I love Excel. I got deeply into it when I worked as a marketing analyst. I had to pull down unstructured data from Business Objects and analyze it in Excel. I got to know the formulas pretty well during that process.
Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten many of those formulas but as I get to know Google’s Data Studio reporting platform, I’m starting to like it a bit more especially since I can use it with AdWords and Analytics. It’s a step up from the reports in AdWords, which, I learned quickly, were pretty bad and clunky.
How do you use DataStudio?
First, you are going to need a mouse or at least a stylus. Touchscreens won’t work as the click and drag mechanism doesn’t translate well to mobile and you’ll need it. I first used DataStudio on my laptop and tried it on a tablet.
Next, go to datastudio.google.com and log in. It’s easy enough since so many have Google email accounts. I do think that it may still be unavailable in some countries. If that’s the case, then you should be able to request it.
If everything is a go for you with the platform, you should see this:
When I first started it, I decided to do a template because I was new and thought it was the best way to wade into the platform. It wound up being more confusing and frustrating for me. I started over with a blank canvas and started playing around with it.
First, you create a new data source. Again, you have a choice of quite a few sources to work with, but for this, let’s do AdWords.
Step 1, choose AdWords. Once you go through that process, name your data source first. I didn’t do that and went through a time trying to figure out how to edit it. Someone gave me a heads up and so I’m paying it forward. Before you connect your data source, name it well. Then you can proceed to step 3 and connect.
Once you confirm the connection, go ahead and start with a simple data range widget. You click on the icon, you’ll get a plus mouse pointer where you can draw the calendar. Finally you select the date range. After that, you can go into the Style tab in the gray area on the right and change the look of your date widget.
Before moving on, remember to go to the top left and name your report. When you’ve done that, you can ad a title with a simple Text box. Then you can use the Table widget icon to draw the table for your data, which is Ad group and clicks. The default dimension is campaign so you’re going to have to click on that name and then you’ll get the dimension picker on the right side. The quickest way to find what you want is to search.
When you scroll down on the right, you’ll see many settings, including comparison to a previous period that is automatically chosen by Data Studio or that you choose. I decided that I wanted to show which campaign had the highest clicks overall, so I chose a pie graph to show the relativity.
I eventually went back to the table, removed the campaign dimension and just left the ad group and made some other modifications, including adding a grand total as well as showing the variances between this month and the previous month. You can take a look at my simple Data Studio report here.
Again, it’s a good idea to just go in and play around with the Data and Style tabs. You can’t alter your data in this interface so there’s no risk to you. All you need to is just play around with the parameters and graphs and numbers to figure out what’s the best way to communicate your analysis.
Even though this is not Excel and lacks a lot of the flexibility and functionality of that program, the fact that you are working from a rolling cache of structured data that you can draw from as long as you keep the sources connect makes up for that just a little.
Give it a try and tell me what you think.