Latest Updates on Google Data Analytics (March 2022)

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

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Photo by Thomas Knorr

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, Data 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, Data Studio, Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager.

BigQuery

Google Search Public Dataset

BigQuery offers a lot of public datasets with data from different topics. Google added a new dataset with Google Search Trends. You can find the dataset here

 

The dataset has a lot of data and looks like a great way, to learn BigQuery, write the first SQL Queries and build dashboards.

Slot recommender

Google still tries to help the users of BigQuery to get more insights into the payment behaviour of their BigQuery instances. The slot recommender analyzes your usage of BigQuery and knows your current billing model. 

 

When you use on-demand billing you will get advice if you should switch to flat-rate pricing and how much money you would save. Other insights are also possible for the usage of the resources.

Specify schema for external tables

When you create external tables in BigQuery with Parquet, ORC and AVRO files you can specify the schema now. Before it was just possible to use the auto-detect schema option.

Data Studio

More table rows

Data Studio got a lot of small changes. For example, they increased the possible number of rows of a table on one page from 5.000 to 50.000 rows. I am not sure when you need 50000 rows in a table and also take into consideration that your page load speed decreases with the amount of data you show.

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Last possible steps for Rows per page

Default cross-filtering

Another small change, that you should keep in mind, is the change for cross-filtering. With cross-filtering, you can click on a dimensional value in a chart and the report gets filtered for this value.

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Filter for the region "San Jose"

Quick Tip: With CMD + Left Click you can select more than one filter value.

From now on the cross-filtering setting is enabled by default for new charts (for most connectors). You should consider when it makes sense to offer that option to the users because it could happen that they click on a Chart by mistake and then the report gets filtered.

Improved homepage search

On the homepage of Data Studio, you can find your reports, templates, data sources and many more. You can also search for them and this search got improved. 

 

  • Search for reports you have shared with a person (to: person)

  • Reports or Data Sources shared with you (from: person)

  • Search by the owner

  • Using “me” for your own account

 

Also, the use of “AND” or “OR” for building a detailed search is also possible.

Google Analytics

End of Universal Analytics

This is not part of the Release Notes from Google Analytics, but I think the biggest announcement in the last weeks. We wrote our own blog post about it, so just a quick summary.

Mid of 2023 the support for Universal Analytics gets stopped and the properties will not collect any data. It is the right time to start with the “new” version of Google Analytics, Google Analytics 4. It is still not the perfect analytics solution, but it is getting better and better. Additionally, there is no way to convert your UA data to GA4 data, so you should start tracking to fill your GA4 properties. 

New Home Page for GA4

The new starting point for the GA4 platform is the Home Page. Overall it shows a summary of the behaviour of the users on your website or app. The shown charts and KPIs are adjusting to your behaviour on the platform over time, so for example which reports you are looking at most of the time.

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The new GA4 Home Page

Google Tag Manager

Firestore API

Cloud Firestore is a NoSQL, transactional and document-based database in the Google Cloud Platform. It is a strong database, especially for operational usage. With the combination of server-side tracking and Firestore, you can enrich your reporting. 

 

An example would be a purchase on the website. You just send the order id to the GTM and when you use Firestore as your operational database you can get all the additional information you need from Firestore. The steps you have to do in GTM to achieve that, are the following:

  • Create a Firestore variable in GTM

  • Add the order id from the website to the request 

  • Define the data you want

  • Enrich your tags with the information from Firestore

 

This is one great example to show the strength of server-side Tracking. It can easily interact with other tools and define the requests on a detailed level. 

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Upcoming datadice blog posts for this month

  • Integrating data sources into a full-stack data platform - here

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.

 

We also started with our own YouTube channel. We talk about important DWH, BigQuery, Data Studio and many more topics. Check out the channel here.

 

If you want to learn more about how to use Google Data Studio and take it to the next level in combination with BigQuery, check our Udemy course here.

 

If you are looking for help to set up a modern and cost-efficient data warehouse or analytical dashboards, send us an email to hello@datadice.io and we will schedule a call.