It used to cost hundreds of dollars to buy software to create consumable reports that were easy to read, sharp to look at, and a breeze to create.
Google Data Studio just turned that game on its head. It can make your reports look like this:
You’re probably wondering what Google Data Studio is, why it’s important, and how it’s different from using good ol’ trusty Google Analytics.
Here are 5 reasons you should be taking a hard look at this new tool.
1. Create Beautiful Reports (even if you aren’t a graphic designer)
There are people out there who have created entire businesses around making data consumable, easy to read, and simple to understand. Google Data Studio has streamlined this process.
Google Analytics has it purpose, but it can tedious and time consuming to create spreadsheets, analyze the data, and format in a way that makes sense to bosses, employees, shareholders, and clients.
Luckily, Data Studio is built for data visualization – making it intuitive and simple to pull information into beautiful, consumable reports.
The tool gives you the ability to change colors, gradients, fonts… pretty much everything you need to make your reports look great.
Data Studio lets you choose how you want to present your data. Bar graphs? Line graphs? Pie chart? Data Studio has you covered.
Add text boxes, images (insert your logo!), and shapes to your reports as well.
Thanks to all the options Data Studio provides, you could end up with reports that look like this:
2. Pull Data From Multiple Sources
One of the most useful features of Data Studio is the ability to pull information from multiple sources – even to the same report.
Google Data Studio allows you to pull reports from…
- Attribution 360
- Soundcloud SQL
- Google Analytics
- YouTube Analytics
In case you didn’t catch it, note that not only can you pull reports from Google Analytics, YouTube and AdWords…
… but also from any custom reports in Google Sheets.
This is huge.
This means that ANY reporting info that you keep on a Google Sheet, can be pulled into one of these custom reports. If you can put it on a spreadsheet, you can get it into Google Data Studio.
I’ll show you how it works.
Here’s a sample Google Sheet that I used as a Data Studio source:
And here is it displayed as a bar graph in Data Studio:
Note that my Google Sheet info can be placed on the same report as information sourced from Google Analytics:
The ability to pull from multiple sources in the same report is brilliant.
We know that in the real world, analytics doesn’t take place in Google Analytics alone. Pulling information from multiple sources puts metrics into context and increases your ability to make informed data-driven decisions.
3. Get Updates In Real Time
The reports are dynamic – when there is an update to the data source, the results are reflected immediately on any report that references that source.
Again, this is another feature taken from Google Docs. When you update or make changes in Docs, Sheets, or what have you, those changes can be seen pretty much instantaneously – and the same concept applies to Data Studio.
No more needing to give or get access to Google Analytics and navigate the UI to get what you need.
Because Data Studio reports operate like any document on Google Drive — permissions can be granted to anyone — it allows for collaboration.
Just like any Sheet, Doc, or Slides you great in the G Drive, you can adjust access and permissions on any Data Studio report:
This means your company, agency, and clients can use the reports without worrying about accessing GA accounts. These permissions also let you decide who has access to view the document, as well as monitoring who can make changes.
5. It’s free
That’s right—as of now, using Data Studio won’t cost you a dime.
There are some restrictions for this tool. Access is limited to select areas, but it seems Google intends to roll out Data Studio worldwide, so keep checking availability in your country.
There is also a limit of 5 reports per account (that is, the email address associated with Data Studio). The good news is, there is a bit of a workaround here.
Similar to tabs on Google Sheets, Data Studio allows for additional pages on each report you create.
This screenshot shows a list of pages on a sample Data Studio report:
Another bonus? There doesn’t seem to be a limit on how many pages you add to a report—we’ve added up to 30 without any problems.
A caveat here: you cannot limit permissions on individual pages of a report. When you’re sharing reports and editing permissions with third parties, it’s all or nothing!
Get started with Google Data Studio and let us know what you think!