Google Data Studio is gaining real traction in the reporting and dashboarding analytics space. With that individuals and companies are finding new and innovative ways to mix the free reporting tool into their arsenal. I use the tool on a daily basis and have grown quite fond of its abilities over the past couple of months. I am going to let you in on a few “hacks” that I have discovered over the course of my use with Google Data Studio.
Google Data Studio Hacks
1. One Report, Many Pages
While Google did a great thing in making Data Studio available to the masses, for free, it is limited. Each login will only allow you to create five reports. While this may be plenty for many small businesses, larger companies will quickly outgrow these restraints.
One thing to keep in mind however is the page limit for each report. I haven’t tested it extensively, but I haven’t found a page limit yet either.
The hack here is to create one report that may focus on an overarching theme or department, but create sub-reports within. For example, I may want a report for Digital Metrics Guru on the overall site, but also specific reports on eCommerce, Social and eBooks. For those I would just create new pages within the main report. I don’t take up another report slot and all needs are met.
Update on 2/2/17: As of today Google has lifted the five report limit from Data Studio. While this is no longer a problem, remember this hack as it may come in handy with sectioning off larger reports.
Another limitation of Google Analytics Standard is that you can only create up to five calculated metrics. For anyone who has used calculated metrics, in Google or Adobe, you know they can be very powerful in analysis. Honestly calculated metrics are one of my favorite things to work with.
With that limitation of five calculated metrics per view, that can also impede on using Google Data Studio. Luckily, one of Data Studio’s most powerful features (in my opinion) takes care of this issue.
If you go and edit your data source, a wonderful surprise will be waiting. There is a button that calls out “create new metric”. Yep, you guessed it, you can modify your data source to create any new metric, based off of what it can already provide. This then stores right within your Data Studio report and you have it to use at will. So long calculated metric limits!
3. Creating a Template
Currently there isn’t a way to save and use a template in Data Studio. I believe this will either be a new feature when the tool is updated, or sadly, become a feature of the premium version.
However, in the meantime, if you can spare a reporting slot and deal with only having four reports at a time, you can create your own template.
Simply create a layout for a report that you would like to use as a template. From there, every time you want to create a new report off of that look and feel, just duplicate the report. Once duplicated you can easily switch out the data source you are working with, or filter new reportlets and boom, you have a newly created report in seconds.
Even if you use this “template” only for color-schemes and look and feel, it is a huge time-saver.
4. Use Filter for Focused Reports
If you have created a report in Google Data Studio at this point, you have probably come across filtering. Filtering allows you to take a report and with the click of a button, easily focus the entire data set on just one option within any dimension presented.
Want to focus your entire report on just mobile traffic, one click. How about a specific campaign, one click. It is quite simple to setup filter controls and the widget is very straight forward once you understand the ins-and-outs of Data Studio.
This can help create multiple views of a report quickly. If you have different individuals or teams in your company who are only concentrated on a specific campaign, or mobile, or traffic from a particular geography, but all want the same information all you need to do is create one report, one page. From there, each user can filter on the information they need for the day, while still having access to all data.
5. Group Filter Controls with Reportlets
When I first started using filters in Google Data Studio I thought they were a little underwhelming. The reason behind that is because I created a filter and that filter would change everything throughout the report when applied.
Through tinkering with options, I eventually found that you can indeed filter on selected charts and graphs within Google Data Studio. The key is to use multi-select (ctrl + click on PC, command + click on Mac) and select all reportlets that you want the filter to apply to, then select the filter tool to set your selected filter.
It’s as simple as that. I know it seems obvious once you do it, but it took a while to figure that one out.
I imagine as time goes on and more people start using Google Data Studio, we will uncover more hacks. Other features will start to be better documented by the team at Google as well, which will be welcomed by all. For now I hope you find these hacks usefull in your workflow with Data Studio. If you have other tips, tricks or hacks I would love to hear them in the comments below.