Google Data Studio is undoubtedly a favorite at Seer Interactive as far as free data visualization tools go. Ask someone on our team how they got their report representations to look so good, and you’re likely to hear all about Data Studio from a well-experienced web development company. However, challenges arise when you need to share your findings and insights with clients. Google Data Studio combines data from various sources for reporting and analysis; it allows you to share dashboards as you would on Google Drive, filter data within the report, and brand dashboards to your organization’s style, among other features.

Some data sources include:

  • Google AdWords + GDN
  • Google Search Console
  • DoubleClick Search
  • Google Analytics
  • Bing Ads
  • SEMRush
  • MailChimp Analytics
  • YouTube Analytics
  • Adobe Analytics, and more

Google Data Studio – A Short Summary

It may be challenging to transition to a more visual, interactive layout of your business and marketing data. This is particularly true if you’re transitioning from using data aggregators (e.g., Acquisio, Marketo) or in-platform report builders (e.g., Google AdWords, Google Analytics) for reporting and analysis.

You might be tempted to simply replicate the dashboard you already use in Data Studio. Google Data Studio is a beta feature available to all Google users. It processes raw data and transforms it into reports with the metrics and dimensions you specify. Google Data Studio not only improves data visualization but also helps your data appear more professional. For instance, you can customize all your reports based on different types of fonts and colors. Google Data Studio features dynamic controls that allow the user to filter by date and dimension, and to exclude certain content from a filter. While Google 360 typically provides five or more dashboards, now you can receive unlimited dashboards in the free version.

Capabilities of Google Data Studio

  • Live Updates: Whenever there is a refresh in the data source, your reports update automatically. This means there is no need for an additional plan to refresh the data.
  • Connectivity: Google Data Studio has access to various data sources such as Google Analytics, AdWords, BigQuery, and DoubleClick. Most of these are Google products, but you can also connect to Google Sheets to pull data from an online spreadsheet as a data repository. Combined with external connector tools, Google Data Studio meets about 80 percent of your data connectivity needs.
  • Sharing and Collaboration: You can share and collaborate on your reports with other team members. You can give a user view or edit permissions just like with Google Docs. Google Data Studio is free from code and queries, making it easy for those without an analytics background to edit the reports. More advanced users can leverage calculated metrics to produce meaningful reports using simple to advanced formulas.

Limitations of Google Data Studio

  • Inability to Join Data: A major limitation is the inability to join multiple data sources in a single chart.
  • Data Connectors: While Google Data Studio has great connectivity, it would be even more useful if it offered built-in data connectors for more sources beyond Google products.
  • Limited Visualization: The limited visualization options—only bar, line, pie charts, and tables—are useful for communicating many analyses, but having more options would allow users to gain a better picture of performance.
  • Lack of Tooltip Customization: Unlike other similar tools, Google Data Studio does not allow you to add your own measurements to the tooltip, which would be particularly useful for enhancing client understanding.

Google Data Studio presents your data in a logical and easy-to-understand way. If you are already a Google user, you can immediately start collaborating on delivering dashboards. Although Google Data Studio has several limitations in its current edition, we can expect Google to make improvements very soon.