Tutorial: Using Google's Data Studio

Tutorial: Using Google's Data Studio

Analytics 360 Suite is a Google product that “data from across the many touchpoints of today’s complex customer journey. It then uses deep insights to help your enterprise measure and improve the impact of your marketing.” It offers enhancements for paid premium users of Google Analytics including Google Data Studio 360 which provides data visualization and reporting for large enterprises.

Oliver Wood
Oliver Wood

Analytics 360 Suite is a Google product that “take data from across the many touchpoints of today's complex customer journey. It then uses deep insights to help your enterprise measure and improve the impact of your marketing.” It offers enhancements for paid premium users of Google Analytics including Google Data Studio 360 which provides data visualization and reporting for large enterprises.

In May of 2016, Google starting offering a free version of Data Studio for those who are not using the premium software and who use the free version of Google Analytics. Initially, there was a limitation to the number of reports available in the free version, but In early 2017, they removed the five report limitation of the free version so users can create unlimited reports to share with their teams and clients.

This free version is accessible by visiting https://datastudio.google.com and logging in with a Google account. After logging in, users have reports and data sources available on the left side of the screen. The available data sources go beyond Google Analytics data. They also include Google Sheets, AdWords, Search Console and YouTube so advertisers can have reports with multiple Google data sources.

Reporting is made easy due to the number of templates available for everyone as seen below. Using a template is a good way to learn how much Data Studio can do so you can begin to think of ways to use it to report on your business. Once you create a Data Studio report, you have the option to share it with other users to view or to edit.


To get started from the home screen of Data Studio, select any template. In this example, we selected the Acme Marketing template for Google Analytics reporting and choose to use template so we have a copy to use with our data. As you create a copy of the template so you are able to modify it, you are prompted for a Google Analytics data source. After adding that data source and choosing create report, you will have a screen similar to the below. We recommend giving the report a name immediately so there is no confusion at a later date when reviewing existing reports in your account. Also replace ACME with your own logo or change the heading to an appropriate title.

Before creating your own charts and tables, become familiar with the mechanics of how each of these components works. You can see how each piece is built and learn about the formatting option. If you are in the ACME report, you can start with the chart that shows which channels drive engagement.


By looking at the properties for different pieces of your report on the right hand side, you can see that the ACME engagement chart is a bar chart, with the dimension of default channel grouping and metrics for sessions and pageviews. You can click in the chart type area along the top for a different view of data other than the bar chart. You can also add or remove metrics and change your dimensions. If you choose a dimension and metric that cannot be paired, you will receive an error message notifying you.

There are also formatting options to enhance the readability of your reports. You can see a simple example of this in the below screenshot. With this three column table, a heatmap was applied to the sessions column. The darker color indicates the higher numbers. In the third column for pageviews, this is indicated with bars in the same color scheme. These properties and colors can be easily changed. You may want different colors for each column or a color that corresponds to your brand colors.


This sample report is searchable by date range so users can easily view a time period of interest to them without having rights to modify the report. When you create a report to be used by other people, be careful to select view rights only so the user cannot make any changes to the report and only has the capability to select a date range.

Although there are a lot features that require no more than a mouse click, you can do some Customisations with pre-existing templates. We used another template for ecommerce data.

One of the tables on that report displayed top products for a website from all traffic sources. We wanted to instead view the top products for paid traffic.

First we did a copy and paste of the all traffic sources product table so we kept the existing table and had a new one available to modify. From there, we used the properties column on the right side of our screen and scrolled down to table filters. We created a new filter where the medium was equal to cpc and named it CPC Traffic.


Once that was done, we could then select CPC Traffic as a filter and use it in the copy of our new table. When you apply this filter, the table in the report will change to show CPC Traffic only. However, the name of the table does not automatically change. It is good practice to edit the name of the table immediately so you do not have to drill into your table again to see properties of it. In our report, we now have our Top 5 Products - All Traffic table and a Top 5 Products - Paid Traffic table.


If you need additional additional assistance with some beginner level how-to, check out Tyler Thursby’s comprehensive guide on Search Engine Journal. If you are comfortable with the basics and understand how to work with your Google data, you can extend the reach of Data Studio with non-Google data. Google sheets of course is a Google product. However, you can use it to pull in other data such as subscribers from your email list of customers from your internal CRM.

There are tools to help you retrieve third party data into Google Sheets. With Google import functions, you can import data using a function to retrieve data from HTML, RSS, CSV, or XML. A helpful function for most users is IMPORTDATA which allows you to import data from several formats, including csv. This is especially helpful if there is publicly available data that is meaningful to report on in conjunction with internal business data. Once data is in Google Sheets, then it can easily be added to Data Studio. Join the conversation about what is coming with third party data in the Advertiser Community.

A final piece of good news for AdWords account managers. In early 2017, Google released an AdWords connector for accessing data in AdWords manager accounts, or My Client Center. Advertisers can select a specific sub-account and have the capabilities to filter on currencies.

When Google lifted the restrictions with the free version, it made this powerful tool even more valuable. It presents a simpler way to share KPIs with your marketing team or clients and is great for visual learners who want options beyond basic tables available in Google Analytics. For a quick walkthrough of the primary steps in Data Studio: connect, visualize and share, watch the video below and if you need assistance managing and reporting on your AdWords data, contact us to learn about our services.

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