An Introduction to Using Google Data Studio

In this article we take a deep dive into Google Data Studio’s toolbars. We’ve outlined 3 steps you can follow to give you a basic understanding of how to create a Google Data Studio report.

This is the second article in a series of ‘How to’ guides. You might like to visit the previous article on, ‘How to Connect Google analytics to Google Data Studio’, first to get a thorough understanding of how to connect to a data source and start working with data in GDS.

1) Just underneath the menu, you will see a list of quick links. You can add many pages to each report. Add a new page by clicking ‘+Add page’ in the top left corner.

2) You have the options to add a range of data visualizations from bar charts to bullet charts.

You also have the options to add some standard elements such as Text, images, and rectangles. Finally, at the end, you’ll see two options to add filters on dates and dimensions.

To the right of the page, you will see an area with two tabs – one for report layouts and another for report themes.

3) To see your report as others would view it, click ‘view’ at the top right of the page. This is different from how you would see it in the edit mode.

Under layout options, you can also edit other things such as canvas size.

In the ‘theme section,’ you can choose between a light and a dark theme. As well as a standard colour pallet for your text, charts and other elements on the page.

Don’t miss the next article in our ‘how to’ series – More Options for Time Series, Bar and Pie Charts.

An in-depth List of Google Data Studio features

An example of the wide variety of dashboards and reports you can create in Data Studio.

Ever since it was launched in late 2018, Google Data Studio has positioned itself as a highly capable, feature-packed, and serious alternative to other dashboard software like Whatagraph, Klipfolio, and DashThis.

The biggest draw to Data Studio, of course, is that using the platform is free—all you need is a Google account. Not only this makes it a compelling option, but it also removes one of the biggest barriers of entry altogether.

In this article, we’ll take a more in-depth look at some of Data Studio’s top features so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth a try.

Connectors

One of the biggest selling points of Google Data Studio is its number of data connectors. What these connectors do is allow you to quickly and easily display your data obtained from a source, such as your Google Analytics, YouTube, or MySQL.

It only takes a few clicks to do this. First, choose your data source:

Connect and log into your data source:

And you can start displaying whatever data you’d like to display within that source:

Google Data Studio currently has over 130 connectors of which 17 are built and supported in-house by Google, while over 100 are Partner Connectors made by Data Studio partners, and 12 are Open Source Connectors created by the Data Studio open source community. Of course, you can also upload your own data in a CSV file.

Note: Using Data Studio itself is free to use, but using most, if not all third-party connectors will cost you money.

If you’re technically inclined, you can also create your own connector or use others built by various developers called Data Studio Community Connectors. You have the option to share the connector you created only with select users or add it to the public Data Studio Connector Gallery so that everyone can find and use it.

Google Data Studio templates

Once you’ve gathered the data you need, you now have to be able to visualise the information in a way that’s not only easy to understand but easy on the eyes as well.

You can choose to create a report or a dashboard from scratch. But this takes a lot of time and effort, not something you want if you’re after speed and ease of use.

This is where Data Studio templates come in.

Just go to the Gallery and then choose from a myriad of templates that you can customise to match the look and feel of your brand.

Of course, if you’ve chosen to create your own design, you can save it as a template so you can use it again in the future.

You can also choose from third-party templates if you want something more unique. Here at Data Studio Templates, you can choose from our gallery of templates we cover:

Sharing and collaborating on your reports and dashboards

If you’ve ever used Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides products, you’re probably familiar with how easy it is to share and collaborate on projects. With just a few clicks, you can choose who to share your reports and dashboards with and what they can do with it.

You can also embed your dashboard on a website, which is ideal if you’d like to present your data to a wider audience. To do this, just click on the embed icon:

Enable embedding:

Choose whether to embed the code or the URL:

Before finally copying and then pasting the code.

Once someone accesses the dashboard, the data presented will be up-to-date. This may sound like a minor feature, but it’s actually a big deal once you realise that some dashboard platforms require you to cough up money just to get shorter data refresh times.

Just like working in Google Docs, you can collaborate with others in real-time, whether they are your teammates or people from other organisations. You can see changes as they happen on your screen, which are then saved automatically.

Complex functions for your complex needs

While Data Studio shines in its ease of use, it is also highly capable of performing more complex tasks if you require them. For example, you can create custom formulas, as well as apply arithmetic, logical, and other operators. Plus, you can also use a wide range of functions that include string and date to help you present your data in an even more meaningful way. This means that you won’t be limited in what you can actually do and display Data Studio. For example, you can perform basic math such as calculating the total number of visitors for a specific year, convert text to upper or lowercase, or calculate the difference in days between two dates.

A few things to remember

As it is, Data Studio is already a powerful and feature-rich dashboard platform that can rival other paid options out there. However, keep in mind that it is still practically fresh out of beta, so expect a few kinks here and there. For example, while doing this review, I encountered an issue with the menu where the tabs became unresponsive, which was fixed after I refreshed the page.

Also, just like the earlier versions of Google Docs, there may be features that you’re expecting to have that you won’t find in Data Studio yet. But Google is aware of this, which is why they prominently added a Request a Feature option in the Help tab. And based on how they’ve improved their other products over the years, we can definitely expect Data Studio—a platform that’s already good—to get even better.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning here that although the platform itself is free to use, you may have to pay for some other features, such as connectors. Even then, you’ve already saved a lot of money from the free access you get to Data Studio.

Summary

With the increasing amount of data that businesses gather every day, the need for easily accessible and easy to use tools to visualise these data grows as well. Because of that, Data Studio entered the market at the right time and coupled an already compelling product with tons of great features (and more on the way), free access, exceptional customisation, and a multitude of connectors. That said, it presents other dashboard platforms with some serious competition from one of today’s tech giants.

Looking for Google Data Studio templates?

We understand that while Data Studio already has a vast amount of templates in its gallery, you might find it difficult to find one that matches the look you want. Or you probably don’t want to get caught using the same template hundreds of other companies have used before. In that case, we can help.

We design and sell Data Studio templates that you can use to present your data in a more unique and visually striking way. They are professionally designed and very reasonably priced, giving you more options to create and customise your dashboard.

To find out more, please send us an enquiry today and we’ll get in touch with you as quickly as possible.



Tale of the Tape: Google Data Studio vs. Other Dashboard Platforms

Introduction

Launched as a free beta version in May 2016 and then officially released in September 2018, Google Data Studio (GDS) has quickly become a powerhouse dashboard platform for professionals in the fields of search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimisation (SEO), and ecommerce.

Its intuitive interface also makes GDS an ideal tool for more inexperienced users, such as those who simply want to visualise data either for themselves or their clients. Choosing a data source, for example, can be done with a few clicks, while choosing data to be displayed is a matter of dragging and dropping them on the dashboard.

In this post, we’ll share with you some of the best features that make GDS a highly recommended tool if you want a powerful and easy-to-use dashboard software. Plus, we’ll compare it with some of the most popular platforms today so you can see for yourself if GDS is indeed the right platform for you.

TL;DR

GDS is, in our opinion, the most capable dashboard software available today with its perfect balance between the number of connectors, ease of use, and availability of third-party Google Data Studio templates. Of course, the fact that it’s free to use doesn’t hurt as well.

Why Data Studio is the best dashboard platform today

There are a lot of great reasons why we think GDS is the best dashboard software available today. Here are some of them:

  • You can display data from 100+ sources – Dashboard platforms are often only as good as the number and quality of connectors they offer. GDS currently has 128 connectors that include Google-owned products like Analytics, Ads, BigQuery, and YouTube, along with other connectors that connect to Bing Ads, Amazon Ads, and Facebook Ads, MySQL databases, just to name a few. You can also upload your own CSV file.
  • It’s free – Using GDS itself is free. To access it, all you need is a Gmail account, which you may already have if you use AdWords and Analytics. Keep in mind though that some third-party connectors are paid like Supermetrics, which requires a subscription for you to pull your Facebook data and display it on GDS.
  • It’s easy to use – GDS provides templates to help set up your dashboard quickly. If you know how to use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint or Google Docs and Slides, you’ll know how easy it is to create a dashboard using GDS’s pre-built templates, making it a perfect tool even if you’re not that technically inclined.

The available number of third-party Google Data Studio Templates is also growing, including the ones that we develop in-house. This further expands your options when it comes to displaying your data more beautifully.

GDS vs. other dashboard platforms

Of course, being a relative newcomer, GDS has a lot of more-established competitors. Here, we take a look at some of GDS’ biggest competitors—Whatagraph, Klipfolio, DashThis, and Reporting Ninja—and see how they stack up against Google’s own product.

  • Data sources

If you or your clients would like to display data from a wide range of sources, then it’s important that you have access to as many data connectors as possible. In that case, Klipfolio is probably the only serious competition with its more than 600 data connectors compared to GDS’ 128. DashThis lags behind at third with 34, followed by Whatagraph with 18, and Reporting Ninja’s 13.

Of course, the quality of the connectors is important too. Aside from the connectors Google developed in-house, they also partnered closely with other developers to ensure that these work flawlessly with GDS—all these make GDS the best in its class when it comes to the number and quality of connectors.

  • Pricing – Another great thing about GDS is that you can use it for the absolutely great price of FREE—all you need is a Gmail account to use all its features. This isn’t the case with some of the dashboards.

Klipfolio, for all its massive library of connectors, crippled their free and lower-priced options with very long data refresh rates of up to 4 hours. You’ll have to go to the $99 tier to get a 1-minute refresh rate. GDS thus wins again since it’s the only free dashboard that offers the same, if not better, exceptional level of quality of its competitors.

  • Templates

Ease of use is another area where GDS shines. While all the platforms we compared here offer templates, only GDS has third-party templates, letting you choose how to present your data, including the type of data to include and the overall look of the dashboard. All these make setting up a dashboard quick and easy.

Competitors’ templates, meanwhile, tend to be somewhat limited. For example, Dashthis only has one template for displaying campaign results. The limited number of templates and lack of third-party options make the competition a little less attractive.

  • Shareability – Sharing and collaborating with GDS is familiar to users of Google Docs or Sheets. Access permissions let you choose who can view or edit reports and data sources. You can post reports on social media or share them via email. Everyone gets the most up-to-date information when they open the dashboard. Collaborating with GDS is quick, easy, and secure, so it’s an obvious choice in multi-user environments.

Klipfolio offers a similar level of control as GDS on who can edit, view, or share dashboards. DashThis opted for simplicity over security as they allow you to just share dashboards via email, PDF, or a link.

  • Visualisation & customisation

GDS makes it quick and easy for you to create beautiful dashboards with its range of templates. While other platforms have that feature, only GDS gives access to third-party templates, making it the most flexible and customisable dashboard in its class.

Other platforms vary in the level of customisation that they allow. For example, Whatagraph has chosen simplicity since customisation is limited only to adding widgets to a dashboard. Klipfolio, is more robust, letting you create custom Klips (what they call their widgets) using HTML, Javascript, and CSS for a deeper level of customisation that others don’t offer.

Having compared GDS with other dashboard platforms, we can still confidently say that GDS offers the best dashboard available when it comes to price, value, and features.

Customising dashboards with Google Data Studio templates

GDS already offers a number of templates, but if you want to have something more unique, use third-party templates. Because GDS was launched recently, there are currently very few providers of Google Data Studio templates.

Here at Data Studio Templates, we offer a wide array of beautiful and affordable templates that suit a variety of applications, including AdWords templates, SEO templates, site traffic report templates, and social media templates. They’re easy to install too so you can go from choosing a basic template to customising it to your liking in just a few steps.

For more information about our collection, please send us an enquiry today.



The 5 Best Data Studio templates for Search Marketers

Google Data Studio

Google data studio templates have proved to be an amazing addition for digital marketers. These templates allow you to create a professional level report that your clients will be happy with in no time at all. The best part is that these reports can be configured to be dynamic and update in real time to reflect current numbers. Moreover, they easily connect to Google services such as Analytics and AdWords and can be shared with clients as easily as a Google Drive file.

Here at Data Studio Templates, the five main data studio reports that we focus on are:

  • AdWords Templates
  • SEO Templates
  • Social Media Templates
  • Site Traffic Report Templates
  • Ecommerce Templates

This article will provide a comprehensive analysis of these 5 data studio templates, which we believe to be the best ones available for search marketers. We will discuss the benefits of using each of these templates and highlight how they can be used to grow your business and the businesses of your clients.

AdWords Templates

Google AdWords represents an ideal way to get your brand in front of customers with high buyer intent. Typically, these customers are searching for an answer to a problem that your business can help to solve. They are engaged buyers who are actively searching for products in your niche and typically will prove easy to convert. Our data studio AdWords report will give you deep insights into the performance of your campaigns, in turn allowing you to make tactical decisions in real-time that will improve your results.

View Adwords Data Studio Template

These reports will focus on the following factors:

Demographics

Understanding the demographics of your target audience will save you significant money in the long term. Once you’ve established a demographic of people that regularly purchase your products, you can target the majority of your marketing spend towards this group. Having the data behind you will provide the extra confidence necessary to make these decisions that can increase your profitability.

Daily CTR and CPC Trends

Once you develop a strong understanding of your CTR and CPC, you’ll be able to take your digital marketing to the next level. This data studio report gives you an insight into your exact cost per customer, which is incredibly valuable information that allows you to optimise future campaigns.

Device Breakdown

This section of the report provides an in-depth analysis of what devices customers are using when exposed to your ad campaigns. If you find that your campaign is performing much better on one device than another, you can then utilise this information to accentuate your campaign strengths and minimise weaknesses.

Clicks and Impressions

Knowing how frequently your ads have been clicked is a crucial digital marketing metric. This allows you to adapt and tweak both your copy and strategy as you seek to improve your ads. The best part is that this will update in real time, allowing you to quickly tell if your adjustments have made a profitable difference.

SEO Templates

Effective SEO provides an excellent foundation for a successful digital marketing campaign. It comprises a diverse range of metrics in an attempt to increase your web traffic through organic search results. Our excellent data studio SEO reports will provide you with a plethora of valuable information that can help you identify which keywords you’re ranking for, the top pages on your site and trends surrounding your clicks and impressions. When used effectively, this comprehensive SEO dashboard will provide valuable insights into your site performance that will save both time and money.

View SEO Data Studio Template

Our SEO Data Studio reports analyse the following key areas:

Trend Analysis

Being able to understand the performance of your website over time will prove beneficial as it pertains to optimising your SEO. The trends in this template give you a deep and unique insight into the behaviour of your target customers. They paint a data-driven picture that measures exactly how effective the changes you’ve implemented have been over a prolonged period of time. This information can subsequently be used to make adjustments accordingly and identify which trends could be effective to hop on in the near future.

Landing Page Sessions

An effective landing page can dramatically improve both the engagement of your audience as well as overall conversions. Our dashboard will provide a real-time picture of your landing page performance. This allows you to effectively analyse what is going well currently before optimising the process through split testing and tactical improvements.

Search Query Reports

Our SEO reporting templates also seamlessly integrate with Google Search Console. This in turn makes it very easy to get an insight as to how frequently your site is appearing in Google search results. From this you’ll also gain valuable information, such as the keywords customers are searching for to get on to your website and where most of your visitors are coming from.

Demographics

The demographic insights of these free data visualisation tools provide a great insight into what your audience looks like. With just the click of a button, you can find out who is coming to your website, where they are coming from and what device they are using. This allows you to in turn optimise your site and content towards these individuals, thereby improving their engagement and likelihood of purchasing.

Social Media Templates

Understanding the analytics behind the engagement of your social media posts is an extremely effective way to increase your chances of success. These useful and actionable Data Studio analytics give you the ability to make informed and data-driven decisions that result in increased profitability. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have incredibly large in-built followings. As such, mastering the information contained within these social media templates will likely prove to be an excellent cost-effective way to increase your organic website traffic.

View Social Media Data Studio Template

Our comprehensive Google data studio templates provide key insights into the following areas:

Geo Reporting

This gives you a proper understanding of where the majority of your audience is coming from. You gain an insight into which campaigns are performing well in certain regions and which campaigns could be improved upon. This is extremely valuable data that will help with both targeting new markets and improving your engagement in specific regions.

Likes, Subscriptions and Comments

Our Google Data Studio social media templates provide a strong visual insight into your social media metrics. Likes, subscriptions and comments are excellent indicators as to how engaged your audience is. The information contained within our templates will help you drive engagement and build profitable relationships with your followers.

Current Trends

If you can effectively understand current trends and look out for what may be trending in the future, you’ll enjoy a significant advantage over your competitors. These will create excellent opportunities to publish your own unique content to capitalise on these trends. If done effectively, this content can even go viral and drive through considerable organic traffic.

Goals and Events

Another notable feature of our social media templates is that they are dynamic and will update in real time. They seamlessly integrate with Google Analytics and give you a comprehensive snapshot of the exact traffic coming from each of your social media platforms. This also allows you to analyse which content is driving the most engagement so that you can optimise for future performance.

Site Traffic Report Templates

Gaining a deeper insight into your website traffic is an excellent way to optimise your content. You gain a much clearer picture of exactly the type of content that your audience is engaging the most with. Whilst the numbers are important, actually understanding your customer’s on-site behaviour is next-level stuff that gives you a significant competitive advantage.

View General Site Traffic Report

Our excellent site traffic Data Studio reports give you comprehensive insights surrounding the following features:

SEO

If you want to increase your organic traffic, developing an effective SEO strategy represents the best way to do so. However, you need to see how the changes you implement are impacting on visitor behaviour for this to be truly worthwhile. Fortunately, our site traffic templates provide comprehensive insights about your current site performance and how the on-site SEO can be improved.

Dynamic Data

Our versatile site traffic report templates allow you to view both real-time and historical data. Historical data gives you a strong insight as to how your traffic has evolved over time, whilst the real-time information allows you to see the exact effect that your changes are having on traffic. This gives you all of the information necessary to make smart data-driven decisions that can increase your bottom line.

Google AdWords and Analytics

Google AdWords and Analytics are extremely valuable tools that give you a strong insight as to how your business is performing from a data perspective. Our site traffic templates integrate seamlessly with both platforms and will update in real-time. This allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current campaigns and optimise for future performance.

eCommerce

A functional and professional eCommerce design is the primary way to increase conversions on your site. You need to create an offer that can benefit a specific group of people and then effectively communicate that value to bring traffic to your site. However, it can prove more difficult to analyse the traffic for eCommerce site than just a regular niche or authority site. Our Data Studio templates provide comprehensive visualisations that help analyse customer behaviour and engagement.

View ecommerce report

These excellent eCommerce reports specialise in the following areas:

Conversion Metrics

Our eCommerce Data Studio reports provide a strong insight into how your site is performing according to key metrics such as CPC, CTR and your overall conversion rate. This data updates in real time and allows you to modify your product and copy in an attempt to increase conversions. Utilising this information effectively will both lower your customer acquisition cost and increase the value of each customer

Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides a huge help for eCommerce store owners, integrating seamlessly with our eCommerce Data Studio templates. It provides valuable insights such as the behaviour of new and existing customers, which traffic source generates the most revenue and which of your products are most popular. This is extremely actionable information that can be used to double down on your strong points to significantly increase revenue.

Checkout Funnel

Optimising your checkout funnel is a great way to increase overall revenue. Our eCommerce templates provide exact data showcasing where your visitors are dropping off at each stage. A lot of people adding to cart but not many making purchases? This dashboard will allow you to identify problem points like this and then optimise accordingly.

Conclusion

Hopefully you’ve obtained significant value on this comprehensive guide about the five best Google Data Studio templates for search marketers. These excellent templates on AdWords, site traffic, SEO, social media and eCommerce all provide actionable information that can take your business to the next level. You will gain a much deeper insight into the existing strengths and weaknesses of your business, allowing you to optimise your strategies going forward. More than just the numbers, you receive strong insights into how customer behaviour on your site. When implemented effectively, this information gives you a significant advantage over competitors in your industry.