Google Data Studio is a free tool that makes it easy to monitor targets for website traffic, traffic, user behavior, and other KPIs. It allows you to quickly generate reports for the client or to visualize data in teamwork.

The functionality of the service is so wide that at the stage of getting to know it, the interface may seem too complicated. In our article, written specifically for digital marketers and contextualists, you will learn how to set up Google Data Studio and start monitoring all key business indicators in a single tool interface.

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What is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio reporting

Google Data Studio is a service for quick and easy creation of informative reports and dashboards, including interactive graphical and tabular forms. The consumers of such statistical information are both narrow specialists in the field of online advertising, analysts and developers, as well as managers at various levels, as well as business owners.

The statistics are presented in a form convenient for analysis. There is also a shared one-time access for all team members.

Advice! With this tool, you can control key project indicators, identify trends, build a further strategy, etc.

The service’s algorithms aggregate data from several sources – social networks, Google Analytics and Spreadsheets, CRM systems databases, etc. Such integration allows you to automatically update all the information collected.

Possibilities of the Google Data Studio analytics system

Reporting example
Report 24-7

Setting up analytics in Google Data Studio allows you to gain access to:

  1. Control and analysis tools. Analytics allows you to track the behavior of site visitors and quickly make adjustments in case of identified problems.
  2. On-line monitoring of the effectiveness of an advertising campaign. The application makes it possible to evaluate the performance of each marketing channel, which allows you to reallocate resources to the most effective and promising of them.
  3. Effective audience segmentation. Select from the general mass only those users who are really interested in the product and focus the main budget of the advertising campaign on them.
  4. Information about which of the traffic sources is the most effective. Thus, you can abandon unprofitable advertising channels and redistribute funds in favor of the working ones.

The benefits of reporting in Data Studio

Ad Campaign Performance Report

  • You can set up data exchange with more than 800 sources, as well as 340 connectors. Google services and end-to-end analytics, social media advertising accounts and CRM databases are easily integrated with Data Studio.
  • Minimum time spent on creating reports. The ability to choose from dozens of ready-made templates of the most suitable one greatly simplifies the process of reporting in Google Data Studio.
  • The system implements the function of generating custom reports. You can collect information from various sources and display them on one dashboard.
  • All service tools are provided free of charge. Alternative options with comparable functionality will cost you at least $50 per month.

When should a business order a Data Studio setup?

Configure Data Studio Analytics

It should be noted that you can connect this tool yourself if you work with one advertising platform.

However, if you have used several different Google advertising tools in your advertising campaign, targeted Facebook or Instagram ads, call tracking, online chats and actively use the CRM system in your work, then you simply need the services of professionals, since the setup in this case will be quite complicated.

You need to order Google Data Studio setup if:

  1. The goals of the PR are precisely defined – the service brings the best results when it is used in an advertising campaign, the end goals of which are well known;
  2. You want to start planning advertising budgets from real data (conversions, information about the profitability of various advertising channels, portraits of the target audience);
  3. The task is to improve the effectiveness of existing advertising campaigns;
  4. Existing analytics systems do not display all the desired data or you need to bring information from different sources into one convenient tool.

Data Studio setup starts at $200. The terms are 10 working days.

Google Data Studio Reporting Tutorial

The GDS user interface is intuitive. But this does not exclude the possibility of problems at the initial stage, when you try to connect the service with information sources. We will consider this issue below, and also provide recommendations for setting up reports in Google Data Studio, choosing a style and template, instructions for adding charts and plotting.

Passing authorization

Download the Data Studio home page at https://datastudio.google.com/overview. Use your Google account login and password to log in to the system:

Authorization in the Data Studio service

The main menu will appear in front of you. It does not yet have the necessary items, but following our instructions, you will soon be able to add reports, sources and “workspaces” here.

Creating a new report

Next, click on one of the two modules marked with a “+” sign. The first one contains a “Create” link, and the second one is referred to as “Blank Report”. If you have not previously worked with Data Studio under the current login, the system will prompt you to agree to the terms of the service and subscribe to the newsletter.

Use the “Get Started” link and accept the terms of use.

After clicking “Finish”, go back to creating the report. An empty template will appear where you have to define data sources.

A list of current sources is displayed on the right side of the screen. Due to the fact that you do not yet have selected options, the system will first of all recommend test cases, which are marked as “[Sample]”:

Data Source Examples

Connect data sources

In GDS, the data source is a piece of information collected by third-party services. For example, when using Google Sheets, each individual sheet will become such a source.

According to the Google Data Studio manual, sources are connected both when setting up a new report and when going to the main menu section of the same name:

Connecting new sources of information

Select the module of the required service, integrate it with your account and set the required source. Next, click on the “Connect” link:

Setting up integration with Google Ads

By linking a source to GDS once, you can later use its data without re-integration.

Customizing the Data Studio theme

In the “Themes” section, you can set the design of reports, choosing the one you like best from the ready-made options. In the same tab, there is an upload of your own images, based on the color scheme of which the algorithms will then create several templates with a personal design:

Editing the visual template

You can change any of the proposed themes by clicking on the “Customize” link located next to the name of the selected theme:

Customize styling

The parameters for displaying the report on the screen are set in the adjacent “Layout” block. In the standard version, this is a horizontally oriented page with a resolution of 1200 × 900 pixels. But this format is not suitable for every situation. You can change the parameters in the “Canvas Size” field:

Select canvas size

To make any page different from others, use the “Current Page Settings” subsection in the “Page” section:

Settings of the current page

Selecting metrics for building a report

The list of metrics used in the report is set on the right side of the Google Data Studio interface:

Select parameters for building a report

The system offers to use ready-made options or customize your own. The GDS developers have provided the ability to create new calculated fields, on the basis of which additional parameters and criteria are then formed.

Computation algorithms can include formulas, comparison operators, parsing and modifying text fragments. Their use in charts and tables does not differ from the use of standard options. You can also change the name of any field.

Click on the “+” in the “Data” block to create a new calculated field:

Create a calculated custom field

Determine the time period

The next step is to define the boundaries of the time period for the analysis. This can be done both for each report and for a separate panel. Do the following: open “Add Controls” in the top bar, then click on “Date Range”:

Select a time range

Select the required data to compare the values of the criteria of the current and similar previous period.

Insert tables

To present information in a tabular format, the system offers three options: graphical interpretation of numerical values, a heat map, or familiar numbers:

Add tables to Data Studio

By going to Item Data, you can change the number of rows displayed, define the sort order, and set the output string.

If necessary, change the table type in the settings:

Table visualization

Adding graphs and charts

To plot in Data Studio, open the Add Chart module. A list with all possible options for graphical representation of data will appear on the screen.

For example, we are faced with the task of demonstrating the dynamics of a variable. Let’s dwell on dynamic series, but later you can change the output format to any histogram more familiar to you.

Charts and Graphs

The selected type of graph is transferred to the worksheet with the mouse and moved to any part of the page.

Using Filters

Filters allow you to limit the output of data according to a given condition. They should be used if, for example, you want to analyze referral traffic that did not involve certain domains, or evaluate parameters that reflect the situation only in a given region.

To set up filtering, use the menu in which you need to select the “Advanced filter” item:

Filters and sorting data

Define a field for the element that will be used to sort the data:

Select a field to filter

You can create a new filter in a special constructor. The process is quite simple. Enter the name, select the source, determine what data you will use, and set the criteria for filtering.

Sampling options can be combined with each other in any variation using the logical operators “and” as well as “or”. For each element, we can use several filters at the same time. If necessary, copy, edit, or delete the selection. Also, while working with Google Analytics, you have the opportunity to use segmentation.

How to export a report from Data Studio?

You can open any report in GDS for viewing by partners, clients or colleagues. There are several ways to do this. Click the Grant Access link to use the submenu.

Determine which of the options is the most preferable for you:

Share with clients and colleagues

If there is no need to adjust the list of provided features, then it is enough to give access to the report via the link.

To do this, go to the “Access Control” section and set the appropriate rule. For example, provide the ability to view the report to everyone who has a link.

Any analytical report can be saved as a file with the .pdf extension, for which you should click on “Download report” in the previously mentioned section “Give access”.

Set the required parameters and click on “Download”:

 Downloading the report

Tips for setting up analytics in Google Data Studio

Example of report in Google Data Studio

When setting up Data Studio, you might run into some issues due to system specifications. Here are a few tips to help you avoid most of them:

  1. Don’t spread reports across multiple accounts. This is especially true for personal accounts of company employees. Indeed, upon dismissal or during the vacation of such an employee, you may lose access to customized reports.
  2. Test your connectors. To assess the correctness of their work, analyze the data for test time intervals. It is important to check if the information in the source matches the data displayed on the dashboard.
  3. Don’t forget about connector prevention. Services are updated from time to time, and some of these innovations may affect the correct display of information in tables and graphs. Therefore, we recommend that you check the connectors at least once a month.
  4. Don’t load images by URL. Often such images are displayed incorrectly on the dashboard or not displayed at all.
  5. Always accompany graphic information with a text explanation. The data must be understandable to other users.
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