Google Data Studio For Higher Education: Part One

Google Data Studio KPI Reports for Higher Education: Part I

Part I: Big Picture Reports for Decision-Makers

When it comes to delivering information and KPI reports via high-impact visuals to decision makers, Google Data Studio is a great (free) tool for higher education marketers to explore. If you haven’t heard of it before, check out this post we wrote back when Google Data Studio beta launched.

Data Studio is a powerful visualization tool that synthesizes data from multiple sources, including Google Analytics, Google Adwords, YouTube, CRM, CMS, marketing automation software and more. The free version allows creation of up to five reports, all with multiple pages, which is perfect for anyone just beginning with visualized data stories.

Interested in Visualizing Your Data?

Ask yourself some questions first. Before you begin playing around with the awesome features of Google Data Studio, you should know:

  • Who is the audience for this report?
  • What does this audience need to know?
  • What is the best way to show the answers the audience is looking for?

It is quite likely that you will have multiple audiences with very different reporting needs. Department heads and directors looking for the big picture results of your marketing efforts for their program. Decentralized marketing teams looking for detailed web activity reports. Identifying your audience and the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most to them is an imperative first step before jumping into data reporting.

Knowing this, we’ve put together a two-part series of posts speaking to each of these key audiences (influencers and decision-makers) for higher education. Keep reading for part one insights on Google Data Studio reports for decision makers.

Focusing on “Big Picture” Reports

Let’s take a look at an example prepared for American University – School of Communication:

This report can be customized by time frame and the graduate admission program pagethe perfect amount of high-level information for many purposes. This particular dashboard contains a series of  “Scorecard” reports which summarize items like Number of Sessions and Bounce Rate. Also shown are a Line Chart and a Table, both compact ways to convey a large amount of data.

Line Charts should be used when you want to compare changes over time. It can be informative to have multiple lines on a chart when there is an underlying relationship between the items. In this case, we are looking at Goal Completions and Sessions. The various spikes and dips can aid in distinguishing high conversion periods.

The third graph is a tablegreat for depicting various items with multiple units of measure. While this particular example is only showing pageviews, it would be easy to add % Goal Conversions to a table like this one.

Understanding Your Stakeholders

Scorecards and Tables are more verbal forms of graphs, while a Line Chart is quite visual. Sometimes the person you are presenting data to will have a strong preference for one type of graph over another. It is usually a good practice to include several types of graphs together to accommodate most consumers of your data.

Below is an example of another “Scorecard” report prepared for Butler’s Lacy School of Business, detailing campaign performances across several social media platforms. Despite the density of information, this report allows easy dissection of performance of each platform individually and cross-platform comparisons. This is great for high-level decision makers.

Google Data Studio Sample Templates

We hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction to the capabilities of Google Data Studio! Next week, we will take a closer look at some detailed reports and give you tips on extra Google Data Studio features that will add even more value to your reporting.

Looking for DIY options? Check out this free Sample Marketing Report and Sample User Dashboard. Want help building a customized Google Data Studio report? Contact us to get started.


Valerie Henessee
Valerie Henessee
February 15, 2018