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Data Visualisation with Google Data Studio

What is Google Data Studio?

google-data-studio-current-available-connectionsStill in beta, Google Data Studio brings Google crashing into the data visualisation space with a flourish! It’s very Google-centric, but with the ubiquity of google analytics, that is not an impediment for most. With integrations with Google Analytics, YouTube and AdWords there is plenty to get your teeth into.  If you are familiar with Google Analytics, I recommend you dig straight in and create a connection to your own data after a quick look at the sample reports. The sample reports are populated with dummy data and in fairness, they look ace!

Five minute data visualisation dashboard

google data five minute dashboard data visualisation
google data five minute dashboard data visualisation

Step 1, accept the terms and conditions and then click on ‘start new report’

Step 2, create a new data source in the bottom right hand corner, if you’re logged in to chrome already this is a piece of cake.

Step 3, select your data source.

Step 3, select a chart type from the available icons at the top of the screen and draw it on your dashboard.

Granted, this dashboard looks like every one of the 5 minutes’ effort it took to throw together, but hopefully that gives you a feel for how easy it is to get started on this tool. The sample reports that google have put in there show you what a little talent and a lot of time and effort can achieve.

Google have provided an intuitive data and style manipulation sidebar, which is very easy, even for a novice, you just need to know what data you are looking for. You can connect to custom metrics, goals, ecommerce data and more. I can’t find any data that isn’t available there.

Isn’t this a bit like pulling data using google sheets?

Yes, I have created similar ‘dashboards’ just using the Google Analytics API and google sheets. Google Data Studio significantly simplifies the API interface element for users who want to spend less time messing around with data and more designing beautiful and useful dashboards. There also seem to be a few more options for data visualisation on there! I would hazard a guess that, over time, that will only grow and become richer.

If you already suck at designing dashboards you should have a look at this lovely book, dear data, which is full of inspiration for the budding digital data visualisation artist!