So many hours are spent each month making yearly reports for stakeholders and clients. Marketing teams work together and have to make presentations of data from months and years ago- this takes a lot of work and effort that could be better spent elsewhere.
For people working digital these meetings are opportunities to tell shareholders that they should invest more. These meetings are crucial to making money as a firm or business, yet the reports needed for these meetings are incredibly time-consuming to make. How do you save time here?
Conventional reporting is time consuming and frustrating due to organizations often following outdated reporting procedures. No one has a centralized way to put together these reports, as different departments use different platforms and data resources. Thus, most performance metric work is done via manual work in MS Excel. If you’ve ever used Excel, you know this can take forever.
Because of how Excel prepares data, there are issues with version control and data handling. Likewise, data from various sources has to come together for your presentation, and that can take a good amount of finangling. Presentation matters there as well, adding on even more time.
Static reports cannot answer every question, even with a large amount of data. Basically, the performance result will always need human eyes to read it over and interpret what it means. This is extra labor that we don’t have to need. This takes up so much valuable time.
The solution- Google Data Studio
If we want to send reports to colleagues but don’t want to have to be present to answer questions, what do we do?
Short answer: Google Data Studio. Google Data Studio can take lengthy reporting tasks and make them easy and fast.
In Data Studio, all involved parties collecting data go right into the report that you can then share. No need for tens of hundreds of Excel spreadsheets. Data to Report to Share- it’s that simple.
This streamlined process saves you time and makes sure you’re presenting the correct data at the correct time. Data is live, but this way you can collect the latest data and send it their way without having to input every single variable into Excel.
What is Google Data Studio? According to Google itself, “Google Data Studio (beta) turns your data into informative dashboards and reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable.” Note the focus on the word “easy” here- it really is super easy, and next we’ll tell you why.
Why use Google Data Studio?
For five reasons
- The software is free. You only need a Google Account to use it, and once you sign up you get unlimited reports and users, 37 languages supported, and available in more than 180 countries.
- It’s easy! The platform is highly customizable, with calculated dimensions and metrics to help with ease of use.
- It saves major time for everyone. Data Studio consolidates all of your data and reports, all of your platforms, into one dashboard. You can share ownership over an account for real-time collaboration, much like the Google Docs platform.
- It’s dynamic. Data Studio has multiple data filters, date pickers, and pagination options that all use live data. Access to a data source is not needed- Google figures out how to access it for you.
- Ease of sharing. Data Studio gives you one live URL that’s embeddable into webpages and exportable to PDF, making it easily accessible to everyone on your team.
What data should you use in the Studio?
Once using Google Data Studio, you need to make a plan for your data acquisition
Identify what your peers, stakeholders, and clients want to see in your report. This helps you figure out what numbers to focus on when making and presenting your reports. Too much data can confuse any audience while not enough will lead to plenty of unanswered questions, so you have to make sure you have a good balance.
Those in charge of SEO reporting may want to focus on traffic, click, time on site, KPIs, bouncerate, etc. But no matter what your data is, you have to make sure to present it in the right way so anyone can understand your message from a quick glance. Lay out your charts accordingly- what’s the big picture? Focus on that.
Knowing what data to use also involves knowing where your data is. You could back up your data in Google Sheets and connect to the corresponding default Google Sheet connector, or you could do something easier. Use the Supermetrics’ connector for Google Sheets.
By using this you can skip the first step and directly store data from your data source. Supermetrics likely supports your source, as they support a wide range including Facebook and Bing.
A third option is to pull data right into the Data Studio using one of the multiple Data Studio Connectors available. By doing this you only have to connect your source with Supermetrics connectors and you can start working with your data right in Data Studio.
This makes reporting way simpler.
How to Build a Report
Once you have your data and know how to connect it, now you can build a report. A step by step guide.
- Create a new report. Go to https://datastudio.google.com/ and sign up or login to your existing Google account. Click start new report.
- Create a new data source. In the bottom right corner, click Create a new data source. This is where you can link the source of the data.
- Choose a connector and add to your report. You can use Google Analytics or Google Search Console for this. Follow the wizard to choose the right account of the website you want to use.
- Drag and drop. Data is now added- you can find it in the right sidebar. Choose a chart type from the menu up top, click on the empty sheet and drag to pick how large you want the section. You can add anything you want here- charts, tables, maps, graphics.
- Modify your data. Google Analytics’ default connector has multiple presets that you can change at any time. You can make a personalized metric as well by editing every single field.
- Style your dashboard. Styling options are limitless here. You want to make your report stand out with great layout and themes. You can change colors, borders, fonts, and the like here.
- Share! Now that you’re done, you can send an out out with the link. You can also save the report as a PDF.
How to make your dashboard the best it can be
Your dashboard tells your report’s story, so you want to make it unique to each stakeholder and investor. This is the time to show your clients that digital marketing matters, so show them. Your efforts do affect their bottom line, and these reports can show that.
Using multi-channel reporting with Supermetrics templates and connectors can help with your report and dashboard. You can add multiple data sources to a template and then compare the data. There are three different reporting templates, which we’ll go over now below.
- Paid Channel Mix Template. This gives you can overview of how your paid channels are doing. Ad data and Google Analytics connector makes the report including data from Linkedin Ads, Twitter, Facebook, and AdWords.
- Facebook vs. AdWords Template. Like the name implies, this is a template to compare Facebook data with AdWords data.
- LinkedIn Ads and Google Analytics. This shows you your paid traffic from LinkedIn as shown via Google Analytics.
In conclusion, Google Data Studio can save you and your coworkers countless hours of manual labor in Excel. Google Data Studio is free and completely solves your tedious problem. Data Studio makes reports in simple steps that anyone can complete. Any data source you want to use can be instantly integrated. Give it a try!