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:
- 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 creating a separate property for each dashboard you wish to track. It’s also possible to use one property with a separate view for each report, but you would need to filter by the URL or the report name in the page title. Since report names are changeable and report URLs are defined by long alphanumeric strings, using separate properties is simpler and less prone to error.
- 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:
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