Google Data Studio, the data analytics and visualization tool by Google has recently been made available for free to everyone. More accurately, it has removed a restriction that limits the number of reports a user can generate.
While there is a more comprehensive enterprise version, the free version is nothing to sneeze at. This product, which was launched a year ago as a free component of the paid-for Google Data Studio 360, helps marketers and customers better understand data as it is presented in a more visually appealing format.
In the past, even with Google Analytics available in the past decade and continuously upgrading its capabilities and visualizing data, many of us have found generating report a bit of a challenge. We extract data by means of its export function — get the exact copy of GA report by exporting the PDF copy or reuse data on other data formats such as CSV or Google Sheets.
But even with dashboard facility presenting Google Analytics in a more easy-to-understand format remained a daunting task. So we end up sending clients a series of funky Excel reports loaded with graphs that many clients ignore and prefer a dialogue about the reports.
Thankfully, Google Data Studio has arrived with that mission of generating reports through data visualization.
1. Create beautiful reports with minimal creative talent
You don’t have to be a talented graphic artist nor should you need to bother your design team to assist in creating visually attractive analytics reports. With its drag and drop feature, Google Data Studio enables you to express whatever your reports would look like on a blank canvas. You can also add data range to create flexibility and comparison among presented data.
You can set your preferred font or colors and add images for branding purposes. Or if you need more inspiration, there is also a gallery of templates for inspiration.
2. It can integrate reports from various data sources
Google Data Studio does not only generate beautiful reporting formats from Google Analytics. If you have data from sources like Google Sheets, YouTube Analytics, BigQuery, Attribution 360 and AdWords, it is also possible to combine them together into one singular report. Not only that, external data outside of Google realm such as mySQL can also be accessed by Google Data Studio — with proper authentication.
3. Reports are dynamic
Visual representation of reports don’t have to remain static. With every data source update, the graphs, pie charts and tables update in values and shape. So it is possible to create a template and watch it update on the fly and reuse it for the next presentation.
4. Collaborate with team members
Remember the relief you felt when Google allowed concurrent edits on its Docs, Sheets and Slides products? You will enjoy the same capability that enables other team members to contribute at the same time, saving time and effort passing around documents and bloating your drive with redundant files.
5. Easily share your report
Once ready, your Google Data Studio report can be shared through individual email addresses or Google Groups. With edit or view access, the report can be read-only or editable by specific set of people. While those with view-only access will not be able to modify report or attach new data sources, they can also copy the report or store in Google Drive.
6. It is free
Just like Google Analytics, Google Data Studio is part of the high-end, pricey Google Analytics 360 Suite. But unlike its more robust sibling Google Data Studio is free and offers plenty of capabilities enough to help improve how analytics reports are presented to a wider audience segment.
So what now?
To get started, access Google Data Studio by visiting https://www.google.com/analytics/data-studio and login using your Google Analytics account.
Check out the interactive introduction to the service by clicking on “Welcome to Data Studio! (Start here)” link to get a feel of what it does and how it can help you.
When I talked about clients firing SEO consultants, the first reason I mentioned is that agencies might have lacked reporting mechanism. Hopefully this will change the complexion and improve relationships between clients and vendors as custom reports would become better articulated and better understood.