Data Visualization is the art of representing the complicated relationships within the data in the form of visuals that may include charts, graphs, etc. Visualization turns boring reports into appealing ones with the help of images and pictorials. One can learn all this with Google Data Studio Tutorial which can represent the insights of data in a more generous way. Interpretation of charts and graphs helps businesses derive market decisions.
In this blog post, we aim to take you through a structured Google Data Studio tutorial.
Table of Contents
What is Google Data Studio?
Google Data Studio is a free reporting and dashboard tool offered by Google and has a wide range of connectors to connect Google Products and third-party tools. Data Studio enables you to create an appealing dashboard by transforming the data. These reports will help businesses understand the product’s performance in the market and generate periodic reports on overall performance and sales. Data studio can help you track the client’s performance and visualize the sales and trends over time. It is an advanced version of Google Analytics.
Key Features of Google Data Studio
- A Nifty Dashboard: The dashboard and user interface of Data Studio are similar to those of Google Drive. As a result, you’re well-versed in the tool’s user interface. The following are the most important elements with which you’ll interact frequently:
- You can use the top-right Search Data Studio box to look for reports, templates, and data sources.
- You can change the visibility of Reports, Data Sources, and Explorer in the Recent section.
- You can create a new Report, Data source, or Explorer from the left-hand menu. In this area, you’ll also find shared items and the Templates gallery.
- You can customize several fields of the User settings by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner.
- Multiple Data Collection Sources: Data Studio eliminates the need to manage multiple versions of Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel files related to your work. Using 490+ data connectors, the tool can analyze raw data from over 800 data sets. As a result, data from third-party sources such as Funnel, TapClicks, Amazon Seller Central, Asana, Jira Cloud, and others can now be imported. You can also give the tool permission to access and analyze data from Google tools such as Campaign Manager 360, Google Analytics, MySQL, and Google Sheets. When you use Data Studio, you don’t have to be concerned about data integrity or security. It uses advanced encryption technology to protect your data both in transit and within the tool.
- Performance Driven In-Memory BI Engine: Assume you’re presenting a client with a project performance report. Even though you have premium and modern data visualization tools, the presentation isn’t going well because the data keeps loading. Furthermore, when working with multiple data sources, the lag may be even worse. Thanks to the Google Cloud BigQuery team’s BI Engine, Data Studio has sub-second performance. It’s in-memory data access and analysis service that can work with your BigQuery data warehouse on-premise. As a result, you can display real-time data from hundreds of sources in a single dashboard that updates and loads in real-time.
- Interactive Data Visualization: Advanced programming features like chart interaction controls, drill-downs, and cross-chart interactions make the Data Studio report’s view mode extremely responsive. As a result, a viewer can customize almost anything in your reports, from filters to metrics, to gain new insights. Data Studio Explorer allows the viewer to delve deeper into your report by breaking down your graphs and tables into small chunks of information. When viewing the databases of a report, viewers do not need to be SQL database experts. Visual queries are available for viewers to use to explore databases.
- Real-Time Collaboration: You and your collaborators can work on the same Data Studio report in real-time, just like with other Google productivity tools. You can invite people to work with you, manage their access levels, and get a public link for social media from the Share menu at the top of the report. If you share your Data Studio workspace with another person, their Google profile will appear in the menu bar if they join. Other notable features on Data Studio that make collaborative work easier are:
- Allow collaborators to make changes to a reusable data source and incorporate it into their own reports.
- Embed a Data Studio report in a variety of formats, such as newsletters, emails, and blogs.
- Make it impossible for others to print, download, or copy your Data Studio reports.
- Ease of Use: Its web UI is simple to navigate, and Google Workspace users are already familiar with it. Complete drag-and-drop actions are available in the report editing workspace. For each object you use in your reports, you can access custom property panels. You don’t need to know much about graphs and tables if you use Data Studio’s ready-to-use templates. There are eight different types of report categories to choose from in the Templates library.
- Scheduling a Report: It’s crucial to share the data visualization report on a regular basis or according to the client’s preferences. When you’re juggling multiple tasks and looking after your team, it’s easy to forget to send your client project reports. You can plan ahead with Data Studio’s Schedule email delivery feature. You can prepare a report for your client and set a delivery date for it. When the report is due, Data Studio will automatically notify your client. You can also change the Repeat settings to tell the tool if the client requires reports at specific intervals.
- Various Charts and Graphs: You can use Data Studio to create 14 different types of charts for your reports. Whether you need Bar, Pie, or Line charts, you can get the majority of them with just one click. The in-memory BI Engine analyses the data type and organizes it according to the charts or tables you choose. You can add Community visualizations to your report in addition to charts to give it a professional and creative look. You have unrestricted access to various visualizations such as Gantt charts, Radar charts, gauges, Start Ratings, and so on.
Why Google Data Studio?
You might be thinking, Why do I need a Data Studio? What is the need for another tool when there are already many tools available in the market?
The very first thing that might attract you is that the Data Studio is FREE to use, now you don’t have to shell out a single penny to buy an expensive visualization tool.
Secondly, Google Data Studio contains 250+ connectors that can integrate with the source system to extract the data that can be analyzed and turned into interactive reports.
Data Studio allows you to import data from different systems and visualize it in charts, tables, and diagrams, also monitor changes in real-time. It also supports mathematical formulae for advanced reporting. You can use these formulae to customize your report and gain full power to modify the content and represent it.
Hevo offers a faster way to move data from databases or SaaS applications into your data warehouse to be visualized in Google Data Studio. Hevo is fully automated and hence does not require you to code.
Check out some of the cool features of Hevo:
- Completely Automated: The Hevo platform can be set up in just a few minutes and requires minimal maintenance.
- Real-time Data Transfer: Hevo provides real-time data migration, so you can have analysis-ready data always.
- 100% Complete & Accurate Data Transfer: Hevo’s robust infrastructure ensures reliable data transfer with zero data loss.
- Scalable Infrastructure: Hevo has in-built integrations for 100 plus sources that can help you scale your data infrastructure as required.
- 24/7 Live Support: The Hevo team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to you through chat, email, and support calls.
- Schema Management: Hevo takes away the tedious task of schema management & automatically detects the schema of incoming data and maps it to the destination schema.
You can try Hevo for free by signing up for a 14-day free trial.
What are the use cases of Google Data Studio?
How to Publish your report in Google Data Studio?
- Don’t divulge confidential information. I recommend making a report with publicly available data so you don’t get in trouble for sharing information you don’t own. (Tip: use dummy data from one of Google’s sample data sets to recreate one of your existing company reports!)
- Make it fantastic. Because the public reports are so impressive, don’t be afraid to experiment with design, features, and other elements.
- Toss in some context. With captions, instructions, and possibly a video of you walking through the report, provide on-page explanations of what you’re measuring or monitoring.
How to Send scheduled reports in Google Data Studio?
Consider using Data Studio’s “scheduled report” feature if you have a group of stakeholders who need to see your report on a regular basis.
Select “Schedule email delivery” from the drop-down menu next to the “Share” button.
Enter the email addresses of your recipients first, then select a schedule, such as daily, every Monday, or once a month.
When working with customers, this is especially useful because you may not want to give them access to the live report.
How to Embed reports in Google Data Studio?
You can also post your report on your company’s website or in your personal portfolio, which is a great way to show off the results you’ve achieved for a client or project.
On the upper navigation bar, click the brackets icon.
This dialogue box will appear:
How to Create report-level filters in Google Data Studio?
A filter is applied to every chart on that page by default. What happens, however, if the viewer moves on to the next page? They aren’t compatible with the filter.
For non-technical people, this is perplexing, and for data-savvy people, it is inconvenient. Simply right-click on a filter and select “Make report-level” to raise it from page-level to report-level.
Data Sources in Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio allows you to access 500+ data sources using over 240 connectors to extract the data and turn them into elegant dashboards. You can learn more about the complete list of connectors here.
Let’s have a look at some of the popular data sources on Google Data Studio:
- Google BigQuery
- YouTube Analytics
- Display 360
- Google Analytics
- RDBMS (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Cloud SQL)
- Ad Data
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Ads
- Linkedin Ads
- Microsoft Ads
- Google Ads
- Quora Ads
How to Get Started
Before we start, you should have:
- Google Data Studio account enabled.
- Basic understanding of data and visualization.
Exploring Google Data Studio Dashboard
We will help you explore the features of Google Data Studio by creating informative yet straightforward reports from the sample data sourced from YouTube.
Have a look at the high-level steps that you’ll be covering while exploring the Google Data Studio Dashboard.
- Selecting Source
- Creating the Visual Elements
- Assembling elements into the dashboard
- Sharing with teams
Select the Source
- Log in to the Google Data Studio. Click on the Blank Report to create new Reports.
- On the pop-up box, click on the Get Started button and accept the terms and conditions.
- Click on My data sources, and select Youtube Data as the data source and click on Add.
Creating Visual Elements
We will create some visualizations with the help of the inbuilt visual elements.
- On the Dashboard, click on the Add a chart and select the Time series Analysis pattern. Place the chosen chart into the drawing area.
- The chart is pre-filled with default dimensions and metrics. Let’s customize these values. On the right side panel:
- Select the dimension as Date
- Select the metric as the SUM of Views
- Again from the Add a chart Option, select the Scorecard and place it on the draw area.
- Select the Scorecard, and add the Metric as Total Sum of Views
- Arrange both the visual elements on the screen and name it as “Number of Views Per Day”. It will look something like this:
- Similarly, we will create an element for Number of videos shared per day.
- Select the Time series chart from Add a chart option
- Set the metrics as Video Shared
- Select Scorecard from the Add a chart option
- Add the metrics as total sum of shares
- Arrange the elements on the dashboard, and it will look something like this:
- Next, we’ll create the dashboard for the number of likes added and removed by the viewers.
- Add a Scorecard and select the metrics as “Video Likes Added”
- Add another Scorecard with metrics as “Video Likes Removed”
- Select the Line and Bar chart from the Add a chart option
- Add the metrics as Sum of Video likes added and Video likes removed.
- Arrange the elements on the dashboard as shown:
- The complete Dashboard will look like this:
That’s it! Isn’t it quite easy to establish a fully functional dashboard in a minimum time frame?
Also, with the help of the above-created visualization, it is quite simple to understand the data.
Useful Features of Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio is a versatile tool and contains a lot of useful features. Here’s the list of features that you’ll cover.
- Add Data: The first thing you have to do is add the data from the source using connectors. There are sample datasets available for you to experiment with the widgets and dashboards. The option to add data comes when you create a ‘New Report.’
- Add Charts: This feature allows you to add a variety of charts that helps you visualize your data. You can add charts to the drawing area using the ‘Add a chart’ option of Google Data Studio.
- Theme and Customization: Theme and Layout help you customize the theme of the dashboard. It has a wide variety of themes available for you to choose from and you can customize them as per your need.
- Adding pages: This toolbar allows you to add pages on the dashboard. Pages help you to categorize the visualizations.
- Blend Data: This is one of the most highlighting features that Google Data Studio offers. With this option, you can blend two datasets and create an exhaustive and superb visualization. The secondary dataset should have the join key to blend with the current dataset.
- Date FIlter: You’ll find an option to add a date filter in your time series analysis to view the data for a specified time interval.
- Data Control: This allows you to control the datasets being populated at the visualization and make a single dashboard with multiple visualizations as per user needs.
- Sharing: This will allow you to share the created dashboards with your team for review.
What are the Advantages of Google Data Studio?
1. Cloud-based and Completely Managed
Unlike most popular business intelligence tools like Power BI, Tableau, etc. Data Studio was designed from the ground up as a cloud-based service. It is a completely managed service which means the user does not have to manage any kind of infrastructure or installation.
2. Tight Integration with Google’s Ecosystem
The biggest advantage offered by Data Studio is its ability to integrate seamlessly with Google applications like Google Analytics, Big Query, Google Sheets, etc. So if your ETL architecture is primarily built on top of Google applications, you will save a lot of time when integrating with Data Studio.
3. Easy to Use
Data Studio offers a very easy-to-use UI that will help anyone acquainted with Google products to start creating reports and dashboards within a few clicks. In that sense, it offers a very flat learning curve.
4. Access and Sharing Controls
Being from the Google family, it inherits the granular access control and sharing mechanisms that are typical of the Google office suite. Sharing reports and dashboards to other users and restricting access with a high degree of granularity is very easy in Data Studio.
5. Support for Live Connections
When compared to other BI tools like Power BI, Tableau, etc, Data Studio is designed on the premises of a live data connection. This means there is no elaborate logic or scheduled jobs required to manage the freshness of data. Anytime a report or dashboard is accessed or refreshed in UI, it will fetch the latest data. If the resultant performance hit seems too much for you, it is possible to adjust the fetch using cache settings.
6. Free of Cost
Data Studio is offered free of cost at this point and is bundled with Google cloud services. The storage cost for data and processing costs for transformation is outside of this.
What are the Disadvantages of Google Data Studio?
1. Lack of Real-time Updates in the Dashboard
Even though the live connection is supported for most data sources, there is no built-in method at the moment to keep a dashboard or report view auto refreshed. So if you want to project a real-time updated dashboard to motivate your team, you will have to look beyond built-in Data Studio features. A workaround using a third-party browser extension is possible to accomplish this use case. If you are interested, you can find out more about this here.
2. No Support for Excel
Being a Google product, Data Studio disregards standard business intelligence data formats like Excel and prefers Google-based services instead. Excel can be supported by converting it to a CSV file or a Google Sheet
3. Lack of Comprehensive Function Support
Data Studio is still nowhere close to the number of built-in data processing functions supported by Tableau and Power BI. It even misses some basic functions like SUMX present in Power BI that helps to compute the sum of columns considering both rows and columns.
4. Slow Speed in Case of Live Connection
One consistent feedback about Data Studio is that loading the dashboard becomes exponentially slow with the increase in complexity of functions that are part of the view. This is a side effect of the live connection mechanism and the workaround is to use a scheduled extract in cases where performance is critical.
5. No On-premise Deployment Option
For organizations with strict data security requirements, the lack of an on-premise option is a big setback. Such organizations will prefer business intelligence tools like Tableau, Power BI, etc. The latter tools provide desktop installation support and the ability to access data within their internal network.
6. Lack of Native Connector Support for Cloud-based Data Sources
Data Studio lacks native connector support for some of the most frequently used cloud-based data sources like Hubspot. Even though there are a partner and community-based connectors to cover some of them, these are paid offerings.
7. Complex Visualizations Not Possible
Even though it is easy to set up basic visualizations in Data Studio, it does not support the kind of flexibility and customizability that is offered by tools like Tableau. So organizations with analytical needs and expert analysts may find Data Studio lacking in visualizations.
In this Google Data Studio tutorial, you have learned how to use Data Studio Visual Elements to create graphs and charts, allowing you to understand your data better. You have also seen the salient features of Data Studio. You can have a good working knowledge by understanding Google Data Studio Calculated fields.
To get the best analysis results it is important to look at data from multiple sources together. Use Hevo, a fully managed platform that performs data integration seamlessly. Check it out by signing up for your 14-day free trial today.
Have any further queries? Let us know in the comments section below.