Having the ability to visualize data offers you access to priceless insights for better business decision-making and gives you a significant advantage over competitors.
While there are numerous tools available to assist with data visualization, none come close to Google Data Studio, which is available to everyone (even if you don’t have any data of your own!). Data Studio, like most Google tools, can be challenging to understand, but it’s definitely worth the effort. After you’re familiar with its features, you may use it to produce eye-catching reports that educate or entertain your clients, coworkers, or leadership team.
You can learn about the most practical Data Studio tools from this guide. Before diving into the more advanced capabilities, let’s cover the fundamentals first. We’ll discuss the advanced options last.
How to Use Google Data Studio?
1. Log into Data Studio
You’ll need a Google account to access Data Studio, and I suggest using the same one you use for Analytics, Search Console, and/or Google AdWords.
You will arrive at the Data Studio home page. In order to display your dashboard, choose the “Home” option.
2. Explore the Google Data Studio Dashboard
This dashboard should look rather similar if you’ve ever used Google Documents, Sheets, or Drive.
- Reports: You may access all of your reports from this page (equivalent to a workbook in Tableau or Excel).
- Data Sources: The connections you’ve made between Google Data Studio and your original data sources are all listed under data sources. 500+ data sources are now supported by Data Studio. The most popular sources are listed below.
Google Data Studio Data Sources
You must separately connect each view and property if you’re using Google Analytics and/or Search Console, which I highly recommend.
So, you will need to set up three different data sources if you have three GA views for three different subdomains.
Using Explorer, you may experiment with or edit a chart without changing the report as a whole.
Let’s take the example of a table you made in Google Data Studio that lists the top landing pages based on conversion rate. You think, “Hmm, I wonder what I’d find if I added average page load time,” while you study this table.
You export the chart into Laboratories so you can edit it there instead of in the report because you don’t want to edit it there. It’s simple to export the new chart back into the report if you believe it’s useful. (Skip to the part where I describe how.)
Depending on your company’s needs, you can utilize any of the templates and examples in the report gallery.
For instance, the ecommerce income template would be quite helpful if you had an online store.
Connect to Data
The place to add data sources is right here. (Sources can also be added inside a report itself.) Add our first source now.
How to Connect Data Sources to Google Data Studio?
A step-by-step tutorial for connecting data sources to Google Data Studio is provided here.
1. Start with Analytics or Search Console
Connect the Google Merchandise Store’s Google Analytics Demo Account.
You will need to approve the connection. After that, you must choose an account, a property, and a view.
You’ll see something similar to the scene below: a list of each field in your Analytics account, including custom and standard fields.
In this phase, we might add new fields, duplicate existing ones, turn them off, change the values of existing fields, and more. Nevertheless, since it’s much simpler there, we could also perform all of those things in the report itself. Let’s do that, then.
2. Click “Create Report” in the upper right.
You’ll be prompted by Google Data Studio to confirm that you want to add a new data source to the report; you do.
3. Click “Add a chart” in the toolbar
Now is the time to enter your first chart. The good news is that Data Studio’s helpful graphics make it simple to compare different chart types.
4. Choose the first option under “Time series.”
We’ll begin with a “Time series” chart for the sake of this lesson. This type of graph displays changes over time. The right-hand pane will change once it shows on your report.
The dimension is set to “Date” by default, but you can alter it to any of the time-based dimensions, such as “Year,” “Hour,” etc.
Since there isn’t much historical data on the Demo Account, I will continue to use “Date”.
Google Data Studio will choose a metric (i.e., what is shown on the Y-axis) for you automatically. You are able to adjust this; for me, the default was “Pageviews,” but I would want to see “Revenue per user.”
5. Add another metric.
First, make sure the chart is selected so that the pane on the right is visible.
There are two ways to include a metric (or dimension).
You can drag a field from the right into the metric area, or you can click the blue plus-sign symbol, which will open a search box so you can find the field you need.
Simply place your cursor over a statistic to erase it by clicking the white “x” that appears.
6. To add a table, choose the third option under “Add a chart.”
While Pageviews and Medium are the default values for my chart’s dimensions and metrics, I modify them to Product and Unique Purchases.
Also, I believe the formatting of this table needs some improvement.
Rows per page should be changed from 100 to 20 (far easier to read), and a Summary row should be added by checking the box.
7. Finally, click “Style” to go to the style tab.
Choose “Add border shadow” as you scroll down. One of my favorite methods for making a data visualization stand out from the page is this.
8. To see the finished product, click on “View” in the top corner.
By doing this, you switch from Editor to Viewer mode.
9. Click “Edit” to finish up and name the report.
To alter the title (which is currently “Untitled Report,” double-click it).
The initial report is now considered to be finished. To distribute your report, click the well-known icon located above the Chart Editor and enter some email addresses.
Right, don’t release the report just yet; I’m about to tell you the tips that will enable you to significantly improve it.
Must Know Google Data Studio Tips
1. Use templates
No need to create anything entirely new. I suggest perusing their templates for ideas if you’re unsure about where to begin with Google Data Studio.
Pay close attention to who wrote the report. The Data Studio team created numerous templates, all of which may be found in the “Marketing Templates” area. Yet the “Community” section also has more than 45 user entries. Several of my preferred templates are:
- Overview of GA Behavior: This dashboard extracts the most pertinent data from Google Analytics Paid Channels’ Behavior section.
- Paid Channels Mix Report: Use this template to learn more about the effectiveness of your ads on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, search, and other platforms.
2. Publish your report
Want to impress everyone with your exceptional analytics and data visualization abilities? Use this Google form to submit your report to the gallery. What I would remember is this:
- Don’t divulge private information. There is practically no chance that you will be penalized for publishing data that you do not control, so I advise making a report using data that is readily available to the public. (Pro tip: use fake data from one of Google’s sample data sets to duplicate one of your company’s existing reports!)
- Make it fantastic. Don’t hold back on design, features, or anything else because the public reports are impressive.
- Include context. Describe what you are measuring or monitoring on the page with subtitles, directions, and perhaps even a video of you going through the report.
3. Utilize 150+ data sources
As I already indicated, you can import data from Google-owned sources such as Search Console, Google AdWords, YouTube, and Campaign Manager into Data Studio.
But that’s only the very beginning. Additionally, there are more than 120 partner connections, which serve as third-party “bridges” connecting Data Studio to platforms like Adobe Analytics, AdRoll, Asana, Amazon Ads, and AdStage (and that’s just the Beginning).
4. Unique report theme
Your report will be more effective if it looks beautiful, regardless of whether it is intended for internal stakeholders like the leadership team or external ones like clients.
Click the Layout and theme option in the toolbar to change the report’s design and formatting.
Any modifications made here will be reflected throughout the entire report, saving you from having to make these decisions each time a new module is added.
There are two pre-installed themes for Data Studio: basic and simple dark. But making your own is simple, and the outcomes are even more amazing.
Then select “Customize.”
To select primary and secondary colors, fonts, and text color, refer to your brand’s style manual. HubSpot utilizes Avenir Next, which Data Studio doesn’t provide, so I chose Raleway, one of Avenir Next’s cousins. You might need to be inventive here.
Use a free color picker tool to find out what they’re using on their website if you’re generating a report for a customer but don’t know their hex codes, advises Michelle Noonan of Seer Interactive.
On this page, you can also make a personalized chart palette and change the border and backdrop options.
5. Embed external content
Just as you can bring the world to your report, the world can also come to your report.
The URL embed tool allows you to insert Google Documents, Google Sheets, YouTube movies, and even live websites. The interactive nature of embedded content makes it much more potent than a screenshot.
To add content, click “URL embed” in the menu bar.
Simply paste the URL after that. The box that appears to fit the complete length and width of your material may need to be resized next.
Here, the alternatives are essentially unlimited. Embedding a Google Form to determine how useful the report was for my audience is one of my favorite uses for this feature.
A brief video describing what they’re looking at and how to interpret the data will be added if a section of the report needs more background information (or if my audience isn’t that technical).
I’ll include the URL of a client’s website, blog, and/or any pages they hired me to construct or update to a report to make it more unique for that client.
I’ll also include the most recent Search Insights Report so the HubSpot blogging team may compare our progress to the outcomes.
6. Provide scheduled reports
Consider using Data Studio’s “scheduled report” function if you have a set of stakeholders who require regular access to your report.
Choose “Schedule email delivery” from the drop-down menu next to the “Share” button.
Enter the email addresses of your recipients first, after which select a schedule—daily, once a week, or monthly.
This is useful because you might not want to allow your clients access to the live report when working with them.
7. Get a PDF Report
You can also download your report as a PDF. This is useful in one-off circumstances, such as when your boss requests a progress report or a client inquires about the effectiveness of an advertisement so far this month.
Click “download” in the drop-down menu to download the file.
You can download either the whole report or the current page in Data Studio. Even better, add password protection to safeguard the security of your data and a link back to the report so your audience can explore it further if they so choose.
8. Embed reports
The outcomes you’ve obtained for a client or project might be highlighted by placing your report on your company website or personal website.
Choose the upper navigation bar’s brackets symbol by clicking it.
You can now make the necessary height and width adjustments.
9. Add a date range
Allowing viewers to choose the dates they want to access information for will give them more freedom.
For instance, my reports always default to the previous 30 days, but the date range settings allow one of HubSpot’s blog editors to change the report to show how their property did in the previous month.
Users can select a custom period or one of the existing alternatives, such as “yesterday,” “last seven days,” “year to date,” etc.
To enable this, go to the page where you wish to give users control over the date. Then, select “Add a control” from the drop-down menu. Choose “Date range” from the toolbar after that.
There will be a box on your report. Move it into the desired location (I suggest the upper right or left corner, so your audience sees it first), and if necessary, change the size.
The Date Range Properties panel will appear to the left of your report when you click this module. If it isn’t already, change the default date range to “Auto date range”.
Every report on the page will immediately update to the selected date range if your readers choose a date range using the date range widget.
There are two methods for doing so:
- Choose a time frame within a certain chart. The date range control will never take precedence over that time period.
- With the module, group the charts that you want to be impacted by the date range control. Choose Arrange > Group after selecting the chart(s) and the box.
When the date range is changed, just the chart(s) in this group will now update.
Make sure your viewers understand this setting; otherwise, they may assume that all the charts on their current page use the same time period.
10. Add filter controls
In the future, when the date range is changed, just the chart(s) in this group will be updated.
Make sure your readers are aware of this setting, as they might assume that all the charts on their current page use the same time period if you don’t.
Use filter options to provide even more freedom to your audience. A filter applies its parameters to every report on the page, much like the date range control does. So, all the reports on that page would display information specifically for organic traffic if, for instance, someone filtered off everything but organic traffic.
Click this toolbar icon to add a filter control.
The report page will display the filter. You can resize it and drag it into the desired spot. When it is selected, a panel should appear on the left:
Choose the dimension you want viewers to filter on in the data tab. These parameters are derived from your data source; for this instance, I used Traffic Type.
Metric conversions are optional. Viewers will see the values for each dimension sub-category in the filter if it is checked. (After you see the screenshot below, this will make more sense.) Although they can filter by a metric, they can only order by these values.
You can increase the number of filters in your filter control. In order to prevent your users from seeing the “Baidu /organic” filter as an option, you could wish to exclude it if you’ve implemented a filter for Source / Medium, for instance.
On the style tab, you may change the layout and presentation of your filter control. You have the following choices: list/check all filters being applied.
Or “search all” filters, which let your viewers search by text and numeric phrases using the appropriate operators >=, or “equals,” “contains,” etc.
The readers of the report may find this annoying, and they also need to be familiar with search operators. Hence, stick with the list filter unless your filter dimensions have 10,000 values (unlikely).
You are well-equipped to produce amazing interactive reports for your teammates, clients, and executives now that you are familiar with Data Studio inside and out. Make the most of it and successfully demonstrate the ROI of your marketing efforts by using the advice I provided above.