Google Data Studio Tutorial – 2019

Welcome to Google Data Studio Tutorial.

I am very excited to teach you… how to use Data Studio…. to visualize and analyze data in your Google Sheets.

Data Studio is a powerful tool to visualize data. 

It is a cloud based tool which means you can access it from any device/browser as long as you have access to a stable internet connection.

Google data studio is built on Google drive.

What that means you would need a Google Drive account before you can access it:

In this tutorial I am going to teach you, how to use data studio to create reports and interactive dashboards. 

We would start with Google Sheets and use its data to create reports and interactive dashboards.

But we move forward, let’s go one step back and understand the importance of data visualization in Digital Analytics.

 

Importance of data visualization in Digital Analytics

Data visualization is the presentation of data in graphical format. 

Data visualization helps in data interpretation and data retention. 

It helps to tell meaningful, emotional and engaging stories to key decision makers. 

If you wish to make your data reporting more meaningful and persuasive then you need to learn the art of storytelling by visualising your data. 

When you have got a lot of data to analyse (especially big data) you cannot spend days or weeks analysing thousands or millions of rows of data in Excel spreadsheets to find hidden trends and insight. 

You need a tool which allows you to quickly make sense of data, and determine patterns and anomalies which are otherwise extremely hard to detect in a timely manner. 

This is where data visualization tools like ‘data studio’ come in handy. 

Through this tool you can greatly speed up your data analysis.

 

Introduction to Data Sources

Before you can use data studio, before you can create reports to visualize data, you would need access to one or more data sources. 

Following are examples of data sources:

  • Google Sheets
  • Google Analytics
  • Excel Spreadsheet
  • Big Query
  • Google Ads
  • Google Search Console
  • Youtube Analytics
  • Facebook Ads
  • Adobe Analytics etc

In order to pull data from these data sources into data studio, you would need to use connector(s).

 

Introduction to Connectors

As the name suggests, a connector is used to connect data studio with a data source.

Any data source accessible via the internet can be connected with data studio.

There are two broad categories of connectors:

#1 Ready made connectors – these connectors are ready to use. They are either free to use or require monthly/annual paid subscription. 

Google Connectors’, ‘Partner Connectors’ and ‘Open Source Connectors’ are examples of ready made connectors.

#2 Custom made connectors – these connectors are developed on demand and are used when ready made connectors can’t be used to pull data from a specific data source. 

You can create your own connector by using Google Apps Script. If you are not a developer you can hire someone to create a custom made connector for you. 

 

Google Data Studio Connector Gallery

Following is the link to access the Google Data Studio Connector Gallery: https://datastudio.google.com/data 

Here you can see the list of all the connectors currently available. 

If you build your own connector, you can choose to publish and promote it in the connector gallery.

 

Introduction to Google Connectors

Google connectors are the connectors built and maintained by ‘Google’.  

At present Google provides 18 different types of connectors in data studio:

All of the Google connectors are free to use as long as you have access to the right Google product. 

For example, if you do not have access to GA 360 then ‘Display and Video 360’ connector is of no use.

There are three categories of Google Connectors:

#1 Google products connectors

#2 Google database platform connectors

#3 File upload connector

 

Google product connectors

Through Google product connectors you can pull data from Google products into data studio.

Following are examples of Google product connectors:

  1. Campaign Manager – use this connector to connect your Data Studio account to your Campaign Manager network and advertiser data.
  2. Display & Video 360 – use this connector to connect your Data Studio account to your Display & Video 360 data.
  3. Firebase (via BigQuery) – connect Data Studio to Firebase Analytics (via BigQuery)
  4. Google Ad Manager 360 – connect Data Studio to Google Ad Manager 360
  5. Google Ads – connect Data Studio to Google Ads
  6. Google Analytics – connect Data Studio to Google Analytics
  7. Google Cloud Storage – connect Data Studio to Google Cloud Storage
  8. Google Sheets – connect Data Studio to a Google Sheets worksheet or range.
  9. Search Console – connect Data Studio to Google Search Console
  10. TV Attribution – connect Data Studio to TV Attribution data
  11. YouTube Analytics – connect Data Studio to YouTube Analytics
  12. Search Ads 360 connector – connect Data Studio to Search Ads 360

 

Google database platform connectors

Through Google database platform connectors you can pull data from Google database platforms into data studio.

Following are examples of Google database platform connectors:

  1. Google BigQuery – connect Data Studio to BigQuery tables.
  2. Google Cloud Spanner – connect Data Studio to Cloud Spanner databases.
  3. Google Cloud SQL for MySQL – connect Data Studio to Google Cloud SQL databases
  4. MySQL – connect Data Studio to MySQL databases.
  5. PostgreSQL – connect Data Studio to PostgreSQL based databases

 

File upload connector

Use the file uploader connector to upload data from any data source (via a CSV file) to data studio that is not supported by a specific connector.

Use this connector if you want to connect your data studio account with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

If you prefer using excel with data studio then you will find yourself using this connector a lot.

I prefer to use Google sheets because it natively integrate with data studio and other Google products like Google Analytics and Google Ads.

 

Introduction to Partner Connectors

Partner connectors are the connectors built and maintained by third parties like ‘Supermetrics’, ‘Funnel’ etc. .

At present 149 different types of connectors are available in data studio:

Partner connectors are usually not free to use and would require monthly/annual subscription.

Google does not provide any connector for non-Google products. So if you want to pull data from a non-Google data source (like Facebook Ads, Adobe Analytics, Bing Ads etc) then you need to purchase a partner connector(s).

 

Partner connectors are required when you want to consolidate data from multiple data sources and visualize them in data studio. 

Through partner connectors you can unite data from multiple marketing platforms into data studio. 

For example, you can report and compare Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and Bing Ads campaigns in a single data studio report.

Thus partner connectors make cross platform reporting possible in data studio.

Supermetrics is a great tool to get partner connectors. 

They provide connectors for following data sources:

  • Facebook Ads
  • Hubspot
  • Microsoft Advertising
  • Twitter Ads
  • Instagram Insights
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • YouTube
  • Adobe Analytics
  • MailChimp etc

Supermetrics for Data Studio is a Google Sheet add-on which let you use several connectors for pulling data from multiple non-Google data sources.

It’s free version is also available but that comes with a lot of limitations. 

I would recommend to use the ‘Individual connector’ version which would cost around $50 per month.

I also use and recommend Supermetrics for Google Sheets add-on.

I use this add-on to pull data from Google Analytics into Google Sheets.

It’s free version is also available and is good enough, as long as you are using only Google Analytics as a data source.

 

Difference between ‘Supermetrics for Google Sheets’ and ‘Google Analytics Spreadsheet’ Add-on

Both are Google Sheet add-ons and both are free to use.

Both are used to pull Google Analytics data into a Google Sheet. 

The main difference is in the ease of use. 

Google Analytics Spreadsheet Add-on’ ( developed by Google ) is not as easy to use as the ‘Supermetrics for Google Sheets’ add-on.

So I recommend using the ‘Supermetrics for Google Sheets’ add-on.

 

Introduction to open source connectors (Community Connectors)

Open source connectors are the connectors built by the Data Studio open source community.

They are also called ‘Community Connectors’:

You can create your own community connector by using Apps Script

If you are not a developer you can hire one to create a custom made connector for you. 

Any data source accessible via the internet can be connected with data studio.

Following is a short video on Community Connectors in data studio:

 

 

Preparing Data for Google Data Studio

Before you upload data from Google Sheets to Google data studio, you need to make sure two things:

  1. You pulled data correctly into Google Sheets. 
  2. The data you pulled into Google Sheets is in the correct format.

Because this is going to affect your data visualization and data analysis in data studio. 

If you feed garbage to data studio then you are going to get garbage. Garbage in, Garbage out.

Following is an example of incorrectly formatted data:

The data is not formatted correctly because it has got empty rows, empty columns, totals.

The column headers are missing. The data is not using correct data types.

So for example, the field ‘order date’ is not of type ‘date’. The ‘Revenue’, ‘Tax’ and ‘Shipping’ fields are not of type currency.

Following is an example of correctly formatted data:

By correct format, I mean, there are no empty rows or columns. 

Each column have headers and these headers must be meaningful, unique and self-explanatory.

There should not be an subtotals or grand-totals in your data source.

You also need to make sure that you are using the correct data types. 

So for example, dates are of type ‘date’, texts are of type ‘text’, numbers are of type ‘number’, currency are of types ‘currency’.

 

How to use Google Data Studio with Google Sheets

Step-1: Navigate to https://datastudio.google.com/overview

Step-2: Click on the ‘Use it for free’ button:

Step-3: Sign in with your Google email and password. You should now see the home page of data studio:

Step-4: Click on the ‘Create’ button:

Step-5: Click on ‘Data Source’

Step-6: Scroll down, find the Google Sheet Connector and then hove your mouse over it:

Step-7: Click on the ‘Select’ button. 

Step-8: Rename your data source:

 

Step-9: Find and click on your Google Sheet:

Step-10: Click on the blue ‘Connect’ button on the top right hand side:

You should now see a screen like the one below:

Step-11: Make sure each field is of the correct data type. 

For example, from the screenshot above we can see that the ‘order date’ field is of type text. It should be of type ‘date’:

Similarly, ‘Transaction ID’ field is of type ‘date’. It should be of type ‘number’:

All the green fields represent dimensions and all the blue fields represents metrics. 

At this point you can also change the order of various dimensions and metrics through drag and drop:

Step-12: Once everything looks all right then click on the ‘Create Report’ button:

You should now see a dialog box like the one below:

Step-13: Click on the ‘Add to Report’ button. You should now see following similar screen:

Step-14: Name your report and then start adding components to it from the toolbar:

Step-15: Click on the ‘Add a Chart’ button in the toolbar and then click on the table icon:

Step-16: Click anywhere on the canvas to add the table:

That’s how you can create a report in data studio.

Step-17: In order to see this table in the ‘view mode’, click on the ‘view’ button on the top right hand side:

Step-18: Click on the ‘Edit’ button on the top right hand side, if you want to edit this table again:

That’s how you can use data studio.

 

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