What is a PPC Data Pipeline?

What is a PPC Data Pipeline?

A PPC data pipeline is software that accepts PPC data from multiple sources, standardizes its formatting, and creates an automated data flow that can be sent to other destinations such as business intelligence tools or data warehouses.

Data pipelines have become increasingly important in PPC as leading agencies set out to build custom solutions for their clients driven by their unique data sets and strategies.

But building custom PPC tools is not easy. More PPC data than ever is flowing into agencies. For a holistic view of their clients’ performance, agencies need this data populated across many tools in their ever-increasing tech stacks. The challenge is that data is coming from multiple ad networks, and is primarily accessible manually via the platforms or programmatically via constantly-changing APIs.

This is where a PPC data pipeline comes in. A PPC data pipeline creates a link between an agency’s raw PPC data and the tools the team is using.

The Rise of Data Pipelines in PPC: “Get All Your Data into One Place”

A growing number of companies are offering products to help digital advertisers better manage their data. Almost all of them share a version of the same value proposition: “Get all your marketing data into one place.” Companies such as Supermetrics, Funnel, Adverity, Cervinoata, and Improvado have built their businesses by connecting to dozens of marketing data sources and delivering data to tools agencies use every day.

One such tool is Google Data Studio. The number of teams employing data pipelines has steadily increased as agencies look for manageable ways to convert all their raw cross-platform PPC data into intelligible Data Studio reports. A very common use of traditional data pipelines is feeding these types of reporting workflows.

But reporting at scale is only one of the challenges facing modern PPC agencies. Agencies are increasingly building custom optimization tools to enhance their clients’ campaign performance. PPC advertisers want to automate actions such as budget changes and bid changes based on cross-channel rules and push those changes back into campaigns. For agencies looking for this type of functionality the traditional PPC data pipeline isn't enough.

How Traditional Data Pipelines Fall Short for PPC Advertisers

The key to creating a great PPC data pipeline for reporting purposes is having A LOT of connectors. Companies in the marketing data pipeline industry are racing to build out the most integrations possible. In some cases, companies have 500+ data sources!

When trying to build a one-size-fits-all data pipeline for reporting workflows, this makes sense. But marketers focused on PPC are often only dealing with a handful of data sources. These advertisers don’t need 500+ integrations that only collect data. They need a data management system that allows them to pull down data and create reports but also push optimization changes back to key ad networks where their clients run ads.

Traditional marketing data pipelines are not designed for this two-way interaction. As a result, agencies may have been unable to create custom solutions for their clients beyond reporting activities.

But the top agencies of today are pushing beyond automating reporting workflows. They are utilizing more comprehensive advertising data management infrastructures that allow them to create the PPC solutions their teams have always dreamed about.

How an Advertising Data Infrastructure (ADI) is Different than a Data Pipeline


For agencies looking to build their own PPC automation technology, data pipelines are only one piece of the puzzle. A modern agency needs a way to ingest and report on data. They also need a data warehouse to store that data. Finally, they need technology that allows them to push data and campaign optimizations BACK to the ad platforms.

The Shape Advertising Data Infrastructure was launched to help agency teams frustrated with data pipelines that don't want to handle PPC data management and storage themselves.

The ADI consists of three primary structures:

(1) Multi-Channel, Two-Way API - This is the PPC data pipeline component. However, the major difference is that the Shape API includes two-way functionality that enables the system to edit campaigns, not just report on them.

(2) Managed Data Warehouse - The destination of the data pipeline where all of a PPC agency’s cross-channel advertising data is stored indefinitely.

(3) Third-Party Connectors - Built-in connections to tools such as Data Studio make data stored in the data warehouse easily accessible to anyone at an agency.

An ADI is the complete toolkit agencies need to build truly innovative solutions for their clients. By only utilizing traditional marketing data pipelines, agencies are restricted to automating only a subset of their workflows.

What Agencies Have Built Utilizing an ADI

With the Shape ADI as a data management foundation, agencies can build reliable, custom solutions with fewer (or no) engineers in less time.

The development team at G5 built a “cross-channel spend analyzer tool" utilizing the ADI. As a result, they’ve driven conversion and cost-per-click improvements for their clients while winning new accounts after demoing the technology to prospects.

The ADI helped award-winning PPC agency, Push Group, build their own ‘Advertising Death Star.’ Employees love the optimization and performance software so much that it’s used as a recruiting tool for potential new hires.

These companies found that employing the Shape ADI was much more cost effective and reliable compared to hiring engineers to design, code, and maintain custom solutions and data pipelines from scratch.