Businesses and organizations get their data from different sources. In some cases, they may need to combine this data to establish relationships and answer questions.
Initially, to combine data from different sources, businesses had to export the data from their sources and then combine it in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. This is not an ideal process. Plus combining data from multiple different sources is a challenging task and requires great expertise to merge data coherently for useful insights.
Google Data Studio introduced the data blending feature to solve this problem. With this feature, you can combine data from different sources and even visualize it on a single chart or graph.
In this article, we will be discussing how to work with the Google Data Studio Blend Data feature. Read along to understand this feature and its various operations.
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What is Google Data Studio?
The Data Studio is a popular data visualization tool provided by Google. It allows its users to pull data from different sources and create dashboards and visualizations. This makes it easy for your teams spread across different departments within the organization to understand data.
Data Studio allows its users to create visualizations using data combined from multiple sources. However, it doesn’t allow you to unify data from more than 5 sources. Data Studio enhances your visualizations via its appealing dashboards. Moreover, you can use this tool to generate reports that will allow you to study the sales performance of your product and the effect of your marketing strategies.
Data Studio can also track your client’s performance and present the market trends over a long period of time. Furthermore, Data Studio also works as an extension of Google Analytics.
To learn more about Google Data Studio, visit here.
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What is Google Data Studio Blend Data Feature?
Data Blending is the process of “blending” or “combining” multiple data sources in a single graph or chart in Data Studio. A good example is when you have multiple Google Analytics views set for a website. You may have a Mobile and Desktop only Google Analytics view.
So, there may be the need to combine the data into one singular graph to consume the data sets easily rather than adding multiple visuals from both sources into one report.
For you to blend multiple data sources, every data source must have a “JOIN key”, a common dimension between the data sources to be blended.
The good thing with Data Studio is that it tries to find the JOIN key for you, but you can also change the JOIN key manually. If it fails to detect a JOIN key, it will show the message “Missing” on the Data Blend Panel. Again, you must note that Data Studio only supports left outer JOIN blends.
When blending data, you are required to manually select the metrics and dimensions that are to be included from each data source. You can also read Google Data Studio Templates.
How Does Google Data Studio Data Blending Work?
The Google Data Studio data blending feature uses a left outer JOIN operation. A left outer JOIN of table A and table B returns all records in table A and only records in table B that share the same key values.
Operations on Google Data Studio Data Blending
This section provides steps to implement the Google Data Studio data blending operations in Google Data Studio. There are different ways through which you may perform Google Data Studio Blend Data operations. Let’s discuss them.
How to Enable Google Data Studio Blend Data Feature?
To manage your blended data, follow the steps given below:
Step 1: Click the “Resource” menu from the menu bar of your Data Studio report. Choose “Manage blended data”.
Step 2: You will be taken to a screen where you can set up a new blend. Click the “ADD A DATA VIEW” button.
Step 3: You will be taken to a page where you can add data sources to the blend. You can choose the existing data sources from the report or add new data sources.
Select your first data source to begin the blend.
Step 4: To set up blending, you are required to set up the metrics and dimensions that you want to have. The entire data source will not be blended automatically. To select the metrics and dimensions to add, just drag them from the “Available Fields” section to the “Dimensions” and “Metrics” sections.
They will be included in the “Included dimensions and metrics” section on the far right as you drag and drop them.
Step 5: Now that you’ve added your metrics and dimensions, click the “ADD ANOTHER DATA SOURCE” button to add another source.
Step 6: Choose the second data source to be added. Note that you will have to follow similar steps to add the dimensions and metrics. You will see a new option showing whether a JOIN key has been detected or not. Data Studio will choose a JOIN key for you, but you can still edit it.
Step 7: Give the blended data a name. Take some time to review your blend and click the “SAVE” button located at the bottom right corner of the screen.
You’ve created your first blended source.
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How to Create Visualizations with Google Data Studio Data Blending?
Now that your blended data is ready, you can use it to create visualizations.
You should be able to see your blended data on the “Data source” section of your properties window.
To create a visualization from the data, do the following:
Step 1: Add the blended data as the source to your report.
Step 2: Click the data table.
Step 3: Click the “+ Add a chart” button from the menu bar.
Step 4: You will be presented with a set of charts that you can use to present your data. Choose the type of chart that you want.
It will be inserted into your report.
How to Edit Blended Visualizations in Google Data Studio?
After blending your data, you may have a table where some columns have similar names. Such names should be edited for the data to make sense.
You simply have to click the visual and rename the metrics and dimensions from the “Data Pane” shown on the right.
When you point to a metric or dimension with your mouse cursor, you will see the edit option.
Once you click the edit option, you will be able to change the name and type of the metric or dimension.
How to Edit Google Data Studio Blend Data?
It is also possible for you to edit your data blends. Follow the steps given below:
Step 1: Click the “Resource” menu from the title bar then choose “Manage blended data”.
Step 2: You will be taken to a page that shows all your blended data. Identify the data blend that you need to edit and click the “EDIT” button shown on the right side of its name.
Step 3: You will be taken to a page where you can edit the metrics and dimensions, add/remove data sources, edit the data blend name, etc. Just perform the type of edit you need and click the “SAVE” button.
Advanced Operations on Google Data Studio Blended Data
This section will explain the steps to implement the major operations on Google Data Studio Blended Data. You can read the steps and implement the following operations in your Google Data Studio:
Creating Data Studio Blended Data
Google Data Studio has made it easy for anyone to blend data on their platform. To demonstrate how to do it, we will be using two sets of data showing the amount of revenue generated by different products over different periods. Follow the steps given below:
- Step 1: Load the first table to the Data Studio page.
- Step 2: Select the data table on the Data Studio page.
- Step 3: Navigate to the right corner and select “BLEND DATA”.
- Step 4: You will see a “Blend Data” window on the bottom of your screen. On this window, select “Join another table”.
- Step 5: Select the data source where the other data to be blended is stored.
- Step 6: Click the “Configure join” button. This will open a configuration window.
- Step 7: Select the join type ( for blending data) and click on “Save”.
Step 8: Click the “Save” button located in the bottom right corner.
You will have created Data Studio blended data.
Setting Up Data Studio Blended Data Charts
The following steps can help you to blend Data Studio charts:
- Step 1: Select the first chart on the Data Studio page, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and select the second chart.
- Step 2: Right-click on any of the charts.
- Step 3: Scroll downwards on the new popup window and select “Blend Data”.
A single chart that combines the two previous charts will be generated as shown below:
The chart visualizes the two sets of data in the same visualization.
Shifting Data Studio Tables
Once you add a table to the blend, it appears to the right. The following steps can help you to reorder tables in the blend:
- Step 1: Click the three dots on the top right corner of the table you want to move.
- Step 2: Choose “Shift left/right”.
To remove a table, follow the steps given below:
- Step 1: Click the three dots on the top right corner of the table you want to remove.
- Step 2: Choose “Remove”.
Editing Join Configurations for Data Studio Blended Data
The tables are joined based on a matching field and a join operator. The following steps can help you to add or edit a join configuration:
- Step 1: Click the join configuration box shown between 2 tables.
- Step 2: Choose a join operator.
- Step 3: Define a join condition by adding the dimensions with the data that you need to join.
- Step 4: Click the “Save” button.
Creating Calculated Fields for Google Data Studio Blend Data Tables
You can add calculated fields to tables in a blend. It can be a good way of creating join conditions when the data between the tables are not perfectly compatible. The following steps can help you to add a calculated field to Data Studio blended data:
- Step 1: Select a table in the blend.
- Step 2: Click the “Add dimension” button or the “Add metric” button from the right.
- Step 3: Click “CREATE FIELD”.
- Step 4: Give the field a name and type its formula in the editor window
- Step 5: Click “APPLY”.
Editing Google Data Studio Blend Data
After blending your data or creating a chart based on blended data, you may need to edit it. To edit Google Data Studio blend data or a chart that has been created from blended data, follow the steps given below:
- Step 1: Select the chart created from blended data.
- Step 2: The name of the blended data will appear on the right under the DATA tab. Click the edit icon located on the left of the data name.
The “Blend Data” window will pop up from below. You can change the data and the visualization will change to reflect the new changes.
Limitations of Google Data Studio Blend Data Feature
There are a number of limitations associated with the Google Data Studio Blend Data feature.
- Blended data sources only belong to the report in which they were created. If you need to use the blended data source in another report, you’ve to copy and paste a component with the blended data into your new report.
- You can only blend up to 5 data sources in a single chart.
- Data blending only supports left outer JOIN operations.
This article introduced you to Google Data Studio and explained its Data Blending feature. It also discussed the step-by-step process of executing significant Google Data Studio Blend Data operations. The article also listed the limitations of using the Google Data Studio Blend Data feature. After reading this article, you can go and experiment with the Data Blending features of Goole Data Studio seamlessly.
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