Getting Started with Google Data Studio (With Free GDS Template)

Are you looking to create your first dashboard in Google Data Studio? Do you know that you can build a professional-looking dashboard with a few clicks? Check this out.

In this article, we would explore a free data visualisation tool called Google Data Studio (GDS) and how you can quickly get started to develop your report or dashboard in Data Studio.

What is Google Data Studio (GDS)?

Google Data Studio (GDS) is a free cloud-based data visualisation tool introduced by Google in 2016. It helps data practitioners build interactive reports and dashboards easily with a drag-and-drop interface.

With nearly 500 (and growing) native and community data source connectors, you can easily import data from sources like Google Analytics, BigQuery, Google Ads, Google Sheets, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Youtube and many more! This makes Data Studio a popular tool among digital marketers and startups.

Google Data Studio Dashboard Example

Here are some of the example dashboards you could create easily in Data Studio.

This Google Analytics Dashboard created by Data Studio Team shows some quick insights into your website’s visitor acquisition channels, visitors behaviour and conversions performance.

Web Analytics (GA) Dashboard


There are some other dashboards created by the Data Studio community that are worth checking out. User Journey Dashboard, created by Search Foresight, is one of the dashboards that impressed me! It’s nicely designed to allow users to follow through the entire user journey from landing on the website to exit, along with useful metrics.


User Journey Dashboard


How to Get Started?

Account Creation

To get started with GDS, you need to have a Google account. Then, head over to and click USE IT FOR FREE.

Once you created your account, you should be seeing the landing page below.


Data Studio Landing Page


If you would like to create a report from scratch, hit that + Create to start building your report!

Where to Find free Data Studio Templates?

Since this article is all about creating a dashboard from a ready-made template, I would like to share with you a few resources to look for free templates.

Data Studio Marketing Templates

For a digital marketing related dashboard, go to Data Studio Report Gallery to look for the templates. In the Marketing Templates tabs, there are a variety of Dashboards, such as AdWords Report, Youtube Channel Report, Google Ads Dashboard, and Google Analytics Dashboard.


GDS Free Marketing Template

All the templates here are provided by Data Studio Team and it’s all free.

Data Studio Community Templates

Here are all the community dashboards produced by Data Studio Community. You can find all kinds of interesting dashboards here, ranging from Weather Forecast to Star Wars, to Olympics Dashboard.

However, not every report is free to use. To check if a report is available to use as a template, you may hover on the report header (on top). Then, click the 3 dots to see if the option to Make a Copy is available.


How to check if a report is available for copy?


If you don’t mind paying, you may also look for Google Data Studio Templates in marketplace like GumRoad, Etsy and so on.

How to Use Data Studio Template?

Step 1: Copy the Report

To use a Data Studio Template, you may click on the “Use Template” button to copy the report.

Click “Use Template” Button to Use the Template

If there is no button simply click on the 3 dots at the top right navigation bar, and select “Make A Copy”. (In Data Studio, the creator can choose to hide the navigation and only show it on hover. Don’t panic just yet if you don’t see the 3 dots, just try to hover on the top of the page then you’ll see the navigation bar) 


Click “Make a Copy” to Use the Template.


Step 2: Connect to Data Source

Once you click that button, there’ll be a prompt asking you to select a data source to be added to the new report. Just click Copy Report. This basically will create a new report that looks exactly like it’s showing in the template.

Now you shall connect to the data source using the selected data source. In most cases, this step would involve the authorisation of your analytics account. Once the authorisation is completed, you may start to see your data flowing into the dashboard.

Please do note that this step varies depending on the type of data source connector the dashboard uses.

If you just want to get an idea of how it works for Youtube Analytics Account, here’s a quick 10 min tutorial to walk you through the process in detail.


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