In the past, professionals across industries were entangled in Excel’s intricate data management web. Days, if not weeks, were dedicated to the painstaking process of exporting, filtering, and formatting data, often leading to inefficiencies. However, the digital age ushered in a transformative tool that has since reimagined how we perceive and interact with data: Google Data Studio, also known as Google Looker Studio.
This groundbreaking platform, a brainchild of Google, has simplified data visualisation and elevated it to an art form. With its intuitive interface and powerful capabilities, Google Data Studio empowers individuals to transform mundane datasets into captivating visuals that tell a compelling story.
As we navigate this article, we’ll uncover the myriad features of Google Data Studio and its impact on modern data reporting and provide a detailed walkthrough on creating insightful reports.
Join us as we chart the course from raw data to riveting narratives by decoding what is Looker Studio or Google Data Studio!
What is Google Data Studio?
Google Data Studio is a free tool offered by Google that allows users to create interactive and customisable dashboards and reports. It’s part of the Google Marketing Platform and is designed to help individuals and businesses visualise, analyse, and share their data in an easily digestible format.
What Are the Benefits of Using Google Data Studio?
Wondering what makes the Looker Studio so different from its competitors? Let’s decode some of the Google Data Studio perks to learn more.
- Free Tool: Google Data Studio pricing is non-existent, which means it is accessible to everyone without any cost, making it a convenient choice for individuals and businesses alike.
- Customisable Dashboards: It offers the flexibility to generate custom reports with various designs, styles, formatting, and graphs. This ensures that the data presented aligns with specific business needs.
- Real-Time Data and Automation: Manually creating and formatting reports can be time-consuming. Google Data Studio provides automated reports that update in real-time, ensuring the data is always current.
- Collaborative Features: The platform supports report sharing, distribution, and collaboration, streamlining communication among team members and business partners.
- Multiple Data Source Integration: Google Data Studio can connect to various data sources, allowing users to consolidate data from platforms like Google Analytics, Google Ads, CloudSQL, YouTube, and more into a single report.
- Advanced Filtering Tools: Users can utilise filters for campaigns, accounts, locations, date ranges, and more to refine their data analysis.
- Calculation Fields: The platform supports basic mathematical functions, statistical operations, and case statements, enabling users to calculate complex data.
- Drill-Down Capabilities: Users can delve deeper into their data within a single element, providing a more granular view of the information.
- Interactive Reports: A Google Data Studio report can be dynamic and interactive, allowing users to click and change reports to visualise the data points they’re interested in.
- Preloaded Templates: For those new to data visualisation, Google Data Studio offers preloaded templates for platforms like Google Analytics, YouTube, and Google Ads, simplifying the report creation process.
- Customisable Visualisations: Users can choose from various widget options, such as heat graphs and pie charts, and modify them based on different metrics.
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How Do I Use Google Data Studio?
Accessing Google Data Studio
- Google Data Studio is a web-based platform that allows you to access from any browser. Navigate to the Google Data Studio homepage.
- Use your Google account credentials associated with services like Google Analytics, Google Ads, or Search Console. This ensures seamless integration and data retrieval from these services later on.
Interactive Tutorials on the Dashboard
- Once logged in, you’ll be greeted with a user-friendly interface showcasing various sample reports and templates.
- For beginners, Google Data Studio offers interactive tutorials. These are designed to guide users through the platform’s functionalities and features, ensuring a smooth onboarding experience.
Explore Reports and Data Sources
- The ‘Reports’ section allows users to design and customise data visualisations, from simple charts to complex multi-page reports.
- The ‘Data Sources’ section connects your data studio report to real-world data. This could be from databases, online services, or even spreadsheets.
Connect to other data sources
- Google Data Studio offers a variety of connectors to different data sources. These connectors act as bridges between the platform and your data.
- Services like Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Google Search Console are natively supported, ensuring that importing data from these platforms is straightforward. Additionally, advanced users might connect to databases like BigQuery or even fetch data from YouTube Analytics.
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Create a Report
- Users can build a report from a blank canvas or leverage one of the many templates available.
- Adding elements like charts, graphs, and tables is as simple as dragging them onto the report. Once added, these widgets can be linked to specific data sources.
Embed External Content
- Beyond traditional data visualisations, Google Data Studio allows users to embed external content directly into their reports. This can be particularly useful for adding context or supplementary information.
Share the Report
- Collaboration is key in today’s interconnected world. Once your report is ready, Google Data Studio offers robust sharing options. Whether you want to share a view-only link, invite colleagues for collaborative editing, or embed the report on a website, the platform provides the tools to do so efficiently.
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How to Create a Report on Google Data Studio?
Connect Your First Data Source
- Before you can create a report, you need data to visualise. Start by navigating to the Google Data Studio or Looker Studio homepage.
- Click on the Data Sources tab and select the + button to add a new data source.
- You’ll see a list of available connectors, ranging from Google services like Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Google Sheets to third-party connectors. Choose the one relevant to your data.
- Follow the prompts to authorise and connect the data source. Once connected, you’ll see a list of available fields from your data source that can be used in your report.
Create Your First Report:
- Head back to the Google Data Studio homepage with your data source connected.
- Click on the Reports tab and select the + button to create a new report.
- You’ll be prompted to add a data source to this report. Choose the data source you connected to in the previous step.
- Once added, you’ll be taken to a blank canvas, where you’ll design your report.
Add Some Charts:
- On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see a toolbar with various chart options like tables, bar charts, pie charts, and more.
- Select the chart type you want to add and then click or drag on the canvas to place it.
- Once placed, click on the chart to configure its data settings. You can choose which fields from your data source to visualise, set filters, and more.
- Repeat this process to add as many charts as you need for your report.
Customise the Formatting and Add a Title and Captions:
- Consider adding a title and captions to make your report more readable and professional. Use the text tool from the toolbar to add and position these elements on your report.
- Customise the look and feel of your report by selecting charts or text elements and using the style settings on the right-hand side. Here, you can change colours, fonts, and other formatting options.
- To ensure consistency, consider using the theme and layout options in the toolbar. This allows you to set global styles that apply to the entire report.
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The exploration of Google Data Studio and its robust capabilities shows that mastering data visualisation and reporting is crucial in today’s data-centric world. However, to truly harness the power of data and transform it into actionable insights, a deeper understanding of data science and artificial intelligence is essential.
For those looking to elevate their expertise in this domain, upGrad’s Graduate Certificate Programme in Data Science & AI offers a comprehensive curriculum designed to bridge the gap between data visualisation and advanced analytics.
By integrating tools like Google Data Studio with the broader landscape of data science, professionals can position themselves at the forefront of data-driven decision-making.
Let upGrad guide your journey in the ever-evolving world of data.