As someone who works with analytics, when you are presented with a dashboard, you understand what it is telling you immediately. Difficulties occur when you want to share your findings or insights with clients.
Data reports are often confusing to the untrained eye. To express website or campaign performance in a way clients can understand, many data specialists have relied on exporting data and creating their own visuals. That is, until recently. With Google Data Studio, you can generate branded reports that are designed to be attractive and intuitive.
Google Data Studio Summarized
Google Data Studio is a beta feature available for all Google users. It receives raw data and turns it into reports with the metrics and dimensions that you specify. Not only does Google Data Studio improve the visualization of data, it also helps you appear more professional. For instance, you can customize all your reports by choosing the font and colors and by adding your logo at the top.
Better still, your clients can interact with the data. Google Data Studio features dynamic controls that enable user to filter by date and dimension and to exclude certain content from a filter.
Previously, if you wanted more than five dashboards, you needed a Google 360 account, but now you can receive unlimited dashboards, even in the free version.
Capabilities of Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio has access to a number of data sources, such as Google Analytics, AdWords, BigQuery, and DoubleClick, to name just a few. Most are Google products, but you can also connect to Google Sheets to obtain data from an online spreadsheet as a distinct data source. When you combine this with third-party connector tools, Google Data Studio covers around 80 percent of your data connectivity needs.
Whenever there is an update to the data source, your reports update automatically. This means there’s no need to schedule data refreshes.
Sharing and Collaboration
You can share reports with anyone, including with other team members for collaboration. You decide if you want to give a user view or edit permissions, just like with Google Docs. As Google Data Studio is free from code and queries, it is easy even for those without an analytics background to edit the reports. More advanced users can take advantage of calculated metrics to generate meaningful reports, using simple to sophisticated formula types.
Limitations of Google Data Studio
Inability to Join Data
A major limitation of Google Data Studio is its inability to join multiple data sources. No matter the source, it is impossible to join data in a single chart.
Whereas Google Data Studio does have good connectivity, it would be even more useful if the service offered built-in data connectors for more sources outside of Google products.
Another issue is the limited visualization. You only have bar, line, table, and pie charts, which are useful for expressing many analyses but it would be better to have yet more choices. Greater versatility would enable users to gain a better picture of performance.
Lack of Tooltip Customization
A final issue is the lack of tooltip customization. In other, similar tools, you can add your own metrics to the tooltip. This is particularly useful for aiding the understanding of clients.
If you need to present data from many Google products in a logical, easy-to-grasp way, Google Data Studio may be for you. If you’re already a Google user, you can get started immediately to begin collaborating on and delivering dashboards. Whereas Google Data Studio does have several limitations, we still expect Google to make improvements before the tool comes out of beta.