Google Data Studio: Best Practices for Marketing Dashboards

Google Data Studio, without a doubt, is a top data visualization tool on the market today. It got its top rank due to a number of factors, including native connection to other Google Suite products, ease of sharing among coworkers, intuitive data dashboard creation, and, of course, — costing absolutely no money to your wallet.

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Yes, you read that right. Google Data Studio is completely free with the only requirement to its usage having a Google account. Sounds good, isn’t it? So today we will review Google Data Studio best practices for marketing dashboards and tips on how to use Google Data Studio overall.

Let’s roll!

Google Data Studio Tip 1: Connect all sources

Data visualization tools, including Google Data Studio and Google Analytics dashboards, are not much use if you don’t have all the necessary data. The best way to make sure your data-driven decisions are well-rounded is to base them on data coming from various data sources including all other Google products you use, your CRM system, your advertisement cabinets and more.

Here’s a great article on How to Become a Data-Driven Company in 2020, by the way.

So the first tip on how to use is to start by connecting all your data sources. Of course, you can choose to connect your data sources as required by a report, but here’s a thing. It’s eternally inconvenient.

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The world of data and technology is moving fast, and once you have all of your data sources connected to your Google Data Studio marketing dashboard, you don’t need to spend extra time setting sources up over and over again.

Here is a list of the most common Google Data Studio connectors you can start with:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Ads
  • Google Sheets
  • BigQuery
  • YouTube Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • AdRoll
  • Hubspot
  • Quickbooks
  • Salesforce
  • Mailchimp
  • Facebook Ads
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Twitter Ads
  • Shopify
  • SEMrush
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If you decide to connect Google Data Studio to your marketing sources as you go, you risk missing out on some installing details while in a rush of creating a report in an hour from now. To avoid any possible errors, install all of your data sources right away, and we move on to the next section.

Google Data Studio Tip 2: Use proper data visualization

Once you enter the endless realm of possibilities — or so-called data visualization dashboard — it’s easy to get blown away. So many colours. So many opportunities. It takes a strong power of will to not include all of them in a single dashboard.

Yet, as you probably already know, data visualization charts and graphs are each used for a specific purpose. Line graphs are great at showcasing trends within long time periods, while Treemaps are best at displaying proportions of a subject in relation to the whole area.

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Knowing differences in data visualization types and their usage will save you and your Google Data Studio dashboard viewers a lot of time and a lot of trouble. Our smart Business Intelligence and data visualization systems make it extremely easy to choose a chart, drag your data into it and enjoy a new report, but wait. Is it easy to read?

Poorly chosen data representation will not only fail to display the message, and defy the whole reason we use data visualization in the first place — to make informed data-driven decisions faster, but will also confuse those who analyze it.

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To help you avoid this and use the right chart to visualize your data, we created a special article on different data visualization charts, graphs and bars which explain each type and for which task it is best suited — Comparisons: Data Visualization Types & Methods.

Google Data Studio Tip 3: Make dashboards beautiful

Google Data Studio dashboards are vastly appreciated for their ease of use, which includes ready-to-wear templates. If you are new to this marketing dashboard software or data visualization tools in general, using a pre-made template is a good way to start. But if you’ve worked with them before, why not have some fun?

Before starting to visualize your data, ask yourself one single question — “Which message am I portraying?”. After you’ve decided if you want to showcase a successful trend or highlight problem areas, chose the charts that will best display it, it’s time to move towards designing your Google Data Studio dashboard.

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Actually, making digital marketing reports beautiful is one of the strong sides of Google Data Studio which marketers love it so much for.

If the subject is dead serious display the mood with a corresponding solemn colour scheme and font types, but if it’s any subject short of war or world problems, don’t be afraid to make them interactive.

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Add images along with the charts to help the audience grasp what the report is all about from the very first seconds of looking at your Google Data Studio dashboards. Use text along with the graphs and charts in order to explain, emphasize and add context to the topic you are reviewing.

To customize your Google Data Studio dashboard elements, choose the chart you’d like to change and press Style on the right-hand menu. This will not only enable you to adjust fonts, colours, and element sizes but also include custom headers!

Google Data Studio Tip 4: Offer future actions

Data is, without a doubt, a powerful thing. Yet even the most beautiful, the most informative, the most insightful of all data visualization dashboards will not impact any positive changes if you don’t act upon it.

What does that mean? It means that just offering numbers in your monthly reports and status updates might not be enough for improving the whole picture. If your digital marketing reports and marketing dashboards display statistics only, it’s hard to start making decisions without any benchmarks.

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Say you are assessing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Your Google Data Studio dashboard can show which ones are performing better, which are worse, but they will not tell you which campaigns you should prolong, which — eliminate, and which leave as it is. But a special note will.

Say you like to keep your Cost per Conversion KPI down. Well, who doesn’t? So in order to spend less money and earn more, in the long run, you can implement a short note along with your Google dashboards that indicates something like this:

  • $3 to $5 Cost / Conv — the advertisement medium is too expensive, we can consider eliminating it.
  • $2 to $3 Cost / Conv — the advertisement source and/or campaign is doing good, although it might need some improvements.
  • $0,1 to $2 Cost / Conv — your ad campaign is doing great and bringing you converting leads at a low rate. Keep it going!

By including a short note on how to act on the presented insights you not only catalyze positive change but greatly contribute to the well-being of the whole company.

To help guide you through the process of creating the most effective dashboards ever, we created a cheat sheet on the Top 20 Metrics to Visualize in Google Data Studio. Enjoy 🙂

Conclusion

Google Data Studio dashboards are fun. They are easy to set up, easy to customize and even easier to share among colleagues.

And now that you know the best practices for the marketing dashboard in Google Data Studio you are practically unstoppable when it comes to creating awesome data visualization. But in case you sense any trouble you know who to call (us, it’s us) 😉

Originally published at https://insightwhale.com on January 18, 2020.

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Fully remote team of professionals providing Digital Analytics, Conversion Rate Optimization and Business Intelligence services for clients around the world.

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