Have you ever thought that the SEO reports you get feel a bit…static? We have a first look at the new Google Data Studio.
At Michael Bell One we understand the importance of clear and concise reporting but a snapshot of data-in-time often raises more questions than it answers, especially when the data is framed in a way that, as an expert, makes complete sense but to the client makes none at all.
Of course when creating client reports half the skill is presenting the numbers in a way that is easily digested, but to be able to play around with the numbers and interact with the report would massively aid the digestion process.
When I heard about the new Google Data Studio I was immediately interested. Data Studio – the name is enough to get data lovers interested – was what I hoped, a studio in which I can manipulate data and present it, and once presented I can hover over it and generally play with it.
The problem is it’s not available in the UK yet, but that’s not enough to stop me getting my grubby hands on it. I simply connected to my trusty VPN in the US to take a sneak-peek; no good letting simple technicalities slowdown man’s progress. Once getting going you are presented with a tutorial on how to produce a report which seems a little confusing at first. You can choose whether to use Google Data Studio’s sample data (which I think is the intention) but I actually ended up using active client data. Where it said “failed to get data”, I just clicked on that to bring up a menu on the side navigation and connected a new data source. Easy really and quite intuitive.
The next step involved playing with the connected data and moving it around by creating graphs and tables and choosing which data can go in it. There was a lot of fun to be had adding in charts that automatically populated with data, it almost seemed like magic.
It is what I imagine chart making in Exel should have been like when creating visual representations of data, but the beauty of this tool is that it’s Google’s own tool which makes data connectivity a breeze. What’s more is that you really don’t need any kind of programming skills for it, which is handy because if you’re anything like me, you need to be spending your time on analysing the data, not learning to pull it into a graph from various sources.
The tutorial itself is pretty straightforward and only 7 pages long. It covers the basics and essentially tells you ‘now go make one’ and on the last page of the tutorial you end up with something like this:
This is fine and it’s pretty too, but it begs the question ‘how can I use this tool to real effect” ? We already have Analytics dashboard, that’s pretty good for a 30,000ft view of data and general Business Intelligence. As with Data Studio, I can pull my AdWords data in along with any other ‘connected’ forms of data. So what exactly am I going to use Google Data Studio for ? … Lord knows I want to use it for something.
I think I found the answer for I don’t see why it can’t be used as an interactive client reporting tool. When I had a look you at my half built report, I see it can be shared with a ‘shareable’ link so they can view the report right in their browser but they do need to be logged into Google which might be an issue for some who just want to load up a PDF.
What would be really useful if it’s at all possible, is an API so I can connect more data sources like MOZ ranks, and it would be super awesome to be able to draw up correlative data between organic traffic and ‘search visibility’.
So, after a little bit of playing around I managed to mock up this very basic sample report.
It’s pretty simple but it’s interactive and once it is decided what information is best to display it should look pretty good, too.
All in all I think this could be a very good tool, and definitely one that data-minded clients would appreciate. I look forward to the official UK roll-out when it happens.