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10 Reasons You Need Google Data Studio to Automate Your Marketing Reporting

When it comes to marketing reporting, you want to be clear and ROI-focused to get stakeholders on side.

For colleagues who are not involved in marketing on an everyday basis, our metrics can be overwhelming and confusing. And senior stakeholders, especially, are lost if you stray a centimetre too deep into the detail.

But just like everything that looks simple, good reporting is usually painstakingly refined. Bringing data from disparate platforms together and making it make sense is a time-intensive part of digital marketing.

What if there were an easier way? A way to automate your marketing reports, so much so that they get sent to stakeholders each month, without you having to lift a finger? Check this out…

I want to take you through how Google Data Studio can solve your reporting problems and give you a single source of truth for you and your stakeholders that just keeps on delivering value.

Here are 10 key reasons you should be using Google Data Studio for your reporting.

Why Should I Use Google Data Studio? (TLDR)

  • Less time spent on building reports
  • High degree of customisation, no/low cost
  • Interactivity out-the-box but highly configurable
  • Easy for beginners, with power for advanced users
  • Automated real-time reporting, scheduled email delivery
  • Advanced tools for bringing multi-platform data together

1. Cost (there is none!)

The most common question we get asked at Startpress is, “right, so how much will Data Studio set us back?” And this is one of the easiest questions to answer in our sales process because the platform is completely free.

Unlike other data visualisation platforms like Power BI and Tableau (and there are of course differences between these platforms and Data Studio, but largely they fulfil the same purpose), Data Studio is provided fre- of charge by Google, as with the majority of its other marketing platforms.

A caveat comes with this – some third-party connectors, which pipe data in from sources not natively supported by Google, come at a cost. The all-in-one gold standard connector suite is Supermetrics, which gives you data connections to all the social platforms and common ad platforms, from €69-€199 per month.

When you consider that Tableau and Power BI require similar paid connectors for the same source integrations, but cost upwards of €60 per user per month, Data Studio is comparatively affordable.

2. Customisation

Google Data Studio gives you the power to create custom reports with a range of layouts, styles, charts, and formatting. You can get as advanced as you like, but if you’re new to Data Studio, there are plenty of pre-templated reports to select from (including the ones we make here at Startpress – take a look).

Once you get to grips with Data Sources, Calculated Fields, and Filters, you’ll be able to start creating and editing reports for more bespoke visualisations. Here are just some of the customisable elements in Data Studio:

  • Page layout
  • Rich text
  • Charts
  • Field titles
  • Colour schemes
  • Selector styles

Pretty much everything on the screen is editable in Data Studio. This gives you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to the data analytics user experience and the look and feel of the reporting interface itself.

Just have a browse through our own Data Studio templates to see how you can create a consistent and branded aesthetic when it comes to building your own reporting dashboards.

3. Interactive Data Visualisations

With Google Data Studio, you don’t need a developer to inject your reports with interactivity.

In fact, out of the box, the majority of Data Studio’s charts respond to interaction. This is because with Data Studio, you don’t create charts using raw numbers, you connect fields (for example, your website traffic). Charts become more flexible when you’re using live data because it can be sliced and segmented according to user input.

Here are some of the actions viewers can take within Data Studio:

  • Control date and time arrays
  • Segment data by field
  • Select different filters
  • Sort by different metrics
  • Select optional fields
  • Drill down on metrics

With a few clicks, you can quickly produce a dashboard with an advanced level of interactivity that will be useful for data exploration, visually engaging, and impress stakeholders.

4. Automated, Real-Time Data Reporting

In Google Data Studio, you can construct totally automated reporting dashboards that update in (near-)real-time using connectors that import data feeds from various places (for example, from Google Analytics or CSV files).

If you can think of a platform that holds business data, there’s probably a third-party connector that will feed that data into Data Studio. We should try to avoid relying on too many third-party connectors, as they can mean additional costs. But if you opt for one of the more established connector brands like Supermetrics, you’ll pay a single monthly fee and you can guarantee their reliability as the “gold standard” of third-party integrations.

Data studio does of course come with native data connectors that are fully integrated and supported by Google. Native connectors are mainly limited to the Google platforms (e.g., Analytics, YouTube, Google Ads), and there is also the option to work directly with raw data from Google Sheets, a CSV file, or BigQuery.

Use these resources to check available data connectors:

Whether you’re reporting on social media, search engine optimisation (SEO), or Google Ads, you can easily do so by connecting multiple information resources to your Google Data Studio dashboard.

Once you start getting more advanced, you also have the capability to mix information from different information sources to create a “complete picture” by joining data together.

5. Sharing and Collaboration

Google Data Data Studio comes with the same powers for sharing and collaboration as the rest of the Google product suite, making it easy to work on reports with others or send them to stakeholders for review.

You can select between ‘editor’ and ‘viewer’ permissions, with various levels of accessibility (for example, you can share a template with a viewer who cannot edit but can ‘make a copy’ of your report to create their own).

What’s also particularly useful is the email scheduling tool in Data Studio. List out your stakeholder email addresses, set a frequency (monthly, weekly etc.), and your report will deliver itself to the right inboxes, at the right time.

You can also export your dashboard in various formats to send out manually. Here’s a complete list of all the export and sharing options you get access to with Data Studio:

  • Data Studio sharing
  • Scheduled email
  • Google Sheets
  • PDF
  • Excel
  • CSV

Most people have their own preference when it comes to reporting, and most experienced colleagues particularly may prefer to see a report in Excel. Data Studio gives you the power to please everyone!

6. Calculated Fields

You’ll realise just how powerful Google Data Studio can be once you get your head around calculated fields. These are fields that function in the same way a formula would in Excel or Google Sheets – they take multiple sources of data and combine them to create a new metric or set of metrics.

For example, rather than measuring your ads cost-per-click against conversion value for each platform in separate charts, you could merge these metrics across Google Ads, Facebook and LinkedIn. Essentially, you can make data from platforms that don’t usually talk to each other come together.

As your marketing platforms grow, as your business is present across multiple platforms that, for your purposes, come under the same categories or goals, calculated fields help you to simplify your data.

Examples of calculations you can use inside of calculated fields are:

  • Fundamental math (include, deduct, increase, divide).
  • Functions (a lot more intricate equations and also analytical operations).
  • INSTANCE statements (if/then/else reasoning).

Here’s a handy guide with examples of Data Studio’s calculated fields to help you get started.

7. Filter dropdown selectors

Something that’s super cool in Data Studio is its filters dropdown that give you the ability to, even as a beginner, start slicing your data in ways that make sense to your business.

For example, you might want to give your stakeholders the ability to view website traffic for different countries but not want to create a separate chart for each country. Connect your Analytics fields and create a dropdown selector to target your ‘Country’ field and Data Studio will do the rest. Hours saved.

You can use dropdown selectors as well as other selector types to target most field outputs plus your own custom-created filters. With custom filters, you can essentially create presets for your data for users to choose.

Filters are your first port of call for giving shape to the interactions available to users in ways that fit the goals of the particular metrics your charts are measuring.

How Does Startpress Use Google Data Studio?

At Startpress, we offer a library of free and premium Data Studio templates to get started with. We also produce bespoke marketing dashboards for clients that bring all their data together.



Startpress Founder
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