So you need a custom dashboard but aren’t ready to hire a team of developers?

tl;dr use Google Data Studio

If you’re looking to automate your organization’s marketing/social/general KPI reporting but you’re not quite ready to hire a team of developers you should seriously consider Google Data Studio.

You get the functionality of a custom developed dashboard with a fraction of the upfront cost and minimal maintenance. You can combine data from your email campaigns, ad platforms, social media & more into one cohesive dashboard.


Many of my clients fit the same profile. Sarah is my favorite example:

Sarah worked on analytics projects for an enterprise company. She started reporting to the VP of Marketing and took on one of the VP’s pet projects.

She had been tasked with building a set of automated dashboards for their marketing data that could be shown off to their whole organization… but she had no idea where to start.

She started reaching out to dev agencies but was getting quotes for $40k+ in upfront costs with $30k+/year in maintenance and a 2–3 year commitments. That just wasn’t an option.

But she did have some budget available to get some help. She reached out to me with a big list of data sources and a nice brand/style guide. We decided it made sense to do the project in 3 phases:

  1. Create a quick set of sample dashboards with Google Analytics and AdWords data. These data sources both have excellent connectors available for Data Studio and we could have a pair of branded dashboards built in ≈2 weeks.
  2. Start building out dashboards for the other data sources that have pre-built connectors for Data Studio ≈2 months.
  3. Start to collect any other data sources into a data warehouse solution like BigQuery and then build out our final set of dashboards ≈4 months.

So within two weeks she had two fully functional sample dashboards to show the VP of Marketing. That was enough to demonstrate the value of this whole project and get the budget approved to move into phase 2 and 3.


Although this is all a great example of how a dashboard project can play out, there was a a bigger takeaway from the whole experience.

These dashboards built Sarah’s personal brand within her company. It established a foundation for her career growth.

The funny thing about a great dashboard is that EVERYONE wants to show it off. They get great visibility at every level of an organization. When you have ownership of a dashboard project you are responsible for making your organization data driven. That’s an excellent way to get recognized.


Get in contact if this all sounds familiar. I’d be happy to walk through your use case and help you put together a plan. Even if I’m not the ideal match for your project, I’ll get you pointed in the right direction.

Cottrell Consulting — http://googledatastudio.co/contact

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