Track Data Studio Report Engagement with Google Analytics

Adam Roth | | ,
Track data studio report engagement with Google Analytics

How to Implement Tracking and Interpret Data for Actionable Insights

Yes, you can use Google Analytics to track your client’s interaction with your Data Studio reports – just like you would track your website visitors. In this article, I will touch on how to do this (hint: its pretty simple) as well as the importance of the information you can gleam from the resulting analytics reports.

As usual in my articles, let’s get right to business.

How to Configure GA to Track Report Engagement

Create a Data Studio Report

There are plenty of free templates for Data Studio reports across the web. If you are new to using Data Studio, I would recommend grabbing one of these. I wrote an article a few months ago featuring some of our free Data Studio Templates here.

Save time and optimize more by using the following data studio templates. Click the image to jump to that section of our free Data Studio templates article.

Google Analytics Overview Dashboard

 

 

Google Ads Overview Dashboard

 

 

Google Analytics Organic Traffic Events Dashboard

 

 

Google Analytics Landing Page Report

 

 

Set Up Google Analytics for Data Studio Report Tracking

I send out quite a few Data Studio reports due to our substantial client load. In the name of less clutter within my GA accounts, I decided that creating a separate GA account for all client’s report tracking would be the best way to go. I recommend that you do this as well. To create a new GA account and set it up for DS report tracking, do the following:

  1. Navigate to www.analytics.google.com
  2. Click the cog in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen to access your admin section
  3. Next to Account, click “+ Create Account”
    1. Name the new account. I named mine “Data Studio Reports Tracking”
    2. Click Next, select Web, Click Next
    3. Fill out the property details as follows:

Google analytics new account property details

      1. Website Name: Your client’s business name or any unique identifier
      2. Website URL: http: datastudio.google.com
      3. Industry Category: Select any of the options
      4. Click “Create”
  1. You will be taken to a page that contains your GA tracking code. It will look something like UA-XXXXXXXXX-X. Copy this code. If you accidently navigated away from this page, you can find your tracking code by going to the admin section of GA > Property > Tracking Info > Tracking Code.
  2. With your UA code copied to your clipboard, navigate back to your Data Studio report.

Set Up Data Studio for Tracking

Make sure you are in edit mode and navigate to File > Report Settings. Here you will find a section to paste your UA code titled Google Analytics Tracking ID. Paste your code in this bod and close out of the Report Settings window. You can now share your report with your client.

Data Studio Report Settings - Google Analytics Tracking ID

How to Interpret this Data for Actionable Insights

It may seem obvious why this data is important, but I’m not just saying that; it’s extremely important and there are some complexities involved that might not meet the eye at first glance. If you are a regular user of GA (and I assume you are since you have made it this far), its likely that your gut reaction was to skip this section of the post, but let me point out a few key differences in how I have come to interpret report engagement metrics in GA vs conventional website traffic engagement metrics.

The information being digested by a visitor to your website is static. You have no way to change this information, better explain yourself, or dynamically respond to your website visitor in any way – unless they reach out to you. The best you can do is observe a cohort of visitor’s engagement with your website and make changes that alleviate any similar pain points that future visitors may have. It is important to remember that this is not the case with data studio report engagement. Yes, the numbers are being reported in GA and in the same format, but you can personally reach out to your client when you extrapolate their pain points.

Example Client

This was one of the very first clients for whom I implemented Data Studio tracking. It was immediately apparent how game changing GA tracking was going to be for our business. This client came to us specifically asking for help with technical on-page SEO. Here is the data that I observed from their report engagement over the first few weeks:

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Note that you can click the A close up of a logo Description automatically generated icon in your own reports to see which page of the report that confusing data studio url is referring to.

Here is what I noticed from this data: The client had spent a total of 1.2 minutes reviewing our detailed text report on technical SEO updates (see Page #2 above) while spending over 24 minutes on the year over year performance comparison chart (see page #3 above).

Sample Report Technical Summary Sample Report Y/Y Analysis
A screenshot of a social media post Description automatically generated A close up of a map Description automatically generated

We immediately reached out to the client to clarify what their overall objective in hiring us was. It turned out that they wanted more traffic, a primary objective that (given their industry and the timing), was different than their stated objective of optimizing their technical SEO. We explained ourselves to the client and as a result, we pivoted our strategies into a bit more content generation and promotion as well as adding a bit of focus on CRO and quality landing page content.

Conclusion

Data Studio has changed the game when it comes to performance reporting for digital marketing. Alongside report engagement tracking, I see it as an absolute essential for every successful digital marketing agency. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn or us via our contact page.

 

Adam Roth, Director of Growth and Analysis

About The Author

Adam Roth is a staff writer for Direct Online Marketing. Adam holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Biomedical Informatics. His article contributions focus on scalable analytics for online businesses. Adam enjoys demanding fitness activities such as weight lifting and hiking.

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