7 min read

Today, businesses are inundated with data about customers, competition, market trends, and so much more. Fortunately, you can organize this often-overwhelming data into insightful, easy-to-understand visuals so you can make informed decisions. 

Welcome to the world of data visualization, a powerful tool that converts and simplifies complex datasets. Whether you’re a seasoned data analyst or a business owner interested in leveraging data, you must understand data visualization and how to use the right tools to improve the process. 

Enter Google Looker Studio, a premier data visualization and business intelligence tool that converts your raw data into actionable insights. 

This comprehensive guide will teach you how to use Google Looker Studio and harness its full potential. We’ll walk you through its fundamental features, including the dashboard creation process, and even touch upon its advanced functionalities, such as adding data control to your dashboards.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clear roadmap for mastering Google Looker Studio and using it as a powerful tool for data visualization in your business. Let’s begin our data-driven journey toward informed decision-making and business growth!

Understanding Google Looker Studio

Before we discuss Google Looker Studio’s components and capabilities, let’s lay a solid foundation for this data visualization tool and why it can be a game-changer for your business. 

What Is Google Looker Studio?

Google Looker Studio is a cutting-edge data visualization tool that’s part of Google Cloud’s suite of business intelligence tools. Looker Studio provides a platform for businesses to gain insights from, interact with, and visualize their data.

Looker Studio stands out for its powerful yet user-friendly interface, which makes it easy to create compelling visual representations of complex datasets. You can construct dashboards, graphs, charts, and more, all to help make sense of the vast amount of data your business generates daily.

Beyond its data visualization capabilities, Looker Studio offers robust data exploration features. It allows you to dive deep into your data, ask questions, and draw conclusions based on real-time data analysis. In other words, it puts you in the driver’s seat to navigate your business’s data landscape.

Why Google Looker Studio Is a Helpful Tool for Your Business

So, why should you consider Google Looker Studio as your go-to tool for data visualization and business intelligence? The answer lies in its ability to turn abstract data into actionable insights.

With Google Looker Studio, you can extract meaningful patterns from your data, transform them into visually appealing formats, and use these insights to make data-driven decisions. 

Looker Studio can be your powerful ally, from understanding customer behavior patterns to identifying market trends. Additionally, Looker Studio provides real-time data analytics, ensuring you make decisions based on the most recent data. This real-time analysis can give your business a competitive edge by enabling you to respond to market changes quickly and accurately.

Additionally, its intuitive interface allows individuals from different backgrounds and skill levels to explore, understand, and visualize data. The tool isn’t just for data analysts and IT experts — any organization looking to foster a data-driven culture can utilize Google Looker Studio. 

As we go deeper into Google Looker Studio’s features and functionalities in the following sections, you’ll see why it’s a tool worthy of your time and effort. 

Creating a Report in Google Looker Studio

The first step to getting started in Google Looker Studio is making a report. Reports are essential tools in visualizing data and extracting insights. Additionally, you can share these insights with other members of your team or organization. 

When you first sign in or sign up for Looker Studio, the site will redirect you to the home page within the Reports tab. To make a new report, click on the “+” icon at the screen’s top left corner and choose “Report.” Shortly after, the Report editor will appear with the “Add data to report” panel. From there, you can start the process of creating your report.

While you’re in the Reports tab, you can also view and edit existing reports. You can view a report by simply clicking on its name within the list. Once you pull up a report, you can edit it by clicking on the Edit icon at the screen’s top right corner.

If someone shared the report with you, you may not have editing access. In the event that you don’t see the Edit button, you only have viewing access. Ask the report owner to grant you edit access if needed. 

Connecting Data to Your Report

Once you’ve created a report, you’ll want to connect your data. First, you’ll scroll over to the “Add data to report” panel. This particular function is the primary way of managing your data source connections and configuring the data fields to be used in your report.

If you’re looking to connect to an already existing data source, such as Google Analytics Data, the process is relatively straightforward. The “Add data to report” panel includes the optional data connectors. 

It’s worth noting that Looker Studio is compatible with a wide array of data connectors, extending beyond Google’s ecosystem. Examples include Ahrefs, SEMRush, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, Shopify, and Google Ad Manager, offering you a range of options to draw insights from various data sources.

After you choose your data source, you’ll need to grant authorization to Google Looker Studio. Once you grant authorization, you’ll immediately notice a table containing information from your selected data source. From there, you can edit the table to make your data more readable. 

Add Components to Your Google Looker Studio Report

Now that you’ve set up your report and connected your data, it’s time to add crucial components to enhance your workflow. You can add charts, scorecards, and other useful components. 

Include Charts in a Report 

You can populate your report with charts to make your data more readable. Google Looker Studio offers a wide range of chart types, from standard bar and line charts to more complex scatter plots and heatmaps.

To create a new chart, simply click on the “Add a chart” button, which resides in the toolbar at the top of the report’s editor. You can then edit, resize, and move your chart. In addition to being able to customize your report, you can easily add information from your connected applications via the Data panel. 

Add Scorecards to Your Report

Scorecards are another essential component of a well-rounded report. The scorecard displays a single, important metric — think of it as a digital business card for your data.

To add a scorecard, return to the “Add a chart” button. You’ll then scroll down to “Scorecard.” Once you select the scorecard, you can attach the data that you want to display. Next, go to the “Chart” panel and scroll down to “Metric.” You’ll change the metric to display your desired data point, such as revenue, website views, etc. 

Mastering building reports, adding charts, and creating scorecards will allow you to transform raw data into insightful, visual stories. But this is just the tip of the iceberg — let’s move on to how you can utilize this data to its full potential.

How to Include Data Controls in Your Reports

Reports are meant to offer a comprehensive view of your data, but sometimes, you need to zero in on specific subsets or ranges. This is where data control comes into play. 

Data controls improve the utility and functionality of a report. They offer an interactive interface, allowing users to manipulate data based on specific requirements. With these controls, users can filter data by certain dimension values, adjust a report’s time frame, and set other helpful parameters. 

Adding data controls to your reports empowers users to interact with the data and display it based on their unique needs at a given moment.  

Including data controls in your report is a fairly straightforward process. When you open your report, you’ll find an icon for adding a data control on the toolbar. Once you select this icon, you’ll see a drop-down menu with different control options, such as data range control, data control, and input box. You’ll select the control that’s right for your report, and you’ll place it in the relevant spot on your report. 

On the right side of your screen, you’ll find the Properties panel, where you can configure the control to fit your report’s needs. The Properties panel also offers options for changing the appearance of your data control under the Style tab.

Different types of controls can perform different functions. Some can be used to filter data or set parameter values, like the drop-down list, fixed-size list, input box, advanced filter, slider, checkbox, and preset filter. The control types “data range control,” “data control,” and “button” are specialized functions, and you can’t use them to establish parameter values. 

You can also easily change a control type on a report. With your report in Edit mode, select the control. At the top of the Properties panel on the right, open the Control drawer and select the new control type. You may need to modify the control’s settings to accommodate the new type.

By incorporating data controls into your reports, you can offer an interactive, dynamic, and engaging experience to your report viewers. This feature allows for efficient and targeted data analysis based on specific requirements.

How to View Website Traffic and Analyzing Content Performance

The ability to visualize and interpret your website’s traffic data is crucial for your growth strategy. Let’s dive into how Looker Studio can help you monitor website visitors and assess content popularity.

View the Number of Website Visitors

Looker Studio provides an intuitive way to view your website traffic by using metrics such as unique visitors, page views, sessions, and bounce rates. 

To visualize your website traffic, start by adding a new chart to your dashboard and select how you want to depict the data. This could be a line chart, bar chart, heat map, or another helpful display. You’ll then select the relevant data source from the data panel. Next, select the data you want to visualize, such as page views or unique visitors. Then you’ll select a time dimension for your data, such as website visitors in the last day, week, or month. Now, you have a real-time view of your website traffic!

Identify Popular Content on Your Website

Knowing what content is most popular with your audience is invaluable. This insight can guide your content creation strategy, helping you focus on topics and media that resonate most with your visitors.

With Looker Studio, you can display data showing your website’s most visited pages. Add a new table from the “Add a chart” button and select your website analytics from the Data panel. Next, choose your “Page Title” or “Page URL” as your measure as well as “Views.” The table will display a ranking list of your most popular pages based on page views.

Understanding your website traffic and content performance is critical to enhancing your online presence and driving business growth. The insights you gain can inform your strategies and shape your decisions, and Google Looker Studio makes acquiring these insights accessible and straightforward. 

Let Data Visualization Lead Your Business to Growth!

Google Looker Studio allows you to zoom into the granular details of your data, revealing valuable insights that can fuel your business growth. We’ve walked you through setting up your report, adding charts and scorecards, applying controls, viewing website traffic, and analyzing content performance in Looker Studio.

Whether you’re a data novice or a seasoned analyst, Google Looker Studio provides the tools to turn raw data into actionable insights, simplifying your decision-making process. Remember, mastering Looker Studio will require time and practice. But once you hone your skills, the insights you can generate will help you improve your business strategy greatly.

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