Getting started with Google Analytics Data Studio

google analytics illustration

If you’re a Google Analytics user, you’ll dig Analytics Studio. It’s a tool that allows you to create, design, and share your reports with others, including the use of charts and graphs. Let’s go through it a little so you can see for yourself.

Creating your first report from a template

Head over to Google Analytics Studio. If you already have a Google account, you can skip selecting the signup button and login directly. Make sure you select Data Studio from the list of products in the dropdown.

Google Analytics Data Studio login page screenshot

Once logged in, you’ll immediately see options to create a new report or select either previously saved reports or sample ones.

Google Analytics Studio screenshot choose template

First, let’s create a report from an existing template. I haven’t played with all of the templates but did do some digging around with the Acme Marketing template, which loads in a single page with a styled layout and dummy data loaded into each component.

Google Analytics Studio screenshot sample template with dummy data

Before modifying the design, connect your Analytics profile so it will load your data into the report:

Google Analytics Studio screenshot sample connect to data prompt

Once you’ve connected to your profile, select the Create Report button. I found that I had to do it twice before and after connecting my Analytics account, which was a little odd, but overall it only takes a few moments to get through this step.

Now we can have some fun. You can modify the typography and colours of the report by selecting any element and the style editor will open from the right.

Google Analytics Studio screenshot sample report design tools

After spending about five minutes making my changes, my report is complete. Note that my site here is only a few weeks old so there isn’t a whole lot of data to share just yet, but for what’s available, it gives me enough to get a solid taste:

Google Analytics Studio screenshot sample report with custom design

From here I could add additional pages to display more data, but in this case I left it as a one page report using the default components.

Creating a new report from scratch

When you select the Blank template, you get an empty slate that allows you to manually select your various charts, graphs, images, text, and other elements to design your own from the bottom up.

Google Analytics Studio screenshot sample blank report

I toyed with it a bit and it’s pretty simple to use. Right now I kind of prefer the modified template I saved earlier.

Sharing your report

If you’re familiar with Google Docs, you’ll notice the same experience when you select the Share button. It allows you to send an invitation to view the report via a link or you can copy a sharable link to use when sharing via email or chat.

Google Analytics Data Studio sharing prompt screenshot

Note, however, that anyone who wishes to view your report will need to have a Google account.

My two cents

So far, I’m digging where they’re going with this. I dug around for a while and couldn’t find any export options. Being able to save the reports as a PDF would be very nice. Strategically, though, I can see why you need a Google account in order to view reports shared with you. I’m sure the design tools will continue to evolve and it’ll be interesting to see what else they do with this thing. Neat.

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I'm a front end developer and designer specializing in WordPress, User Experience, SEO, and have been working with businesses of all sizes since 1999 in helping build web properties that gets the job done.

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