How to Track your Google Data Studio Report Usage with Google Analytics

Data Studio Inception! – Here’s a free report and our guide on how to set up Google Analytics tracking for your Google Data Studio Reports.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to setup GA tracking so that you can track the usage of each of your GDS reports.  Not only that, we will create a new GDS template that can display this data in an interactive report. So you will be tracking GDS templates with a GDS template!

Who should implement this?

If you’ve spent a lot of time setting up a dashboard in GDS it’s only natural that your going to want to know if people are using it.  So everyone should implement it!

The real usefulness is the ability to track multiple templates in one dashboard.  This is perfect for:

  1. A company like ours, marketing multiple dashboards and looking to understand performance
  2. Agencies creating multiple template & reports for clients, using this tracking you can see how your clients are utilizing your reports.
  3. In-house marketing teams that are generating reports for the rest of the company.  It’s insightful to see which areas of the company are making use of your dashboards.

Setup Google Analytics

The first step to setting the tracking is to create a Google Analytics account.  And then a new property within this account. Choose the website option and the url should be: datastudio.google.com

Under the ‘property settings’ GA should now provide you with a tracking ID

Add Tracking ID into Templates

This step is straightforward.  Navigate to the GDS template that you want to track.  Once you are in edit mode. Select file >> report settings.

This will open the right hand side bar, which has a section ‘Google Analytics Tracking ID’.  paste your tracking ID in there.

Repeat the same steps for all of the template you want to track using this same ID.

Note: using the same ID in all templates will allow you to see the data for all of your templates in one dashboard.  You can later separate them using segments or GA view filters, therefore this is recommended. If you did want to keep them separate you should create a new GA profile and new tracking ID for each template.

Create a GDS template – (already done for you)!

We’ve already created a GDS template to allow you to track multiple templates here.  All you need to do is make a copy of the template and connect it to your GA account and GA profile you used in the steps above.   Note that the demo template is connected to dummy GA data.

On the top right of the screen make a copy of the report and then follow the prompts to connect to your own Google Analytics account.

Charts in the report

The following is a quick overview of the filters and charts available in the report.

In the top section of the report there are 2 filters.  The first filter ‘page title’, allows you to filter by pages.  Pages in this sense is the actual report names. This filter allows you to filter all of the metrics and graphs in the report to focus on one or several individual templates.

Session Trends shows the number of sessions and users per day visiting your template(s).

Channel Sources show which source in general the traffic has come from.

Top Templates, lists the top templates by sessions and can also be sorted by the average session duration.  This is best used when no page filter is applied.

Traffic sources shows more detailed information then channel sources.  It shows source and medium combinations of where the traffic to the templates has originated from.

Devices shows which devices people are using to view the templates

Country shows where your users are viewing from.

June GDS Updates – New Home Dashboard & More

If you use Data Studio, there are two new features that you might be interested in knowing about!

Multiple Dimensions on Pivot Tables

Up until this point, you could only add two Dimensions to a pivot table. For example, below we have our two dimensions as Country and Device Category.

A new feature is being able to add multiple Dimensions to the Pivot Table. For example, we can now have rows for Country and City. We can also have columns for Device Category and Channel grouping.

This gives you much more flexibility to dig down into the nitty gritty of your data. 

New Home page

You might have noticed that Data Studio got a new home page layout.

The new design is arguably simpler, cleaner and easier to use. 

New Text Functions

Google Data Studio has added five new text functions for you to use with custom fields. 

The next text functions are;

  • CONTAINS_TEXT — Returns true if the specified text is found in the field or expression, otherwise returns false.
  • STARTS_WITH — Returns true if the field or expression begins with the specified text, otherwise returns false.
  • ENDS_WITH — Returns true if the field or expression ends with the specified text, otherwise returns false.
  • LEFT_TEXT — Returns a number of characters from the beginning of a specified string.
  • RIGHT_TEXT — Returns a number of characters from the end of a specified string.

You might be wondering how you could these, so here’s practical example. Let’s say you’re putting together a dashboard using your Search Console data. But instead of seeing all the individual queries you want to group your queries by topic. 

You can use the “Contains_Text” function to search for specific words and cagegorize them. You can click ‘Add a Field’ in Data Studio and create a CASE statement to create a new dimension.


See an example below;

We’ve now created a new dimension called Query Category using a CASE statement with the Contains_Text function.

Below is the type of data we can get and display in our Data Studio report.

Previously, if you wanted to search for types of text in a CASE statement you’d have to use Regular Expressions (Regex) which can get complicated. These new functions make that a whole lot simpler and quicker.

Hope you found this update useful and visit Data Studio Templates for more updates!