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Data Insights Made Easy: An Introduction to Looker Studio

Last updated on September 13, 2023
6 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Looker Studio is a free tool that streamlines your reporting process.
  • Learn to customize interactive reports from a variety of data sources.

Skill Level

Beginner, Intermediate

Reporting can feel like a very daunting task. Updating sheets every month and pulling out important insights takes up a lot of time. If you identify with those statements, we encourage you to start using Looker Studio reporting. 

Formerly known as Google Data Studio, Looker Studio is a free data visualization and reporting tool. With just a few steps, you can create effective reports to help you make informed decisions about your business. 

This guide will cover what Looker Studio is, the benefits of this tool as well as the steps to get started!

What is Looker Studio?

Looker Studio is a digital tool that transforms data into highly configurable charts and tables. The platform has the capability to sync all of your data sources so you can view it in one reporting experience for a more streamlined way to analyze your data. 

You can view the information in a variety of charts including line, bar, and pie charts, geo maps, area and bubble graphs, paginated data tables, pivot tables, and more. 

Benefits of Using Looker Studio

chart, sunburst chart

As we mentioned before, Looker Studio is free to use, and it connects to many data sources like Google Analytics, Facebook and more. Since it’s a web-based tool, there’s no need to install software on your computer, and all the work you do will be stored on the cloud. 

Looker Studio is completely customizable and interactive, giving you the opportunity to mix and match the types of data you want to see on each report you run and apply different styles and color themes to match your reports to your business and branding.

When you’re ready to share a report, simply download it, save as a PDF, and send.

Getting Started with Looker Studio

Now for the fun part. Learning how to use Looker Studio! 

Simply go to the Looker Studio web page to get started. (Note: You will need to have a Google account for access, which is also free. We recommend using the same one you use to log in to Google Analytics.)

Step 1: Choose a Template

Google has several template options to choose from depending on what data you want to portray. For example, there are templates for Google Analytics, YouTube Analytics, ecommerce revenue, and more. We recommend starting with your Google Analytics data. 

Step 2: Connect Data Sources

Whether you’re making a copy of an existing report to edit or starting from scratch, you must connect your data sources before the real magic begins. 

Once in the selected report, click the “Add data” button on your toolbar. You’ll see several different options such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Sheets, and more. 

graphical user interface, text, application

As a beginner, start by connecting to just one data source. Simply click on your data source choice, then “Authorize” and finally click “Add”. 

Step 3: Customize the Template

Once you’ve connected data sources, you may want to customize the template further. For instance, you can select the data source for each chart within the template. 

The ability to choose the look and feel of a report is great for your branding and consistency. You can change the background color, font, comparison metric colors, and more. 

You also have the option to create a chart from scratch, giving you full control of your data visualization. 

Which chart you pick depends on the type of data you’re displaying. For instance, a line chart could show revenue made over time or a geo map could show where your customers typically live. 

It’s important to choose metrics that matter rather than attempting to display everything at once. Remember, you can add multiple pages to templates in order to expand the data. 

To choose your chart type, simply click “Add a chart” in the toolbar. 

Step 4: Share Your Reports

The last step is learning how to share your report. You can download it as a PDF by clicking “File” > “Download as” > “PDF”. Then, you can share your reports via email, Slack, or any other means. 

Or, share your reports by email by clicking “Share” on the top left corner and adding in email addresses. Looker Studio works similarly to a Google Doc in that you have to change permissions of the specific report to “Can view” or “Can edit”.

Now you have the tools to start utilizing Looker Studio. Import your data, visualize the information, make intuitive decisions, and, most importantly, save yourself time!

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