Google made a number of announcements at their Google Performance Summit today, but one of the biggest was releasing Google Data Studio for all customers. This product was previously announced a couple months ago when Google released the Google Analytics 360 suite, but it was limited to 360 (Premium) customers. Now everyone has access to this product with the ability to create up to 5 reports. Note: This product is currently available to US customers only.
Google Data Studio is a new product that allows you to easily create beautiful reports by dynamically pulling in data from multiple data sources. Before this product, you would need to lean on the API or other paid products like Tableau or Domo to create these reports, but the Google Data Studio allows you to do this for free! Yes, free.
This product will help you not only create nice reports, but provide some of the following benefits:
- Save time and resources creating reports
- Combine multiple data sources into one report with ease
- Automate reporting, reducing the need to manually pull and create visualizations directly from Google Analytics
In this post, I will highlight some of the features of Google Data Studio so you can get started using it right away.
When you first login, you will find the interface divided into reports and data sources. Data sources are all of the places you’ve defined in your account that you’ll be able to pull data from.
Google Data Studio enables you to pull data from the following sources:
- Attribution 360
- Google Analytics
- Google Sheets
- YouTube Analytics
This is really important because it’s not always the case that you just need to pull data from Google Analytics. In order to actively paint the picture of your customer journey and gather actionable insights, we need to combine data from all sources.
Pulling data from these sources is a lot like if you were pulling data from the API. Except in this case, it eliminates the immediate need to code.
I’m going to dive into Google Analytics and Google Sheets data sources so you can see how useful they can be for your business.
Pulling data from Google Analytics is very simple. Google Data Studio will ask you to connect to your Analytics accounts and then you will be asked to drill down to the specific view that you’d like to pull the data from. Below is a sample from my account.
Once you select your view, you’re presented with all of the metrics and dimensions you’ll have access to. Again, it’s pretty much just like working with the API without writing code.
If you’ve ever pulled Google Analytics data into Google Sheets, then the naming conventions should look pretty familiar to you.
The second highly useful data source I want to call out is Google Sheets. I’ve been using Google Sheets as an alternative to Excel to pull in and manipulate external data from sources like Google Analytics. This is highly helpful because it enables you to automate, manipulate and collaborate data tasks to create reports. Combining Google Sheets with Google Data Studio allows you to take this data and interactive create visualizations that were previously not as easy to make.
Below is a sample screenshot of what that looks like.
Notice that you can select from all worksheets in your spreadsheet and pull in the headers from those as well.
This is helpful because a lot of times we need to manipulate the data before we visualize it. This data connection allows us to do that.
In addition to pulling in data from Google Analytics, you can also pull in other third party data and leverage Google Data Studio to visualize that. Google provides a sample report to show you what that could look like as well.
Creating a report in Google Data Studio is as simple as selecting the type of chart or graph that you’d like to include and configuring it to your needs. You can add anything from a bar charts, to geo graphs, to scatter charts and more. Example of a geo chart from Google Analytics is below.
Notice how you have the ability to edit the dimensions and metrics just like you would with the API. You can also filter the data if you’d like.
In addition to the data, you have the ability to edit the style to meet your needs. This allows you to easily create a report that matches your or your client’s brand template.
Also notice that you’re working on a blank canvas. You can move and rearrange elements however you want.
Google has provided the following sample reports to give you an idea of what you can create:
- Data Visualization
- Sample Marketing Website
- YouTube Channel Report
- AdWords Overview Report
- Population Sample Report
Google Data Studio is a useful product that will help make your life easier while gathering instantaneous insights that may have previously taken more time before. In addition to publishing the reports, I’d really like to see the ability to publish these reports as a webpage like you can do wth Google Sheets. That’ll allow for even more customization when it comes to presenting visualizations.
I’d be interested to hear how you’re using this product to pull in data and use visualizations to monitor and move your business over time.