Looker Studio (Google Data Studio) Reports: The Ultimate Guide for Agencies and Marketers
Looker Studio (formerly known as Google Data Studio) is one of the most commonly used marketing reporting tools with agencies and in-house marketers. It allows marketers to use more than 600 connectors as data sources and create reports from a template. If you consider using Looker Studio to create your first report - this article is for you. It will guide you through the report creation process and offer 5 of the very best reports you can create with Looker Studio.
Table of Contents
What Are Looker Studio Reports?
Looker Studio (formerly known as Google Data Studio) reports are documents created in Looker Studio that marketing agencies use to gather marketing performance data and turn them into visual representations. Looker Studio reports are a popular choice among marketing agencies and in-house marketers because of two main reasons:
1. Looker Studio reports allow marketers to view Google Analytics data, Google Ads + connect and pull data from third-party connectors.
2. Looker Studio offers many great features available for free:
- Multiple stakeholders can access reports at the same time;
- Reports are interactive;
- Looker Studio allows to fetch benchmark KPIs from all vendors;
- You can schedule email delivery of your Looker Studio report;
- Data visualization;
- Looker Studio can be customized. With some limitations to scorecards, you can easily add additional pages, graphs, and tables.
All Looker Studio reports are stored in Google Cloud Storage. This means that a storage place needs to be purchased. So, if you consider using Looker Studio, keep in mind that it is not completely free.
If you want to find out more about Looker Studio pricing, we have an article that you’d want to take a look at.
How Do You Create Looker Studio Reports?
There are a couple of ways you could create Looker Studio reports. We’ll cover all of them here so you can make a quick choice based on your time and preferences.
Create Looker Studio Account
First off, of course, you need to get access to the platform.
You’ll be asked to enter basic info like country and company name.
Add Relevant Connectors
Looker Studio has over 600 connectors, allowing marketing agencies to pull data sets from any popular marketing platform. 20 of these connectors are completely free and they are provided by Google. The remaining 600+ are paid so the total cost of Looker Studio will entirely depend on the integrations you use on a daily basis to report on your marketing activities.
You can even make your extra connectors if you can't find what you're looking for. You can create your own connector in the Partner Connectors section, too.
After that, you'll be prompted to authorize Google Analytics or whatever "connector" you've added. Simply log in, authorize, and connect.
Create a Report From a Template or Blank Page
If you are a newbie with Looker Studio, you have the option to go through the ‘Welcome to Looker Studio’ walkthrough, which will show you how to create reports.
Once you connect the channels and connectors you want to see in the Looker Studio report, you can decide how to approach it. You have two options:
1. From a blank report
Go to the Looker Studio homepage.
The very first option offered on the panel is Blank Report.
Once you press on the Blank Report, this is what you’ll be presented with:
Literally, a blank canvas for you to get creative with.
To show you what data looks like in Looker Studio, we have connected Google Analytics account.
Objectively speaking, the report is straightforward, clear, and plain yet provides the information needed in an easy-to-understand way.
By employing the customization feature, you can:
- Change the title of the report;
- Add a banner;
- Add another chart, graph, or table;
- Change fonts;
- Add photos;
- Add new data sources;
- Change the theme and layout.
Looker Studio also allows you to customize all of their available themes. You can, for example, choose a different background color that better matches your agency’s or client’s brand:
- Click Customize in the Theme and Layout panel.
- Scroll all the way down to the Background and Border section.
- Set the Background color to your favorite using the color picker.
2. From a template
The easiest way to create a report in Looker Studio is by using a template.
It saves time, aggregates, and visually presents all the needed data.
Looker Studio provides about 50 templates covering different data sources such as:
- Google Analytics;
- Google Sheets;
- YouTube Analytics;
- Google Ads;
- Search Console;
- Display & Video 360;
- Search Ads 360.
Here is a glimpse at the Looker Studio report gallery:
To create a report from a Looker Studio, simply choose the template that connects with the needed data source and represents the needed area.
For example, the e-Commerce PPC template connects Google Analytics and Google Ads data sources but displays only those KPIs and metrics that best represent e-Commerce analytics.
If you haven’t already authorized your data sources, you’ll be asked to do that now. Other than that, there is nothing else to do. You’ve created a report that can now be optimized in the same way you’d optimize a report you’d create from a blank page.
Note: No matter the way you choose to create a report, Looker Studio provides an option to share the report.
Simply press Share and add as many people as you want to have the access to the report.
You have the options to give people either View or Edit access.
5 Examples of Great Looker Studio Reports
1. Google Analytics Audience Overview
The Audience Overview is one of the first report templates you see when you log land on the Looker Studio template gallery.
An audience is defined by Google Analytics as "users you group together based on any combination of attributes that is meaningful to your business".
This report is especially useful for marketing agencies when learning about clients’ audience behavior and their habits.
This report contains the following metrics:
- Pageviews Pages/Per Session
- Bounce Rate
- Percentage of New Sessions
- Average Session Duration
2. Google Ads Overview Report
Another one of the most popular reports among marketing agencies and in-house marketers is the Google Ads Overview Report.
Looker Studio displays metrics from CTR to impressions, from conversion rate to costs and CPC.
This Looker Studio report template provides many data visualization points. As you can see, Looker Studio uses graphs, tables, and pie charts to clearly show you data points.
For example, device breakdown instantly gives insights into which devices receive the most clicks, and what the costs and conversions are.
3. Search Console Report
Marketing agencies almost always work on improving clients’ websites. To measure SEO results, Search Console Report is especially useful as it provides valuable insights into clients’ website search performance.
More specifically, the Search Console Report displays:
- Search Traffic - your primary search performance metric, which includes Search Analytics and reporting on external links to your site.
- Google Index - This section contains a number of features, such as indexing reports and a list of keywords associated with your website.
- Crawl - this section addresses some of the more technical aspects of your website's relationship with Google, such as statistics on pages crawled by Google's search algorithm and URL parameter settings.
Essentially, looking at this report, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- Which content is best suited to each device type?
- Which type of device generates the most revenue?
- What are your top performing pages in terms of organic search?
4. Search Ads 360 Performance
Search Ads 360 is a search management platform that assists agencies and in-house marketers to manage multiple media channels and search engines.
Search Ads 360 allows gathering all metrics from all ad campaigns such as:
- Ad/keyword performance across engines;
- Google Search clicks;
- Users vs. Sessions;
- Organic CTR;
- Total cost;
- Ad groups;
- Average position, etc.
Note: The Search Ads 360 report enables agencies to manage all of their ads and keywords for each search engine in one place, making it easier to compare ad/keyword performance across engines.
Search Ads 360 Help page suggests that with Search Ads 360 - ‘you save time, reduce complexity, and have the ability to make better decisions while increasing your search marketing ROI’.
Lastly, as you can see in the screenshot above, Looker Studio allows marketers to have 5 specific performance reports to dig deeper into their marketing efforts:
- Opportunity Lost.
5. Display & Video 360 Dashboard
Many marketing agencies use Google Display & Video 360 dashboard for real-time bidding to buy and optimize online media.
This dashboard allows marketers to see how well their attempts to target clients’ target audience with display ads are performing.
Google Display & Video 360 dashboard covers metrics such as:
- Companion clicks;
- Trueview impression share;
- Unique cookie reach.
Google Display & Video 360 dashboard gives access to multiple data sources like YouTube, VOD (Video on Demand) platforms, or advertising websites.
A Better Alternative to Looker Studio Reports - Whatagraph
Looker Studio is a modern, powerful, and, to some extent, free tool.
Yet, it does have some limitations by which marketing agencies are disadvantaged.
- To begin with, Looker Studio users can allow others to view reports online by setting permissions. On the other hand, Whatagraph users can export reports to PDFs to email their clients, generate a report URL or send automated report emails at any frequency they want.
- Even though Looker Studio provides 630 connectors, more than 600 of them are paid. Looker Studio claims to be free yet their pricing plans are not fully transparent. In contrast, Whatagraph specifically shows the functionalities you are paying for, the data sources that are available, and the platforms that can be integrated.
- In our Looker Studio review article, we analyzed hundreds of G2 reviews on this tool. We found that ‘first-time users find it overwhelming and complex to use’ plus ‘the tool requires a bit of data analytics knowledge’. Moreover, we found that there are many people complaining about no onboarding, lack of support or slow performance issues.
On the contrary, Whatagraph is extremely simple to use because it was designed for marketers who want an easy way to create marketing reports. Not only that, but every new customers gets a free 30-minute onboarding session to help set up their account.
We walk you through the entire report creation and account and platform addition process. PLUS, we provide best practices for approaching reporting in general!
Whatagraph shares some similarities with Looker Studio like data visualization, cross-channel reporting, report customization, and interactive dashboards.
However, our Looker Studio alternative offers some additional features:
- A white-label option that removes our logo from your reports;
- Excellent customer service;
- A dedicated account manager;
- Automation capabilities;
- The ease of use;
- Report templates for hundreds of different use cases.
- Proper onboarding.
To summarize, if you want a reliable right hand to assist you at any time of day; if you want to develop a report quickly; and if you want to automate your reports, Whatagraph is the right solution for you.
Looker Studio Pros and Cons
Looker Studio is a legendary reporting tool marketers have been using for many years. It’s free, it connects multiple data sources and pulls data. Yet, due to its lack of functionality and inability to catch up with marketing agencies’ needs, it’s becoming increasingly outdated. And because our platform’s updates are directly coming from customers, we are constantly updating the tool and integrations list.
Stand out from the crowd and start working without any bugs with Whatagraph. If you are ready for clear insights, start your free 7-day trial. No credit card is required and you can cancel anytime!
Published on Aug 26 2022
WRITTEN BYDominyka Vaičiūnaitė
Dominyka is a copywriter at Whatagraph with a background in product marketing and customer success. Her degree in Mass Communications/Media Studies helps her to use simple words to explain complex ideas. In addition to adding value to our landing pages, you can find her name behind numerous product releases, in-app notifications, and guides in our help center.
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