Looker Studio and Reporting
“An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage." - Jack Welch
An Introduction to Data Studio
Google’s Data Studio is a free data visualization tool that brings together data from multiple sources. It enables users to create informative, interactive dashboards that are easy to interpret, share, and customize. Data Studio is an especially good tool for users who want to go beyond the dashboards of Google Analytics, as the data widgets offered have more variety, better customization options and interactive controls and can work with live data.
Data Studio reports are dynamic, so when there’s an update to the data source, the new information automatically shows up on any reports that reference the source (you don’t have to “pull the data” when someone asks for a report). Additionally, the reports are shareable, so you can grant people permission to view the reports and/or allow them to make changes. This allows the people you share the reports with to change certain aspects of the report (like changing dates, or drilling down into segments) to offer them a greater depth of reporting.
Google Data Studio works like MS SharePoint, or Google Docs, so all you need to do is press the “Share” button, and set the permissions to let colleagues view or edit the reports.
Why use Data Studio for reports?
There are many reasons to start using Data Studio for website reporting. Here are four of my favorite features that Data Studio provides:
- Live data connection
- Full control over customization of reports and visuals with unlimited widget options
- Dynamic controls with report and page level filters
- Share the reports easily
Live Data Connection
Data Studio already has built-in connections to over 380+ data sources (as of 4/2021) so you don't have to refresh your report each time you need to share with a director or colleague. Using a live data source also means you’re not limited in terms of what date range you can look at. You can use any date range you can imagine, it all depends on how far back your data goes (i.e. when Google Analytics was setup).
Full Customization Controls
Data Studio allows you to add pages, charts and tables to your reports, so you can customize them to suit your needs.
- Data Studio gives you a variety of charts and visuals to work with, including bar, pie and line charts to pivot tables, all the way to the newest (as of May 2020) Google Maps visual.
- You can customize your dashboards with your brand’s colors, adding specific images, logos or notes.
- You can edit the layout, including your page size, alignment, etc.
Dynamic controls allow the people you share your report with to filter and drill down the data without having to update the report setup itself. This allows Data Studio to pull real-time data into your reports. Or set some of the widgets for specific date parameters (like last quarter, or last 30 days). Viewers can even filter specific dimensions. For example, to see only the traffic that originated from a specific source, like Western Today or a specific marketing campaign.
Learn more about Data Studio Reports
- Introduction to Google Data Studio – Free Beginner Course video by Google
- Welcome to Data Studio by Google
- Google Data Studio Tutorial for Beginners video by Loves Data
- Data Studio Templates by Google
- Data Studio Quick Start Guide by Google
This concludes our mini tutorial on Google Analytics. As with anything Google-related, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Data Studio are constantly evolving. If you have additional questions, (or concerns) feel free to reach out to WebHelp and ask.