A Complete Guide to Google Data Studio

Data is everywhere but what exactly can you do with it? If you’re ready to take your data visualization to the next level, Google Data Studio is a great tool to learn. This Google Data Studio guide will help you get started.

What is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio is a free data visualization tool. It makes it easy for users to gather, analyze, and interpret data and create shareable visual dashboards and reports. We’ve talked about why we added Google Data Studio to our marketing tools and how it’s leveled-up our reporting. Like the majority of Google products, Data Studio is free to use. All you need is a Google account.

How Google Data Studio works

Data Studio works by connecting different data sources into a central location so you can create visual dashboards and interactive reports. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the available features but thankfully there are a variety of templates you can use to build your reporting dashboard and reports.

Create your report

Once you log into Google Data Studio, you can create a new report from scratch or choose one of the many templates available to customize.  Templates are great if you’re not sure where to begin. Some of the templates were created by the Data Studio team and others have been submitted by the general public. If you decide to start with a template, simply click ‘Use Template’ and then ‘Copy Report’ into your account.

Connect to a data source

Now that you have your report foundation, it’s time to pull data. Data connectors are used to connect your report with your data source. You can connect multiple data sources to a single report. You’ll need to authorize the connector the first time you access it.

There are three types of connectors:

Google Connectors: these connectors are built by Google and allow you to pull data from its properties like Analytics, Ads, Search Console, YouTube, or Sheets for free.

Partner Connectors: these connectors are built by third-party developers and allow you to access data from non-Google platforms. Most of these connectors require payment.

Community Connectors: these connectors are built by the general public.

There are currently over 800 data sets available from almost 500 connectors. Here’s the full list of available connectors. That’s a lot of data!

Choose metrics that matter

The key to creating an effective report is choosing the right metrics. Opening a report with all the available information is overwhelming for clients and takes a lot of time to create. While Google Data Studio makes it possible to include all of the data, it’s best if you’re selective about the information you present.

Metrics and dimensions are used to build reports, visualizations, and dashboards. Metrics are numeric values that measure or count, like the number of website visitors is a metric. Dimensions describe the item or value you’re measuring.

Determine the key metrics your audience is interested in and needs to make decisions. Do they need to evaluate the lead conversion performance of a social media campaign? Include data on the number of leads, total spend, and cost per lead. Are they evaluating how an awareness campaign is performing? Metrics like impressions, clicks, and CTR are helpful.

Add visualizations

Visualizations bring numbers to life. They summarize the data in an easily digestible manner. Google Data Studio allows you to create several different types of charts, tables, scorecards, and more to showcase your data. Choose a chart type to best tell your story.

You can also embed external content like a webpage, YouTube videos, or a Google Doc into your report. This content is interactive so report viewers can interact with the elements.

You can also create your own report theme and customize the fonts, colors, and more so it remains on-brand for your company.

Share your report

Once your report is complete, you can share it with your team or other people.

Hopefully, this introduction to Google Data Studio makes you feel more confident in creating informative and powerful reports and dashboards for your team.

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