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20 Oktober 2020

Google Data Studio - The first steps to the report

In September 2018, Google launched its Google Data Studio reporting tool. We show you how to create your first dashboard.

author avatar

Simon Ludwig

Google Data Studio - Google's data visualization tool, which was released in the fall of 2018, is becoming increasingly popular due to its relative ease of use. The tool, which is provided free of charge, belongs to the Google Analytics 360 suite family, which also includes well-known applications such as Google Analytics and Google Optimize.

Why the Google Data Studio?

If you work with data in your organization, you know how much work it can be to present the right metrics in a clear, concise, and visually appealing way. You like working with data, but you certainly don't like cluttered Excel spreadsheets. And while the standard Google Analytics dashboards are informative, they're not visually appealing and are pushing their limits.

Reports can get even more complicated if you want to combine data from different sources into a single view. Is your goal to analyze Google ads and Facebook ad campaigns side by side? A spreadsheet won't cut it in this case. Here's how you can use Google Data Studio to merge your data and create reports and dashboards.

The basics

Add data sources

To feed the Google Data Studio with data, so-called connectors are used. Google offers its own

Connectors

70

, with which you can pull data from common Google applications (e.g. Google Ads) or use data from your own MySQL databases or simply import CSV files.

Google Data Studio Dashboard](https://res.cloudinary.com/hvioxpubt/image/upload/v1622033636/cms/various/Bildschirmfoto_2020-02-20_um_13.46.47_bnxmij_ce4mqk.png)

These connectors offer you a great way to get data from your Google applications into Google Data Studio in seconds.

However, what if the data you want to analyze is not stored at Google or you don't have a central data warehouse where your data resides? For example, your marketing spend information might be on Facebook and LinkedIn, while your financial information might be in a separate accounting program like Debitoor or SevDesk.

In this case you have two options, either write your own script in

Google Apps Script

72

, or use one of the Available Partner Connectors. We will cover the former in a separate post on this, as it requires more patience and some experience in developing. With the Partner Connectors offering, you get a wide range of connectors (currently 180 providers) that allow you to easily and quickly get your data from Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and many more apps.

The first dashboard

Now that you have your data together, it's on to reporting. The Data Studio offers a great way to create your own reports with countless charts, tables, graphs, lines and much more. For those who, like me, don't have the patience to work on visual representations for a long time, there is also a large selection of ready-made templates. With these templates, you simply select your data source to bring the dashboard to life with your apps' data.

Google Analytics Overview](https://res.cloudinary.com/hvioxpubt/image/upload/v1622033758/cms/various/Bildschirmfoto_2020-02-26_um_16.37.51_ujomq1_ewg6p1.png)

4 important questions you should ask yourself:

1. Who is the dashboard for?

Ask yourself who will be looking at the dashboard regularly and what numbers are important to that person. A marketing manager is certainly happy about a nice comparison of different marketing channels of your company, but the person responsible for finances can do relatively little with it.

**Which key figures are relevant?

Especially in Google Data Studio, there is a high risk of straying from the actual question. Therefore, always ask yourself how the current key figure or the diagram conveys important knowledge to the reader of the report. This is the only way to ensure that the dashboards bring real value to your company and are not just the excesses of someone who enjoys looking at nice colorful reports.

**How often is the dashboard used?

If the number of available data sets is relatively small, or there is not much data on your business in general, then there is no need to analyze the latest numbers every day. Especially with little data, the significance is low due to the small samples. However, if you bring a lot of traffic to your site or invest money in paid advertising, then it makes sense to look at the current changes at regular intervals.

**Is Google Data Studio right for me?

Google Data Studio, PowerBI or Tableau, the market of business intelligence applications is huge. Although Google Data Studio is free and easy to use, there are other applications, such as Microsoft's

PowerBI

74

, that should be considered. Especially if your company's data is largely on Microsoft's cloud service (Microsoft Azure), then the effort to visualize the data with PowerBI can be much more pleasant than it would be with other applications.

Conclusion

Google Data Studio shines with its ease of use and quick ability to provide nifty and meaningful dashboards for your business. With 17 of its own connectors and over 180 additional partner connectors, Google offers a great way to unify and visualize data from a wide variety of data sources - and it's free.

Just log in with your Google account and get your report created.

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