What is Google Data Studio 360?

Back in March at Google’s Performance Summit, Google announced a brand new data visualisation product, Data Studio 360. But what's it all about?

Back in March at Google’s Performance Summit, Google announced a brand new data visualisation product, Data Studio 360. Google initially introduced the product along with an array of new measurement tools in the ‘360’ suite.

The recent bit of news that’s got us excited is the launch of a free version of Data Studio 360 aimed at small businesses which is now available for users in the U.S, with access to sample reports also available in the UK. For larger organisations, Google is also offering an enterprise level product for scaled-up reporting and analysis.

So what is Data Studio exactly? In a nutshell, Google’s new platform is designed to help organisations turn important data into easily digestible, accessible reports. At its core, Data Studio 360 was designed with the intention of helping promote the sharing of knowledge and business insights across organisations. According to Google, one of the key tenets behind Data Studio 360 is the idea that “data should be easily accessible to anyone in an organisation”. The platform facilitates this by allowing users to share create, edit and custom reports collaboratively and in real time.

How will Data Studio differ from other visualisation platforms?

Data Studio’s trump card against its more established competitors like Tableau and Microsoft’s Power BI might be in its simplicity. Google appear to be placing a big emphasis on the notion of ease of accessibility; something data visualisation tools probably haven’t been best known for historically. From what we’ve seen so far, the platform certainly appears well-geared towards enabling teams to collaborate and share insights which in Google’s view, helps make ‘vital data’ clearer and easier to action.

Another draw for many marketers, analysts and business owners will be familiarity. Given the platform is designed and built by the company that brought us the massively popular Google Analytics, Google AdWords and BigQuery – it’s a safe bet that Data Studio’s simple, clean reporting interface will feel recognisable to a lot of its users - even those new to data visualisation.

Why all the fuss about data visualisation anyway?

As any insights analyst will tell you, stories about a company’s website and marketing performance live within its data. Data visualisation can be invaluable in helping uncover and tell those stories in a way that’s accessible to different audiences and stakeholders. In this way, data visualisation isn’t just a vanity project of making data ‘look good’, it serves an important communicative, even cognitive, function. After all, as we’re hard-wired to remember images more readily than words.

As someone who is passionate about the interesting intersection between data and communication, I’m looking forward to seeing where Google takes its new product and what impact it might have on data visualisation more broadly. Sadly, aspects of the Beta are only open to users in the U.S, but if you’re interested in getting a feel for the product, Google currently provides this interesting interactive walkthrough.

By Angus Carbarns, Insights Analyst