Images or Ad Creatives Appear as a Link in Data Studio

This article discusses the causes and the fix for when a field that should be an image is instead displaying as a URL in the Data Studio table.

Quick links to sections below:


There is a known issue in Data Studio that if you use the filter parameters for the data source (such as the account/page name, time zone, etc.) that it will cause the images to be blocked and rendered as a URL instead of as an image. This is a safety feature with the data controls, which is what those parameter settings are.

Here is an example of when this happens with Facebook Insights for the post thumbnail, but this can affect any data source with image fields such ad creatives for Google Ads or Facebook Ads:

Orange arrow pointing to "Post Thumbnails" in a table that are showing as a URL rather than an image.

If you click on the URL you will get the reason why this is happening:

Example error text when clicking on the URL that should be an image.

For more information, see the "Images and the data control" section of this article:

How to Fix

  1. Click on the Edit icon for the affected data source.

    Orange arrow points to pencil-shaped "edit" icon for the data source

  3. On the main configuration page for the connector, disable all of the settings that "Allow 'X' to be modified in reports" (what these are depends on the data source but typically are the account select and optional drop-downs).

    Example of what to disable for Facebook Insights:

    Example with Facebook Insights configuration of what needs to be disabled. Blue box surrounds "Allow X to be modified" checkboxes that need to be disabled

  4. If you needed a specific setting for this report, you need to set it manually now. Be aware this can change other reports using the same data source so you may need to configure those differently or add a new data source for them with different account settings.
  5. Click RECONNECT to save the changes and go back to the report.
  6. Often the report will just refresh and start to show images. In some cases though, you will need to reset the now invalid parameter setting to clear.

    Orange box around the option to "Fix invalid values".

  7. Click on Fix Invalid Values, and then click the button to RESET INVALID PARAMETERS. If you also had these set as a report default (the data source was configured for the full report, you may have to do the same action under File->Report Settings (the same Fix Invalid Values option will be there in the settings to reset).

    Orange box highlighting the "Reset invalid parameters" button to clear the error.

  8. You should now see the images.

    Example screenshot of the post thumbnails now properly rendering as images.

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