Google Data Studio

Getting More from Google Data Studio: a Handy How-To Guide

Wondering how to get the most out of your Google Data Studio? Read on for the best tips

Although Google Data Studio is only a few years old, it’s an incredibly useful platform that allows marketers to streamline their data in ways visually appealing to both consumers and workers alike. The Data Studio allows you to make custom charts and graphs with utmost ease- the Studio itself takes your data and does the rest for you.

However, many people aren’t using the platform to the full length of its abilities. Read on for how to make Google Data Studio work even more in your favor, by making your reports more understandable to you and all of your clients.

Step 1: Have a Game Plan in Mind

The platform is a bit tricky- having an end goal will keep you from getting lost

Google Data Studio can be a bit daunting and hard to navigate. It is a high-class tech operation, of course. Because of this, having a strategy before you even start collecting data is important. What do your stakeholders and clients want to see in your reports? Focus on that and ignore all else.

Abundant data can freak even the most advanced mathematicians out. You need to understand your goals and your audience before you even begin to pop in data- thus, your reports will have more valuable insights to both you and your clients.

Step 2: Add Data Range Filters

Time periods are so, so important

Your clients want to see how a certain trend performs over a set period of time. Because of this, if you’re not using data range filters, you absolutely need to. Using Date Range filters allows you to group data by time ranges.

To do this, select the icon and draw a shape on your report for where you want the filter added. (Think dragging over boxes in Excel.) In the Properties panel, find the Data tab. Use default date range selection.

In the Style tab, you can edit how data appears visually in the report. You can set certain specific options (7 days, last quarter, etc.) or you can set your own specific range.

These date range filters will by default add this filter to each element on your page. This is a problem, as you don’t want the same date range on all your data.

To fix this, limit the filter to a single element or a group of them. First group the elements together by selecting all the charts that you want to group, and right clicking to select “Group.” Now, only these grouped charts and tables will be filtered via your predetermined date range. For other date filters, apply this same practice.

If you want to, you can similarly add a date range filter to every page of a larger report. Default will have the date only appear as a page-level object, ie, it will only appear on the page where you physically add it. To add it to every page of your report, start editing the report. Select the date range control icon. Click align, and then “Make Report-level” menu. The date range should now appear on every page.

Note: if your data doesn’t have any date range associated with it, none of this will work. This is only for data with time dimensions.

You can also add filter controls for other fields like Metrics, Dimensions, and Styling. The controls are in the top right corner of the canvas.

To add Object filters, select the table or chart you wish to filter and go to the visualization properties. Data and filter. Then add the filter you want to apply. This filter will override any existing filter you’re using, but you can always reuse the filter on other aspects of a report.

See all your filters by going to the Resource and Manage filters tab. You can create even more filters here and group them on certain sections of data.

Step 3: Add Multiple Pages to One Report

You can turn one page reports into multi-page reports

By using Word or similar programs, you can add more pages to your report in Google Data Studio. Make these pages by clicking Page, and then clicking whichever option you want. You can duplicate, delete, edit, and add pages from here.

Once you have a page, you can adjust the data sources and style by going to the Current Page Settings. By clicking Select Data Source, you can add whichever data sources you want.

Duplicating a page copies the visual style and data of that page. You can edit data or visuals from there. Make sure to label your pages for ease of yourself and your clients.

Step 4: Blended Data Fields

Compare and contrast your data

If you can’t compare and contrast data within this service, why make reports here in the first place? Data Studio has introduced blended fields that let you combine and compare data from different platforms. This only works if all these reports have a shared data point, called the “key.”

If your data points have the same names, you can combine them and their info into a single field. Here you can make comprehensive reports that show the entire picture with every data field possible.

For more info read here.

Step 5: Advanced Dimensions

Use formulas to create advanced dimensions

Data Studio, like Excel, allows you to add advanced report elements using a wide variety of formulas. These are known as calculated fields and let you manipulate data within your multiple data sources.

To create a calculated field, begin by editing your data source. At the top of the Field column, click on the blue “plus” button. Name your field and enter the formula you’ll use for the field.

Now you can implement the formulare by applying the calculate field to any row of data inside a chart or graph.

The formulas here use either Functions or Arguments.

Functions generate formulas that use mathematical equations, logical comparison, and text handling, among other things. Formulas can use multiple functions.

Arguments, in contrast, tell the function to act on a specific command. You need one or additional field-expressions to be used as arguments, some text that matches a field name within your data source.

There are a multitude of functions you can use. For the entire list, go to Data Studio Help. Using these fields allows you to clean up campaign tagging, where cases of letters are all fixed so that addresses with the same name but different cases can all be put into lower or uppercase. Using the formula LOWER (__) does this.

To convert back to uppercase, use the formula Upper(Source).

Step 6: Theme Creation

Reports are different for every client you have

The style of your report should reflect the uniqueness of all your clients and stakeholders. Data Studio makes it easy to change your layout in the Layout and Theme section. There are enough different themes and layouts for each custom client you have.

You can change colors, palette, border, background, and more.

Step 7: Combine your Google Analytics Properties

If you have different units or special campaigns with their own landing pages, you can roll them into one account

If you’re trying to produce one report with results from a handful of different platforms, Data Studio has your back. It can combine different Analytics properties.

Use the Blended Data feature or import a Google Sheet with your data. Now you can create a singular report for all of your different Google Analytics accounts. Automated reports are now easier to create, as well as roll-up reports for entire organizations. No more annoying manual labor to combine reports- Google does it for you.

Step 8: Embed Reports

Add more data to a template without having to start from the top

You can embed Google Docs, YouTube Videos, Google Sheets, and webpages into your report via the URL embed feature. The content can be live, making your reports interactive. If you want to use a YouTube video to explain something in your report, go to the upper navigation bar and click Insert. Select URL embed.

Paste your link into the External Content URL box. You’re done! Personalizing reports has never been easier.

Step 9: Community Connectors

Pull data from anywhere

Because Google created Data Studio, it can pull and report data from platforms it owns, such as YouTube, Google Analytics, Google AdWords and any other Google services. Community connectors are simple to navigate and allow you to use data from almost any source you want inside Google Data Studio.

And viola... you've taken your Data Studio game to a whole new level.

In conclusion, Google Data Studio is a great marketing tool to be using right now given its relative newness. Although it is new, people are starting to understand all that it can do. Using advanced capabilities will strengthen your reports.

Experiment with a dummy template before trying any of these tips on a report you don’t want to have to start over- accidents happen. You don’t want to erase all your data and hard work. Once you figure out how to use all of these tools, only then should you try them on an existing or new report.

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