How to Declutter your Data Studio Report

by Kristina Homenuck

‘Optional metrics’ and ‘Drill Down’ features

We all see very busy dashboards with multiple tables and dimensions that are hard to comprehend or take any action based on the data you see. I am guilty of building these dashboards myself. You want to show as much valuable data as possible, and the monster is growing.

There are a couple of tweaks you can do to avoid cluttering your Data Studio Dashboard. 

One of them is to use the ‘Optional metrics’ toggle that you can find on the dashboard Metric picker.

Instead of creating a table with multiple metrics available, pick the most important ones and add the rest you think will be useful as optional metrics. Ideally, the main KPI will be a default metric, and optional metrics will be metrics that  help you understand why a default metric is trending in a particular direction. This way, you don’t have to go into Google Analytics to check why something is happening. 

To increase the usability of this feature, ensure the dashboard’s users are aware of the option to choose different metrics while looking at the dashboard.

For example, let’s take the below ‘Channel Performance’ table where 8 metrics are available at glance. This table takes a lot of space and is pretty cluttered. 

The ‘Optional metric’ feature was leveraged to build the second table where the most important metrics are selected and you can pick the rest of the metrics if needed. 

To do so, click  the ‘Optional metric’ picker and you will be presented with a drop down list of all available metrics. You can also unselect the main metrics.

It’s pretty much  like several tables in one. You choose the metrics you need to see today and save valuable real estate on both the dashboard and your attention. 

Note that optional metrics are available to build Time series charts, Column charts, Tables, Pie Chart, Score Cards, Bullet charts, Area charts, Tree maps, and Gauge Charts. There are plenty of opportunities to hide some of the metrics or reuse the same chart for multiple metrics.

The second feature that will help you to save space and sanity is the ‘Drill down’ feature. You can find it under the Dimension picker on the navigation bar.

With this feature you can hide secondary dimensions and drill down into all or chosen categories. For example, if we want to show how a particular campaign is performing compared to a similar campaign for the same source/medium, we can drill down to a channel > source/medium and see this comparison without having a clanky table sitting in your dashboard. 

Let’s see how to do that. 

First, create a table with three dimensions (Default channel grouping, Source / Medium, and Campaign) and metrics of your choice (for example, Ecomm CR, Sessions, and Transactions. We get this table.

To make the Source / Medium and Campaign dimensions as drill down options, toggle on ‘Drill down’. 

As a result, you will see only Channel dimension in your table.

Now you can see performance not only in general by source / medium or campaign, but specific channel and specific source / medium. 

Drill down to specific source / medium, for example, Email and see how the campaigns performing by drilling further down.

If there are dimensions that are working well with the same metrics, you can leverage the same table for those metrics. So it’s not necessarily a drill down per ce, but reusing the space for several dimensions. 

For example, adding User Type and Device category to the same table.

Imagine combining it with the ‘Optional metrics’. Now, you can reuse one table for many purposes without taking a lot of space and picking only what is needed at the moment. Finally, your dashboard will be neat looking and multi purposeful. 

Kristina Homenuck

Intermediate Analyst

Kristina is a web analyst who is passionate about actionable data. As part of the Napkyn Analytics team, she shares her extensive GA360 experience and enthusiasm for analytics with the clients.

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