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Let’s create a Google Data Studio dashboard. Over here at and that’s where you’ll navigate to in order to start this process. If you haven’t been here before you’ll see all of these reports already here. There’s some sample reports that you can take advantage of that Google’s created themselves.

I do have my general report here for digital metrics guru but what we’re going to do is go ahead and create a new report. you can start a new report from a template or go right into a blank dashboard, which we’ll do here.

So once you select that it’s going to take a second then it will load and you’ll have your report title up here. The first thing it’s going to ask you to do is select a data source. I have a couple of data sources from my own Google Analytics account and then there’s some sample data sources as well. You  can click to create a new data source as well. Most of you will be doing that that.

When you click to create a new data source it’ll bring up the data source selection panel. All of these different connectors work within Google Data studio so you can upload a file directly. You can also connect to AdWords, Attribution 360, Google BigQuery, SQL servers or course Google Analytics which is most of us will be using.

Google sheets is also available and YouTube as well. There are also a lot of other different connectors that third parties have created as well. Some of those do cost money to use, but you are free to explore those on your own.

Right now I’m going to click on cancel and go over to select the Google Analytics sample data that’s what we’ll work off of for this example. It’ll ask you if you for sure want to add that to your report and go ahead and select yes. It will then load us into a grid area and all of a sudden what appears our toolbar right across the top.

This is the main focus for the day. First off we’re going to go through a couple of different main charts that you’ll want to more than likely put into your dashboard. The first and most basic is a time series line chart.

Select it up here and then what you do with any chart or graph is click and drag to place it. We’ll make a nice big one here.

It’ll automatically do a couple of things. For this chart in particular if we look over to the flyout menu here it gives us our chart type, and shows the data source we’re using. We can change that on a chart to chart basis or keep it the same throughout the report. You can also make this different page to page but we’ll get into that more in other videos later.

The time dimension here is the date, we’ll keep that the same for now and then we’ll see we have sessions as a metric. I’m going to go ahead and add pageviews to that as well just so you can see what happens when you have multiple metrics within a chart.

Customize Data Studio - Free Download

So we have the sessions along the bottom and page views on the top and if we wanted to we could compare that to the last 28 days as well. We’ll select the last period so this defaults to a 28-day time period. One thing you may want to do is click and drag this down. Once again go up to the toolbar and select the date range option then click and drag.

I will default it to the last month and watch what happens when I do that. Anything that we have on our dashboard will automatically update now it’s October 1st through October 31st. You’ll also see that comparison from the previous time period is the lighter lines within there so that would represent September.

Now the great thing with that is when I go out to view mode up here, whoever is viewing this can select any date range they want and it’ll automatically update every chart associated with that date range. That’s pretty and cool one of the great advantages of Google Data Studio and really one of the main reasons why I started using it.

A great story is one of my clients is not only in a different time zone but in a different country, so getting on the phone or getting together in person kind of hard to do. One of the things that this has allowed them to do is look back and explore the data a little more on their own. They’ve come back with some good ideas for myself as well as vice-versa. They’ve helped me out a lot in the analysis of things too.

One thing that you also want to do that we overlooked is to add some color. Let’s add a little header to the dashboard. There’s an image option, you could do text, a rectangle or a circle. Click on the rectangle and, it’s going to default to Google’s colors, which is fine and we’ll click and drag all the way across the top try to make a top header.

When we do that, our date range went away. This is pretty simple to fix, just right click and select order, send to back and our date range appears. We’ll actually go in click it and go on the style tab. Instead of being a charcoal color we’ll make it white so we can see it and then we’ll also click and drag some text. Let’s just call this general overview.

Again we’ll make that white and center it this is just like a common text editor. We’ll make it a little larger, so we have our header, we have our date range selector and we have our first chart.

One of the things that I like to do is kind of follow Google’s view of analytics. If you go into Google Analytics you’ll see along the left-hand navigation there’s always acquisition, behavior, and conversion. This is our general overview of how many people are coming and what they’re doing.

Now we need to know where are they coming from? So we want to understand the channel or the source, we’ll probably go with channel here today.

For that I like to look at it a little bit differently maybe by a pie chart so we can see the percentages that people are getting. We’ll scroll down here a little bit so you can see a bit better and this once again will automatically do something. It’s taking sessions again but by medium. Well, I want sessions and possibly even users but by channel.

I’m gonna click on medium and it’s going to take a second to load our dimension picker. This has all of the different dimensions availale within our Google Data Studio datasource of Google Analytics that we could select. More than likely you’re gonna come up here and start searching because you’ll know for the most part what it is, but if you do want to explore it’s a good way of doing so.

We’ll click default channel grouping and it’ll just take one second to update that. Once that updates now we have organic search, referral, display, and we see that by session, perfect and exactly what we want.

Customize Data Studio - Free Download

Now let’s take a look at the behavior. What are people doing on our site. For that you’ll want to look at pages by pageview. For now we will keep things simple and select a table. Click and drag a table. Again, this is the beauty of a Google Data Studio dashboard, as you click and drag each component and it starts populating data from your data source.

This is showing us the top 10 mediums right now. The first thing you’ll want to do is to change that medium dimension over to page title.

Next, we’ll keep sessions and add a secondary metric of pageviews. Select pageviews all the way down at the bottom here and once that populates we now see the top pages sorted by session, but we also see their pageviews. Right now it says one of 10 but we are only seeing five.

To change this, scroll down and it says rows per page. You’ll select five. Once you do that it’ll take one more second to update and then it says one through five of 479. When you click over to the view mode, you can actually paginate through these. With a click you go from one through five to six through ten.

Instead of fitting every last thing on your dashboard that you would have to in a PDF, now you can have a live interactive dashboard that gives you the different data points as you go through.

So we have our overview, our acquisition and now our behavior. Let’s start to look at conversion. We need to look at how many total conversions have occurred, and for that we want the metric of goal completions.

Select a simple scorecard metric, located at the top of Data Studio’s toolbar, which will just show the metric number itself. Instead of sessions we’ll select the metric of goal completions.

Wow, almost 400,000 in the month of this sample data set. We will also see here that we have the default date range. You can change this from the master to not populate auto, but select custom for this one component. When you do, you can also select the comparison from the drop-down. Let’s compare the previous period.

So now the component shows the goal completions from last month, October, and then compares that to the previous period, September.

To look further into goal completions let’s select a geomap. On the toolbar here it looks like a globe. Go ahead, select that, then click and drag.

It will default to a map of the world, but we want to look at just the United States. The dimension is currently country code, but we’ll select that and look at it by state, which for the U.S. is the region dimension.

Once that is selected we’ll want to look at goal completions instead of sessions. This will round off the view of acquisition, behavior and conversion for our starter dashboard.

This has been a fun intro to creating a Google Data Studio dashboard. I want to encourage you to go through and play around with all of the different charts and graphs that you can insert into a dashboard. Also, components like filtering and data control that we didn’t get into in this overview.

If you follow along with these videos, we will be expanding upon this and tackling the individual use of different charts as well as other tips and tricks of Google Data Studio, Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics and more. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see more like this.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for our freebie for today, Customizing Your Data Studio Dashboard.

Customize Data Studio - Free Download

Chris Kujawski

Founder and instructor at Digital Metrics Guru.

A passionate and driven digital marketer, specializing in Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Data Studio. A qualified expert in Google Analytics and Adwords, with more than 10 years experience delivering sound solutions to clients worldwide.

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