Reports hub – Build your single point of access for all your Google Data Studio reports
Within your organisation, dashboards and reports multiply to address various needs of analytics & digital performance. Some (most) of them are probably built with Google Data Studio if you are reading these lines.
The creation of a dashboard calls for an other need. a report for a requested analysis has become so easy to built dynamically, so secondary outputs of analytics studies are Data Studio interactive reports to reuse in the future.
So, for companies with a growing devices of analytics & digital performance, with a significant number of dashboards & reports, I like to create a reports hub, referring and getting access to all the available reports. Why putting it in another additional tool instead of building it directly in Data Studio?
This Data Studio report gateway provides a lot of benefits:
- A single & fast point of access to all your reports, to bookmark and to use for reports readers as a THE entry point
- A first level of information about the scope of each existing dashboard & report
- A showcase & branded element of your data driven organization (“Hey look sweet boss how we are data driven!”)
- An extension of your reports documentation with operational functions
Let’s see an example of result for a dummy company I named “Bookstore”, a brand of network of physical bookstores owning also, an e-commerce website for online sales and click & collect.
This simple report page, designed as a gateway, applies the graphical charter of the brand with the adapted atmosphere (at least with the right background picture) to provide the access to all available reports through four sections:
- First, the key dashboards and reports: In the example, the follow-up for the business targets achievements, the current main traffic acquisition campaign & the monthly report
- Then, the 5 most used report pages by your reporting audience, as example your digital team
- Third, other reports and dashboards focusing on specific topics
- At last, a link to go to a second page or archives and secondary files
Initialization of the layout
To start to design our hub, we create a new Data Studio report, configuring the theme and layout sections like all the reports of our organisation. We add an image element with a large photo illustrating the company as background – So a bookstore in the example. Then, we adapt the opacity of the picture on the style tab of the image properties panel (here, 20%).
Over the picture background, we add a rectangle and/or a circle element with white background before creating the content of our hub.
Company logo and titles
Then we upload and center the company logo and add text elements for the page title and all the section names
Blocks for dashboard and report access
Now, we build the the blocks to access to dashboards & reports. In my example, each block is composed by the following elements:
Icon illustrating the topic of the dynamic report
Design your own set of icons or find a nice library for these pictures and add them as image elements. Then, add a link URLs to the concerned reports (Image link URLs open new tab, it is very convenient for this specific case).
A text element with strong styles & a link URL opened in a new tab to each dashboard (I prefer to keep the reports hub in an available browser tab to avoid to reopen it each time)
A text element with light styles. In my example, I just mentioned data sources, but your can also summarize the content of each report
Most used report pages
So, with the previous simple steps, the main purpose of the hub is addressed:
All the reports are reachable through a single point of access with a nice design.
But it is not completely finished. To take care even more to the report readers experience, we will include a fast access to the most used report pages across all available reports.
After all, some pages of some reports are checked every day, contrary to others. The order of displayed blocks takes in account of the supposed importance & frequency of use of each report…
…but we are well positioned to use data to confirm it (or not), and even more, to drive dynamically the content of our hub!
So, let’s create a list of the most used pages of our reports.
Google Analytics data collection
You need first to create a new Google Analytics 3 (Universal) property to collect report usage through the GA tracking feature of our data viz tool. Google Data Studio doesn’t support officially (for the moment) Google Analytics 4.
To do so, you just need to open the advanced options on the property creation screen, turn on the “Create a Universal Analytics property” toggle, and select “Create a Universal Analytics property only” option.
During the configuration, use “datastudio.google.com” as the domain of the website. And at last, check the configuration of the default view and rename it (no need to apply a real custom configuration for our case of collection).
Then, copy the tracking id of your fresh GA property and paste it in the report settings (in the file menu) of all available reports but not for your hub…of course..infinite loop are also prohibited in data visualisation fields 😛
Official documentation about the measurement of report usage.
After some days of data collection, let’s add our block with the most used reports pages.
First, we add our Google Analytics view as a new embedded data source for our hub, then we create the calculated fields below to extract the report title, the report page title and the URL. these data are stored inside Google Analytics with “Page Title” and “Page” dimensions and it supposes you named correctly all your reports and related pages.
CASE WHEN CONTAINS_TEXT(Page Title,"›") THEN REGEXP_EXTRACT(Page Title,'(.*) ›.*$') ELSE Page Title END
Report page title
CASE WHEN CONTAINS_TEXT(Page Title,"›") THEN REGEXP_EXTRACT(Page Title,'.*› (.*)$') ELSE "-" END
Report page link
HYPERLINK( CONCAT("https://datastudio.google.com" , REGEXP_EXTRACT(Page,'^(/reporting/.*/page/[^/]+).*$')) ,"▶")
At last, we create our table chart using our 3 calculated fields as dimensions and sort it with pageviews descending. No need to display metrics, it is not the purpose here. Feel free also to select the date range following your activity and the related level of seasonality for report usages. As the last action, adapt the styles: Here I use the conditional formatting feature to display links column in dark blue, like the other links of the hub page.
Voilà! It is ready. Let’s review the chart configuration and the calculated fields with this video.