So it is with digital marketing reports. But what kind of tools should you use, and will they be clear for your leadership and team members? For automated marketing reporting, Google Looker Studio may be the solution for your marketing team.
What is Google Looker Studio?
Google Looker Studio, a free tool within Google Suite, replaces Google Data Studio. With it, reports are easier to create and understand, with preloaded templates as well as customizable templates specific to your teams’ needs. Google Looker Studio helps create branded data visualization reports and a personalized dashboard. With multiple sets of data, you can draw everything into one place to populate charts and graphs, and tell the data story you want—whether for your colleagues or executive team.
Google Data Studio was the forerunner of this version, and was introduced in 2016. When it was rebranded in 2022, the name changed over to Google Looker Studio. The tool syncs data sources into a unified reporting experience (to go farther than just data visualizations). It helps teams make data-based decisions using over 800+ different data sources, and allows 600+ data connectors.
With the newly upgraded Google Looker Studio, it’s still free but now offers a paid pro version. The data modeling method is different, it has more flexible features, and it can integrate with Google Sheets. Instead of creating charts and diagrams from an Excel spreadsheet filled with Google Analytics or Search Console data, marketing teams have found an efficient and attractive tool to present in-person or via screen share, and save time for monthly reports that show month-over-month data with easily updated parameters for any data you want to display. With automated marketing reporting, data is updated in real-time and can also be schedule-shared with others using Google Looker Studios’ report delivery scheduling.
GOOGLE LOOKER STUDIO CONNECTORS
There are tons of data connectors and data sources that marketing teams can pair with Google Looker Studio. Some data connectors are free (and typically within the Google Suite) and some cost extra—but may be worth it if you’re trying to show something specific that wouldn’t be captured by Google Analytics or other Google Suite tools. Using GA4 as a data source can capture a huge portion of the data set you’d need. Along with showing the exact data you want, you can also add your logo, add in some text boxes to explain any sections, and personalize the pages for the best data visualization presentation yet.
FOR DIGITAL GROWTH
At Solid Digital, Google Looker Studio works well as a tool for our Digital Growth reports. It tells the story by pulling in four metrics that create a Digital Value (DV), which is calculated and listed at the top. The month-over-month Digital Value is shown, along with each metric that leads to the total DV. The list of keywords is pulled in from SEMRush, and the GA4 data shows organic traffic levels. Info gathered in a Google doc, including conversions and the chart of keywords can be simply plugged in (rather than copied and pasted each time), and uploaded to the created template.
Using GA4 as a data source, your team can look at any length of time, adjusting the dates to show the last quarter, six months, past year, whatever time frame you need. Using a template first is helpful as a starting point. By adding in graphics, changing the colors, and choosing your layout, you can control what gets shown.
With the DV listed out, your marketing team can show the C-suite exactly how marketing is helping the company. It’s easily shareable, as well, the URL to the live document can be copied and shared, the report can be saved as a PDF and emailed, and multiple team members and users can have editing, commenting, or viewing access as well. Don’t forget (or if you often do): Regular monthly updates can be sent out on a specific date using the automated marketing report scheduling with Looker Studio.
While the user experience isn’t as intuitive as some other Google products, once you learn how to use Google Looker Studio, the time saved with data automations from connectors is utterly invaluable. You can take a Google Looker tutorial here to learn more, or keep reading.
How to Use Google Looker Studio for Marketing
For our marketing clients—especially after a website redesign, keeping track of monthly traffic helps the team make better decisions. Pulling in data with traffic broken out by channel, like paid search versus display ads versus MSN ads, it’s much easier to see month-over-month growth, and look at the broader picture. For many of our digital marketing reports, we like to include the keyword reports, traffic by location, and the social reports to give the full picture with various analytics and paid sources.
Because GA4 tracks so much, it can be overwhelming for a client, so we clear out the noise, and focus on sharing the particular metrics that matter most, based on our clients’ goals. When creating a report, think through what you most want to show before you build a report, either from a template or from scratch. Pinpoint what success looks like, and then tailor your reports to show traction on the goals that will get you there.
GOOGLE LOOKER STUDIO STEPS
If you’re looking for an overview for how to use Google Looker Studio, it’s a few steps from zero to digital marketing report magic:
- Choose a template
- Connect your data sources
- Choose your metrics (to avoid data overwhelm)
- Customize the report, as needed, with colors, filters, data parameters
- Create a cover page with a summary of main points
- Share the report by embedding, downloading, or scheduling an email delivery
Using Google Looker Studio for marketing makes it easy to create professional, custom reports that you can shape your next priorities, or brag with to your C-Suite. Either way, it’s a marketing team’s new best friend.