Google Data Studio: Digital Marketing’s Most Valuable and Mostly Free Reporting Tool

Beginners guide to Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio launched its beta mode in 2018, giving digital marketers a free data visualisation and reporting tool that connects various data sources to create visually appealing reports. With the different integration plugins available, digital marketing professionals can now create interactive dashboards.

Data Studio dashboards can capture key insights to campaign performance across all channels, including Social Media platforms, Google products, email marketing platforms, SEO tools, and so much more. In this article, we delve into why you should consider a custom Google Data Studio dashboard to simplify your reporting and how to get started.

1. You can use multiple data sources in Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio can be integrated with almost anything. Google products, like Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and YouTube, can all be added to your dashboard for free.

With the help of paid products, like ReportDash (a lightweight but affordable connector) or Funnel (a comprehensive but enterprise-level connector), you can create data sources for nearly any other platform.

If you only want to connect to your Facebook Page Insights, Facebook Ads, Instagram Business Profile, Twitter, LinkedIn, Mail Chimp, Pinterest, YouTube Analytics, and Shopify Accounts – ReportDash is a suitable connector for your reporting needs.

How do you create additional data sources?

Simply navigate to the resources menu item, select “Manage added data sources”, and you’ll be able to add additional data sources to your dashboard.

How to add data sources in Google Data Studio

2. Data Studio reports can be customised to your specific reporting needs

Once you’ve added your data sources, you can configure your reports to present the most important KPI’s. For some, just knowing how many users viewed key pages on their website is the most important metric. As such, you can create a visually appealing report that accommodates this need.

Google Data Studio Sample

For others, the comparative data from a single marketing channel is more important. In which case you’ll be able to create filters that can be applied to graphs to highlight that particular channel’s performance. For others, the comparative data from a single marketing channel is more important. In which case you’ll be able to create filters that can be applied to graphs to highlight that particular channel’s performance.

3. “White labelling” of Data Studio reports for resellers

Though there isn’t a way to completely white label your Data Studio reports (removing all Google related branding), you can white label your reports for resellers of your service. To save time with this process, you can customise your dashboard on the reports theme settings.

You will also have the option to extract the theme from an image.

4. Data Studio reports provide page level controls

Let’s say you have a massive website with thousands of pages, and you quickly want to export key insights from a specific page to report for a client. Or, you want to pull a report for a specific traffic channel and its overall performance to present to stakeholders.

With the help of Google Data Studio’s additional controls (that has more to offer than a date picker), you can easily filter and find the necessary data.

5. Data Studio reports are cloud-hosted and interactive

Unlike exported PDF reports, Data Studio reports are cloud-hosted and interactive. What this translates to is live reporting that can be accessed by any user with an internet connect.

As an added bonus, users can engage with graphs and metrics in the report to extract more information on a specific data point.

When building the dashboard, the creator can add a drill down option or additional metrics to graphs to present users with more options to inspect a data point. 

Once the report user has the required information, they can export the information to Excel or Google Sheets for further analysis.

6. You can create field types for custom calculations

Calculated fields are formulas that you can create using existing metrics from your connected data set. This is useful if you’re tracking multiple goals on your Google Analytics property, but you’d like to highlight specific goals.

For example, if you’re tracking various types of contact form submissions, and you would like to present a single figure in your report. With the help of a custom field, you can create a simple SUM formula with the goals you want to combine.

How to create a field on Google Data Studio

To start, you would need to select a chart for which you would like to create the field. The Data panel in Google Data Studio will open, and you’ll have access to additional options.

Simply select “Add a Field” in the bottom right corner of the Data menu to create your field.

7. You can create a Data Studio template that can be repurposed again and again

Creating a custom dashboard in Google Data Studio does require a significant time investment. You’ll need to first establish what information you want to display, and then how you would like to tell the data’s story.

Designing the layout with the various graphs and metrics will also take up a significant portion of your time. But, once you’ve set up a structure and finalised the design of your report, you can easily duplicate the report for different projects.

Simply select the “copy” icon in the top right-hand corner, and Google Data Studio will prompt you to replace the existing data connections with new ones.

How to get started with Google Data Studio

After you’ve navigated to Google Data Studio, you’ll be presented with a few reporting options. If you’re just getting started, use one of the pre-made templates that Data Studio has available from the template gallery.

You will be prompted to add the necessary data connectors to your report. Within the template, you will be able to play around with the graph types, filters, and other customisable elements within this powerful reporting tool.

For additional templates, you can visit Data Studio’s Report Gallery for report templates created by other users.

Does Google Data Studio seem too daunting?

We’ve been building dashboards since Google Data Studio released its Beta Version to the public. If you need help creating a custom marketing dashboard that suits your business, or agency’s needs, give our experts a call. We’ll listen to your needs and provide a free quote on the setup and integration of your Google Data Studio dashboard.