Learn How to Use Google Data Studio to Visualise Data Easily

Updated on March 30, 2020
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Heng Kiong teaches Information Technology, including business analytics and management information systems, at a tertiary institute.

A free tool from Google to get started with Data Visualisation

If you ask anyone to recommend a visualisation tool for you today, the most popular answers would be Tableau, Qlikview and Microsoft's Power BI. Ask again for one which is free and powerful but yet easy to learn, not many may be able to suggest Google Data Studio to you.

Google Data Studio

Photo credits - https://datastudio.google.com/overview
Photo credits - https://datastudio.google.com/overview | Source

What is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio is a new member to Google's suite of products which include Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Optimize. Google Data Studio offers a free version that anyone can start using right away.

Google Data Studio is both a dashboard and a reporting tool. It is a browser based tool which allows you to connect and visualise any data (well, almost) via its Data Connectors.

What can you do with Google Data Studio?

* Extract and connect data from different sources. E.g. Google Analytics, Youtube, etc

* Turn your data into informational and insightful reports through data visualization

* Explain your data in multiple ways using Google Data Studio's built-in visualisation elements.

* Share your reports with others and clients without hassle

Not Your Usual Visualisation Tool

Although Google Data Studio does not offer a wide range of features like other visualisation tools, it is a very user friendly tool with drag and drop features and connects easily with your data. If you are familiar with other Google collaboration tools, such as Google Sheets, Google Document, etc, you may find this the perfect reporting tool for you.

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Whether you are creating high-level dashboards or detailed reports, Google Data Studio is the one tool you need to create captivating visualisations and share insights. It is extremely user-friendly and easy to learn.

For some who are over-whelmed by the amount of charts provided by Google Analytics, you may be pleasantly surprised to know how easily you can customise Google Data Studio to build better dashboards that are easy to understand.

Another advantage of Google Data Studio is that it allows you to create charts on a single Report from different data sources. This is made possible by the feature known as Blended Data Source. More about this later.

Live Connections To Data Sources

Using Google Data Studio is fairly easy for anybody even without technical knowledge.

Decide on the type of data to which you want to connect and visualise, chances are you will be able to find a connector that matches that type of data.

One important aspect in reporting is connection to data. Data Google Studio has built-in Data Connectors which let you access data from Analytics, Ads, Sheets, BigQuery, and other Google products. There are also many Partner developed Data Connectors that let you access data from non-Google platforms, such as Facebook, Reddit, or GitHub, etc.

Google Data Studio - List of Data Connectors

Some Data Connectors You Will Find in Data Studio

GDS Built-in Connectors
3rd Party Developed Connectors
Google Analytics
Facebook Insights
Google Ads
Google Search Consoles
Linkedin Ads

Built-in Data Connectors

Google Data Studio creates meaningful visualisations, and allows you to share insights with your team easily. Data Connectors act as pipes to connect your Data Studio report to a collection of any internet-connected data without writing codes or creating SQL queries. You can choose connectors built by Google or many other Partner connectors built and supported by Data Studio's partners.

What This Tutorial Covers

In this tutorial, I will attempt to create a step-by-step self-paced guide for beginners. You will learn how to connect to data, create data charts and present your findings.

This tutorial assumes you are familiar with Google Sheets. Using the built-in Data Connectors, you will learn how to link data stored in Google Sheets to build a data source for your Report.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Heng Kiong Yap


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