A Marketers Guide to Google Data Studio (Now called Looker Studio)
Analytics has become the holy grail of marketing because every marketer wants to see exactly how campaigns perform down to the last click. And most marketing platforms offer extremely detailed views. Take Google Ads, the data available about each campaign is super detailed- almost too detailed. And that’s the trick with analytics- how to report on results at the right level of detail with visually engaging reports that are easy to generate. Oh, and one more thing, you want to see campaign data across platforms, all in one place. Enter Google Looker Studio (formerly called Data Studio).
In this blog post, I’ll explain what Google Looker Studio is, how it works, and how you can use it for your business.
What is Google Looker Studio?
Google Looker Studio is an analytics platform from Google that allows you to easily create interactive reports and dashboards from your data. It integrates with a range of sources such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, BigQuery, and many non-Google platforms including Meta sites.
Think of Looker Studio as an interface that delivers data from multiple sources. It doesn’t create the data, it just connects to each platform, receives their data, and presents it in a customizable view.
How Does it Work?
Google Looker Studio works by connecting your data source (e.g., Google Ads) to the platform. Then you can create reports using the drag-and-drop design tools in the interface. Once the report is created, you can share it publicly or keep it private. The reports are customizable so that you can change the layout and style according to your preferences. You can also filter data points by time period or other criteria for deeper insights into your data.
Want to show Google Ads click-through rates as line graph? No problem. Want to change the date range on the graph? Easy. Want to show Google Ads campaign data next to Facebook data? Sure.
Is it Hard to Use?
Google Looker Studio has an intuitive user interface that makes creating reports fairly easy. Even if you’re not familiar with analytics platforms or don’t have any coding experience, you should be able to figure out and use Google Looker Studio in a short time. There are also tutorials available online if you need help getting started.
With that said, every platform claims to be easier to use than it is. And there are always situations that trip you up. Setting up the integrations with other platforms has a learning curve So does the main interface. But overall, it’s not too hard.
What Other Platforms Does It Integrate With?
Google Data Studio integrates with many popular platforms such as: Facebook Ads Manager, LinkedIn Ads, Bing Ads, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, Adobe Analytics, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, MailChimp, and many more. This makes it easy to track performance across multiple channels in one place which is the main benefit of this tool.
How Long Does Setup Take?
Setting up your reports in Google Looker Studio should take less than an hour depending on how much data you want to be included and which integrations you want to use (e.g., setting up a connection between Salesforce Marketing Cloud may take longer). Once setup is complete though, creating new reports is quick since everything is already connected.
How Much Does It Cost?
Google Looker Studio is free. However, some of its integrations may require additional fees depending on which platforms they integrate with (e.g., Salesforce Marketing Cloud).
What Do The Reports Look Like?
Reports created in Google Looker Studio are visually appealing and highly customizable. You can choose from a number of different templates or create one entirely from scratch using the drag-and-drop design tools in the interface. The reports look clear and professional- perfect for helping stakeholders gain insights into your data easily.
How Can I Customize The Reports?
You can customize your reports by adding different charts (bar charts, line graphs, etc.), adding filters (like time frames), or rearranging elements within the report itself. Additionally, you can add text boxes, images, videos, and forms to make sure your report looks exactly as desired. This makes customizing reports simple even for those who don't have any coding experience.
I’ve been promoting this tool to clients as a way of reducing reporting time and costs by using pre-formatted dashboards. And some clients like it so much that they start to refer to the reports on their own and then ask me questions about insights. And this, after all, is the goal; move away from spending hours slinging data and spend more time talking about the business implications of the numbers. Mission accomplished.