Data Studio is Google’s latest reporting tool that integrates with Google’s products like Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Google Sheets and YouTube to create visually stunning reports to share with clients. The reports have live data with customisable data ranges.
With this easy to use system Google have managed to create a very uncomplicated and yet visually amazing system that lets both the individual and the business market create reports that are outstanding and easy to use.
The system integrates flawlessly with your Google Adwords, Google Analytics and Google Sheets to mention a few and is designed around helping the user better display their marketing performance. The reports have a very high quality feel due to their versatile customisation system and multiple reporting graphs options available.
A little setup is needed when first starting Data Studio. You will need to add in all the data sources that you would like to report on. This does integrate seamlessly with all the Google products that are connected to the Google account you are working in. The amount of time it takes to add each source is fairly quick and the step by step system is simple to follow and easy to use.
This however is not the norm across all the data sources as we did find it a little tricky adding in CSV data from Google Sheets, but that was due to a mislabeling on our side.
After adding the data source you can edit all your dimensions and metrics that have been pulled in.
Data Studio will pull in your standard reporting metrics that you would usually report to your customer from Google Adwords. Metrics like CTR, Bounce Rate, Search Impression Share, Views, Clicks etc
One of the best features, in our opinion, is the ability to create custom metrics.
When you are in the data source section and have clicked on a data source you can click the blue plus.
This will allow you to create custom metrics, the custom metric creation tool will allow you to make all those client-specific metrics that you have had to create manually and have to input or update every time you do the report.
We created the custom metric Cost per Impression, this is very straightforward to setup, you enter your metric a name in the first section.
You then add in the ID that you would like to use, we just used the default one it made.
Next you add in the formula, this is made very easy by the handy as you type drop down.
Once that is done you can click the finished button and you suddenly have a metric that you have either had to manually do the calculation on every time or a new one that you can now report on.
One of the features we would like to see in the future would be to cross data source custom metrics for example taking the customer’s total number of sales and dividing it by their online number of sales.
Once we had set up the data sources we went ahead and created a report using one of the templates that Google have on offer.
The templates are easy to navigate and really simple to update and change the information in the template. They have a total of 7 different templates on offer and these are just fine for starting your first report and getting used to the system.
We went ahead and used the Adwords template as this is what we primarily wanted to report on
The reports have a wide variety of different graphs and display tools that make up your report
This is from things like:
- Score Cards
- Pie Charts
- Bar Charts
- Bullet Charts
- Line Charts
- Map Charts
All of these can be combined to create reports on the information you want to see
Once you have the necessary graphs, pie charts or maps in your report you can start the customisation process. Everything is able to change colour and adding in blocks and background images is simple and easy to do. Making the report your own and customising it to your or your clients colours is simplicity in itself.
Once you have created your report and edited your layout you will notice that while you are in the viewing mode your reports are interactive, by hovering over a province area on the South African map you can get a zoomed in view of the province and clicking on a segment of the pie charts this gets highlighted.
We have run into a pretty big problem however and that is we cannot print this graph to PDF… In today’s society when paper or offline digital PDF’s are still used during boardroom meetings and presentation we have not been able to export the amazing, graphically beautiful and concise reports to PDF to send through to customers or to take with us into a board room. We do realise that with the built in interface that makes your reports interactive you would loose this information but we would like to see in a future update the ability to download a PDF of this for our clients.
Overall data studio is one of if not the best reporting system we have seen to date, the flexibility and customisation of the system allows the user to make clean, professional and concise reports that deliver the right information customised to the clients needs, always up to date and accessible to the client 24/7.
*As of 14 March 2017 Google Data Studio was officially made available in South Africa.