E40: How to Use Google Data Studio for Executive Reporting

Google Data Studio is free and is a powerful way to craft custom marketing dashboards for your boss, board or leadership team. Most people don't really know how to use it or what it's capable of. We bring the magic to you and teach you how to look like a hero by using it for executive reporting in your bank or credit union.

Michael Reynolds Hello, everyone. Good morning. Excuse me. Oh, pardon me. I had a frog in my throat. [laughs]

Allison Gibbs Are you okay?

MR Do people say that anymore? You have a frog in your throat?

AG I mean, you just did. So, yeah, they do. [laughs]

MR [laughs] I guess so. Good morning, everybody.

AG You doing okay?

MR Or good afternoon or good evening or whenever you listen to our podcast. I know that I was joking before: I wonder when people listen. And we had analytics to look at, and the tools we use actually don't tell you time of day. So I don't know when people listen to our podcast.

AG Oh, they don't.

MR Yeah, I wanted to give you an update on that. I can tell you what day, but it may be in an upgraded Spreaker package we haven't bought yet.

AG Oh. Hmmm.

MR I'll did into that. But anyway, whenever you're listening, good morning, good afternoon, good evening. Glad to have you with us today. Our topic today: Google Data Studio. And the reason we are making this a topic today is because yesterday Allison gave a great webcast on Google Data Studio.

AG Aw, shucks.

MR I thought it was great.

AG Thank you.

MR I thought it was awesome. We had a lot of great questions --

AG Thank you, thank you.

MR -- we had a lot of --

AG Yeah, we had a lot of really good questions.

MR Yeah, a lot of good insights. I know some of you probably made it to that webcast and followed along. And if you want a copy of the recording, it's on our website, or may be on our website, maybe, next week. Send us a note and we'll give you a link to it. But we thought we would recap a summarized version of Google Data Studio's advantages and benefits and features and insights today via podcast. I asked Allison to give us an overview of Google Data Studio, what it is, how to use it, how banks and credit unions can use it for executive marketing data reporting. First off, let's start with what is Google Data Studio?

AG Google Data Studio is a free software within the Google software offerings that allows you to present data in a visual way. So you can create different data visualization dashboards. It is built off of Google Drive, so the overarching functionality of the software should seem familiar to you as you're using it.

You can connect different data sources. Obviously, you can connect to Google Analytics. You can connect Google Search Console, AdWords, YouTube, you can pull in data from Google Sheets. So if you have the ability to export a csv of data, you can import that into Google Sheets and pull in data at any time. So even if there isn't a built-in connector for your data source, as long as you're able to export, you can always use the Google Sheet. So Facebook is a good option for that one. If you don't have one of the third-party connectors like Supermetrics, then you can always just import that data via Sheets.

Like I said, there are other third-party connectors. There's Supermetrics, which is a software subscription option. It's about 20 bucks a month. There are other options --

MR For the basic version.

AG Yeah, for the basic version which most people would probably need. It's about 20 bucks a month. So you can pull in the data from that. There's also CallRail, there's MailChimp --

MR Salesforce.

AG -- Salesforce has one. There's a software called Rival IQ that presents social media data. AdRoll. I mean, there are quite a few different connectors that you can have, and they're always adding them. So the software still is technically in beta, according to Google. They're always adding different connectors, so I'm hopeful that we'll start to see some marketing automation software. HubSpot, looking at you. Love HubSpot.

MR Hashtag HubSpot.

AG Hashtag HubSpot. HubSpot, Market, Pardot, Sharpspring. I mean, I'm hoping that we'll see a lot those start to pop in here from a visualization perspective.

MR And here's what I like about Google Data Studio. It is a way to aggregate all the stuff together that you're using and make it a nice, clean, pretty, executive summary style dashboard. And so what we often are faced with as marketers is we're looking at all these different data points, we have different tools, we have maybe Salesforce, maybe HubSpot, maybe Sharpspring, maybe something else, maybe Facebook ads, we have Google AdWords running, we have organic search to track with Google Analytics. So we have all these tools, and we're trying to figure out how to get a story out of those tools, right? We're trying to tell a story with the data. And it's often very difficult to tell a story to the stakeholders you're responsible for reporting to like your boss, your board, your leadership team, your peers in your bank or credit union. So you're really trying to figure out how to tell a story with the data. And I think Google Data Studio is a really good way to give you a reference point to tell that story. Because you can give somebody one link, one report and say here is the stuff you care about and you can aggregate all of the sources together into one place. Is that fair?

AG Yeah, it's definitely fair. And you can create dashboards, technically, within Analytics itself, but I think that --

MR Yeah, but no one's going to log in to Analytics [indiscernible].

AG Yeah. Step 1 -- I mean you can always export it as a PDF, but --

MR Yeah, but, really?

AG -- you are limited to the number of widgets, or at least you were at some point in time. I haven't tried to create one in a while. But you're also limited to that it's only information from Analytics. And I think that Analytics is really ugly, personally.

MR Yeah, it's not very user friendly.

AG It's not very user friendly.

MR It's not the easiest to get around in.

AG You can, with Google Data Studio, you can present the data exactly how you want to present it. You can change it and have it be your brand colors. You can put little notes in there about what different things mean. I like to put different labels -- if it's something like top landing pages, I like to put a little note in there that says "How are user's finding us," or the top exit pages "This is the page they're leaving on." I like to put my two cents in there. Shocker. Right, Michael?

MR This is my shocked face.

AG I like to put my two cents. So I just think it's a way for you to, essentially, take a lot of data and present it in a way that's just easier for people to understand, and it's just a quick at-a-glance. The other side to this is that if you hate looking at analytics, just like I hate looking at the AdWords dashboard, then this could be a good way for you to set up your own dashboard that makes sense to you, that has the relevant data, that way you don't have to always go digging through Analytics trying to find the information. You can just create your own dashboard that you're looking at on a regular basis.

MR I think that's one of the most useful parts of it is the stuff that is a little more technical and obscure that people just don't want to log in to, you can just pull that out and bring it to the top. And you can track things like conversions, too, so you're not just looking at traffic or general click data. You can actually track conversions. And in Salesforce, for example, you can get things like leads and closed deals and things like that. So you can get all that data. Whatever the tool can report, you can ideally pull that in, right?

AG Yes. In some cases, you do have to make sure that your analytics and/or your Search Console and/or other things are configured in a way to report that. So an example is goal completions. A goal completion example might be that you want people to fill out a specific form or download a particular PDF --

MR Mortgage application or a checking application.

AG -- yeah, mortgage application -- yes. And in some cases -- so this is getting really technical. In some cases -- or getting really in the weeds. In some case with that, you might have to set up something with Google Tag Manager that then integrates with Analytics --

MR Oh, we'll do a whole show on Google Tag Manager --

AG -- that pulls it --

MR -- maybe even next week.

AG -- that pulls in that information. So it is -- it can be really complex, so just keep that in mind that it can be really complex. It doesn't have to be, but you can get really, really, really in depth with this if you need to.

MR But here's the thing: you can set up all the complex stuff behind the scenes and then look like a hero by saying --

AG Oh, yeah.

MR Hey, stakeholders. Here's the dashboard showing all the cool stuff you want to see. And it just looks like magic.

AG You will for sure look like a rock star if you get all this stuff set up.

MR But it does take some work. You're right.

AG It does take some. That's why in the webcast yesterday, somebody asked, "How long does this take me to" -- or "How long would I recommend budgeting timewise?" That's part of that time that I said. I think I said between 8 and 14 hours, or something like that, because in some cases, getting this all set up and configured can just take a while. And if you're not familiar with it, it's a lot of Googling information or asking --

MR Messing with dimensions and stuff.

AG -- and messing with dimensions, and how can I report this, or do I have my goal completion set up? Okay, I don't. Well, how am I supposed to that? And then you have to go look for that information. It just takes a few minutes.

MR A few minutes. That's an understatement. [laughs]

AG It takes a while.

MR So what are some of the common data sources you pull in for your average dashboard? I realize it's very customized to the specific situation, but let's say you’re a bank who's got some basic reporting needs and maybe once a quarter you want to give some metrics on is it things like -- you want to show website traffic, and you want to show sources coming in, and what else to you want to show?

AG Yeah, so I always do an overview that includes sessions, users, bounce rate, if we do have goal completion set up -- which most cases, if I'm setting it up, yeah, we will -- page load time -- average page load time. I also like to have the source or the channels for how people are finding the website. So is it organic, is it direct, is it social, is it referral, all of that information. That helps you prove the efforts that you're putting in. If you're doing an inbound marketing or a content strategy or a social media strategy or advertising, it points out how we're doing via the different channels using our different marketing tactics. I do like to have the demographic information in there as well: age, gender, location. You can have maps on there.

MR A lot of people don't realize you can have that demographic information in Analytics.

AG Yeah. Super easy.

MR They don't realize you can get that age, gender, stuff like that.

AG Yeah, super easy to find, too. And you have the ability to have a map in there. In most cases, we're all looking at, maybe, a regional reach for our bank or credit union, so you have the ability to focus that map in and take a look at that. That would help you -- I think it's useful to see what different regions or what different areas of the country or of a region or of a state, which ones are the most popular and the people that are using your site, and it also can help you identify, maybe, where you need to spend some more advertising dollars or where you should spend some more advertising dollars in order to build an audience up.

What else do I like to look at? I like to look at the content. I like to look at the top landing pages. I like to look at the exit pages. I also like to look at the top viewed content, which in a lot of cases will match the landing page or it'll be pretty close to it. I like to look at that stuff. I may not always report that to a board or to an executive team, but it's just something that I like to look at on a regular basis.

MR Because it's a little bit too granular?

AG Yeah. In some -- I mean -- who cares? Well, I will say that if it's something where, let's say we're focusing on a very specific product line or a handful of product lines for a year, then I will show that, and I will show the --

MR You might show the impact and interest in that product.

AG Bingo. Bingo. Yeah. If -- let's say we're talking about HILOC -- that seems to be a pretty popular product to promote at this particular period of time -- that -- if we want to show the month over a month that whatever we're doing to make an impact on that particular product line, if we can see that showing -- if we can see that reflected in our content data, then I like to see that, and I like to show that.

Other things that I like to look at. I do not look at this on a regular basis; I only look at this particular stuff when I am redesigning a website or when we're making major website updates. That's user device and user browser or the technology component. So what devices are people using to access the site? What browser are they using? And the reason that I don't look at those that often is because I feel like we've seen the biggest shift that we are going to see in that. We saw a huge shift in there for a while when smart phones, obviously, were becoming more and more prevalent, people were getting more and more comfortable using their smart phones to do everyday --

MR Yeah, we saw the percentages definitely shift from desktop to mobile a bit more.

AG -- quite a bit for a while. And now the shifts that we're seeing are pretty negligible, I think.

MR It's really stabilized.

AG Yeah, so, I mean it can certainly change, but I don't think it's going to change enough. Obviously, mobile devices are really important and we can't forget desktop.

MR We still see a lot more desktop than mobile in some cases still.

AG Yeah, so especially for a credit union that is tied to a specific enterprise company that has a really locked down IT infrastructure, they might still be on desktops and --

MR Probably using IE3. [laughs]

AG Probably using IE -- Netscape Navigator -- probably using older browsers. And that's important to know, actually, when you are redesigning a website. Because if you've got a large audience that's using what we call a legacy browser, then you will want to -- you want to take that into consideration within your design, because some legacy browsers just can't handle some of the modern design techniques that we want to do today. That's part of the reason I just don't look at it as often unless I have to for a website update.

MR Well, it has its place, but it's not the most important thing.

AG Right. It's just not the most important thing. Now, with the Google Search console, I like to pull in the data for the search queries, so how people are finding your site from a specific search query. I think that's really important. It also is something that I think is interesting to your supervisors, to your executive team, to your board's shareholders because that's where -- I think that's where you can potentially make the most impact with maybe getting some more budget in order to put more money towards certain tactics. Because if you've got a lot of branded keywords that people are finding you for, well, that's great, because the brand recognition is fantastic. But if you're not getting a ton for the general, let's say -- using HILOC as an example. If you're not getting a ton of traction for "home equity lines of credit" or "mortgages" or specific product names, then that is something you can take a look at within the dashboard and it can help you make that case to say --

MR You might be under investing.

AG Yes, to make that case to say "We're doing awesome from a branding perspective this is really good. Where we can make improvements is in this area. Oh, by the way, I need this much money in order to do that. Thanks."

MR It's good for helping you fight for budget, isn't it?

AG It is. It is. I mean, I have talked a lot about how data sometimes ruins everything. In this case, this is an instance where the data can help you and help you fight for that budget.

MR It's always nice when the data helps you.

AG It does. It does.

MR I like that.

AG What else do I like to look at? I, personally, don't put as much weight in to Facebook analytics or into other social media. I mean, I keep a general eye on it, but I don't look at it as much outside of what kind of traffic it is driving to the site and how many leads it is driving in. And so when it comes to things like engagement and post likes and all that stuff, it's not my preferred metric. Now, if you have somebody on your team that that is something that is very important, or if you're putting a lot of resources into your social advertising or your social organic reach, then that is something that is important, yes, that you could include. And then the other thing that I like to do -- I think I mentioned this earlier -- create an AdWords dashboard so that way I don't have to go into the AdWords platform.

MR Nobody likes to log into to AdWords except Michelle on our team.

AG Because it is the worst. It's the worst. Just kidding. It's great.

MR It's gotten a little bit better, but it's still not great.

AG I will say I do like the update. Michelle, I think, was saying that she didn't care for it as much. We keep talking about Michelle like she's here.

MR You know Michelle.

AG Yeah, Michelle. Michelle, on our team --

MR Michelle is one of our AdWords specialists

AG She is our -- and she is fabulous. I haven't gotten Jennifer's -- Jennifer Denny's feedback on the platform update.

MR We'll have to ask her.

AG Yeah, we'll have to ask her too. Anyway, it's a little bit better, but I still prefer to look at fancy little dashboards that have the key pieces of information that I care about.

MR Well, that's what it's for.

AG Exactly.

MR That's the whole point of why we like Google Data Studio is you don't have to log in to 50 different tools to show one report.

AG Yeah. And you can create -- if you've got a YouTube channel and you're putting a lot of content out there from an educational video content perspective, I would include YouTube in this as well especially because if you're creating video, you're putting a lot of resources together in order to do this. You may not be necessarily using a ton of actual cash, but you're putting a lot of time resources into the filming and the editing and then getting it -- publishing it and promoting it. That's a ton of resources in order to do that. I would include that kind of information too.

MR We're actually helping to promote -- we're working with a credit union right now to promote a brand video for them, which is awesome, and they're getting really good feedback on Facebook. The next step, I think -- they don't know this yet -- [laughs]

AG Surprise!

MR -- I think we're going to put together a Google Studio dashboard and show them the YouTube metrics, as well, going forward so we can pull all that together and show some performance metrics on that particular video. That's the kind of stuff you can do with it. I like it.

Anything else you would add -- oh, by the way, how do you share? What are the sharing options for sharing the reports?

AG Yeah, so the sharing options -- it's just like Google Drive. You have the ability to share with individual users, so you can type in their email addresses and send it to them. Now, they do have to have a Google account associated with the email address that you're sending them, so just keep that in mind that everybody should have a Google account. Or they can create -- like we've mentioned earlier -- you can create your Google account using your business email. So everybody will have to have a Google account, or you can just share a link out to everybody.

MR Which is reasonably secure because no one's going to stumble upon the link, so it's probably reasonably secure.

AG Yeah, if you want this to be really private, then you'll want to share it with individuals, with each individual. If you are okay with analytics potentially getting into --

MR The wrong hands...

AG I don't want to say the wrong hands, but

MR It's just data.

AG That's the thing is that it's data and, I mean --

MR I can see, maybe, a bank not wanting their competitors to know how much website traffic they get, for example. But why not?

AG But like -- but they can find that.

MR Yeah, there are tools that can find that for you.

AG Yes, there are tools that already exist that -- I hate to break it to everybody, but there are tools that exist that you can find out anybody's general traffic.

MR But here's an example, though: AdWords. If you have an AdWords dashboard --

AG Okay. That's true.

MR -- and you're bidding on specific campaigns and keywords and you’ve got conversion rates and that kind of stuff -- I mean you can still find that data --

AG I mean, SEMrush.

MR Yeah, SEMrush gives it to you.

AG Or at least gives you a general range, so I mean there are tools out there that already exists, so I wouldn't necessarily --

MR Don't get too hung up on -- yeah.

AG I wouldn't -- personally speaking, I wouldn't care as much, but if you do, that is certainly valid and just share it with specific individual email addresses. That way, the only people that can access that particular dashboard are the people that you have shared it with.

MR Fair enough. All right. And, again, if you would like a copy of the webcast we did, send us a note. If you can't find it on our website, we'll send you a link to the recording. It's about 45-ish minutes, I think, so we'll be happy to share that with you as well. Allison did an awesome job at explaining the ins and outs and did a visual demo too --

AG Yeah, I tried to walk through --

MR Eye opening. You made it look super easy even though it's not.

AG You know, if I can help people save a little bit of time in getting them set up, then I think -- I hope I did my job with that one.

MR Mission accomplished.

AG Mission accomplished. Just so everyone has a note, it'll be on our website sometime next week. So if you're listening to this over the weekend, it's probably not up yet, but it will be up there next week.

MR Great. I'm going to add on one quick bonus topic. We've got a few minutes left --

AG A bonus topic.

MR Instagram versus Snapchat. You were reading us something this morning from HubSpot on Instagram versus Snapchat.

AG Sure, yeah. A couple --

MR Switching gears.

AG Switching gears. A couple of minutes before we came into here -- or came into the studio this morning, I got a blog post from HubSpot and the title caught my eye. Instagram versus Snapchat: Which app is best for your business? That's a question that we get quite a bit and here is the TLDR. This is straight from the article, so this is HubSpot's opinion.

"Instagram will be a better option for most businesses. It offers cheaper advertising options, free analytics and a public profile making it easy for anyone to access your businesses information and content at any time. Snapchat might be more ideal if your audience is primarily teens and young adults."

So in the case of our financial institutions, what I would recommend is that it's not Instagram or Snapchat, but that we start to have a more cohesive Instagram and Snapchat. And the reason why I say that is because of that last line of that summary. It says, "Snapchat might be more ideal if your audience is primarily teens and young adults." So if we want to get our Gen Z-ers from their very first checking account from their very first job and their direct deposit, then I would say including and incorporating Snapchat could be a good move. Now, it's something it might take a while to pay off for some more sophisticated deposit accounts or maybe even loans, but who knows? Maybe those teens would then be a candidate for a potential auto loan as soon as they are done with college and your bank is the first place that they go because that's where they had their first checking account. This is an investment in a potential lifelong client. But I think it's an Instagram and Snapchat, not Instagram or Snapchat.

MR Thank you.

AG Even though Michael hates Snapchat.

MR I'm not going to go there because I have one more thing in the time we have, and I don't have time to hate on Snapchat today. You're welcome.

AG [laughs]

MR All right. I want to add one more thing on. So we have a Brand Distillery workshop coming up in our Indianapolis location. So if you're in the Indy area or your want to fly in, please do. It's a great workshop. It's a half-day workshop -- a little more than a half day, actually. It's like 9 a.m. -2 p.m. with lunch included. It is Brand Distillery for banks, and it is designed to be tagged on to the front end of the Indiana Banker's Association mega conference that starts on May 1. Our Brand Distillery workshop is April 30. Whether or not you're going to the Indiana Banker's Association mega conference, I mean, please consider attending. It's the Monday before -- Monday, April 30. It's coming up. We're limiting it to about 15 people, so there is a cap on it. We've got people already signing up now, so if you want to get a spot, go ahead and jump on that now.

Brand Distillery is a phenomenal workshop. It helps you distill -- as the name implies -- and work through your brand messaging. It helps you identify -- basically, on the podcast, a few episodes ago, we did the Brand Distillery series, a five-part series. It is an in-person, hands-on, immersive version of that. So if you liked what we did in the podcast and you want to get a little more coaching -- actually a lot more coaching -- and have a more hands on peer to peer experience as a marketing director or bring your marketing team, attend the workshop and you will walk away with at least a fairly reasonably polished draft form of a brand statement that helps you start to differentiate your bank or credit union.

It is very, very good. We've got feedback that people who have attended our previous workshop -- or previous versions of this workshop, say it's the best workshop they've ever attended. It is absolutely phenomenal. The price is -- I think it's around $500, so it is a very good value for what you get out of it.

It is the first step in taking your financial institution from a commodity into elevating it into a place of differentiation knowing who your target audience is, knowing what value you bring to them, and the message you want to convey to that audience. I can't stress how good Garrett -- Garrett Curry, our brand strategist, will be leading it. He's funny, he's engaging, you will have fun, it will not be boring, it will be a blast.

Check it out at capitalpointmarketing.com/brand-distillery. Again, capitalpointmarketing.com/brand-distillery. If you can't find it, send us a note, but that's the landing page to check it out. There's a video intro and a registration link. Please, please, please check that out. You will love it. We're excited to have some people signed up already. Some of our clients are going to be there, so check it out. Anything you would add?

AG Just seconding that it is stellar.

MR Are you laughing at how excited I am about this? [laughs]

AG No. Well, I mean --

MR It's so good.

AG It really is good. I cannot tell you how many workshops, conferences, things that we've been to that you leave and it's just like maybe I got one thing out of it. This one is, I think, really, really --

MR It's really, really good.

AG -- really good.

MR You will be so happy you attended.

AG And you said it's 9-2, right?

MR Yeah 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., so you get lunch included. We'll bring you lunch, and then you've got the rest of the day to decompress, so it's a little more than a half day. Take the day off, come join us, and you will walk away with some amazing results.

AG And you said it's about $500?

MR Yeah. Let me check the --

AG For a -- walking away with a tagline that you can use -- an actionable tagline that you can use -- you will -- the value of that -- $500, I think, is huge. You could go through branding exercise after branding exercise after branding exercise and still not walk away with some of this stuff and it's -- plus, Garrett's awesome.

MR Yeah.

AG Super excited.

MR With that, we will go ahead and wrap up for today. Thank you, Allison, for the Google Data Studio insights.

AG Yes, thank you.

MR Love it, love it. And thanks, everybody, for joining us today. We will see you next time.