3.2. Bringing in Your Data into Looker Studio
Data! We need data to create charts.
This chapter is about providing data to our charts to present information in our Looker Studio reports.
We will cover the different aspects and properties of data connectors and data sources to help us decide when to best use what kind of data connector or data source. We will tackle the dynamics of bringing data to Looker Studio.
Connecting Your Data
When creating a dashboard in Looker Studio, you'll need to bring in data to visualize. You might be wondering how much there is to say about data connectors and data sources. Well, there's actually quite a lot to explore, and today we'll dive deep into their various aspects and properties.
Your Data's Journey
Your data typically resides in various datasets, such as data warehouses, databases, platforms, or marketing tools. Our goal is to bring this data into Looker Studio for visualization purposes.
In Looker Studio, we have reports that can be broken down into pages, sections, and charts for data visualization.
To bring in data from your datasets to Looker Studio, we use data connectors. These are scripts or pieces of code that extract data from a dataset accessible over the internet by connecting to its API.
Data Connectors and Data Sources
In Looker Studio, you'll also find data sources. A data source is a collection of settings and configurations for a data connector. It allows the data connector to use these configurations to extract data from a dataset and provide it to a chart in Looker Studio.
Keep in mind that you can create multiple data sources using a single data connector. For example, you could have multiple data sources connecting to different Google Analytics accounts, all powered by a single Google Analytics data connector. Each data source contains different settings, such as which account to connect to, which credentials to use, which fields to extract, and how to cache data.
Data Modeling in Looker Studio
Within a data source, you can perform data modeling, transforming, processing, and creating custom fields. Data modeling can be done outside Looker Studio, in a data warehouse or another tool like Google Analytics, but it can also be performed within Looker Studio, specifically within a data source.
In summary, a data source contains settings for a data connector, uses the data connector to connect to an external dataset, and allows you to model, clean, and process data before it is provided to a chart in Looker Studio.
The Data Flow
The data journey in Looker Studio can be summarized as follows:
Dataset → Data Connector → Data source → Optional data modeling → and finally, the report.
Understanding this flow will help you make better decisions when connecting and presenting your data in Looker Studio.