Google Data Studio

by Alex Well

Ever since "data gathering" has become an immensely popular concept, the problem of how to interpret huge volumes of data began to surface and bother data analysts.

On one hand, it is difficult to isolate the meaningful bits and pieces of information. But then on the other, if overwhelming sources are included in a research, the process gets slower and less efficient.

Many tools ranging from custom-made software tools to Google Sheetshave been developed to overcome this issue.

One of such frequently used solution for data reporting is Dashboards - a solution intelligently integrated in the Google Analytics interface. It allows users to add reports, access them, customize them and conveniently share them with others.

But, it is not devoid of limitations tough. A single dashboard can hold only 12 different widgets. Also, the user has no control over data shared on the platform.

Though Google Sheets allow unlimited numbers of reports with real-time updates, the effort required to create and format such reports are severely time-consuming. Here too, users have limited control over such reports.

Why do users need to organize their data?

The purpose of organizing data into reports is to allow your team to understand the data, interpret it and produce results. For example, if you are into the e-commerce business, you need to discuss several data sets like products, campaigns, acquisition sources and performance with your sales team.

You cannot afford to skip any piece of information in the process, because they are all vital to the success of your company. But it is impossible to include each and every bit of data on dashboards.


Google Data Studio is your solution to this problem. What does it do and how does it compare? Let's find out.

Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio

What is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio is an integral part of the Google Marketing Platform that allows you to access, visualize and explore data from both Google and non-Google sources. Few of the popular ones remaining Google Analytics , Google Sheets, Google BigQuery, Google Ads, Display & Video 360,YouTube Analytics, Search Ads 360 and more.

Google Data Studio adds versatility to your shared data and lets you to collaborate with anyone in your organization in real-time. Everyone gets "view" and "edit" privileges. Users can find what they need on their own without having to ask the gatekeeper - thereport creator.

You can also easily import data from Google Analytics and other Google services. You can even import Facebook data by putting it into a Google Sheet and create beautiful stories.

All reports on Google Data Studio are dynamic. Whenever you update the data source, the new information is automatically synced to it. Much like Google Docs and Google Sheets, you can share it with your team and allow them to make necessary changes.

How Does Google Data Studio Work?

Google Data Studio is accessible to anyone with a Google account. All you need to do is complete the sign in process and you are good to go.

The home screen lets you create a new report or select a data source to import data from. It also displays the list of existing reports created so far.

How to Connect Data Studio to Data Sources?

Connecting Data Studio to data sources will enable you to fetch data for visualization and reporting. This is done through a connector. Open the 'Data Sources' tab visible on the left hand menu, select your preferred data source and authorize access to that source.

For example, if you add the Google Analytics data source, Data Studio will display a table (termed 'schema') containing all available dimensions and metrics.

  • The Field" column defines the characterof the measurement.
  • The "Type" columndefines theunit of measurement.
  • The "Aggregation" columndefines how metrics will be aggregated.

Do not want to go through the trouble? Simply select an auto setting and it will select the ideal method for you.

Creating a Report in Google Data Studio

As you click on "create a new report", you will land on an empty sheet which you can fill with pie charts, tables, geographical maps etc. You can also create your own template to make your report look a certain way.

The interface is user-friendly. There are grids that will help you align charts and images to make the look professional and appealing.

USPs of Google Data Studio

1. Live Data Connection

Google Data Studio is an in-built connection to several data sources including but not limited to Google AdWords, Google BigQuery, MySQL, Calculated Metrics, Google Attribution 360, YouTube Channel, PostgreSQL, Google Sheets, Google Cloud SQL, DoubleClick, Data Uploader, Google Analytics and Google Analytics 360. You can even toggle between different date ranges.

2. Dynamic Controls

Google Data Studio offers dynamic controls for viewers. You can interact with the visualization and filter your content based on dimension and date range selectors.

3. Report Sharing

Google Data Studio lets you share your reports with anyone you like. Several users can view and edir the same report at the same time.

About Filter Controls - Google Data Studio's Latest Addition

Filter Control is the latest addition to the main toolbar control filter. It is programmed to let users sort their data to make their charts look more organized and precise.

Adding filters is very simple. Select Filter control Dimension Filter icon on the toolbar in the edit mode and draw the required shape on the page.

On the side bar, there are two Filter Control Properties viz. Data and Styleto configure the filterwhich are explained as follows.

Data Menu

  • Chart type: You can switch between chart types.
  • Data Source: It lets you establish a connection between the component and underlying data set.
  • Dimension: It offers values for your filter control list.
  • Metric: It displays a reference metric.
  • Order: You can sort by metric/dimension value or by ascending/descending order.
  • Default Data Range: It lets you select auto or custom time frame and compared data for the selected time period.
  • Filter: You can edit the filter name or add a new filter.

Style Menu

  • Text: It lets you edit the text color.
  • Header: You can edit the background color, font style and font color.
  • Checkbox: You can also edit the color of the check box.
  • Label: It lets you edit the entire font family of the listed data.
  • Background and border: It lets you set the background color, radius, opacity, border color, weight, style and more.
  • Padding: You can set the padding of the listed data too.

How to Configure the Filter Control?

As mentioned above, the filter control appears as a drop-down menu on the tool bar. You can select as many values as you need. To resize the filter values list, uncheck the Expandable option.

You can control the number of values shown in the list with the Show Top # option in the DATA tab. All values set below threshold will be grouped under All Others category.

Next, the multi-select filter. Here all values are selected by default. If you want to select a single value, hover the cursor overt the value and click Only .

While Single Select filters allow users to select a single option from the list of filter values, Metric lets you sort the filter values list based on different criteria. You can also hide the metric. Simply uncheck Show values in the filter control.

How to Make Filter Control Appear on Every Page?

Step 1: Edit the report.

Step 2: Select the filter control.

Step 3: Click Arrange and then Make Report-level menu.

Your filter control will now appear on every page of your report and in the same pinned location.


Before Google Data Studio, some of the commonly used methods of visualization and data integration were Google AnalyticsDashboards and Google Sheet Analytics plugin. They came with their own share of limitations. And not to forget - time consuming.

Google Data Studio got better results within minutes. That being said, it too isn't perfect and suffers a few shortcomings. For example, it is not possible to integrate data coming from most social networks. But work is in progress and this capability should be added sooner.

About Alex Well

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