If you’ve read our previous blog post, Do You Need Google Analytics 360?, you know that Google has released a suite of products called Google Analytics 360 designed to help marketers and advertisers. The next product we’ll cover in the suite is Data Studio 360.
Data Studio 360 is a visualization and analysis tool that connects to many different data sources, including Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Google Attribution 360, Google BigQuery, Google Sheets, and YouTube Analytics.
Below is a sample report that’s available in every Data Studio 360 account to help you get started:
Sample YouTube Analytics Report
Google is continuing to add connectors for additional data sources outside of Google products, so look for that in the coming months.
What Is Data Studio 360?
Data Studio 360 is a data visualization and analysis tool that produces live, interactive reports and dashboards. Currently, it’s in a public beta, meaning one of two things:
- You can use it for free for up to five reports
- You can purchase it for unlimited reports through Google or an authorized reseller
While still in beta, it’s a rather polished beta and I’ve only run into a few issues while using it. Full disclosure: we’ve been beta testing it for a few months now since we’re Google Analytics Certified Partners.
Data Studio is Google’s answer to other data visualization tools like Tableau and Qlikview, but with a very Google-centric approach. If you’re already using Google products like Google Analytics or BigQuery, or you currently advertise using Google networks like AdWords and DoubleClick, then Data Studio fits very nicely into your marketing and analytics stack.
Here’s a quick demo showing you how easy it is to get started (there’s no sound in the video):
Benefits of Data Studio 360
Let me start off this section by saying that Data Studio 360 is the product I wish I had years ago. Having been in charge of producing reports using Google Analytics data for clients at my previous job, Data Studio would’ve been a godsend. I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted a month having to pull data from Google Analytics and add it into Excel dashboards to present with data from other sources like AdWords and DoubleClick.
Data Studio is a serious contender for those that handle digital analytics reporting for their company or clients. Typically, Google Analytics dashboards and reports aren’t enough for the average company. Some people don’t know how to use GA, others don’t want to use it, and still others want one cohesive, aggregate report of their marketing efforts, from impression to conversion.
Here are the main benefits I’ve identified with Data Studio 360:
- Easy to use: You can get started within minutes and the interface is very intuitive. It features a similar design as Google Docs and has a drag and drop interface which is very easy to work with.
- Collaborate with others: Data Studio is built off of Google Drive & Docs sharing and collaboration features. You can share reports with others just like Drive and you can work in the same report to collaborate with others.
- Native integrations: If you’re already using Google products like AdWords, Google Analytics, etc., Data Studio is a no-brainer. It connects seamlessly with these other Google products to pull in live data for great visualizations.
- Fully customizable: For those that have used Google Analytics’ dashboard feature, you’ve probably grown annoyed with the lack of customization it offers. You can’t add images, text boxes, or change the color, size, or other attributes of text on the dashboard. With Data Studio, you can do all that. (See the image at the beginning of this post)
- Use multiple data sources within the same report: This is a big one. You can add multiple data sources to the same report, meaning that if you want to show Google Analytics data and AdWords data on the same report, it’s entirely possible. Or, if you’re just using GA data, you can add data from multiple GA properties onto the same report.
- Free to get started: Unlike Tableau, which won’t let you save your visualizations locally with the free version (you have to save them to Tableau Public where everybody can find them), Data Studio allows you to get your feet wet with the free version. You can create up to five reports and share them with anybody (while keeping it private from everybody else).
Downsides to Data Studio 360
Like any product, especially a product still in beta, there will be some downsides. Some of them will most likely be addressed in the coming months, while others might not.
Here are some downsides as I see them:
- Limited data connectors: Google is continuing to address this, but currently only certain Google products can connect to Data Studio. So, for instance, if you’re using ad platforms outside Google, you would have to import that data into BigQuery or Google Sheets first before it would be available to add to Data Studio. Also, if you want to import a CSV file, you would first need to paste it into a Google Sheet.
- Cannot embed visualizations into web pages or internal sites: For larger companies, they might not want to invite 200 employees to view a report. Instead, embedding that report into an intranet site or web page that employees regularly use would be beneficial. Unfortunately, this is not a feature that is currently supported with Data Studio.
- Pricing: Google hasn’t publicly released the price for Data Studio yet, but there will be a paid version which will allow you to create more than five reports. If your company is on a budget, this could be a negative depending on the pricing structure.
Do You Need Data Studio 360?
Yes, no, maybe so…
It’s difficult to say, because obviously one company’s use case will be much different than another. Really, it comes down to whether Data Studio will serve your needs. Here are a few use cases that Data Studio would be a perfect fit for (I stress a few – not meant to be an exhaustive list, because there are many):
The first one is pretty obvious, but it would be for companies that are already invested in the Google stack of products, like Analytics, AdWords, DoubleClick, etc.
The second one would be agencies that have a smorgasbord of clients that they do regular reporting for. Being able to create automated reports quickly saves the amount of time spent and leaves more time for analysis and campaign optimization. No more copying and pasting data into Excel!
Another big benefit for agencies is that they can customize the reports to include client logos, the agency logo, contact info, and more. It allows them to put their personal touch on the reporting.
If you would like to check out Data Studio for yourself, head over to https://datastudio.google.com/.
If you have more questions on Data Studio 360, reach out to us: http://infotrustllc.com/contact-us/