One way to ensure data is used to inform business decisions is to create reports that non-numbers people can understand, too. Google announced a free version of it's Data Studio in 2016 as a way to turn "data into informative dashboards and reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable." I've been meaning to check it out and a recent project to produce e-commerce reports for my client Peace Coffee was a perfect excuse to give it a spin.
Google Data Studio can connect data from its suite of products (i.e. Analytics, Adwords, YouTube, etc.) and it can even import other data provided it's in a Google Sheet (so you could export Facebook data into a Google Sheet to connect it to Data Studio). Here's a full list of the data connections you can use. Below are some pros and cons of Google Data Studio I uncovered.
Google Data Studio pros
Reporting that compares Analytics to Data Studio. Click to enlarge.
Google Data Studio cons
When viewing the report not signed into the Google Data account,
a system error appeared where the conversion rate data was supposed to be.
Google Data Studio tips
Give it a whirl
Despite Data Studio's drawbacks, it's still an incredibly powerful (and free!) tool that has the ability to take your Analytics reporting to a new level. Data Studio is still in beta so I'm hoping the glitches will soon be worked out. I just spent a few hours with it and think there's a ton more that I have yet to discover. I definitely recommend that you play around with it to see what you think.
If you're interested in saving time or getting guidance, I'd love to help you get your reporting dialed in.
I learned that sharing a report can be challenging. Whoever you share your report with has to be logged in and even when they are, the link doesn't send them directly to the report but rather the Google Data Studio report landing page. I found the best work around was to embed the report onto a web page and send them a link to the web page. I find this to be an extreme drawback of the platform.
I'm a data-driven marketing and communications consultant using digital media to help startups, small businesses and non-profits communicate their stories.