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How To Set Up Data Blending With Google Data Studios

22 July 2018 | 1 comments | Posted by Che Kohler in nichemarket Advice

How to blend two data sources with Google Data Studios

If you've followed our blog, previously you'll know we're pretty big fans of Google Data Studios and its ability to help us present data and create dynamic reports for clients and digital trend analysis in general. 

Google Data Studios (GDS) saves us a tonne of time and helps you get into the nitty-gritty without having to spend hours configuring the perfect spreadsheet.

However, one thing GDS lacked was the ability to view and compare data across sources. Creating reports using multiple data sources has been one area of frustration for digital marketers and data analysts looking to evaluate trends and create more holistic visual representations of company data, and so far we've been forced to develop massive Google Sheets and extracting data the old fashioned way, well until now that is.

Data blending is now available in Data Studio! One of the most heavily requested features just launched and truly enhances the power of Data Studio that much more. If you ever wanted to combine multiple Google Analytics Views or join Google Analytics with Salesforce or Facebook data directly in Data Studio?

Well wait no more, you can now combine multiple data sources directly in the Data Studio UI and visualise your results in one single chart. 

Create a blended data source

There are two ways to view blended data in a chart: adding data sources to an existing chart and blending the data sources from 2 or more charts.

Add data sources to an existing chart

This option lets you blend new data into an existing single data source chart.
  1. Edit your report.
  2. Add a chart or selecting an existing unblended chart.
  3. On the right, in the Data source section of the DATA properties panel, click the small blue +. This opens the Blend Data panel.
  4. Configure the blended data source.

Create a blended data source from a selection of charts

  1. Edit your report.
  2. Select up to 5 charts.
    • The charts you select can't already have blended data sources attached.
      The chart you select first will become the leftmost chart in the blending panel.
  3. Right-click the selected charts.
  4. Select Blend data. This opens the Blend Data panel.
  5. Configure the blended data source.
Note: For a step by step guide on how to blend data effectively on Google data studios check out these handy tutorials

What can you achieve with blended data?

Blending data is really up to the sources of data you currently have available to you from internal tools or 3rd party payment tools you use to collect data. I've messed around with a couple of integrations and came up with a few data combination reports that you may find helpful.

Compare subdomains

Do you have a lead generation site and a consumer portal for users to log in and they are hosted on separate domains or subdomains? Well, now you can combine each domains Google analytics data together to see a complete user journey.

Compare email and CRM data with website performance

Is your business big on direct selling and/or customer retention via email? You could be using one tool for your direct communication (EDM) and another for your personalised communication (CRM). Now you can combine the data from all your platforms and evaluate how campaigns affect your website traffic, where they overlap regarding direct messaging and retention messaging and get a better view of how users travel through your ecosystem.

Compare social media data with website performance

Is your business big on social? Now you can evaluate your paid and organic efforts from your various social platforms and compare the reach you're getting on social media to the actual interactions you receive on your site.

This will give you a better view of how your social media campaigns drive users to the conversions you've set for yourself and the scale, frequency and consumers you need to target to get the best results from your spend on the paid side and your effort on the organic side.

Doubleclick for publishers (Google Ad Manager) data with website performance

Does your business sell ad space to generate revenue? Do you sell direct ads as well as ad space from 3rd party networks like Adsense? If this is the case, you're probably well aware of what a nightmare it is to manage data and create reports around publishing.

Blending your data from Adsense or DFP with your Google analytics can give you fantastic insight into what content efforts are most profitable, which ads work best on what content and help you refine your overall placement and ad serving strategy.

Protip! Using supermetrics data connectors makes it even easier to blend data in real time especially if you have multiple accounts like those of a digital marketing agency.

Finding the right blend

Now that you know how to blend your various data sources go wild, experience with these combinations, find discrepancies, identify trends across platforms and deep dive into insights that would have been missed in the past or been exhausting to uncover.

Data blending is vital as big data becomes more of a prominent concept in business and the elimination of data silos. Google Data studios have now taken the first step in helping digital marketers reduce the impact of data silos with this update but it is still not a fully integrated solution, and I found a few limitations when trying to map data in my dashboards.

However, I'm pretty pleased with what I'm able to do so far, and I suspect Google will look at progressively improving data blending options in the future.

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Tags: Data Analysis, Google Data Studio, How to, reporting, Tools

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