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Latest Updates on Google Data Analytics (December 2023)

The highlights of the updates on BigQuery, Looker Studio, Google Analytics (GA) & Google Tag Manager (GTM). By Alexander Junke

In this blog post, I want to summarize the new releases from the Google tools, that we use daily in datadice. Therefore I want to give an overview of the new features of BigQuery, Looker Studio, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Furthermore, I will focus on the releases that I consider to be the most important ones and I will also name some other changes that were made.

If you want to take a closer look, here you can find the Release Notes from BigQuery, Looker Studio, Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager.


BigQuery ML features

As usual, there are new Machine Learning improvements, especially for the preprocessing stage:

  • The new ML.TRANSFORM function you can use to preprocess the data with certain rules and to prepare it for the ML Model. Link to a Guide.
  • For preprocessing functions, you can take transform-only models. The idea is to separate between processing and training and it is easier to reuse certain preprocessing rules


Preview of changes

I would say, the best feature this month! But an essential feature as well.

When you make changes to the code and you want to commit these changes, you see a comparison of the code before and after the changes.

As you know from other code management services, you see your changes in green and if it overwrites the old status, it is shown in red.

After you see the changes and you can select which files you want to commit now, Dataform closes the gap step by step to services like Github or Gitlab to have a nice working Code Management and Coworking platform.

Workspace Tabs

Another useful feature is the file tabs in the workspace. Every new file you select opens a new tab above the code area and you can easily switch between the files you are working on. 

If you click on a file in the navigation and it is already available via a tab, it switches to the existing tab and will not create a new tab.

Looker Studio

Custom Groupings (No Pro)

This is a completely new functionality to create custom data fields. 

In easy words, it is a more intuitive CASE-WHEN statement. The workflow in general:

  • Click on “Add group”
  • Select the field you want to group by
  • Define the Group Name and which values are part of the group

Later this month we will publish our own blog post about how it works and what are the main aspects.

Chart and table improvements (No Pro)

There are some new settings for charts and tables available:

  • In tables, you can now transpose, freeze columns, and resize the row heights

  • You can show the defined value of a reference line in the chart

  • Add stepped lines for all the different line charts

Connection Maps (No Pro)

Google has added a lot of different new map types to Looker Studio in the last time. The new Connection Map can draw lines between points. 

For this kind of chart is the 3D and tilt functionality important which I showed in the last blog post, because some connections could be hidden if you just see it in 2D.

Further information and an example can be found here.

Google Analytics

Improvements for connected GMP

If you connected your GA4 property with your Campaign Manager 360, Display & Video 360, and/or Search Ads 360 accounts there are some new features available.

For every marketing platform you connected are new GA4 reports available. In the Acquisition overview report appears a new summary card with the GMP data and there is a link shown to the corresponding detail page.

In your Acquisition Reports, there are more dimensions from the connected Marketing Platforms available. Here is the list of the dimensions.

Audience Builder in Google Ads

It is possible to create GA4 audiences in Google Ads directly now. It is really useful to create the audiences you need for GAds marketing in GAds and the audiences you need for other analytics in GA4 directly. A guide on how to do this can be found here.

Other small improvements

There are some further adjustments I want to mention:

  • The configured preset date range of an exploration is connected to the open date of the report, not to the creation date of the report anymore
  • When you have a property that collects more than 25 Billion (standard) or 250 Billion (360) events in the last 31 days, the data retention time is reduced to 2 months (More information here)

Google Tag Manager

No further release for the Google Tag Manager.

Further Links

This post is part of the Google Data Analytics series from datadice and explains to you every month the newest features in BigQuery, Data Studio, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.

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