How To: Create & Automate Reports in Google Data Studio

Introduction:

The monthly marketing report can be daunting. In a marketing role, it can be overwhelming at times to consistently spend hours putting together documents and statistics for the quarterly, monthly, or weekly reports. In addition to presenting the material you are going to be asked to detail the highlights and challenges of the time frame and answer some difficult questions. These reporting meetings are a high stakes event that poses as an opportunity to illustrate a story about the performance of the company and convince stakeholders that money has been well invested, that prospects are looking promising, and tie back to any more projects money should be directed to.

The Problem with Conventional Reporting:

Not only is this situation stressful, but conventional reporting is incredibly time consuming. The first major problem is organization, rarely do all of the departments in a company use the same platform for data. This in turn means that there is no centralized way to put it all together which creates a mess in the reporting process. The second issue is created through Excel’s data preparation methods because it is hard to control different versions and how data is handled. Next, when it is time to compile data and actually make the report, the various sources need to come together in a presentable and well-designed powerpoint presentation. Lastly, the static reports that are created in this process can not answer all of the questions. This means that performance results have to be read by a team member who can answer questions on a whim, making it more time consuming. The solution to these major issues that show themselves during the reporting process is Google Data Studio.

What is Google Data Studio?

A way to put together reports that can be sent out directly to colleagues, without the need to put together an entire presentation, answer questions, and spend hours? Google Data Studio is the solution to the issues presented by conventional reporting methods. The program is free, offered in over 180 countries and in over 37 different languages. The interface itself is easy and highly customizable so that it supports a multitude of different business models. The software uses live data, data filters, date pickers, and pagination options. Google Data Studio makes this compiled incredibly accessible with one live URL, embedding on web pages and downloadable as a PDF.

What Data and Where:

If the marketing that you do is mostly SEO, the important statistics to stick to would most likely be traffic, clicks, CTR, time on site, bounce rate, pages per session, and the KPIs. Once you know what data needs to be used in the report, a few options open up.


The first option is to back up your data in a Google Sheets document and then connect to the corresponding Google Sheet connector.

Option number two is to use the Supermetrics connector for Google Sheets. This method is actually easier than the first.

The last way to compile the information is to pull the data directly into Data Studio using one of the many available Data Studio Connectors. The list of applicable connectors can be found here on the Google Support website. Many use this last style as it is simple and incredibly time effective.

Once everything is in order with the data, it is time to build the report.

Building the Report:

Step One: Create the Report

Once you have access to the Data Studio, create a username and sign up. If you already have a Google account click start a new report instead.

Step Two: Create a new data source

At the bottom right corner after creating a new report, click “create a new data source” to connect to the source of the data.

Step Three: Choosing a connector

To begin, start with Google Analytics and later on you can go back to add the Google Search Console as well. Follow the wizard to choose the website you would like to use and the right GA view.

Step Four: Drag and Drop

Once the data is in, it can be found in the right sidebar. To display the data, choose a chart type from the top menu. From here you will simply click on the empty sheet below and drag to choose its size and position. You can also add line charts, tables, score cards, GEO maps, and pie charts in order to display the data in a presentable way.

Step Five: Modify the Data

The default for the Google Analytics connector comes with a few pre-sets that can be changed at any time. In addition, you can make your own personalized metrics by editing the individual fields separately.

Step Six: Styling the Dashboard

The styling options available on Google Data Studio make your dashboard unique and standout. For some ideas on how to style your dashboard, check out this Google support guide on themes within the Google Data Studio platform.

Step Seven: Sharing the Product

Now that the report is compiled with all of the data that has been hand picked for the report, the last step is to share it. This can be done easily by drafting an email with either a direct link to the dashboard or a saved PDF version of the report.

Conclusion:

Creating conventional reports can be stressful and time consuming to put together and present. The stakes are high and there is a lot to consider when choosing the important parts of the statistics to add into the report. The best way to make the reporting process as seamless as possible is to start using Google Data Studio to automate reports. Building the dashboard is free and can make the process less painful to open up time for other projects.