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A fun comparison to make is between selecting analytics platforms and cars:
Do you really need that high-performance sports car with all the bells and whistles, that requires a pit crew just to change to oil?
OR, will the trusty Toyota’s and Honda’s of the world, get you from point-A to point-B without a hiccup. Many seem to align with the latter if you just look at total active Google Data Studio users and Toyota’s/Honda’s on the road on any given day.
What is Google Data Studio and why should I care?
Google Data Studio (GDS) is a free data visualization tool that enables you to build interactive dashboards and elegant automated reports with ease. By tapping into a rolodex of supported data connections, GDS can help make your data come alive.
The key selling point for growing marketing agencies is the fact that GDS does not require an entire analytics team with a combined 30+ years of experience to configure, operate and maintain in perpetuity. Unlike many other Business intelligence and data visualization platforms on the market today, GDS is simple to learn and use.
In fact, here at Uproer, a single analyst is able to ingest their essential data, configure a dashboard or report layout, and automate scheduled distribution to necessary stakeholders, likely before lunch, using GDS.
The simple nature of these processes enables our agency to provide enterprise-level solutions from a small team of experts, saving our clients money and producing stronger ROI. Passing cost savings through to our clients means there is more money available to fund actions that can move the needle, like creating new content.
Sounds pretty great right!? Allow me to elaborate.
8 Reasons why Google Data Studio is awesome
1. Easy to use UI
As you’ll likely notice moments after logging in, the UI of GDS looks very much like Google Drive and the rest of the Google Suite of products, known for their simple and intuitive layout. The recycled user interface (UI) of GDS from the other Google products (Docs, Sheets, Slides) allow for quick learning and easy navigation of the platform, instilling confidence in the user from the start.
2. Supported data connections
Right out of the box, you get 22 data connectors developed by Google, and 612 connectors developed by Google partners, allowing users the ability to pipe-in data from various sources into a centralized platform without the need to hire or contract a costly developer to communicate with an API.
Because Uproer is focused on providing SEO & SEM solutions for SaaS and Ecommerce clients, we use a few select connectors more often than others, such as:
- Google Analytics
- Google Ads
- Google Sheets
- Search Console
- Chrome UX Report
- Page Speed Insights Score
3. Customize with ease
A differentiator of GDS from other data visualization platforms is the huge design freedom you have when creating the perfect custom look for your dashboards and reports.
Starting from a blank canvas and dragging and dropping as many elements as you see fit is a much more practical approach than trying to conform your data and the story you are trying to convey. You are able to bring dashboards and reports to life by changing fonts, page sizes, adding images or matching brand colors schemes.
4. Ability to visualize data in various formats
Much like the functionality of Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, structuring and plotting your data with charts, tables and maps is quick and easy. Select from an array of pre-built options or go rogue and create your own combination of charts and commentary.
5. Shareable and accessible reporting for clients
Collaborate with clients and colleagues without having to exchange sensitive information like passwords. Getting your reports in front of the right eyes has never been easier with built-in sharing features that allow you to:
- Invite people to receive either ‘View’ or ‘Edit’ access to your report/dashboard
- Schedule email delivery
- Get report link
- Download the report
6. Templates save time and hassle
While creating a report or dashboard from scratch can be fun, it can also be time consuming.
If you have already created a report that gets the job done, you can copy it as a template and swap out the data sources, colors and labels instead of piecing together a whole new report for each new client engagement.
7. The price is just right
All these features come in at a monthly price per user of $0. That's right, all this capability is free, serving as the cherry atop your lean business. Not only are licensing fees non-existent, but you don't need to hire someone with a specialized skill to configure and operate the platform like you would for other BI/visualization platforms.
For comparison, your next best option would likely be something like Tableau, which costs around $70 per user per month to cover licensing fees, not to mention a small staff of analysts and developers to power an analytics service offering for an agency portfolio of clients. Sounds pretty spendy doesn't it?
With the savings our clients get through utilizing GSD, they can spend more on actions that actually move the needle, such as content. Worrying about complex attribution models and finicky configuration menus is not a productive use of time.
8. Ability to get more granular data with advanced techniques
The simple interface of GDS does not come at the cost of a limited feature set. GDS users equipped with basic SQL knowledge can take their Data Studio game to the next level by querying databases directly. Hello, CASE functions!
Most marketers are familiar with navigating and using Google Analytics (GA) for analysis. GA is simply a database with a well designed front-end interface. But knowing how to query the back-end of the database opens the floodgates for blending disparate data sources together and creating visuals outside the realm of possibility for in-platform Google Analytics users.
Learning SQL or Regex syntax may sound nerdy and complex, but trust us, it can be learned with a pot of coffee and a free afternoon.
How we do it at Uproer
Upon establishing a retainer with Uproer, each of our clients receives access to a custom GDS report of their domain, developed by one of our very own analysts. Reports track and showcase high-level KPIs along with other relevant SEO/SEM performance metrics. Of course, the templates we use for the reports aren't set in stone. We welcome any and all client requests and curate the reports to each company.
GDS is leading the way for low-cost, high-capability data visualization platforms for markers and data heads worldwide looking to expand their businesses and not their fixed costs. Packed full of practical features, and an easy to learn and love UI, GDS helps power our business at Uproer on a daily basis, helping us measure results and expand our client relationships.