Google Data Studio Guide [Part 3] Your KPIs’ Playground

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Dear data whisperers, welcome to the 3rd part of our Google Data Studio guide on getting started.

Google Data Studio is a complex and very powerful tool for marketers and business owners. There are a lot of features and tactics to master, and we want you to stay on top of it all.

This third part of our complete Data Studio guide will help you do it better. To refresh your knowledge, have a look at Part 1 (Getting Started with Google Data Studio) and Part 2 (Google Data Studio Help).

So much data, so little time
Image courtesy of Giphy.com

In this post we will cover everything you need to know about:

  • breakdown vs drill-down
  • how to embed external content
  • the purpose of Data Studio Explorer.

You’ll also learn how to:

  • download the dashboard
  • schedule it to be sent regularly
  • embed it on your website.

So, buckle up and let’s get started!

Your Quick Access Links

Breakdown vs drill-down

Have you heard of the Einstellung effect? Einstellung is the German word used for mindset. The Einstellung effect is when a thought or idea you already had in mind may act as a trap that prevents you from seeing better or simpler solutions to problems you’re trying to solve. In our case – dashboards – the Einstellung phenomenon can be referred to as how we choose to see the data.

In our previous post on how to get started with Google Data Studio, we talked about drill-downs and breakdowns. Both capabilities help you group data. So which one do you choose to use?

Data Studio drill-down is an effective way to analyze a segment within your chart. Once you turn on drill-down, each dimension you add becomes another level of detail you can drill into. You can also drill back up.

Although the drill-down feature is supported in most standard Data Studio charts, it still has some limitations:

  • Drill-downs don’t apply to chart types that don’t use dimensions – such as scorecards and bullet charts.
  • Drill-downs are not supported in community visualizations.
  • Geo maps support drill-down as long as the field types used are compatible with the selected zoom area.

The Breakdown dimension displays the metric data broken down according to the selected dimension. According to the Google Data Studio guidelines, each dimension you add to the chart groups the data into ever finer levels of detail.

The first dimension in the chart is the primary; additional dimensions are called breakdown dimensions (because they allow you to break down or sub-categorize your data into smaller chunks).

Say goodbye to sheet-generated nervous breakdowns

Instead of looking at rows and columns you should be looking at pies and donuts. Are you ready to see your data in a delicious way?

How to embed external content

There will be times when you need to add more data to your existing templates. Whether it’s content from Google Docs, YouTube Videos, Google Sheets, webpages, or even Data Studio reports – you can add it all live to your report via the URL embed feature. This way your reports will become more interactive.

To embed external content to your reports, make sure you are in the edit mode. Go to the upper navigation bar, click Insert and <>URL Embed.

Then, on the right side, under the URL Embed Properties > Data – simply paste the URL in the External Content URL field. You can also make some configurations to the frame’s border or background properties from the Style tab.

When trying to embed external content, just be aware that some sites may block the ability to embed their content. Also keep in mind that Google Data Studio will warn you that the embedded content is not associated with Data Studio.

What’s the purpose of Data Studio Explorer?

Data Studio Explorer (Labs) is still an experimental feature that is meant to help you find insights faster. It’s in your toolkit when you need to gain a high-level understanding of your data and create beautiful visualizations. You can access this tool either from the Data Studio main page or from any of your reports.

Now you may ask yourself why you should use Explorer instead of creating a report and adding various charts to find the best? Here are a few arguments:

  • Google Data Studio Explorer lets you examine your data using a single chart.
  • All the edits you make to a chart in Explorer are temporary unless you save them. So this is your chance to try out different visualizations without making any permanent changes yet.
  • You can create and update charts, play around with filters within the same screen, without having to switch between the Edit and the View mode when building reports.
  • Explorer is optimized for filters, so you can easily drag and drop dimensions and metrics from the properties panel to the filter area.
  • Explorations are private to you, without directly sharing them.

So go ahead and test the waters! Once you find your best explorations, you can export them to a report.

Final steps: download and share Google Data Studio reports

Congratulations! You’ve made a stunning dashboard and now it’s time to spread the word. We talked about sharing Google Data Studio dashboards here, but there are other important final steps:

Download the dashboard

You might not always want to give access to your live report, especially if you are working with customers or you have a group of stakeholders. So it’s good for you to know that there are other ways to show them the reports.

You can save and share your report offline, as a PDF file. You can send it via email, print it, frame it, and put it on your wall. Just kidding with the last part. You can do anything else you can do with a PDF file.

To download the dashboard, simply click Share > Download from the upper right corner and configure the download options.

Schedule the dashboard to be sent out regularly

You can share a PDF of your reports via automatic email delivery. Let’s say you want to send a copy of your dashboard to yourself and your stakeholders every month on the first Monday. You can do this by setting up an email delivery schedule.

Assuming you are the owner or editor of the report, click Share > schedule email delivery, enter the required details, and hit Schedule.

As a recently added feature, you can now edit the subject line and add a custom message to scheduled emails.

Embed the report into your website

You can embed a report into your own website. Here’s an example of what we did for the Kiwi Metrics.

You’ll see that the report is fully functional, so you can interact with the charts. Filters and date range controls work as normal. However, you can’t edit, copy, or share the report, as there is no menu bar.

You can embed a report in any site or app that supports the HTML iframe tag.

In order to embed your report via HTML iframe:

  • Ensure that the report is shared publicly (anyone viewing your page can see the embedded report), or with specific users (only those people can see the embedded report).
  • Go to File > Embed report or Share and then click <> Embed report.
  • Click Enable embedding and make sure that the Embed Code is selected.
  • Copy the code.
  • Edit the HTML source of the page in which you want to embed the report and paste the iframe code where you want the report to appear.

You can always turn off embedding by unchecking Enable embedding from File > Embed report.

That’s a wrap!

By now, hopefully, you have a better idea of what Google Data Studio is and how to get started with it. Remember that data drives every decision, every customer interaction and it’s the primary reason why companies are successful. Whatever kind of business you work in, dashboards should be at the core of your marketing strategy.

Building thorough dashboards shouldn’t monopolize your time. Instead, they should fuel strategy and give you more time to do the things that bring some added value to your business.

The purpose of this Data Studio guide is to save you time, understand your KPIs better, so you can be ready to run your business with a more informed, data-driven strategy.

The thing is that the dashboard of your dreams is not that difficult to achieve. Give it a try! Or, if you ever need a helping hand, just get in touch. We’d be happy to assist you.

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