Google Data Studio (GDS) is an exceptionally useful tool for business owners or anyone who is regularly displaying or maintaining data.
It can take a little adjusting too, so Matter Solutions is here to help with a simple beginners guide to the different methods of displaying data in Google Data Studio.
So get GDS up in one window and our guide in the other and we’ll get you acquainted with Google Data Studio, moving right from the furthest left icon.
The time series graph is your basic ‘line graph’. You have the option to change the time dimension ranging from as far apart as a year, right down to the minute.
The metric is much more customisable and is obviously dependant on what type of data you have as your source. It could be anything from Google Analytics data like website session times to the number of peanuts your company sold each day.
The bar chart is more cutsomisable than the time series graph, in that you can select a whole range of different dimensions. It is again, really dependant on your data source and what you are wanting to display. A time series graph is obviously better at displaying time-related data. So showing something like different mediums of media, like in our example, would better display than the number of peanuts sold each day.
The combo chart as the name says is the combination of the time series graph and the bar chart. It is the graph in-between the previous two charts we’ve talked about. The graph is ideal for looking at time and other metrics. In our example, we are looking at different days of the week and how many users and sessions there were on each of the days of that week.
The pie chart is pretty standard. It is better to opt for a pie chart when you are wanting to better visualise the comparison between different elements. This pie chart looks at which media mediums account for the most amount of website sessions.
The table graph is the most flexible of the different display methods offered by GDS. The table allows you to not have a metric or a dimension. Not having dimension is fairly redundant, but you can remove the metric if you are wanting to just display text. This can be useful for reporting or if you have no numerical data that you want to measure.
By far the most unique graph, this method of displaying data is seriously cool. Instead of businesses showing a table with the cities, regions, states or countries that find their product or service most appealing, you can now use the geo map which colours countries in lighter or darker shades to visualise data. This data displaying method is the most impressive feature of Google data studio, and whilst isn’t the most telling data, is by far the most visually appealing.
Big and visually appealing graphs are always a stand-out when looking at a report. This is what the scorecard display method does. It only shows a metric and displays it very large for everybody to see. To spice this piece of data up a little, a comparison filter has been added to show the comparison in website session times from the current month to the previous month. To add a comparison on any of the display options (that it can be done for), click on drop down box under the ‘Default Date Range’ section in the right column when you have selected the display method you are wanting to do this for.
Scatter charts are good at displaying patterns. In our example, we can see the different age segments and see how many users there are in these segments and the number of sessions. We can see that the older segments of 55-64 and 64+ years of age have a lower amount of users and sessions.
Bullet charts are used to measure your data against a predetermined benchmark or target. It is split into three elements:
- The central bar showing the actual value of the metric being graphed.
- A vertical showing the target value
- Coloured bands that represent threshold ranges, making it easy to determine good, average or poor performance.
The area chart graph is fantastic as it combines a bar and line graph in its own unique way. The shaded area under the plotted lines of the graph indicates the volume of data represented by the lines and shows this data over time.
Pivot tables let you narrow down a large data set or analyze relationships between data points. Pivot tables reorganize your dimensions and metrics to help you quickly summarize your data and see relationships that might otherwise be hard to spot.
The same as any text box in many other programs. Although this text box is somewhat limited in that you can't insert lists like dot points, but it is useful nonetheless.
The image tool again is fairly self-explanatory. It allows you to insert an image into a sheet.
The rectangle and circle tools allow the user to draw any shape and shade of a circle or rectangle. This tool is mostly used for aesthetic purposes, like putting a thick border top and bottom of a sheet, or as part of the background for a client report.
The date range tool is a very useful tool for anyone tracking data over longer periods of time, or looking to have a simple database that could even be embedded in a webpage. The date range is an overarching filter of time. For example, you may have a data source on your business sale from the last two years and would like to see how your sales are performing compared to the same time last year. It simply means changing the date range filter to the period of time of your choice. This isn’t limited by year or month, you can customise the date range to whatever you choose.
The filter control serves to allow the user to filter all of the data on a sheet by a certain dimension or metric. This function is very useful if you have a data display method with many applications (a line graph) and would like the user to have the option to switch the dimension or metric the line graph is measuring. You may be measuring session times by medium and would like to change the graph to measure sessions by an Google Ads campaign, this filter tool will enable you to make this switch very easily.
Data control allows the user to switch across different data sources. This is most useful for users wanting to get a broader picture of how a company is performing across different platforms. It would be suited to make the data display applicable to different data connectors like Google Ads, Google Search Console, etc.
Hopefully, from these short explanations, you now have a better idea of just some of the capabilities that Google data studio provides. At Matter Solutions, we are still learning more things about the program every day, so give us a call and find out more.