Create unlimited free data visualizations using Google Data Studio

This week Google unlocked reporting restrictions in Google Data Studio, a data analytics and visualization tool, now allowing users to create unlimited report or visualizations. As the adage goes, analytic data is often only as valuable as the human-decisions it can inform. Visualization enables decision makers to see data analytics presented visually, so they can grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns. With interactive visualization, they can drill down into charts and graphs for more detail, interactively changing what data they see and creating a better understanding of how the data points are interconnected. In a digital marketing space, we’re all awash with data, thus visualizations have quickly become the go to means for the presentation of complex data-sets in a digestible pictorial or graphical format. Yet, there has been very little uniformity around the preferred toolset for the task. Google’s unlocking of Data Studio may change that.

The removal of the previous five-report limit came as welcome news to data scientists who have reporting requirements that span multiple data-sources and are in need of an enterprise grade visualization authoring tool that doesn’t cost a small fortune. The introduction of the free model is also expected to drive increased adoption of web-browser-based visualization as the preferred method for interacting with large data-sets, which is certainly a good thing. 

Google Data Studio integrates across a range of Google products and data sources. Users can combine data from Google Analytics, Google Sheets, AdWords, BigQuery, YouTube, and Attribution 360, drawing from their raw data to create user-friendly, live, reports. 

“Sounds super geeky. How does this apply to my job?”

As a use-case, consider the online publisher that is selling digital advertising inventory using Double-Click for Publishers. Using Data Studio, the publisher spots a trend in which sites visitors that read a specific type of content (say, a Sports section) are more likely to click upon an ad that offers a discount upon nutritional supplements. Using Google Analytics 360’s Audience Sharing Feature, the publisher can create a new “audience” that is composed of only the “nutritional supplement CTA responsive” visitors and then share that audience directly into DFP. After allowing the new audience to be utilized for a month in DFP, the publisher can further refine the audience, or create new sub-audiences, by returning to the initial visualizations in Data Studio and combining the initial audience with additional visitor attributes (geography, time on site, campaign source, etc.). Over-time, the increased convertibility of ads placed against the refined audiences will drive up the value of the publisher’s placements and/or create new opportunities for microtargeting within their site. 

Please note that in order to report DFP data in Google Analytics, the publisher will need to use Google Analytics 360 integration with DFP, which is not free, but probably should be given the potential for it to create a virtuous cycles that would drive up placement values for DFP publishers and thus drive up the value of Google’s larger ad network. 

Google Data Studio Data connectors: https://support.google.com/360suite/datastudio/topic/6370347
How the DFP/Analytics 360 reporting integration works: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/6371469
Unlimited Reports Announcement by Google: https://analytics.googleblog.com/2017/02/making-google-data-studio-free-for.html 

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