What is a Power BI Content Pack?
- A content pack is a set of out-of-the-box content components, allowing users to immediately gain insights into data from a specific source.
Power BI content packs include the following content components
- Data Model
- Optimized for natural language query
For Google Analytics, having the data model available with all the core elements saves you a ton of time. The natural language query ability is also a time-saver when doing analytics because you can just start typing in questions to gain insight about your web traffic and SEO data. If you’ve done much work with Google Analytics, you’ll appreciate not having to piece together multiple queries that limit you to a handful of dimensions and that limit the calculations you can pull. The GA content pack has the following data included, and can be refreshed on a regular schedule:
All the core web traffic data and reports are included in the Google Analytics content pack. Data on Affinity, Segmentation, Keywords, and AdWords are not included, but you could easily add those data sources to the content pack dashboard with additional custom reports. Here’s a quick view of the dashboard and all the core reports available from simply hooking up your Google Analytics to Power BI. The Google Analytics Dashboard shows you at-a-glance reports of the last 30 days of site traffic, Average daily new users and growth, session graphs, top page views, sessions, bounces, and page load times:
Clicking on any of the reports from the dashboard brings you to a detailed report showing additional information and details. Each of the reports is setup along a tab on the bottom of the reports page, allowing you to easily toggle between the various detailed reports without having to go back to the dashboard. The following screen shots show each of the out-of-the-box reports that are automatically created when you add the Google Analytics content pack.
Each of the detailed reports are interactive allowing users to click, filter, and drill into more information to get specific information about any datapoint.
Setting up Google Analytics
Setting up the GA content pack takes just a couple minutes. Click on the Get Data link on the bottom-left of the Power BI menu. On the Get Data screen, under the Content Pack Library, click the Get button under Services.
From the list of services, scroll down to the Google Analytics service and click the Get button. Take some time before clicking to look at all the other service content packs available. If your organization uses any of the other services, you can easily come back and add those services for similar content experiences and capabilities.
When you click the Get button on Google Analytics service, you’re prompted to connect to your GA account. Follow the prompts and login to your account. When prompted, select the account, property, and view you want to connect to Power BI. When finished click the Import button.
Power BI will automatically query and pull in all the data and automatically setup your dashboard and the reports for you. Once the data is finished importing everything is ready for use.
Setting up Automatic Refresh for Google Analytics Data
By default, the Google Analytics content pack schedules the GA data to be refreshed once per day. You can adjust the refresh schedule to accommodate your needs by adjusting the data refresh schedule. Click on the “Open menu” depicted as an ellipsis next to Google Analytics data source in the Datasets section of your Power BI menu. . The ellipsis menu shows up when you hover over the selection. From the pop-up menu, select Schedule Refresh.
Note that there’s also a Refresh Now selection that you can use to refresh your Google Analytics data manually. The refresh schedule allows you choose to refresh GA data on either a daily or weekly refresh frequency. It’s important to set your time zone so reports using time will display in your local time zone.
Once your refresh schedule is set, Power BI will automatically pull fresh Google Analytics based on the schedule. If your Power BI reports are embedded into a web page, those reports will automatically reflect current data as it’s refreshed.
Setting up Quick Insights
One other Power BI feature called Quick Insights is available from the Data Sources menu. When you use Quick Insights against your GA data, Power BI interrogates your data using various data mining algorithms to provide you additional reports and information.
Selecting Quick Insights will kick off the insights job. It normally takes just a few minutes to process the insights, and you’ll see a small notification window in the top right of your Power BI page while it’s processing.
When the insights are ready, just click on the View Insights button to see new reports.
Power BI Insights generate 40 new reports based on Google Analytics data. Insights provides various scatter, bar, donut, and line charts allowing you to view your data by time segments, browsers, users, sessions, and other usages statistics. The insights are broken down into categories of Majority, Correlations, Outliers, Clusters, Trends, and Variances, based on the data mining algorithms used to provide the insights. Here’s a screen shot of the auto-generated insights:
With all this information, natural language queries, and insights available out-of-the-box (OOTB) for free, you’d have to be an ID10T not to use the Power BI Google Analytics content pack! Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear about your experience, and also to learn other ways you’re making use of Power BI and Google Analytics.
Using Google Analytics in SharePoint and Office 365 (online or on-prem)
If you’re interested in using Google Analytics with your SharePoint Online or On-Premises environment or with your Office 365 account, Adrian Fiechter has written a solid freeware product called Plain365. Plain365 is a free tool allowing you to configure Google Analytics on multiple sites with no dependency on Sandbox solutions, apps, or add-ins. It works with Office 365 and SharePoint. You can download Plain365 from Adrian’s website, or download the source code on CodePlex from the Google Analytics SharePoint 2013 / Office 365 project. Adrian has recently published an updated version with new features and capabilities. I’ve personally used this solution for over 5 years with great results for both on-prem and online SharePoint farms.