Tracking Your Data Studio Dashboards in Google Analytics

  • Dashboard Tracking in GA

Tracking Your Data Studio Dashboards in Google Analytics

Do you spend countless hours creating dashboards and reports only to wonder whether anyone ever looks at them? Wouldn’t it be nice to know which reports are actually being used and which ones aren’t?

With Google Data Studio, you can easily create and share reports with your colleagues. This can help democratize data across your organization and foster a more data-driven approach to decision-making. However, it also makes it easier for useless reports and dashboards to accumulate.

Just as you would use analytics to optimize your webpages, you can do the same for your reports and dashboards. In fact, Data Studio has a built-in capability for tracking report usage in Google Analytics. How often do users view my report? How long do they spend? What devices and screen sizes are being used? The answers to these questions and more are within your reach!

Read on to learn how to setup and use Google Analytics for tracking your Data Studio reports and dashboards.

Track Data Studio Report Usage in Google Analytics

To start tracking your Data Studio reports in GA:

  1. Create a new Google Analytics account and property.
    • We recommend keeping your Data Studio report data entirely separate from your other GA accounts.
    • When creating your property, enter “datastudio.google.com” as the website URL.
    • We suggest tracking all related reports in the same property. You can use the URL or page title to identify and filter for individual reports.
  2. In Data Studio, add the GA tracking ID to your report.
    • In Edit mode, select File > Report Settings.
    • Enter your GA Tracking ID in the labelled field:Insert Google Analytics Tracking ID

Right now, Data Studio sends only pageviews to GA. There will be no events, custom dimensions, or custom metrics tracked. However, we’re hopeful that as Google continues developing Data Studio, the GA tracking integration will also be further enhanced.

See Your Data Studio Data in Data Studio

So, you can track a Data Studio dashboard in GA, and you can see GA data in Data Studio. This means you can create a dashboard to report on your dashboards!

Here’s a dashboard that reports on our Rio 2016 Summer Olympics Medal Results report:

Data-Driven Dashboard Design

Once you have your dashboards tracked in GA, you can use the data to help improve their content and design. Consider using the following reports in GA:

  • Device Overview – Is the dashboard being viewed on desktop, mobile, or tablet devices? If mobile devices are most common, you may wish to adjust the dashboard to fit the smaller width and portrait orientation of a mobile screen.
  • Recency & Frequency – How often do your colleagues look at your reports? Is this more or less than you expect? Consider setting the default date range and comparative metrics to align with the most common frequency of use.
  • Geography – Is your dashboard viewed by multiple offices? Do certain locations use your dashboard more? Check out the Geography > Location report in GA.
  • Avg. Session Duration – Is your dashboard intended to be seen at a glance, or is it built for exploratory analysis? How does the session duration compare with your expectations? If users are not spending the time you expect, perhaps the dashboard is too complicated to use or requires further explanation and training.

As with any data-driven analysis, having data does not eliminate the need for human input. Ask your stakeholders for feedback on what they like and dislike about their dashboards. This will help provide context to the behaviour you see in your GA reports.

If you would like to learn more about Google Data Studio, check out our upcoming in-class Data Studio 1-Day Course.

Related posts in the Data Studio Series:
1. How to Share a Data Studio Report
2. Google Analytics Dashboard Template for Data Studio
3. Calculating Goal Flow Conversion Rate in Data Studio
4. Adding Images to Your Tables in Data Studio
5. Embedding Links in Data Studio
6. Simple Visualizations in Data Studio
7. Custom Channel Groupings in Data Studio
8. Calculating Percent of Total in Data Studio
9. Tips for Using RegEx in Data Studio
10. Data Studio Connectors from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
11. Audit Your Google Analytics Implementation with Data Studio

By |2019-07-08T14:51:55-04:00December 1st, 2017|10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Janessa December 14, 2017 at 11:32 am - Reply

    NEAT. How well does this work with embedded reports?

    • Marc Soares December 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Hi Janessa,

      The tracking works for embedded reports as well! Once you configure the GA tracking ID in your report, it will send data whenever the report is viewed, either in Data Studio or embedded on another page.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Marc

  2. Pavol Dzavan January 9, 2018 at 9:47 am - Reply

    This is quite useful to show end customers/users if and how frequently they use what they asked for 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Marc Soares January 9, 2018 at 11:28 am - Reply

      Glad you found it useful!

      Marc

  3. Marissa September 18, 2018 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Do you know of a way to track the email addresses of the users of a data studio report in google analytics?

    • Heather Murphy September 19, 2018 at 9:23 am - Reply

      Hi Marissa,

      There is not currently a way to do this in Data Studio. Do note, as well, that you are not able to pass Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to Google Analytics per its Terms of Service.

      Heather

  4. Gonzalo July 8, 2019 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Hi, Very useful. Just have a small doubt. I have created an Account which has several Properties (1 for each report that I want to track). The problem is that I want to create a report in Data Studio that can track usage of all my reports. The thing is that when I import a data Source, it references 1 property and not all properties from the account.

    How could I create a report to track all my properties?

    P.D: the only way I have figured out would be to create as many data sources as Properties and then create a Data Blend, (maybe with date as union key???)

    • Marc Soares July 8, 2019 at 2:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Gonzalo,

      Thanks for the comment. At the time this blog post was written, tracking Data Studio reports in GA was still new. Based on our experience since then, I would amend our recommendation in favour of using a single property for all related reports. The concern stated above about changed report titles has not been a significant issue.

      So, I suggest tracking all your reports in a single property to solve your problem.

      Marc

      • Gonzalo July 31, 2019 at 11:49 am - Reply

        Thanks!! this really worked!

        The only problem I am having is that I am loosing my usage stats every week. On mondays my usage stats resets to zero. Has this happened to you before? How could I fix this?

        • Marc Soares August 1, 2019 at 4:47 pm - Reply

          Hi Gonzalo.

          Thanks for the comment. Google Analytics data does not reset. Check that you are viewing the correct view and date range in your GA property.

          Marc

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