Data Studio
Published in

Data Studio

You’re wasting your time on reports. Automate them.

Exporting CSVs, writing excel formulas, copy-pasting tables, formatting in powerpoint… you have hours of wasted tedium every month. It’s time to fix it.

Created by the team at Cottrell Consulting. You can purchase our dashboard templates here.

Social reporting, analytics data, paid media performance, eCommerce, heck even just your AdWords performance… having to manually export and build reports like this is tough and time consuming. It doesn’t need to be.

You can save all those wasted hours every month. I’m going to explain how using two methods: Google Data Studio and Excel->PPT linking.

But first, let me set the scene.

Anna just got brought on to an exciting & innovative division of Acme Technologies. Her new job includes ownership of her division’s social data.

Maybe that sounds a bit boring, but if you’re into analytics this is a great gig.

Or at least that’s what Anna thinks, until she gets into her first day and sees the workflow from her predecessor…

Maybe you can guess already, but it is not pretty.

It’s an 8 step process. Takes up 10–20 hours of her week. Requires her to login to 3 different platforms. Essentially, Anna’s new job is building out this monstrosity of a report every month, and she won’t be doing much else.

So, what does this nightmarish workflow look like?

Acme has social data on Sprinklr. Analytics data on Google Analytics and several manually tracked metrics in a cloud hosted spreadsheet.

Anna has to log in to access each service. Export the data or visualization she needs. Put some of it into a new spreadsheet. Then she has to process all that data and build new charts and visualizations.

But we’re not done yet.

She has to copy out all the values and charts from her spreadsheet and put them into a powerpoint presentation to share with her team. That powerpoint needs to be formatted properly and customized to match this weeks data.

One thing is for sure. This is NOT a good use of her time.

If that scenario sounds even a little bit familiar, you’ve probably got a massive opportunity sitting in front of you.

Everyone knows how frustrating and tedious building reports can be. They all know it’s a waste of time and money. But they do it anyways.

Why, you ask?

Because you do need to have a snapshot of your business’s performance. You need to know what is and isn’t working and spot opportunities for improvement. Reports do deliver results, but oftentimes it comes at too high of a cost.

This is why automation is so important.

When you build an automated report there are two costs:

  1. the set-up
  2. a very small amount of recurring maintenance.

That’s it. Once your data is connected, your reports go from a 20 hour/week task to a 1 hour task. Think about how much the 19 hours you save are worth to your company? I’m guessing a lot.

So what does the automated version of Anna’s situation look like?

Using Excel->Powerpoint links:

She logs in to each system and does her usual export. Time elapsed: 20 minutes.

She then renames each exported file to a standardized name. Time elapsed: 2 minutes

Then she opens up her powerpoint and her source excel file and clicks “update links”. Time elapsed: 10 minutes (or less)

If necessary she changes the report title, and adds a few notes. She has 28 minutes left to get this done.

And BAM! She has a fully functioning report with visualizations, accurate calculated metrics, trend comparisons and more.

If you want to link up lots of complex data sources then I suggest you use Supermetrics. It makes things way easier.

Using Google Data Studio

Anna needs to export her Sprinklr data and then uploads the file to Google Sheets. All her other data sources are automatically connected.

She opens up her GDS report, adjusts the date range, and BAM! There’s her updated report.

If necessary she can download it as a PDF/image file and add labels/notes as well.

That’s a massive improvement to your workflow.

You can learn the skills for either one of these yourself. Check out some of the tutorials for Google Data Studio and learn about what connectors are available.

Or, if you already know how to use Excel and powerpoint, look up how linking an Excel file to a powerpoint works. It’s a deceptively simple process and unlocks a ton of potential for automation.

If you don’t have the time to learn the ins and outs of a new platform. You can also have a system built for you on a very reasonable budget.

A typical project runs anywhere between $USD 2k–10k. If you have an exceptionally small/simple report you can expect less. If what you’re doing is complex or has 3+ data sources I would be prepared to scale up your budget.

All report examples in this article are from Cottrell Consulting.
cottrell [@]

If you plan on using Data Studio you’re most likely going to end up using Supermetrics as well (they help you easily connect lots of complex data sources). If you want to support us then use our affiliate link when you sign up:



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store