1.2. Looker Studio Essentials
In this chapter, we will quickly cover the basics of Looker Studio and get familiar with the user interface. Next, we’ll quickly see a high-level overview of most key features of Looker Studio through building a simple eCommerce dashboard from scratch
Connect to External Data
There are three types of connectors that you can use to connect your tool or data source to Looker Studio:
- Google Connectors: These are free data connectors for tools in Google Marketing and Cloud Platforms like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Sheets, YouTube and BigQuery.
- Partner Connectors: These are data connectors that are created and maintained by 3rd parties and can be used to connect to many different tools like Facebook Ads, Microsoft Ads, Shopify, Stripe, etc.. Partner Connectors expand Looker Studio’s connecting capabilities and are usually paid, with some offering a free trial period.
- Community Connectors: Anyone can create a custom data connector for a tool that has a properly documented APs.
In case you’re using a tool that has no existing partner connector, you can have a developer custom build a community connector for you as long as your tool has a working API.
Collect User Input
You can define parameters and attach them to controls such as:
These mechanisms enable our report users to communicate with our reports. They also give us an idea of the kind of data our report users want to see.
After connecting to external data sources and collecting data from the viewers, or in other words: bringing our data inside Looker Studio, we can start transforming our data.
There are two main ways of transforming data in Looker Studio:
- Custom Fields:
- Aggregating Numbers & Performing Calculations using math functions
- Grouping & Categorizing Data using conditional functions such as IF and CASE
- Processing Data with text functions to clean up text fields or create new fields from the existing ones.
- Data Blending: A flexible feature that allows us to blend up to 5 different data sources together to create a new data source
Just like Looker Studio connectors, there are also three types of visualizations you can use to make your reports easily accessible and readable:
- Google Visualizations: Built-in charts in Looker Studio
- Scorecards: Shows an aggregated metric which can be a number, ratio/percentage, or a currency value
- Time Series Chart
- Bar Chart
- Pie Chart
- Google Maps: Bubble map, filled map, heat map, line map
- Line Chart: Line chart, smoothed line, combo, stacked combo
- Geo Chart
- Area Chart
- Scatter Chart
- Pivot Tables
- Bullet Chart
- Tree map
Note: We will build a sample of the key chart types above in bold font in Lesson 7.12. Live Workshop: Building an eCommerce Dashboard.
All chart types will be covered in much more detail in the next chapter: Chart Types Overview
- Partner Visualizations: Built and maintained by 3rd parties. At the moment, partner visualizations are free to use.
- Community Visualizations: If you can’t find your desired visualization among the available Google and Partner visualizations, you can build or have a developer custom build a visualization for you.
Here you can find the technical documentation on how to build a community visualization: https://developers.google.com/datastudio/visualization
You may view an up to date list of Google and Partner visualizations here: https://lookerstudio.google.com/visualization
Interact with Data
There are several ways a viewer can interact with your Looker Studio reports:
- Date Range Control: Adjust date range of the report or charts displayed.
- Filter Control or Sliders: Filter data to see only a subset of your data.
- Chart Interactions: If cross-filtering is enabled in your report charts, you can filter data in a report page by simply clicking on a chart part like a country in a map or a dimension in a table.
- Links & Report Navigations: Add links to your report page so you can go from one page to another or to a specific URL.
- Data Control: Change the data source being used in the report which is specially helpful when you’re managing multiple accounts like Google Analytics.
Share Your Dashboards
You can share View or Edit access to your Looker Studio reports, just like how you share a Google Document or Google Sheet.
Looker Studio Reports can be shared with:
- Specific People: Simply enter the Google email of the people you want to share your report with on the Share pop-up window.
- Anyone with the Link: Share a link that can be viewed by people with the link, regardless if they’re logged in or not to their Google account.
- Publicly on Internet: With this option selected, Google can crawl your report so that people can find it even if they do not have your report link, just like a website. A report shared this way might even rank on Google SERPs.
- Scheduled Emails: You can schedule the sending of a PDF version of a report to specific people.
Live Workshop Agenda
In the following lessons, we will go over: