The New Functions in Data Studio
Google Data Studio was released into public beta in June 2016, since the release the usage of Data Studio has exploded, and Google has not been late to respond to the demand. Each quarter more than 20 updates to Data Studio have been released, the latest was released during Google’s Partner Summit in San Francisco. We will walk you through these updates and also give you a demo dashboard you are free to copy and use in your own organisation.
Calculated fields in specific charts
Until now the only person able to create new fields in data sources has been the owner of the data source, with this release that limitation is gone. With the function for calculated fields in specific charts, anyone with edit rights to the report can create new fields, but with the limitation that the field is only available in that chart. So now you can create calculated metrics without asking the data source owner for help and you can also create calculations with blended data – something you still can’t do via the regular way of creating fields. The ability to create fields with blended data is hopefully coming to the old fashion way of creating fields, but that will most likely take some time until that feature is released.
You create a new field by clicking on the chart you want to add the metric to, click on “Add metric” and then “Create field”. In the popup box you can use the same functions and expressions you are used to in the regular create field interface. This is a much faster way of creating fields, but with the drawback that the field is only available in that chart.
When activating the function interactive charts on a chart this chart will become like a filter for other charts. So, for example, clicking on a specific country on a map will filter all the other charts on that page (that are linked to the same data source) to only show data from that country. This function can be used to really filtering down your results in an interactive way, for example, first click on a Sweden, then on the part of a pie chart representing desktop devices and finally clicking on a specific product in a table to only get the sales for that product, in Sweden on desktops in a time graph.
This function is activated on a per chart bases – with the chart activated, look at the last option in the right-hand side menu – “Apply filter” and choose “Interactions”. This will activate that chart to be clicked on and able to filter all other charts on that page. If you want to limit the charts it can control, you need to group those charts together by selecting all the charts, right click and finally select “Group”.
Filters with search function
Another new filter function is the ”Search All” style of filter. This filter is a free text search on the field you have selected with different operators available. The operators you can select is “equals”, “contains”, “starts with”, “in” and “regular expression”, which in principal means that you can write any filter you want and search for the data you want instead of selecting exact matches from a list. So far, this function is only a search on includes X but I imagine that Google is working on an exclude X search function as well, then you could really create any filter you want to.
Improvements in multi-select function
The last and least impressive function, which you have missed unless you ever had the need to make changes to the size of multiple objects, is the improvements Data Studio has released to multi-select resizing. Now you can select multiple objects on the page and change the position and size on all of the objects at the same time. At the same time, the Data Studio team released functions to improve the visualisation of movement and resizing of objects that is overlapping. A very simple function but so useful when you need it!
I have created a simple example dashboard with some of the functions that you are more than welcome to play around or use in your own team. You can use the visual filtering by clicking on different charts, filter by search in the right corner of the dashboard. Also, a new function of Data Studio I utilise here is the possibility to have the dashboard display data year/quarter/month to date and have it updated automatically.
All the data in this dashboard is from the Google Analytics Demo Account, that you can import into Google Analytics and start using to visualise data in Data Studio if you don’t have any Google Analytics account you can use.
For me it is clear that Google is focusing on Data Studio and that even more functions will be launched soon. So, take this time to get to know Data Studio and what you can do, and if you haven’t already, create a Data Studio report for you or your team. It is just your ideas that set the limit on what you can create. And if you want more ideas or bounce ideas off somebody – feel free to leave a comment or contact us!