Google Data Studio Best Practices: 8 Best Practices

Vishal Agrawal • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022


Are you looking to create a Google Data Studio dashboard to understand how your business is performing? Are you wondering what would be the best practices for creating powerful dashboards? If yes, then you’ve landed on the right page! This article seeks to explore Google Data Studio best practices & helps you create stunning visualizations to gain crucial insights about your business.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Google Data Studio

google data studio best practices

It is a free visualization tool that can help you build effective and insightful reports with the help of its interactive dashboard. It allows bringing in data from multiple sources and lets you expand reports as per your business needs. You can visualize data using a bar chart, line graphs, etc. and easily share these reports. It supports dynamic reporting and hence can be used to generate reports that get updated in real-time.

Key features of Data Studio:

  • Unlimited Reports: Google Data Studio lets you analyze unlimited reports to gain insights. It also provides various pre-built templates and layouts for you to start working.
  • Live Data Connection: Google Data Studio offers in-built connectors that can connect with live data sources and stream records in real-time. It also supports the periodic data refresh.
  • Dynamic Controls: Google Data Studio offers a feature to add data controls and filters over the charts & dashboard to control visualizations dynamically.
  • Easy To Collaborate: Google Data Studio allows you to share the reports with others and also supports real-time collaborative working on the same report.
  • Connectors: Google Data Studio has around 240+ pre-built connectors that can help you connect to various data sources.

For further information on Google Data Studio, you can check the official site here.

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  • Working knowledge of Google Data Studio.
  • A Google Data Studio account.

Exploring Google Data Studio best practices

Google Data Studio best practices will help you develop highly informative and insightful dashboards to generate business reports that will provide crucial inputs in various data-driven business decisions. Use the following suggestions to create influential reports:

Set your goals and identify your target audience

The first and foremost thing that you need to consider while developing a visualization is to know the objective behind a data visualization and the target audience for which it is being created. A dashboard might be appealing to you, but it may not be informative for the target audience.

For example – A dashboard with youtube data containing user interaction on a particular channel might be useful for channel owners but not for others who are looking for a metric of how a user is interacting with youtube.

Hence, an idea of the target audience will certainly help you in developing an informative dashboard. The goal represents what data to present and what you want to say through your visuals.

Using templates in Google Data Studio reports

If you’re a beginner and unsure of how to get started on Google Data Studio, you can use Google Data Studios’ inbuilt templates. You can explore the template library here under the marketing template section.

Use the template that you feel is suitable for your use case. You can certainly customize the layouts and hue as per your business needs.

Connecting to multiple sources in Google Data Studio

Data Visualization tools are not of much use when you don’t have all the required data. Google Data Studio houses around 240+ connectors that can bring data from Google-owned sources and third-party sources like Adobe Analytics, Shopify, HubSpot, Amazon Ad, etc. You can check the complete list of connectors here.

You can easily connect to these sources by providing the necessary connection parameters, credentials, and stream the data directly to Google Data Studios’ dashboard.

Selecting date ranges for Google Data Studio reports

Addition of a date range for your reports will give the viewers more freedom, as they can select the date range for which they want to customize the report. You can use the following steps to add data ranges to your reports:

Step 1: Go to your Google Data Studios’ dashboard and select the calendar option from the menu bar found at the top of the screen.

Selecting the calender option.

Step 2: Select and drag the calendar box to your screen and place it in a position you would like.

Calender box.

Step 3: A new panel called date range properties will now open up on your dashboard. You can now manually provide the desired date range you want to work with or use the auto date range option to automatically set a date range for your reports.

Data Range properties.

Once you select the date range, the entire chart will be filtered with that date range to analyze the data at a more granular level.

Adding data control to Google Data Studio dashboards

Data control is one of the most advanced features of Google Data Studio that allows viewers to choose the data source that is piped into visual elements. You can create charts to demonstrate the trends and then attach mini data sources with them. When the users see the data, they can select the view from the data source drop-down list, and all the charts will get updated accordingly.

Step 1: Go to your Google Data Studios’ dashboard and select the data control option from the menu bar found at the top of the screen. This will allow you to add data from multiple sources to your dashboard.

data control option.

Step 2: Select and drag the calendar box to your screen and place it in a position you would like.

Calender box.

Step 3: A new panel called data control properties will now open up on your dashboard. You can now choose the desired source of data from the drop-down list, to build your reports

Data Control properties.

Creating calculated fields for Google Data Studio reports

This feature is useful when the existing data doesn’t give you enough information, and you want to perform calculations on the data to gain more insights. Let’s say you want to analyze the total number of views per day for any youtube channel. You can create a calculated field by taking the view counts and sum them. 

Step 1: Create a calculated field by selecting the chart and clicking on the metric button from the panel on the right.

adding a metric.

Step 2: Choose the total views field. A new pop up will now open up, where you can provide the name of the fields and various formulae you want to use.

Field formula.

Step 3: Enter the desired formulae and the type of metric you want to add. Click on apply to add the new field to the chart on your dashboard.

Customising report theme and layout in Google Data Studio

Theming your reports with proper colour and aesthetics is essential when presenting the insights to the business stakeholders. To adjust the report’s style and formatting, click on the option theme and layout.

Step 1: Choose the desired theme for your business report. You can select it from the panel on the left and apply it to your report.

Choosing a theme.

Step 2: Customize the theme by clicking on the customize option. You can make changes to the background, borders, and many more features.

Modifying the background.

Adding external links to Google Data Studio reports

External links to your dashboard help you connect with the broader world. You can insert links to Google Docs, Google Sheets, YouTube, or any other webpage. Embedded content is interactive and more effective than a screenshot.

You can add external links to your reports using the insert option. Click on the insert option, and select the add a URL option, where you can enter the link to the external resource.

URL option.

You can even get feedback for the reports you have created by embedding google forms.

Scheduling periodic reports in Google Data Studio

If you need to send various recurring reports to the business shareholders, you can use Google Data Studios’ scheduled delivery option. It will refresh the reports periodically before sending it.

Step 1: Go to your Google Data Studios’ dashboard and select the share option from the menu bar found at the top of the screen. This will open a pop-up menu from which you can select the schedule email delivery option.

Scheduling the email delivery.

Step 2: A new window will now open up. Provide the details to configure your email delivery schedule as follows:

Fill in the following information carefully:

  • To: Enter the emails ids, you want to send these scheduled reports.
  • Pages: Select the pages from the report that you want to send.
  • Time: Carefully enter the time at which you want the emails to be delivered.
  • Repeat: Choose the interval after which you want the emails deliveries to be repeated.
Configuring emalis.


This article teaches you how to implement Google Data Studio best practices and create influential & insightful reports that will take your business to new heights with the help of well thought data-driven decisions. It provides in-depth knowledge & helps you implement them efficiently. A well-thought analysis requires you to blend in data of different types from multiple sources using various ETL jobs. These methods, however, can be challenging especially for a beginner & this is where Hevo saves the day. 

Hevo Data, a No-code Data Pipeline helps you transfer data from a source of your choice to your desired data warehouse and visualize it in Google Data Studio. in a fully-automated and secure manner without having to write the code repeatedly. Hevo with its strong integration with 100+ sources & BI tools, allows you to not only export & load data but also transform & enrich your data & make it analysis-ready in a jiffy.

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Tell us about your experience in implementing Google Data Studio best practices! Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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