Google Data Studio is a perfect solution for creating powerful marketing reports. While there are many business intelligence tools on the market, this free tool from Google is packed with everything marketers need to get their jobs done.
In this video, I’ll share how you can leverage Data Studio to create actionable marketing reports.
- How to Use Analytics and Business Intelligence in Marketing: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
- What Is Direct Traffic?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPZrF…
- What is Referral Traffic? A Guide to Understanding Google Analytics : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apS1A…
Table of Contents
In the latest episode of Hack My Growth, we took a look at Google Data Studio and how we can use this tool to create meaningful and actionable marketing reports. And as a bonus, I’m going to give you a free template you can use to get started right away.
Advantages of Using Google Data Studio
There are a number of options when it comes to creating reports in the marketing realm. There are lots of tools out there that you can use to inspect your data, go deeper with your data, build dashboards, & scorecards. The thing is it can often be very confusing, and a lot of these tools have restrictions, things that you can and cannot do. Now, the cool thing about Google Data Studio is there’s a ton of functionality. It links to tons of different connectors and tools. And it helps those who don’t have an advanced understanding of data or databases to create meaningful reports.
The great thing about Google Data Studio is you can build one report that looks the same across every single page. So whether you’re pulling data from Google Analytics or Search Console, or maybe from HubSpot or SEM Rush, it can all be formatted in the same way, giving you a really crisp, clear look when you’re reporting to clients or other members of your team. Let’s take a look at the template that we created and how you can begin to use it today and leverage Data Studio to create actionable reports.
Using an SEO Report Template
What I’m looking at right now is the SEO report template that we’ve built on Data Studio. It’s a two-page report that a client or a user can go through and get some meaningful information from. This was built using Google Data Studio. If you don’t have an account, you just go to datastudio.google.com and sign up or log in with your Google ID, and it will set you up.
Right now, we’re using default information from Google themselves as a sample. But as you can see, we’ve got a couple of things in this report. You can add your logo up top here. We’ve got channels that we can filter through, so social referral, all the different traffic channels.
Looking at Organic Channels
If you only want to look at organic, you can just click this and it will filter all of the data to organic itself. We’ve also got another filter up here with our timeframe. Now, one of the things I really like about Data Studio is it gives you much broader control over your timeframe. There are a lot of tools on the market that don’t allow you to create custom time ranges and that can be frustrating when you want to see the impact over a year or maybe over two years. This will allow you to do that as long as you have that data within your Google Analytics account. As we walk down in this report, I’m going to turn all these on so you can see it all, we’ve got the traffic sources section. So this is breaking down all the different sources, the sessions, the new sessions, bounce rate, and the pages per session.
Organic Vs. Other Channels
We can see how each one of these channels has performed and we can compare organic versus other channels. Now, this is helpful if you’re an SEO, because you can show the impact and the weight that organic has in their overall marketing strategy. When you’re just looking at the gains in organic, it doesn’t really put it into context with all of the other channels that clients may be using. So when you can pull this out and say, “Hey, organic is actually driving you the most traffic. Organic also has a relatively good page per session rate. It’s got a lower bounce rate,” and start to tie some of the story to how organic’s helping the brand overall. This doughnut chart over here just shows the comparative values of each one of these channels in a more visual form. Sometimes this is easier for a client to really see how much more organic is than let’s say social.
Top Performing Content List
Down below this, we have a top performing content list. We’ve got page title, the page URL itself, page views, the average time, and the bounce rate. Now, this is really helpful for content and understanding what type of content is not just driving traffic but is also engaging users as well. The reason I like to have the page title in here is we typically have keywords in our page titles. We can use these to see how these pages are performing in search as well. If we look, we can see the page view. We can also filter this though by average times and say, which pages did people spend the most time on? Well, if there’s only one page view, then it’s not really helpful because that’s one person. We want to look for pages that have a lot of views, but also spend time on the site.
Look at Bounce Rate
We can also filter by bounce rate as well to help give us a better understanding of which pages have a lower bounce rate and why. Sometimes there’ll be a null, and if this is in here, you can create a filter to extract or remove the null so you don’t see that in the report.
On page two, it’s the search visibility. Here, we’re pulling in Search Console, both the site and the URL data. Now, you’ll see when we go to connect this to our own data, and I’ll walk you through that, you’ll have to use two different types of Search Console connectors. But again, we have the filter up here for the date. We don’t have the channel filter because this is Search Console, so we’re only looking at searches. We’ve got a graph here that shows impressions and clicks. And then we have a scorecard that pulls in site CTR and average positions with the rest over here.
If you look at the landing pages section, right here we’re pulling out your top pages or the top pages in search. We’ll look at the impressions and then the change over that time period, the URL clicks and the change over that time period, the URL CTR and the change over the time period. It helps us to analyze which pages are performing well. What type of traffic are they getting? Are they generating clicks and visits to our site? We want to see that here. Now, if we scroll down below a little bit further, we’ll see the queries that we’re pulling out. And we can look at their average position, the amount of impressions, the clicks and the CTR that they’re getting. And we can also see down here a graph of our overall average position over time. This is helpful to track to see are you trending in the right direction?
Are you increasing your average position? Are you decreasing and you’re starting to earn more visibility for those terms in positions one through 10? Now that we’ve walked through a little bit of what this report looks like, how would we use this report? So we would go up here, and we would hit this button right here that says, “Make a copy.” Now, when we make a copy, we’re going to need to hook up our own data sources. As you can see, it’s going to tell you the data sources that are being used in this report. And if you go ahead and connect yours in this stage, it will actually allow you to pool all of that in directly without having to connect it to the report. You’ll do it here and it’ll make it look awesome for you right away.
Create a New Data Source
To create a new data source, we just hit this drop down button. As you can see, I have some obviously populated in here because I’ve done this a couple of times, but I’m going to show you how it works.
We’re going to hit create new data source. And in this case, it needs to be Google Analytics. I need to find my account. They’ve got a great search bar up here. I can find an account here. Select the properties, select the view that you want, and then you hit connect. Google now is connecting this data source. One thing that I recommend you do, up here at the top, it will always say whatever your view is. So I like to describe this a little bit better because you can go back and see all your different data sources in Data Studio as well. I like to use the site title and then what the data source is.
Another thing I like a lot about Data Studio is you can see it’s pulling in all of the Google Analytics dimensions. When you’re using a third-party tool, sometimes you are limited to the amount of dimensions and metrics you can pull in. Like Tableau, depending on the combination, you’re limited. Power BI, you’re limited. Some of the other sources, you have to pull them into different buckets. When you use Data Studio, you can pull them all right in and begin to work with those reports. Click the add to report button, and now that is connected. The next thing we have to do is we want to do Search Console data. As you see, this one says site and this one says URL. We need both of these connections in order to make this work. We’ll follow the exact same process as we did before.
We’ll create a new data source. We’ll now find Search Console. You search your site, click the right one, and hit connect. Again, you’ll want to do Search Console. Search Console will give you the domain, but I think you should also add something like site so you know which type of connection it is. And once again, we want to do Search Console. This time we want to select the URL property. URL impressions, and hit connect. Again, update this so we know exactly which one we’re talking about, and hit add to report. Now we can hit copy this report, and Google Data Studio will create a copy, but it will create a copy using our datasets only, the datasets we have available. So up here, you can re-title your report to the brand you’re working with.
Then make sure everything looks good. I always like to go through and make sure that everything is working and working the way that it should on both pages. Up here is the other page. And it looks good. As you see, it’s a new site, so there’s not a lot going on with this one right now. One thing that we want to be able to do is share this with our client or share internally.
Data Studio has ramped up their permissions. When you go to share a view here, and you share this with a client, you have to make sure that you give them access to this report. Otherwise, they won’t be able to see it. You can’t just share the link. You have to add the people who you want to be able to view, or you can change the manage access here.
You can actually allow this for people who have the link so anybody with the link can view it. Or you can make it open on the web if you need to as well. That’s a really important thing to make sure that your data comes across and people can actually view it, and they’re not just getting a blank page. Any of this stuff is editable though, just so you know, in Data Studio. Like up here, if you want to change the logo, you can just click on the logo and delete this image file and upload a new one. If you want to change the filter or the default ranges, you can do that here. It’s very flexible and allows you to do a number of things. Like I said before, you can add all different types of data. There’s a ton of different data.
If I go to this add data button, you can see just the native connectors from Google. You’ve got Analytics and Ads, and Sheets, BigQuery, quite a bit of stuff here that you can attach to. Then there’s a number of partner connections. Like I said, there’s one for SEMRush. There are ones for all different types, Super Metrics if you’re using them, Twitter, and Facebook. So this tool is very diverse and very large. There’s a ton of different options. There’s a huge amount of people in the partner community who are building different visualizations as well, that are not stock or standard within the Google Data Studio setup. This report will help you get started, but don’t let it be the only place that you go. Push yourself, try things, break stuff, and see how it works. That’s the best way to learn how to use these programs and get more out of them.
And I really like this idea from Austin Kleon, where we steal like an artist. See what other people are doing and leverage that information and create something new of your own based on what you’ve learned from them. So, hope you found this video helpful. If you have any issues with the template or you have any questions about data studio, we would love to continue that conversation with you. Please comment below. And until next time, Happy Marketing.