BI Tools for PPC Agencies

bi tools ppc agencies

Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio logo

Website: Google Data Studio Homepage

Founding Date: Released out of beta in 2018

Pricing: Free

Quick Backstory: After recognizing how heavily agencies relied on third-party software and BI tools for analysis at scale, Google began working on solutions. Google launched Data Studio out of beta in 2018. The goal was to improve on the reporting workflows offered in Google Analytics. Data Studio empowers marketers with easy URL sharing, refreshable reporting dashboards, and professional visualization tools. Agencies can now send professional reports without needing third-party tools.

How they describe their products: Unlock the power of your data with interactive dashboards and beautiful reports that inspire smarter business decisions. It's easy and free.

Why PPC agencies may like Google Data Studio: There are a lot of reasons for PPC agencies to give Data Studio strong consideration as their BI solution outside of the free price tag. Working in the Google ecosystem means you have access to out of the box integrations with Google Ads and Google Analytics. The PPC community around Google Data Studio continues to grow. There are even galleries of marketing report templates you can start from and add your data to.

Agency Case Studies: In this article, Directive Consulting recaps 10 of the best free Google Data Studio templates in use today at various agencies.

Getting Started: Google offers an Introduction to Data Studio course.

G2 Reviews: Google Data Studio on G2.

Capterra Reviews: See what others are saying about Google Data Studio on Capterra.

Connecting Data Studio to Google BigQuery: Here is our own help article about how to connect data studio to BigQuery.

Tableau by Salesforce

Tableau logo


Founding Date: 2003

Pricing: Pricing details, starts at $70 USD/user/month.

Quick Backstory: Tableau was founded by Christian Chabot, Pat Hanrahan, and Chris Stolte. The data visualization technology that powers Tableau has its roots in systems Hanrahan designed while working at Pixar. On August 1, 2019, Salesforce acquired Tableau for $15.7 billion.

How they describe their products: Get a full picture of your business, inside and out. Connect all of your data with critical external sources like public health status, economic indicators, and government policy.

Why PPC agencies may like tableau: They have great connectors for PPC including their Google Ads connector. Tableau is great for analyzing big datasets and creating dashboards which are common PPC tasks.

Agency Case Studies How CROSSMEDIA agency consultants measure digital advertising effectiveness, saving client dollars.

Getting Started: How to get started with Tableau.

G2 Reviews: Tableau's desktop product profile on G2.

Capterra Reviews: See what others are saying about Tableau on Capterra.

Connecting Tableau to Google BigQuery: Directions from Tableau on how to set up a connection from Tableau to Google BigQuery.

Looker by Google

Looker logo


Founding Date: 2012

Pricing: Looker does not list pricing on their website. You need to request a demo and then get custom pricing.

Quick Backstory: Looker was founded by Lloyd Tabb and Ben Porterfield. They bootstrapped to start. After raising funding in 2012, they brought on Frank Bien who would eventually take over as CEO. The product was the first commercially available business intelligence platform built for (and aimed at) scalable or massively parallel relational database management systems like Amazon Redshift and Google BigQuery. In June of 2019, Looker was acquired for $2.6B by Google. For all the details, check out this article from First Round Capital, The Inside Story of How This Startup Turned a 216-Word Pitch Email into a $2.6 Billion Acquisition.

How they describe their products: How we experience data is not what it used to be. An effective dashboard is great, but it’s not the solution to every problem. You want to get more value from your data, do more with your data, and enable others to work with data in more ways. That’s why Looker provides more options to help you unleash more powerful data experiences.

Why PPC agencies may like Looker: The platform offers beautiful dashboards and the ability to connect to multiple database products including BigQuery and RedShift. There are also built in “blocks” like this Google Ads Analytics block that runs on Google’s Data Transfer Service files in BigQuery.

Getting Started: How to get started with Looker after your demo.

G2 Reviews: Looker's profile on G2.

Capterra Reviews: See what others are saying about Looker on Capterra.

Connecting Looker to Google BigQuery: Here are directions from Looker on how to set up a connection from Looker to Google BigQuery Standard SQL.


Domo logo


Founding Date: 2010

Pricing: Domo does not list any pricing on their website but the company offers a free trial.

Quick Backstory: Domo was founded by Josh James. He is a legend of web analytics having been on the founding team of Omniture. He eventually sold the company to Adobe in 2009 for $1.8B. After his time at Adobe, he left to create the product he always wished he had built at Omniture. That product is Domo. After rapid growth Domo went public in 2018.

How they describe their products: Domo is the fully mobile, cloud-based operating system that unifies every component of your business and delivers it all, right on your phone. Domo brings together all your people, data, and systems into one place for a digitally-connected business.

Why PPC agencies may like Domo: They have specific solutions designed for online marketers.

Agency Case Studies How Rakuten marketing uses Domo to increase productivity of their teams.

Getting Started: Domo has getting started guides for developers. If you become a customer, Domo University is a great resource for training everyone on the team.

G2 Reviews: Domo's profile on G2.

Capterra Reviews: See what others are saying about Domo on Capterra.

Connecting Domo to Google BigQuery:

1. Once in Domo, add a Data Source by clicking the "Data" in the menu.

2. Search for and connect "Google BigQuery Service Account."

3. If you have not already created a Service Account in Google BigQuery, please follow the directions in the "Prerequisite" section first.

4. Select the appropriate service account.

5. Configure the "Details" section as necessary. Note a Report type, SQL Dialect, and Query are mandatory fields.

6. Select the frequency with and time when you wish your query to run.

7. Name your data set. Save.

PowerBI by Microsoft

Microsoft PowerBI logo


Founding Date: 2013

Pricing: You can get started with PowerBi Pro for only $9.99/user/month. Microsoft also offers a free trial of PowerBI.

Quick Backstory: Power BI was developed by a team at Microsoft as “Project Cresent’ from 2010 to 2013. It is based on Microsoft Excel plug-ins.

How they describe their products: Create a data-driven culture with business intelligence for all. Enable everyone at every level of your organization to make confident decisions using up-to-the-minute analytics.

Why PPC agencies may like Power BI: If your PPC agency runs on the Microsoft Office technology stack you may want to give Power BI a close look. There are a lot of cool solutions you can build quickly with Power BI that integrate with other Microsoft products. There is also a large user base of Microsoft Partners developing reporting templates such as this one for digital marketing analytics.

Agency Case Studies Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive put together a great series of videos on how his digital agency and others use PowerBI.

Getting Started: Microsoft’s getting started guide for Power BI will get you making your first data calls. There are also lots of results on YouTube for almost anything you could want to do with the product.

G2 Reviews: Power BI's desktop product profile on G2.

Capterra Reviews: See what others are saying about Power BI on Capterra.

Connecting Power BI to Google BigQuery: Here are directions on how to set up a connection from Power BI Desktop to Google BigQuery.

Connecting PPC Data to BigQuery

In each company profile, we listed instructions for syncing your business intelligence tool of choice with Google BigQuery. But if you haven’t solved how to get your PPC data into BigQuery in a reliable way then your business intelligence tool will be worthless.

We have written how-to guides for transferring PPC data from the most popular ad networks to BigQuery:

TL;DR: The Shape ADI is the easiest way to get multi-channel PPC data into BigQuery :). In just a few clicks, you can get your PPC data populating into BigQuery (for free) and ready for BI tool testing.

Start Uncovering Incredible Insights Today with Shape ADI

Shape ADI is your team’s secret weapon to unlocking industry-changing insights from your PPC data fast. With Shape’s ADI, every company has access to cross-channel PPC data, a two-way PPC API, connectors to popular BI and reporting tools, and a powerful data warehouse.

Looking for more data views or interested to learn more about how to integrate the ADI with your favorite BI tool? Don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation with our engineering team today before diving in.

Schedule a Call

Learn more about how advertising data infrastructures work:

Reporting connectors Shape offers:

Read more from our blog:

PPC Management
Scaling and growing your ppc operations
Product Updates
Recent product related updates and information from the Shape team
Blog Home
Chronological feed of all posts