You Ask, I Answer_ Google Data Studio Dashboard Best Practices

Glen asks, “What’s the best way to use Google Data Studio for marketing reporting?”

While I appreciate the sentiment, there is no one best way. Rather, there are ways to think about setting up Google Data Studio that help you get the answers you want as quickly as possible, Google Data Studio Dashboard best practices. Watch the video for a tour of how I set up Google Data Studio dashboards and ideas for setting up yours.

I like Google Data Studio for 3 big reasons:

  • Free of financial cost
  • Connects to Google Analytics
  • Connects to Google Search Console

If you’d like to make a copy of this dashboard for your own company, I’ll have a shareable link in my newsletter this week so that you can make a copy. Be sure to subscribe.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Today’s you ask I answer. Glenn asks, What’s the best way to use Google Data Studio for marketing reporting? Great question. There is no best way there are ways to think about setting up Google Data Studio or any dashboard, a tool that will help you get the answers you want as quickly as possible. That’s the point of all dashboard and visualization software is can we get to the answers we want as quickly as possible without having to go all over the place. And one of the advantages of Data Studio is, well, there’s like three main advantages of Data Studio One, it connects to Google Analytics natively, which, you know, 80% of marketers or some crazy high stat like that use Google Analytics even if they have another analytics package as well alongside it, and you can connect natively in Data Studio second, Google Search Console connects natively, which is super important

if you’re a marketer and you’re not using Google Search Console.

You’re kind of doing it wrong. And third,

that’s price tag of zero for up to five dashboards. So there’s absolutely no reason why marketers should not be using Data Studio, even if you’re using other solutions for data visualization with dashboard in general, you want to tell stories with your data. You want to be able to lead people through a logical sequence of the data. So before you sit down and do a dashboard, you want to catalog what are the KPIs, what are the metrics, what are the overall goals, what are the things that lead into those goals and that’s what you want to use to organize a dashboard intelligently. If you don’t do that what you’re going to do is just put a whole bunch of stuff on the screen and no one’s going to have any idea how to read it’s very very difficult to read I am guilty of that eight ways to Sunday so

let me show you an example of what I use this is not the right way by any means. This is unique to my personal website and we’ll talk about some of these these variables and and data points and feel free to adapt to these ideas to your own Data Studio dashboards

what we’ve got here five sections

First up top are the big numbers, these are the things that are most relevant that if you looked at nothing else you’d want to know these numbers second section on the right here, the control selected so you can change dates and things and and dynamically adjust your data. Third, the green section are important KPIs and sort of the information that feeds into those. The yellow section is more granular detail about some of those

those KPIs and their diagnostics. And then the red section is very granular detail about one specific look, one specific way of of digging into the data. So let’s go ahead and and look at this up top in the in the big numbers. I have revenue, I have an e commerce website. I sell books on my site, so I can track e commerce transactions. If you don’t do e commerce. If your b2b for example or b2c, brick and mortar, you may want to put like goal value instead. Here assuming that you’ve got goals goal value set up on your website. The second is goal completions. goal completions is of course any goal that you set up in Google Analytics that is meaningful to

This shows you the the overall number of goals within the time here that you selected to look at. Third for me is users. You’ll notice throughout this report, I use a user’s instead of sessions or page views. And the reason why is I want to know the total number of human beings that I’m reaching, I don’t necessarily care how many pages they look at. If you’re a publisher, you obviously care about page views, for example, because you’re getting paid on ad impressions. So users might be a less interesting number to you than those ad impressions. And finally, here, this is a search console number, I want to know how many branded search clicks I got. So people searching for me personally. Now, if you were a company, you’d want to do something like branded searches for your company, your products and services and things. So like for brain trust insights, I’d want to know how many people are searching for brain trust insights or our marketing GPS service, and that would be a number I roll up here. So that’s the top line numbers again, if I look at nothing else, these are the numbers that I need to pay attention to to know how my website is doing revenue go great.

Goal going great users and that’s a good

and then you are all clicks. Not so good. Now if we expand the timeframe, obviously, you know, numbers change around a lot and things we see users and all these charts we adjust. So

you can tell a different story based on the data you choose to look at. I like 28 days because it’s, it’s a rolling and I don’t like 30 days, because 28 days is four weeks for physical calendar weeks, which means that when Google does the though, the period over a period reporting it’s the same physical number of days, if you do 30 days, sometimes you’ll have like a weekend in there and extra weekend or in there that can really throw your number so stick to 28 days as much as you can. Now on the left hand side, what we see here we see goals and traffic. So blue is the number of users red is the number completions. Is there a trend and how well do these to relate. Now what I’ve had to do here is set to different axes, one for the users one for the goal completions, otherwise you wouldn’t feel seat the red lines will be miniscule. So is there a relationship between the

And then you can see there’s a weekly relationship, obviously, in terms of a trend relationship there actually isn’t. So that’s something that I would want to know. And maybe think about, like, why would why it is that users don’t necessarily lead to goals. And so a good question asked there. But this this graph answers the question, what’s happening? What are the big trends? Second is the brand awareness. This is Search Console data. This is a filter this to just branded searches. So I built a filter that says, I want to match only on like my name and and then take a look, what are the trends here? I should change it over to having data labels on here. But what are the what do I see impressions, the number of times people search that my site came up in a search and then the clicks of the number of times I got the click obviously, if if I’m not getting a substantial number of clicks for each impression than my search, SEO is gone horribly wrong. So you can get a little bit of insight to different ways people search for your branded

products and services. But more than anything, you want to make sure that you’re getting a decent amount of of clicks for things that are clearly your brand, Nick, you’re not you need to work on your SEO. So that’s what question this question. This answers this section here is where’s my traffic coming from by source Google. And then what is the relationship between these the users and the goal completions, if you should, if they’re looking for anomalies here. So like here, Twitter gives me slightly more goal completions and saving. So I use for for, you know, relatively comparable amounts of traffic. That’s a useful thing to know. So I want to know what’s giving me

my conversions. What’s giving you a new I traffic and then other things where

this will help you prioritize. So clearly, I need to if I care about conversions really got to focus in on on Google because that’s where all the traffic’s coming from. Likewise, organic search clearly as a major traffic driver the email referral traffic this is interesting, I might

Want to dig into this, some more might even create a separate death or to see where my referrals are coming from, as a way to understand it better. And then here on top content by traffic, what pages are getting my users and what how many of those users are new. I like to know the new user number personally, because I want to know how impactful pages for search the more new users typically the more you know, if your site is search heavy, which mine is I want to know what pages are attracting lots and lots and lots of new users. Here’s one that is in the top 10 97%

new and this is from 2010. So this is clearly a page that I need to go and freshen up and to improve what it does for people. So that’s my dashboard. Again, you’re going to want to customize this for your own goals for your own metrics for the things that will help you answer questions. The golden rule is if if you can’t clearly articulate what question this answers on a dashboard, it shouldn’t be on today.

dashboard because you’re just spinning update at that point and it doesn’t tell a story biggest numbers okay someone looks at this and goes okay well why is this up or down you should be able to look through here and dig in and go oh okay that’s why it’s up or down I can see a a story being told across these different sessions sections of the dashboard not everything needs to be on a dashboard or certainly if you if you have a lot of stuff that us and there’s numbers you adjust so in love with put them on a separate page but for your big page only focus on the things that your stakeholders care about and make it tell a story third, with dashboards, make sure that you’re making different dashboards with different stakeholders This is mine for me for my business, if I was preparing this for

CEO is the school look very different. The CEO pie doesn’t care about this whole section here. They may not even care about this section. They may only care about this section, this section so I could eliminate these two sections. I might have a white space here where I just write some descriptive narrative so that the CEO can can get an update on a

less frequent basis but just see the numbers of care about if this is the C fo I might have this section here might be all the, you know, what are the different products and the revenues that are being that can break out because they would want to know that they would want to know sales and inventory and things like that. So your every death was going to be different based on the audience you’re making it for the rule of thumb, I uses that by vertical within a company. Each vertical has its own type of dashboard, you know, operations is going to have a different one from finance is going to have a different one for marketing. And then every level in your organization also has its own dashboard. So what the account coordinator or the marketing coordinator gets is very different than what the CMO should get should be very different dashboards. So that’s what I use for Data Studio and this is the best way to use it is to customize it for the audience that’s going to be watching it and looking at your dashboard. So great question, Glen. As always, subscribe to the newsletter at the YouTube channel. I’ll talk to you soon. Take care if you want help with your company’s data and analytics. Visit brain trust insights calm today and let us know how we can help you.


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