If you are a small to midsized business using the free version of Google Analytics for your website, like me, to monitor basic stats about:
- where people are coming from
- how many of them
- what pages they are landing on
- and when
…you may not be “overly enthused” by the out of box reporting experience when trying to comb through that data to learn something useful. There must be a better way, right?
While are there no doubt many “better ways”, I am a fan of a simple and free solution from Microsoft called Power BI.
Why, you ask?
- You can easily create reports with powerful visual widgets to slice and dice the data the way you want to see it.
- You can 1 click publish your reports to an online dashboard at PowerBI.com to share with team mates and collaborators.
- It has a built in connector to Google Analytics.
- It’s free.
There’s only a handful of steps you need to take to start viewing your Google Analytics data in Power BI, using 1 of 2 approaches:
Version 1: Using Power BI with Free License
The fastest and easiest way to start using Power BI to view your Google Analytics data is to use the out of box reports provided for free with Power BI.
- Login to Power BI at powerbi.com
- Get Data, and choose Services
- Search on “google” and select “Google Analytics”
- Connect to Google Analytics using default OAuth2 method, and click Sign In
- Allow Power BI access to Google Analytics
- Select the Google Analytics view you normally use to view online
You’ll see a new Dataset, Report and Dashboard for your new Google Analytics data.
Go to your Google Analytics Dashboard to see the most important tiles and data, then click on them to drill down to the underlying Reports.
Go to your Google Analytics Reports, and you’ll see the out of box reports provided for you, ready to go.
Later on you can edit your Reports and Dashboard to see your data the way you want to see it, as well as creating new Reports and Dashboards.
And your Google Analytics Dataset will be automatically setup for a daily scheduled refresh.
That’s all there is to getting started!
Version 2: Using Power BI Desktop
If you want more control over the data you select and the Reports you create, you might want to create your own Reports for Google Analytics using Power BI Desktop.
- Get Data
- Choose “More…” and select “Online Services”
- Choose Google Analytics, then Connect, Sign In, and Allow Power BI to View your Google Analytics data.
- Now select the data you want to incorporate into your reports, using whatever Google Analytics “view” you currently use to look at your data online. There are many choices, so I recommend you start simple and add data over time.
- Load your choices into the “data model” so you can start to build your own Reports using any of the available Data Visualizations.
- Finally, Publish to Power BI so you can view online and share with your colleagues.
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To see some sample screen shots of how I look at my Google Analytics data with Power BI, click here.
To learn more about Power BI, go to powerbi.com.