Visualizing data with Google Data Studio

By Ram Manohar

Why do you need a data visualization tool?

Ever faced difficulties in creating those tiresome dashboards in Excel or PowerPoint where you have to change the data often? If you are a marketer and don’t have a background in programming to automate the data collection, it will become tiresome over a certain period to change the data once in awhile. Many organizations require a lot of reports to be sent out periodically ranging from once in a quarter to once in a week. Even with the support of strong programming resources, it is still complicated to understand the reporting APIs of tools like Google analytics or YouTube Analytics or AdWords or any other data source residing on your database server, pull the required data and present it in a nice dashboard.

Google’s data visualization product

Enter, Google Data Studio; which initially entered the market as Google Data Studio 360 as a part of the Google Analytics 360 suite for select customers. Now the free version has been rolled out to all the users which comes with certain limitations. Google data studio is a data visualization tool with an intuitive user interface packed with powerful features which enables marketers to create exhaustive dashboards within no time. It is a great addition to the existing set of products in Google analytics suite which makes Google compete with the likes of Adobe in the marketing cloud space.

Salient features

  • Data Connections – We have all the Google set of products like Adwords, Analytics, YouTube analytics etc. inbuilt in the connectors. For those who want to pull the data from their database servers, MySQL and CloudSQL connectors have been provided. You can even pull the data from a Google sheet or use BigQuery.
  • Visualization and customization – The data that has been pulled from various data sources can be transformed as per your requirement using calculated metrics and can be visualized the way you need using the exhaustive and easy to use charts and tables which are a breeze to use.
  • Collaboration, Usability and Limitations – You can share the created report to all the necessary people who want to view the dashboard and take actions based on the insights. The free version has limitations on the collaboration front where only one user can edit a report however on the enterprise level a report can have up to 200 owners. You can create upto 5 custom reports on free version where as you can build unlimited reports on enterprise platform.

How does the report look like?

The look and feel of the reports are entirely depended on the way you customize the reports. Google provides you with all the needed tools to make any kind of customization possible. Here is a sample dashboard which comes with Data Studio platform’s beginner templates which looks pretty neat for starters.

google-data-studio-acme-dashboard

Tags: Data Visualization, Google Data Studio