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Connecting Google Analytics with Microsoft Power BI

Posted: Jul 18, 2018

Categories: Big Data, Microsoft, Power BI

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Connecting Google Analytics with Microsoft Power BI

Capturing, managing and analyzing the slew of information entering multiple systems every day is challenging for companies of any size. And every piece of user data that goes untracked is a lost insight that could put your business one step ahead of competitors.

For companies invested in the Microsoft suite, Power BI (business intelligence) is a cost-effective and useful tool for understanding massive amounts of data. Power BI can aggregate insights from hundreds of data sources, including Google Analytics—one of the most comprehensive web data analytics tools.

Read on to learn how to connect your Google Analytics account to Power BI.

First - A Bit About Microsoft Power BI

Data analysts are tasked with extracting insights from vast amounts of data to evaluate business processes and create IT-based solutions. But it’s unreasonable to spend days or weeks analyzing millions of rows of data in spreadsheets.

Microsoft created Power BI to simplify business intelligence for analysts, developers and business users. It lets you connect to hundreds of data sources, streamline data preparation and visualize the insights. You can create beautiful reports in minutes that condense millions of pieces of data.

Data visualization is about more than just creating nice reports and dashboards. It’s essential for summarizing and making sense of vast amounts of data so you can make decisions faster. Power BI allows you to:

  • Integrate Data from Existing Applications: Power BI integrates with your current business environment, so you can adopt analytics and reporting capabilities across applications. You can pull in data from just about anywhere, including Azure, Exchange, SharePoint, Salesforce and even Facebook.
  • Create Personalized Dashboards: The most important feature of Power BI is the ability to create customized information dashboards. You can embed custom dashboards and BI reports in any application that Power BI is connected to.
  • Quickly Extract Business Intelligence: Power BI transforms your enterprise data into rich visuals, making it easy to distill intelligent insights for quicker and more accurate decision-making.
  • Securely Publish Reports: You can set up an automatic data refresh and publish reports to give all users access to the latest information.

Why Connect Google Analytics With Power BI?

Google Analytics is a free tool that lets you track and analyze website traffic and visitor behavior. Google Analytics metrics are important for assessing your company’s website performance, marketing and ad campaigns and learning about your customers. But as a standalone tool, Google Analytics doesn’t allow you to connect your website data to other company data or compare against data trends.

Power BI makes it possible to connect Google Analytics with hundreds of other data sources. By importing data from Google Analytics into Power BI, you can view website performance metrics in the context of countless other variables. Integrating Google Analytics with Power BI gives you the ability to:

  • Get More Profound Answers to Data Questions: By amplifying your web data in Power BI, you can uncover hidden relationships or patterns that give way to new opportunities.
  • Explore Your Data in New Ways: Compare your Google Analytics data with external data trends that are influencing the marketplace. Connect marketing data to other sales, finance or operational data – or import data from external sources and evaluate your web performance against industry trends.
  • Expand Your Business Insights: Tracking site behavior only scratches the surface of your business and brand performance. Put Power BI to work on your Google Analytics data to see the big picture and take business insights to a higher level.

How to Connect Google Analytics With Power BI

Follow these steps to connect your Google Analytics data into your Power BI Desktop:

  • In Power BI Desktop, click “Get Data” from the Home ribbon tab.
  • Select “Online Services” from the categories in the left pane.
  • Select Google Analytics from the list of online services.
  • At the bottom of the window, click “Connect”.
  • You’ll be prompted with a dialog that explains that the Google Analytics connector is a third-party service. Click “Continue” to move forward.
  • You’ll be prompted to sign in to Google Analytics. When you enter your credentials, you’ll see a message that Power BI would like to have online access. To let Power BI Desktop access your GA data, you’ll want to accept.
  • After you accept, Power BI Desktop will show that you’re signed in to Google Analytics.
  • Select “Connect” to link your Google Analytics data with Power BI Desktop.

Some Closing Thoughts

Analyzing your Google Analytics data in Power BI lets you better understand how your website and marketing performance impacts your overall business strategy.

Once your Google Analytics account is connected, you can use Power BI’s visualization tools to drill down into your website data. For example, you can create an interactive 3D map that shows how site visitors track across various locations over time. If you see a spike in web traffic at a certain time and place, you can cross-check the peak against external events, like a local conference or sales announcement. With greater visibility and context surrounding your website data, you can drive smarter, real-time decision-making.

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