Businesses run on data. The majority of business decisions rely on solid facts and numbers. In a world where almost all business actions and marketing efforts are digital, reporting is one of the best ways to get these facts and numbers to help business owners and digital marketers analyze their results.
Reporting and gathering data is especially challenging to marketers because it is difficult to find the best starting point with the amount of complex data out there. This is especially true if you are an agency that provides clients with analytical reports using Google Analytics or AdWords data, then creating charts and diagrams to make the data visual for the client. But there must be a way to make reporting better. Right?
Introducing Google Data Studio
Now thanks to Google Data Studio, there is a way to create reports that even your clients will understand easily. The idea behind Data Studio is to make reporting better for small and large businesses by turning boring data into informational, easy-to-understand reports using data visualization.
Google Data Studio is part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite, the paid version of Analytics, and is available in beta even for those that use the basic free version of Google Analytics. Beta-version users can create up to five custom reports and use all editing and sharing capabilities.
How it works?
Google Data Studio allows you to access all the data sources you need to understand how your business performs and to help you make better decisions. It works by syncing with all your Google data – Analytics, AdWords and more, and brings it all to one place easily by providing pre-built data connections. Moreover, you are not limited to using data only from your Google products, but you can even import Facebook data and use it in your reports, as long as you are using a Google Sheet document. You can use any data you want if you can convert it to Google Sheets.
Once you import the raw data you can easily transform it into meaningful reports and dashboards by choosing from the vast array of calculated metrics and functions. To make things even better, the reports are dynamic, meaning once you update your data sources, it will also update in the reports where it is used. It’s up to you to choose how to present the data – in bar graphs, charts, line graphs and more. You can change the fonts and the colors, and even brand the reports with your logo. The reports and dashboards are shareable, and just like sharing a Google Doc or Sheet, you can grant people viewing access and/or allow them to edit the reports.
Access and Use
Accessing Google Data Studio begins with logging into your Google Analytics account, here: https://www.google.com/analytics/data-studio which is the free ad limited version of Google Data Studio. As we mentioned above, in the free version you can create up to five custom reports.
After log in, will see the Reports tab in the Home page. Google has put several sample reports, and we suggest you open and explore each one of them to get acquainted with the look and feel of the reports, and learn the types of information you can use for creating your own reports.
The interface Data Studio uses is similar to Google Drive, so it will be familiar if you are a Google Drive user. As with many other Google products, creating a new report is very simple and straightforward – you can choose from the templates shown on top, or just click on the big blue plus-sign button at the bottom right-hand corner and open a blank report.
The templates are a great way to quickly create a report but sometimes include metrics you may not need. Blank reports on the other hand, are a great way to go through the features and options of the Data Studio on your own, and build a report that best fits your specifics.
Make the Most of Your Reports
Google Data Studio is a great tool that makes reporting easy and fun (OK, we’ll discuss fun another time). But if you don’t like creating and reading spreadsheets, then you will definitely enjoy Data Studio reports. In case this is the first time you’re using a reporting tool, Google has prepared informative and educational materials. Among the sample reports, there is a “Welcome to Data Studio!” tutorial that will give you a step-by-step walkthrough of Data Studio, as well as a YouTube video to teach you how to connect data sources and create your first report.
And if those still don’t help, and you feel like you are missing out on the good stuff and can’t figure out how to incorporate certain metrics, or how to stack them, feel free to contact us. We’d love to help you out with your digital marketing effort, such as SEO, PPC and social media.