Google Data Studio is rising in popularity. Just look at the data from Google Trends for the search terms Google Data Studio and Data Studio since 2004.
It certainly offers something other tools do not.
First, it’s free to use, so this means easy access to data visualization and reporting.
Second, it is beginner-friendly. With its outstanding features, it is extremely easy and intuitive to generate an automated report. Any new user is just a few clicks away from setting up reports.
Last, the digital marketing industry is becoming more data-driven than ever. According to research, published in the Journal of Business Research in 2021.
This is in part enabled by transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and blockchains, or a peer-to-peer distributed decentralized ledger, but also by the abundance of data, available to marketers. What this leads to, especially for marketers, is the necessity of being able to collect, analyze, and visualize data.
Hence why, creating visually appealing dashboards is becoming an essential skill. This involves not only being able to build a dashboard or report, but also having an understanding of how to measure and analyze data.
These insights were shared in a survey, which involved 734 hiring marketers, conducted by SparkToro in 2020.
Having these skills enables better client relationship management as the industry is moving towards a more data-informed decision making.
Data Studio Connectors are becoming more and more common, as companies are developing community connectors for their data sources. Why?
Data Studio Connectors provide significant value to customers, which can be achieved through a minimal development investment on the company’s behalf. As a result, marketers, and data analysts can rely on Data Studio as a free and powerful reporting and analysis solution.
Data Studio Connectors can be built, deployed, and distributed for free. This means that anyone can build a community connector and pull data to create interactive dashboards.
Today, we are presenting you with a list of the best Data Studio Connectors, which we have categorized based on availability (free versus paid) and functionality.
As explained by Google:
‘Connectors connect Data Studio to your underlying data. Connecting to your data creates a data source in Data Studio.’
A data source is a specific instance of a connector.
Let’s work with an example. There is one Google Analytics connector, which can link to various data sources in a single report. The data sources can be different GA properties or different views of the same property.
An advantage to using such an approach to report on data is that users who cannot directly access the underlying data can receive access through information and insights securely through Data Studio connectors.
Currently, in the Google Data Studio connectors gallery there are 18 free connectors, powered by Google, and 391 Connectors, powered by Google’s partners.
We can classify Data Studio connectors into three broad categories:
- Free Connectors, powered by Google – these are connectors built for Google tools, such as Google Sheets, Big Query, Google Analytics, Campaign Manager. Often they provide a turnkey solution for data integration.
- Partner Connectors, which are typically paid – these are connectors, provided by Google partners, the purpose of which can differ. Often they allow users’ data extraction from non-Google platforms such as Facebook Ads, Instagram Insights, Twitter, Bing, LinkedIn, Semrush, Shopify, etc.
- Open Source Connectors – These are currently counted as partner connectors, but what makes them unique is that an open-source community creates them. Open Source connectors enable reporting of a wide set of data, including Kaggle, Kubernetes Engines, and Chrome UX performance analytics.
Now, let’s get familiar with the best Data Studio Connectors on the market.
Free Data Studio connectors
Google’s free connectors are perfect for Data Studio beginners. They allow easy web data exploration and visualization.
Google Analytics enables you to understand how the visitors on your site, app, or internet-connected device find and use it. Data Studio can visualize through the Google Analytics Connector, the same data, available in Analytics custom reporting.
This connector is amazing for marketing, data analysts, and other data specialists, as it provides quick access to Google Analytics data in multiple reports. The data arrives structured in a way that only requires one connection per report for a specific instance or view.
The same connector can link Data Studio to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). However, some functionalities on GA4 properties in Data Studio are still limited. For instance, there is no data control option and no segment option, as these are not yet part of GA4 properties.
Nonetheless, Porter Metrics has already created a GA4 Data Studio template, which you can use to visualize the processes of user acquisition, engagement, and conversions. This can help you track performance month over month, as well as enable more insights about your site’s visitors.
YouTube is also a part of the Alphabet company group, part of which is Google. As Google users can easily access YouTube as a social media platform, YouTube analytics are freely available.
The YouTube connector will enable you to visualize the data from all the channels you own with your connected Google account.
This is an amazing connector as it allows connecting to YouTube channel data in different ways. Another cool thing is that this data source can also be used with different accounts by adding a data control. This eliminates the need to create separate reports and data sources for the different YouTube channels or accounts you manage.
A cool, free template you can use to get started with this connector is Porter’s free Youtube Performance Template. With it, you can get a visual understanding of channel engagement, channel performance (i.e. views, subscriber changes, watch time, likes, dislikes, and comments), viewer location, and video performance.
If you are running small or large advertising campaigns, you will probably want to know how they are performing. You can get a sense of the overall direction of your campaign’s performance, using the hard numbers as a guide via connecting Google Ads.
Google Ads is a Google tool for managing your online advertising. The Google Ads Data Studio Connector allows advertisers to access and visualize their ad performance data.
Google Ad Manager
While Google Ads is a starting point for running ads, Google Ad Manager is an ad management platform for large publishers who have significant direct sales. It enables granular control of ads in multiple exchanges. Google Ad Manager caters to the Publisher end of the online marketing and advertising ecosystem.
You can add the Ad Manager as a data source in Data Studio. The most popular Ad Manager report dimensions and metrics are available via the Google Ad Manager connector.
Google Search Console
From the free Data Studio Connectors, Google Search Console is one of the best. Google Search Console is a free service that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results.
The Search Console connector allows you to extract performance data from Google Search. We can use this for analyzing impressions, clicks, average position, and CTR (click-through ratio) of your pages. It can also show the search queries that led users to your site.
By working with queries, you get a good understanding of how visitors find you through search. You can take this a step further with our free template and split queries by branded and non-branded searches. This will enable you to get performance data on discovery searches in different countries and device types for a specific period.
Data Migration connectors
While not an automated solution like the rest on the list so far, the Google Sheets connector is a great way to get spreadsheets data into Data Studio. You can use this approach when there is no connector available to pull data from your target platform or when the connectors are out of your budget.
Using Google Sheets allows you to export and import data. So, you can get the data into Data Studio for free, but it’s a more involved process. As Sheets are saved in the cloud, the updated data in the sheet will automatically get updated in the connected Data Studio reports too.
We’ve written a step-by-step tutorial to get you started with Google Sheets data visualization in Data Studio – check it out!
PostgreSQL is an open-source relational database management system, which is developed by a global team of volunteers. The PostgreSQL connector allows access to all your data from PostgreSQL-based databases from within Data Studio.
This connector is suitable for smaller data sets as it can only export up to 100K queries at a time in Data Studio.
For fetching data from bigger datasets, a better connector to use is Google BigQuery’s Data Studio connector. BigQuery is a petabyte-scale analytics data warehouse. It is used to run SQL queries over vast amounts of data in near real-time.
Although the connector is free, BigQuery itself is a paid product. This means that you can incur usage costs when accessing BigQuery through Google Data Studio.
Paid Data Studio connectors
Even though Google has done an outstanding job to build connectors for many of the services in its ecosystem, many other platforms have not created their own connectors. That is where developers create their own, providing an important bridge between platforms, and Data Studio.
In terms of paid Data Studio Connector providers, the most prominent ones you will see come up in this section are
Supermetrics is great as it has a wide array of connectors available for its paying users. This enables seamless connection to data that can be otherwise difficult or timely to visualize in a Data Studio report.
This connector option is best used by agencies, which manage multiple client accounts, as it has features, such as auto-refresh for updating and sharing reports with clients in a way that requires no manual interference.
Another thing, which makes this connector suited to an agency setup is the cost. Many solo users complain that the cost for them is on the steeper side, while customer support is limited.
Porter Metrics is amazing at offering a tailored service to marketers, helping them to become more data-driven in their day-to-day work.
Although offering a smaller number of connectors in comparison to other connector providers on the market, Porter excels in helping the global Data Studio community with courses, tutorials, and templates.
Due to its focus on harnessing an engaged community, Porter also offers tailored support to its customers through live chat and video calls. The aim of this is to enable all users and paying customers to maximize the value impact of using Data Studio and get the most out of the available connectors. A totally unique approach to the connector market!
Funnel is an all-in-one service that provides connections to over 500 data sources. Funnel automatically connects data from different data sources you might need, enables data transformation through a powerful data mapping interface, and feeds it to any platform that you might need to use it in (e.g. Google Sheets, Data Studio, or your data warehouse).
Due to the comprehensive 360-degree service it provides, Funnel is also considered a bit costly for private consultants and is commonly chosen by multi-account agencies or big enterprises.
Here is a summary of the main characteristics of these three connector providers.
|Available data sources||✅ ✅ ✅ ✅||✅ ✅ ✅||✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅|
|Support||✅ ✅ ✅ ✅||✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅||✅ ✅ ✅ ✅|
|Pricing||✅ ✅ ✅||✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅||✅ ✅ ✅|
|Ideal for||Multi-account agencies, Enterprises||Marketers, Solo-Consultants, Small Agencies||Multi-account agencies, Enterprises|
Social Media connectors
Facebook and Instagram Ads
Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads connectors pull information from Facebook and Instagram APIs into Data Studio. This includes metrics such as performance, amount spend, clicks, page post engagement.
Another thing that is often important to marketers, looking to track performance in Facebook and Instagram ads is the ability to visualize ad image, ad copy, and related ad performance data. This is something you can do with Porter’s Facebook Ads Campaign Analysis Report Template.
Explore other free templates by Porter Metrics that integrate with Facebook Ads.
Facebook and Instagram Page Insights
There are also Facebook Page insights and Instagram Page insights connectors. They enable robust data storytelling through integrating data from the page insights reports into Data Studio. This is achieved through visualizing the relationship between content (be it videos, images, and other creatives) and engagement, expressed via different types of interactions on the account.
The best way to get a clear picture of your social media account performance is to view Facebook and Instagram Page Insights, alongside ads on these channels, which is where the all-in-one Facebook Google Data Studio Template comes in.
Read more about the Facebook Page Insights for Data Studio Connector that Porter Metrics offers.
The Twitter Ads connector can export performance data from Twitter into Data Studio. It pulls data from the Twitter API, which includes account stats, campaign information, and ad performance in relation to the promoted tweets.
The Linkedin Ads connector links LinkedIn Campaign Manager with Data Studio. It allows exports of all the metrics and dimensions from a specific account.
There are many different dimensions and fields that can be extracted through LinkedIn’s API to support data visualization, most prominent of which enabling analysis of campaign performance in correlation with specific creatives, ad spend, and engagement achieved. This enables marketers to get a better understanding of their costs per MQLs and SQLs.
A couple of prominent LinkedIn Ads connector providers and Power My Analytics and Supermetrics, while Porter Metrics offers a LinkedIn Ads connector that you can sign-up to try for free (template included)
TikTok is a video-sharing app that is especially popular with Gen Z. TikTok Ads connectors for Data Studio allow exports of ad campaign performance data from TikTok.
Through the TikTok Ads connector, you can data about your campaigns, impressions, CTR, cost and post-click conversions.
Pinterest Ads connectors can export into Data Studio performance data from all campaigns you have running on Pinterest.
Through a Pinterest Ads connector, you can visualize data about how many times a promoted pin was saved, user data (such as pins saved and followers per user), as well as data about boards and pins created by the pinners that engaged with your campaigns.
Snapchat Ads provides typical audience targeting and a variety of ad formats to business advertisers. The Snapchat Ads connectors pull data from the API. This allows all needed data for campaign and ad performance monitoring, demographic performance, and more.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) connectors
Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) connector is like Google Ads in terms of setup. It is also one to pay attention to, as it is the second largest after Google.
There are many connectors on the market, offering servicing of Microsoft Ads into Data Studio. Consider whether the connector can report on one or multiple accounts, before making a choice.
Google Display & Video 360 (DoubleClick Bid Manager)
Surprisingly enough, there are some of Google’s services that don’t yet have a free connector. Google Display and video 360 are such an example. You can connect your DV360/DCM data into Data Studio through a paid connector. This will grant you access to important metrics, such as clicks, impressions, and campaign data ready for visualization.
Semrush is a service that offers three different connectors that link to different data: domain analytics, site audit and position tracking. These connectors can help SEOs better visualize their positions tracking campaigns and projects they’ve set-up in Semrush.
Some of the main things SEOs do with Semrush are keyword research and backlink analytics. Semrush offers great templates to start with, if their connectors are used, while Jameseo offers a template, which can be used as a starting point, which requires only a manual export to start.
A limitation of using Semrush connectors is that they require a hefty fee for access to the service. This might make them unsuitable for individual analysts or small teams.
The connectors, offered by Semrush, are also granular in their structure. Each of the three connectors offers multiple choices per connection, which then makes data blending very difficult due to Data Studio’s limitation of only being able to blend up to five sources.
Moz is an SEO tool, used to enhance the SEO, inbound marketing, link building, and content marketing efforts. In terms of service, the tool is very similar to Semrush, offering keyword research tools and Domain Authority analytics, as well as more technical performance assessments on a site.
Moz has not yet created their own Data Studio connector, however, third-party services have already done so.
Ahrefs is another amazing SEO software suite that contains tools for link building, keyword research, competitor analysis, rank tracking, and site audits.
While highly requested by the Ahrefs user community, an Ahrefs connector has not yet been introduced by the company. Supermetrics has created a connector for the Ahrefs suite, though, which offers services such as:
- Backlink reporting
- Technical SEO reports
- Cross-link reports
- Competitor tracking and analytics
|Direct / Third-party||Direct||Third-party||Third-party|
|Authentication||Semrush||Moz + Third-party||Ahrefs + Third-party|
|Features||•Backlink Analytics |
•Overview Positions •Tracking Rankings •Evolution Domain
•Analytics Site Audit
•Domain analytics •Domain authority
• Technical SEO reports
•Competitor tracking and analytics
|Limitations||•Timely to implement on multiple projects|
• Multiple connections (as a result of granular DB structure) result in unstable reports
|•Free plan limited to up to 200 URLs|
•Subject to access and support from third-party tools
|•Limited features SEO and site auditing features are sub-par to competitors|
|Pricing||$119.95/mo||$99/mo + cost of connector provider||$99/mo + cost of connector provider|
E-commerce Store connectors
We can also connect Shopify data in Data Studio. It allows you to create and share Data Studio reports for your Shopify store.
Shopify Data Studio Connectors link with Shopify’s API via authentication, enabling the creation of data analysis for the shop, product, and revenue performance, referrals, quantities, etc.
Amazon Seller Central / Amazon MWS
Amazon Seller Central Data Studio connectors pull data from advertising and sales from within Amazon’s database. This can help you better understand the trends of sales of your Amazon shop.
Salesforce connectors link Salesforce data with Data Studio. Once you have authenticated the connector, Data Studio will show you a list of all the fields of your account available from your Salesforce Org. This includes any Dimensions and Metrics, associated with the account.
HubSpot connectors can move metrics from inbound sales performance into Data Studio. This includes fields such as: Contacts, Tickets, Deals, and Companies, which can be used for an enhanced understanding of the customer journey.
Stripe is a powerful tool for transaction management. Stripe connectors allow visualizations of transaction data into Data Studio. When paired with data from other sources such as e-commerce or CRM platforms, it can enable an enriched understanding of the revenue impact.
We can also connect PayPal to Data Studio. This connector can be very useful when receiving payments from multiple countries via Paypal, as we can easily visualize country income streams via Data Studio.
Whether you are an analyst, marketer, or just want to get better at handling data, the Google Data Studio connector marketplace has something to offer.
To summarise, we can group connectors in multiple ways:
- Based on ownership of development – Offered by Google versus Google’s partners
- Based on function – serving the purpose of analytics, advertising, SEO, SEM, social media marketing, e-commerce, CRM, or fintech reporting
- Based on integration structure – i.e. whether they have direct data integration versus require a data warehousing solution in between. The latter could lead to additional costs for connector solutions such as Funnel.io
- Based on database structure – singular (one connection per entity, providing all dimensions and fields; e.g. Google Analytics) versus granular (multiple connectors per entity needed to get all dimensions and fields; e.g. Semrush)
- Based on price – free versus paid
These classifications are important considerations not only when choosing the data you want to visualize, but also the approach in connecting it.
Needless to say, beyond the apparent considerations, such as pricing and customer support, many of the illustrated examples, such as database structure or need of data warehousing, could result in additional, hidden costs and timely implementation.
When choosing a connector on behalf of an organization, the key things to consider are:
- Budgeting – How much can the organization spend on reporting and analytics?
- Ease of implementation – How easy is it for the data to be integrated and visualized in the report?
- Ease of replication of existing reporting and analytics procedures – How easy is it to replicate what users are used to seeing in a dashboard? Is it necessary? For instance, Semrush’s web dashboard is visually beautiful to look at, as well as highly rich in data. Replicating the same in Data Studio would not only be inefficient in terms of cost and time, but also likely unnecessary.
- Familiarity of stakeholders with Data Studio – How familiar are the reporting stakeholders with Data Studio? Low involvement stakeholders could jeopardize data initiatives and result in sunk costs for data connections. Hence why, demonstrating values through your Data Studio dashboards should be the first step in designing a Dashboard.
Before you start building your dashboard, think about the stakeholders that will be interacting with it on a daily basis, as well as their needs. Choose connectors that can help you address your stakeholders’ needs, as well as exceed their expectations, all within existing budgeting constraints.
Schedule time for dashboard maintenance and consider that the complexity of the reporting pipeline and the integration of different connectors will likely result in more time needed for error handling and optimizations.
If opting in for paid connectors, always consider the importance of customer service and error resolution as part of the decision-making process.
Connectors can be useful on their own, yet the beauty of Data Studio is in blending data and uncovering hidden insights about your customers. The easiest way to get started building reports and extracting immediate value from Google Data Studio is through using ready-made templates. Whenever needed, get help from a vibrant community of experts.