Connecting to your data is the first step towards creating a beautiful report, dashboard, or visualization. In Google Data Studio, you have thus far been limited to using one of the built-in connectors, like Google Analytics, AdWords, or Search Console.
But what about data from social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), other search engines (e.g. Bing, Yahoo), email automation platforms (e.g. MailChimp, Eloqua), and CRM systems (e.g. Salesforce)? Most likely you are using at least a few tools and platforms outside of the Google ecosystem.
Your only option for getting data from these tools into Data Studio was by importing it as a Google Sheet or a CSV file, a process that usually isn’t an efficient or elegant solution. Surely, there must be a better way!
Well, now there is. Community Connectors to the rescue!
Among the latest updates to Google Data Studio, Community Connectors enable anyone to build and share their own native connectors for Data Studio. Instead of wrangling your data through spreadsheets and text files, you can build a direct connection into Data Studio using any available API.
The process of building a community connector isn’t too complex, but it does require some skills in web development and programming. If that’s not for you, don’t worry, you can use connectors that others have built and shared in the Community Connector Gallery. There’s a good selection right now, and you can expect the list of connectors to continue growing over the coming weeks and months.
Since the launch, I’ve been on a bit of a community connector binge, trying to connect to any interesting API that I can find. Below are a few example reports that showcase some connectors I’ve built to retrieve weather, news, and transit data.
(Oh yeah, you can now embed Data Studio reports in a webpage too!)
The weather forecast shown in this dashboard is retrieved by connecting to the OpenWeatherMap API.
Using the New York Times API, this connector retrieves the most viewed news items for the past day on NYTimes.com.
This dashboard shows up-to-the-minute departure information for Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco via the BART API. Use the dropdown filters to choose your station!
News, weather, and transit information is most likely not critical to your organization, but hopefully these examples demonstrate the power and flexibility of community connectors and Data Studio.
What types of data sources would you like to connect to?
If you would like help building your own connectors or exploring how Data Studio can work for your organization, please get in touch.