Google have released their latest offering, Data Studio 360 in both a free and premium version. While the tool itself is fantastic, the one recurring question I get from customers is "what does it actually do?"
When you go to the Google Data Studio page, you are greeted with this explanation:
Tell beautiful stories with your data.
Google Data Studio 360 (beta) turns your data into beautiful, informative reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable. Start telling great stories with your data and make better business decisions.
Sounds great, but what does that mean? The rest of the page provides equally enticing yet vague information on what the product does.
If you are just as confused about what Data Studio 360 is for and what it can do for you, read on!
What is Data Studio 360?
Google Data Studio 360 is a product that allows you to import data from a range of sources, not just your website or mobile app. This means you can add data from Google Analytics as well as your CRM, your customer database, your membership rewards system, your phone system, etc.
With your data imported, you will be able to learn more about how customers interact with your company, what is working, and which areas need improvement. For example, if you import your CRM data with your website data, you will get a better understanding of how sales leads filter through your website into your CRM and identify any areas where leads are dropping off.
Data Studio vs Analytics
So if Data Studio 360 is a tool that collects an enormous amount of data and gives you insights into how people interact with you, how is this different to Google Analytics?
Google Analytics provides you insights into your online presence. This means you can gain insights into how people interact with your website and/or mobile app, with some ability to import offline data.
Data Studio 360 provides the same functionality, but for your entire company rather than just your online presence. So imagine all the critical things that Google Analytics can tell you about your website or app. Google Data Studio 360 can tell you equally amazing things about your entire business.
How do I get these amazing insights?
Google, as always, provides a wide variety of easy ways to import your data; however, there are still limits to what they can do for you. It is not as simple as just importing lots of statistics; your data will need to be structured in a way that you can link the various sources together.
You will most likely want to talk to your database administrator and data analyst to pre-prepare your multiple data sources and have them ready for import. From there, you can take advantage of the large variety of import options to get that data into Data Studio 360.
But you won't see surprising insights straight away
Data Studio 360 has a vast library of report formats for you to choose from, and while the variety is excellent, it does mean that you need to make the right choices for your reporting format in order to find those valuable nuggets of information that your data is hiding.
Set aside a few days with your data analyst and other stakeholders to develop the reporting your business needs. Once you have your data organised into dashboards and reports, then you'll be ready to start finding insights and making business decisions.
In a nutshell
Google Data Studio 360 is still in beta and promises to be an incredible tool for business. However, it takes a lot of work to get the maximum value from it.
If you are serious about making data-driven decisions for your business or have been wishing for Google Analytics style insights that extend past your website, then this is a fantastic solution for you.