Data blending with Google Data Studio

Paid Search

Great news for data enthusiasts (otherwise known as nerds): data blending features are now in Data Studio! Data blending, as the name suggests allows you to combine data from multiple data sources in Data Studio.

This can be handy for a few things, for example, cross-platform reporting. If you’re running ads in Bing, you might be measuring conversions via Google Analytics instead of the Bing UET tag. In this case, to view conversion data you can blend Bing Ads click data with Google Analytics Bing Ads revenue. That way you can easily visualise and analyse it. Data Studio’s data blending now allows you to do this within their UI, without resorting to a Google sheets workaround. In this blog, we’ll show you how to do that.

Before we get started, one important thing you need in order to blend data is a join key. A join key is a dimension that is shared by the data sets you are trying to blend. A simple example of this can be a date or landing page, basically any dimension that exists on both data sets.

How do we blend data in Data Studio?

There are multiple ways to blend data in Data Studio. One way is using the Manage blended data feature under Resource or Blend data from existing visualisations through the right panel.

In this example, I will focus on accessing the data blending feature from the left panel where I will blend Bing Ads and Google Analytics data.

The first thing you want to do before anything else is to connect the relevant data sources to your report in Data Studio. Once you connect a data source to your report and draw a visualisation, you will see the data source listed on the right panel alongside all metrics and dimensions. 

In my example below, I have connected a Bing data source using Supermetrics and drawn a table with date dimensions and metrics (impressions, clicks and CTR). The timeframe I am using is for the last 30 days.

The next step is to then blend the data with a different data source. In our case we will use Google Analytics data. To blend the data, click on the blend data button under the data source on the right panel. From there you need to choose your data source (Google Analytics). Now, because I am blending Google Analytics data to Bing Ads data, I have added a filter on my Google Analytics data. The filter limits the data and makes sure that the data being pulled has the source/medium of ‘bing/cpc’.

You can also see from the screenshot below that we are using the date as the join key since both data sources have dates. (Remember, a join key is simply a dimension that our data sources both have in common.)

Once you save the blended data report, the two different data sources will be merged to one report. The red metrics are from Bing Ads whilst the green are from Google Analytics.

The data blending feature saves a lot of time. The filter addition is helpful as it allows you map subsections of data together.

The one limitation of the data blending feature is that it does not support calculated metrics. For example, in our report above we might have wanted to know what the ecommerce conversion rate is on each day. This would have been easily done with a calculated metric (transactions/clicks) – taking clicks from one pool of data (Bing Ads) and dividing it by transactions from another data source (Google Analytics). Unfortunately, without the support of calculated metrics, we’ll need to revert to our old work around in Google Sheets in order to calculate the ecommerce conversion rate.

With all of that said, the data blending feature is still great, very neatly done by the Data Studio team and a huge time saver.

Photo by John Towner from Unsplash

Like this blog post? Sign up to our newsletter – Lab Report – and never miss a new one.