Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Channel Data in Google Data Studio

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Channel Data in Google Data Studio

In this blog post I’m going to show you two methods for displaying year on year Google Analytics Channel data in Google Data Studio.

The Data Studio report I’ve created is below.

Method 1: How to create a Time Series Chart

The first step for both these methods is to set up our Dates to show two full years. For this example I’ve decide to show 1 January 2017 – 31 December 2018.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

For the Time Series chart, click ‘Add a chart’ and then Time Series.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

You’ll end up with a graph like this, showing sessions for the full two year period.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

The next step is to change the Time Dimension for this chart.

You’ll want to change the Time Dimension to ‘Year’.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

The next step, is to add a Breakdown Dimension. For this example we want to choose ‘Default Channel Grouping’.

Once we’ve changed our Time Dimension to ‘Year’ and our Breakdown Dimension to ‘Default Channel Grouping’ we will have a char that looks like the one below.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

To change it to something better, we will need to change each Series to display as ‘Bars’ and not a ‘Line’.

Once you change the first Series to ‘Bars’ the chart will look something like what is shown below.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

Once we’ve changed all the Series from Lines to Bars we will have a chart like the one below.

It’s ok, but not a great way of easily comparing the year on year change for each channel. I’ll show a different method below.

Method 2: How to create a year on year Bar Chart

To create our second Method, we’ll start by adding a Bar / Column chart.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

You should have something that looks like the chart below.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

The next thing to do is to change the Dimension to ‘Default Channel Grouping’.

Now our chart should look like the one below.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

The next step is to add another Dimension to the chart. We will choose Year and add it.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

Our Bar chart data now has two Dimensions in it, ‘Default Channel Grouping’ and ‘Year’.

We now have the number of sessions for each Channel for 2017 and 2018. This option allows us to compare the channels easier.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

Adding Year as a Breakdown dimension

Below is a gif showing how to add Year as a breakdown dimension when using Google Analytics data.

A gif showing how to add Year as a breakdown dimension when using Google Analytics data.

Sorting by Year

We can use the secondary sort to sort the years in ascending order so that the 2019 data appears before the 2020 data.

Sorting by year

Adding in a filter to choose specific months

One more feature we can add is a way to filter the data by month.

To do this we add a Filter control to the report.

We choose ‘Month of the year’ (not to be confused with ‘Month of Year’) and add it to our Filter Control.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

For our Filter we then change the Order settings to ‘Dimension’ and ‘Ascending’.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

Changing the order to ‘Dimension’ and ‘Ascending’ gives us our months in the calendar order.

Two Methods for displaying Year on Year Google Analytics Channel Data in Google Data Studio

We can now filter our data in the report by month, and look at year on year data for each month of the year.

Hope you found this useful!

My Other Blog Posts

If you liked this article, you might enjoy some of my other blog posts.

I’m Michael


I’m a digital analyst with seven years experience in digital marketing. I’m skilled in web analytics, tag management and data visualization.

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Martin says:

    Hi Michael, just came across you article as I’m having trouble creating a Year on Year comparison for a Bar Chart. My issue is that I only seem to have the option for one dimension available when I’m selecting it. I can choose a breakdown dimension but that isn’t working for year on year.

    I don’t have the option to select 2 dimensions like in your guide. Am I missing something here??

    I’d greatly appreciate your help.

    Thanks
    Martin

    • Michael says:

      Hi Martin,
      I added a gif to the post showing how to add Year as a breakdown dimension. Let me know if that helps you with your issue? What date range are you using?

  • Michael says:

    Hi, it works for me, but I’ve got problems with sorting. It sorts by total but I want it sorted by the data of the most recent year (I’ve got 2018 and 2019 and the bars shoult be sorted by 2019).

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