Before we get into the technical aspects, first let me introduce myself. My name is Dan Tracey and I am digital media and data specialist with the main focus of my work being primarily sports-based and from here, the overwhelming passion is Soccer/Football depending on which side of the Atlantic Ocean that you find yourself situated on.
With 2020 being a year that we all want to forget, 2021 is very much about learning new skills and when you consider that as a populace we are now afforded with far more time indoors than we first hoped for, then there is no real reason to procrastinate anymore.
An attitude of which I got a head start on over the festive period, as there are so many bad foods one can eat and while taking a break from the gluttony, I thought it was time to dive into Google Data Studio.
My background is in Data Analysis but to be honest the element of Data Viz is one that has passed me by and if there’s one element that is really important in this day and age, it is the ability to be able to tell a story with the data and not just analyze it on a spreadsheet.
Because what you have to consider is that although you may know the answers, those in your team or clients you work for may not share the same aptitude for data, and therefore, neat visualization is a way to bridge that gap.
Where I say the whole world of Data Viz has passed me by, I must stress I’m not a complete luddite, it’s more the fact that I absolutely love Excel and perhaps have been too loyal to that in the past, while I’ve also dabbled with the likes of Visual Studio and Tableau in the past.
However, these dabblings have failed to scratch an itch and it is perhaps bad experiences with those two, that have left me cold when it comes to trying to paint a picture with data (although I will give a hat tip to the lesser-known Klipfolio)
Using Google Data Studio as Inspiration
Sometimes though you just need a moment of inspiration to catapult you forward and that is exactly what has happened with Google Data Studio and in less time that I’ve spent on either Visual Studio or Tableau, I’ve already got the hang on of this platform and instead of being bogged down by something that will not work as hoped, I’m already thinking “what else can I create going forward” and have a pipeline of ideas ready to explore.
While in terms of creation, I’m a huge believer of using data that you know, as that way you are more comfortable in what you are trying to visualise and this also means, that you should be able to dig deeper in terms of insight. This means if I use my advice, I was always going to use Soccer/Football data as the basis of my initial foray into Google Data Studio.
A foray that was so much simpler than I first anticipated and although having some semblance of experience that can be transferred obviously helps, there was a large element of “plug and play” in all of this.
Now the data I was handling was nothing more than table-based, so to put it in a rudimentary table would have been rather safe and not caught the eye of people on platforms such as LinkedIn. Which meant it was time to think outside of the box and if there is one other passion that sits outside of sport and data, it is a synthesizer and the futuristic world that it lives in.
Therefore, what better way to combine all three than by producing some new wave concept art and tabling some Soccer stats in such a design type.
Examples that look as follows:
Here I’ve not only taken the existing data but also made use of the calculated field option and have combined data fields, to then create further layer of insight and in doing so, adding extra context to the analysis (don’t worry if Soccer is not your bag, as ultimately logic and thought process should not be a million miles from your own)
Creating an Automated Dashboard
By bringing my ideas to life, I now have a set of automated dashboards that will repopulate each week when more matches are played and I can use this for my own analytical and content purposes. From start to finish this only took me 1 hour and in that time, I have saved so much time going forward. time I have already used on other dashboards:
While here’s a non-sporting dashboard that looks at the UK Lottery game ‘Set For Life’
I hope you have liked my introductory story to my use of Google Data Studio and if you ever had any data projects that you need some additional resource for be that mining/analysis or visualisation then you can contact me via the following channels:
Thanks for reading
Dan Tracey is an avid Tottenham Hotspur fan who, when not at the new Tottenham Stadium, can usually be found writing or talking about football.
With a multitude of experience within content creation, Dan has worked on behalf of UEFA compiling statistics and has written for the likes of Sportsbet, Physioroom, GiveMeBet and Sportslens.
In addition to this, he is the voice to a number of successful football podcasts and loves handling and talking about data.