I asked customers several times how to view billing information for non-Google channels in Google Analytics. You don’t want to go to every paid media channel to check the data. And even if I create a Google Data Studio dashboard that collates all of the data, certain clients are only used to Google Analytics. So what do i do
I import the cost data into a table in Google Analytics. While the process is pretty manual (I’ll admit the manual route is the only way I know), it is fairly straightforward and doesn’t take long.
Let’s dive in so that you can make the ROAS reports for all of your paid channels in Google Analytics a lot easier.
Why import cost data into Google Analytics?
This reporting strategy saves you from having to go to each of your channels individually and report on ad performance separately. With everything in one place, you save time and get a holistic overview of your overall PPC performance.
You can view cost data such as:
of channels like:
If you want to compare your performance against benchmarks, these resources can be helpful:
What information can you upload to Google Analytics?
This seems like a stupid question, but I’m talking about more than just cost information from each channel. This is because we need to map this cost to a data point when we upload our spreadsheets.
Unfortunately, you cannot upload anything from other channels to Google Analytics. There is only a certain number of records. Let’s take them apart.
There are three pieces of information that you must provide when you upload your information. They are the following:
Must contain one
The obvious choice is cost, but all you need to do is specify one of the following options:
Any of the following data may be included when you upload your information, but they are not required. There are other options I’ll list, but some of the options available in Google Analytics only apply to Google Ads accounts. Here are some of the optional records you can include if you want to implement other information about paid media channels:
- Recommendation path
- Ad content
- Final url
- search query
How to create your CSV for cost data import
When creating your spreadsheet (you can refer to this table as an example), each of the data points mentioned in the previous section must be in its own column.
This example I’m offering is getting LinkedIn information for one of my clients (campaign name changed) for June 2021.
Column heading format
And when we’re creating our column headings, we can’t just add the words “campaign” or “medium”. We need to make sure our headers are properly formatted. If you don’t, your upload will be rejected.
So instead of using date as the column heading, you need to format it as ga: date. Instead of Medium as the column heading, you have to format it as ga: medium.
The next important formatting rule is for the date. Your date must be formatted as YYYYMMDD. All other date deviations will not be accepted and your upload will be rejected. And since the format is YYYYMMDD, it means that any date information you get must be at the day level.
Finally, when importing campaign names, I recommend that you ensure that the names in your file uploads match any campaign names that you may manually tag in your URLs. If you don’t, you may see duplicate campaigns in Google Analytics and the data can be split across the same campaigns with different names.
When you select your columns in Google Analytics, you will see the schema ID as in the image below.
After we set this up, let’s go to Google Analytics and upload the data.
How to import cost data into Google Analytics
Select the data import from the properties column
Once you are in Google Analytics, go to your admin area. Then click on the “Data import” link at the bottom of your property column.
Create new data import
Click on the red “Create” button. Then choose Cost Data
Name your dataset
After clicking Next, you’ll need to name your dataset and select the Google Analytics views that you want the dataset to apply to. Then I select the dataset schema options that I set in my spreadsheet example. Notice how the IDs match my column headings
Upload your CSV file
When you save the data set, you must then return to the main data import page. Next you want to click on “Manage Uploads”.
Then upload your CSV file. Personally, I’ve always used the CSV MS-DOS file type as it has never caused any problems.
After you have uploaded your file, you will receive a status message whether the file has been accepted (Completed) or not (Failed). I purposely uploaded my file a couple of times with wrong dates to show you what to see.
Correct any mistakes
If your upload status shows as failed, you can click the failed link for information on what exactly needs to be fixed. Here is an example when I used incorrect column headings.
You can see how easy it is to find your mistakes and correct the mistakes.
Freshen up as needed
Once you have a completed upload, you are done. If you ever need to update a record because, for example, you have uploaded a longer period of time. You can always go back to Manage Uploads to delete older files and / or upload new ones.
Your cost data is now visible in Google Analytics
To view your cost data in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition> Campaigns> Cost Analysis.
It can take a few hours for your data to appear in Google Analytics. However, now you can create a custom report to show cost data from your other paid media channels in Google Analytics.
How to customize your cost analysis report
In the example above we are sorting by source / medium and can see cost, CTR and CPC data. However, you can also add a secondary dimension to display by campaign, ad content, and keyword. And you can add additional metrics like ROAS, transactions, revenue, RPC (revenue per click), and more.
To do this, click Edit in the top right corner of your report. Here you can add metrics and customize your dimension breakdowns.
Is it possible to automate the cost data import process?
Yes. There are several popular tools out there that can automate the daily import of ad expense data.
Thanks to such tools, you don’t have to go to each advertising account and manually export the ad cost data for the selected period and then prepare a CSV file in the format required for import into Google Analytics.
You simply connect your Google Analytics account, select the ad platforms you use and the system automatically imports your ad cost data every day.
Examples of such tools (including ours):
And as mentioned above, you can also create a dashboard in Data Studio with the same information.
See your ad performance across multiple networks in Google Analytics
As you can see, there are a few steps you need to take to enter this information into Google Analytics, but these tasks don’t take long.
Importing data (and you can do a lot more than just entering cost data) can make it easier for you or your customers to view a lot of information from all of your paid media channels in one place.