In our recent Data Lab session, we delivered an overview of Google Data Studio, the free, easy to use data visualization and reporting tool in the Google Analytics stack. Vinny Borges and Prateek Maitra presented the ins-and-outs of finding success with dashboards, and taking steps towards creating an internal culture of data-driven decision making.

We’ve compiled questions and answers from the session to help round out the information we shared.

Q. Do I need to have a Google Adwords Account?
A. No. Actually you can bring in other paid sources into Data Studio. However, unless it is a Google product, or has a “connector” (as many largely penetrated platforms/well-known platforms do), you’ll need to pull that data into a Google Sheet format from the systems’ API, batch feed or other exporting tools. Then Data Studio can accept the data in that format by dimensions, metrics, etc. Just so you are aware, this may not be an automated solution for you. However, we still recommend dashboarding as it provides end-users the experience of seeing their KPIs in a format that is often times more easier to understand than raw data. This will allow for decision-making to be based on fact at your organization, if you have strong governance around your data sources.

Q. Do I need a Google email address to register?
A. Yes, a Google account is necessary to set up your Data Studio Dashboard. Be sure that it is tied to the same Google account you use for Google Analytics as well as Google Search Console, and Google Data Studio.

Q. Can this tie to my company’s AdWords Managers Account (MCC)?
A. Sure can. As Adwords is a Google product, Data Studio has developed an automated connector to gather AdWord data from any valid AdWord account.

Q. How do carry my site analytics into Data Studio?
A. Simply replace the provided template data source in edit mode with your own Google Analytics data source.

Q. Someone on the webinar said this was a Beta. Does that mean I may lose my data?
A. Google Data Studio is now considered to be a “public” beta meaning that it is effectively here to stay. You won’t lose access to your data. Also, your data is being gathered into Data Studio through different technologies. The original data supply lives within its own platform or data storage facility.

Q. What are the requirements to keep each dashboard secure from others to see the information?
A. By default a Data Studio is private only to you (and those who have access to your Google account credentials). If you want to change that, in sharing settings make sure you share only your team members, and do not set link sharing to ‘public’ to ensure only those with access to the link and those who are granted permission can view your data.

Q. Aren’t dashboards for data sissies?
A. No real need for name-calling, but to answer your question, no. Real men and women who aren’t afraid of fact-over-fiction, find dashboards to be highly advantageous. Data-informed decisions are, as we know, the true path to success. Dashboards are simply a way to view snapshots of your data in time. The data capabilities in Google Data Studio extend far beyond what was covered in the Data Labs Webinar. For example, you can connect to your data warehouse via SQL, Google’s Big Query/Cloud, and even Google’s new distributed database Spanner.

Q. Where do you find these templates?
A. First, visit datastudio.google.com (while logged into your Google account that is connected to your individual Analytics, Search Console, and Adwords reports).

Next in the top navigation, you can view Google’s prepackaged templates. Finally, click on the template and select ‘Use Template’ option. You’ll need to connect your own data sources individually from here.

Because there is no standard SEO report (combining Google Search Console, and Google Analytics), Cardinal Path has provided the template we used in today’s webinar for you to use to report on your SEO/SEM efforts. See the top of the page for the templates.

Q. Will you be offering a class on how to use Data Studio?
A. Cardinal Path Training Academy (CPTA), a educational division of Cardinal Path, actually debuted a new live Data Studio course the same day as our webinar!

CPTA provides live instructor-led courses for public groups around the country. They also provide private trainings for corporations. And finally, courses online.

Checkout cardinalpath.com/training to see all the offerings and upcoming city venues.

Q. Is there a way to export to PDF?
A. You can use the print functionality on your browser to save as PDF and display/print that way, one page at a time. Using Adobe Acrobat or another PDF writer, you can combine the pages into one consolidated report. This feature request is currently one that Google is aware of and working to build out.

Q. How do we group and track certain web pages within a domain? It’s not a microsite, but a section of the site.
A. We can apply filters to landing page tables to track certain sets of web pages. Click Edit-> Data tab -> Add a filter (bottom of the right side) -> create a filter -> Name your filter -> Select field -> Landing pages (if GA data source) -> includes -> /yoursubfolder/

Let’s keep the conversation going! If you have another question around Google Data Studio or any other dashboard tool, send it over to info@cardinalpath.com.