Data Studio – An inside look at Google’s New Data Visualization Tool

Grant Marlowe - June 13, 2016

The recent announcement of Google Analytics 360 Suite has created quite the buzz in the digital marketing world, and several of the products are not even ready for purchase yet! The product line will aim to satisfy many of the enterprise level needs of the digital marketing world.

While several of the tools are still in BETA and price points are still a mystery, Google has released a free version of one of the Suite products, Data Studio. During the Google Performance Summit last month, Google announced they would be rolling out a “free version of Data Studio for individuals and smaller teams.” Data Studio is a data visualization tool that allows you to connect multiple data sources and build graphs, charts and dashboards in an easy to navigate user interface. Just some of the data connectors that Data Studio can plug-in to include: Google Analytics, YouTube Analytics, Google Sheets, Big Query, as well as the AdWords API. This list is intended to grow as Data Studio 360 (the paid version) becomes available, but already this is a pretty solid group of data connection points.

The free version of Data Studio allows you to create up to 5 different reporting dashboards per account. There are several tutorial videos available through the Analytics Blog and the Google Analytics YouTube channel that can help you get started using Data Studio. Below, we will walk through some of the tools, reports, connection points and features we have found helpful for creating your first dashboard report with Data Studio!

Google Analytics Data Studio 5 Dashboards Menu

Signing into Data Studio BETA is easy, as it has been added at the bottom of the list of Google products available via the drop down arrow here:

Google Data Studio Welcome Menu

The first thing you will notice when logging in to Data Studio is the “Welcome To Data Studio” step-by-step guide that will help you navigate your way around the interface, show you how to lock your report or make it available for editing, and connect your raw data to the connector. This tutorial is strongly recommended as it takes just a few minutes to review but can save you several minutes (or hours) of searching for the specific feature you are looking for.

Once you have gone through the tutorial, you can select the blue ‘Plus’ icon at the bottom of the home screen to create your first custom dashboard. This will prompt you to add a new data source or you can start with some of the sample data sources already available.

Google Data Studio Add Data Source prompt

You’ll then be directed to a blank dashboard canvas that you can start to add widgets to using an array of different bar charts, time series, geo maps, area charts, tables, scatter graphs and a variety of others that would make any true data analyst feel like its Christmas morning!

Google Data Studio Dashboard - Add Widgets

At this point, the best way to get familiar with the different options is probably to dig around and explore. And because your raw data is being piped into Data Studio via the connectors, experimenting with the data visualization tools’ many features will not put your data in jeopardy of being compromised, deleted or unintentionally altered.

The tool is extremely flexible from a design perspective and allows you to lay in different background colors and images to give your reports a nice aesthetic look to go along with the impressive graphics you apply. Below are just some of the example dashboards we have seen circulating the web via Google’s new data visualization tool, Data Studio.

Google Data Studio - Data Visualization Chart Smaple Report - world map

(Sample Report)

Google Data Studio - Data Visualization Chart Sample Report- Charts

(Sample Report)

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