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