Google Data Studio for PR Professionals

At the recent Google Performance Summit, Google announced its new Data Studio product for everyone. Data Studio is Google’s new dashboarding product, helping marketers to visualize and share data. Should PR professionals examine Data Studio?

What’s in the Box?

Data Studio is available in the US only for now; expect it to be more widely available later in its beta testing period, and for Analytics 360 Suite customers immediately.

Getting started is easy; sign in with your Google account. Inside Data Studio is a deceptively simple canvas with drag and drop controls for assembling reports. To start, connect Data Studio with any number of Google-centric data sources such as Google Analytics, Google AdWords, YouTube, Google BigQuery, or Google Sheets. Other connectors will likely be made available later in the beta testing period.

Let’s look at a few of the sample reports to get a sense of what’s possible:

What we see are rich, detailed, interactive reports we can create and share with clients from very common marketing data sources; if we lack a data source (for example, Facebook), we can tie it in via data engines like Google Sheets or BigQuery.

Why Data Studio Matters

We have at our disposal many different visualization tools, from inexpensive dashboards like Cyfe and Watson Analytics to expensive deployments like Tableau Server. What makes Data Studio worth investigating?

Google At Your Fingertips

Many third party dashboard tools require a few steps to set up; with Google, once you sign in, you have access to all your major Google data sources without additional work or setup. Google Analytics, AdWords, and Sheets are just there, and they’re seamlessly integrated.

Easily Mix Data

Compared to some dashboarding products, Google Data Studio permits us to easily mix our different, disparate data sources together in a clean, compact way. Here’s a look at putting AdWords and Analytics data side-by-side for easy comparison with just a few clicks, drags, and drops:


Sharing is Instant and Familiar

If you’ve shared a Google Doc, you’ve shared a Data Studio dashboard. Sharing uses the same familiar interface, obeys the same access restrictions, and creates familiar links to your reports.

Updating and Interaction are Live

Unlike some dashboard products, data is live; as our website garners more Google Analytics data, it becomes available for visualization. The same is true of any Google sources we enable in the product.

The Price is Right

The first five dashboards per Google account are free of financial cost. The only cost is our time to set up dashboards and configure them.

Marketing Communications Use Cases

Marketers and communicators should find bountiful use cases for dashboards in Data Studio:

  • Manage a YouTube channel? Put your YouTube channel statistics next to your Analytics.
  • Want to provide one-page summaries of social media impact? Create a dashboard of social traffic, social engagement on your website, and socially-empowered conversions.
  • Got external data? Import via Google Sheets or Google BigQuery and visualize immediately.

Who Isn’t Data Studio for?

If you have lots of heterogenous data sources in many different clouds, Google Data Studio as it is today will be unhelpful. It’s confined largely to the Google ecosystem, so connecting lots of different data sources will be cumbersome and unwieldy.

Google Data Studio is also not a good a choice if you require computation, analysis, or transformation of your data. It’s a visualization tool only, so it’s not a drop-in replacement for Watson Analytics or Tableau.

Try it Out!

The best advice we offer is to try Data Studio out. It’s free for the first five dashboards, so see what you can do with it!

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on May 31, 2016 in Analytics, Marketing, Marketing Technology, Metrics

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change. Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.
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