insisted that virtual reality is absolutely not a prerequisite for the Metaverse, since flat screens display immersive virtual worlds just fine. But here again, the tech media instead ratified Meta’s flawed VR-centric vision by constantly illustrating articles about the Metaverse with photos of people happily donning headsets to access it — inadvertently setting up a straw man destined to soon go ablaze.

Duct-taped to yet another buzzword

Further sealing the Metaverse hype wave’s fate, it crested around the same time that Web3 and crypto were still enjoying their own euphoria period. This inevitably spawned the “cryptoverse” with platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox. When the crypto crash came, it was easy to assume the Metaverse was also part of that fall.

But the cryptoverse platforms failed in the same way that other crypto schemes have gone awry: By offering a virtual world as a speculative opportunity, it primarily attracted crypto speculators, not virtual world enthusiasts. By October of 2022, Decentraland was only tracking 7,000 daily active users, game industry analyst Lars Doucet informed me

“Everybody who is still playing is basically just playing poker,” as Lars put it. “This seems to be a kind of recurring trend in dead-end crypto projects. Kind of an eerie rhyme with left-behind American cities where drugs come in and anyone who is left is strung out at a slot machine parlor or liquor store.”

All this occurred as the rise of generative AI birthed another, shinier buzzword — one that people not well-versed in immersive virtual worlds could better understand.

But as “the Metaverse” receded as a hype totem, a hilarious thing happened: Actual metaverse platforms continued growing. Roblox now counts over 300 million monthly active users, making its population nearly the size of the entire United States; Fortnite had its best usage day in 6 years. Meta continues plodding along but seems to finally be learning from its mistakes — for instance, launching a mobile version of its metaverse platform Horizon Worlds.  

Roblox leads the rise of user-generated content.

Into this mix, a new wave of metaverse platforms is preparing to launch, refreshingly led by seasoned, successful game developers: Raph Koster with Playable Worlds, Jenova Chen with his early, successful forays into metaverse experiences, and Everywhere, a metaverse platform lead developed by a veteran of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

At some point, everyone in tech who co-signed the “death” of the Metaverse may notice this sustained growth. By then however, the term may no longer require much usage, just as the term “information superhighway” fell away as broadband Internet went mainstream.  

Wagner James Au is author of Making a Metaverse That Matters: From Snow Crash & Second Life to A Virtual World Worth Fighting For 

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.

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Social media blocks are “a suppression of an essential avenue for transparency”



In this photo illustration the word censored is seen displayed on a smartphone with the logos of social networks Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube in the background.

Once praised as the defining feature of the internet, the ability to connect with physically distant people is something that governments have recently been seemingly intent on restricting. Authorities have been increasingly pulling the plug, putting over 4 billion people in the shadows in the first half of 2023 alone

Social media platforms are often the first means of communication to be restricted. Surfshark, one of the most popular VPN services, counted at least 50 countries guilty of having curbed these websites and apps during periods of political turmoil such as protests, elections, or military activity.

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Former Myanmar colonel who once served as information minister gets 10-year prison term for sedition



Former Myanmar colonel who once served as information minister gets 10-year prison term for sedition

BANGKOK (AP) — A former high-profile Myanmar army officer who had served as information minister and presidential spokesperson in a previous military-backed government has been convicted of sedition and incitement, a legal official said Thursday. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Ye Htut, a 64-year old retired lieutenant colonel, is the latest in a series of people arrested and jailed for writing Facebook posts that allegedly spreading false or inflammatory news. Once infrequently prosecuted, there has been a deluge of such legal actions since the army seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.

He was arrested in late October after a military officer from the Yangon Regional Military Command reportedly filed a change against him, around the time when some senior military officers were purged on other charges, including corruption. He was convicted on Wednesday, according to the official familiar with the legal proceedings who insisted on anonymity for fear of being punished by the authorities.

Ye Htut had been the spokesperson from 2013 to 2016 for President Thein Sein in a military-backed government and also information minister from 2014 to 2016.

After leaving the government in 2016, Ye Htut took on the role of a political commentator and wrote books and posted articles on Facebook. For a time, he was a visiting senior research fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a center for Southeast Asia studies in Singapore.

After the army’s 2021 takeover, he often posted short personal vignettes and travel essays on Facebook in which he made allusions that were generally recognized to be critical of Myanmar’s current military rulers.

The army’s takeover triggered mass public protests that the military and police responded to with lethal force, triggering armed resistance and violence that has escalated into a civil war.

The official familiar with the court proceedings against Ye Htut told The Associated Press that he was sentenced by a court in Yangon’s Insein prison to seven years for sedition and three years for incitement. Ye Htut was accused on the basis of his posts on his Facebook account, and did not hire a lawyer to represent him at his trial, the official said.

The sedition charge makes disrupting or hindering the work of defense services personnel or government employees punishable by up to seven years in prison. The incitement charge makes it a crime to publish or circulate comments that cause fear, spread false news, agitate directly or indirectly for criminal offences against a government employee — an offense punishable by up to three years in prison.

However, a statement from the Ministry of Legal Affairs said he had been charged under a different sedition statute. There was no explanation for the discrepancy.

According to detailed lists compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a watchdog group based in Thailand, 4,204 civilians have died in Myanmar in the military government’s crackdown on opponents and at least 25,474 people have been arrested.

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