Website analytics will uncover information that is worth sharing with your staff or other stakeholders in your business. When you use a well-considered measurement plan, you will have relevant and meaningful reports that can help to guide decisions. You could choose to share reports straight from Google Analytics, but this has some limitations – the best you can do is a static PDF report. 

Another approach is to build reports in Google Data Studio from the Google Analytics data. This gives you more flexibility in design and scope of reports. You will also have more options for sharing, which works much the same as sharing from Google Drive. The person receiving your share will get a link to your interactive report, rather than a static offline view.

Which settings should I choose?

There are a few sharing options available in Google Data Studio, as in Google Drive. You may find the interface a little confusing, but it becomes easier if you think about the settings as two parts that work independently of one another –  Add/Invite people and Link Sharing.

  • Add people (or Invite people) allows you to specifically assign permission to people. You can grant each person permission either to view or edit the report. First let’s consider that we have given permission to view only: 
    • If Link Sharing is set to ‘OFF’, then the invited people will be the only ones who can access the report. They will need to log on with their Google logon in order to see the report.
    • If Link Sharing is ‘ON’ and set to ‘Anyone with the link can view’, access is extended to anyone who has the link to the report. You could send the link by email or any means, and the recipients could send it to others. No logon will be required to view the report, either for the people you have invited or others. 
  • Let’s now consider that we have invited people to edit the report:
    • If Link Sharing is set to ‘OFF’, then the invited people will be the only ones who can access the report, as above.
    • If Link Sharing is ‘ON’ and set to ‘Anyone with the link can view’, your report now has 2 distinct permission groups. Invited people can log on to edit, while anyone with the link can view without logging on.

Other considerations

  • When you invite people to edit your report, these people can also change the Link Sharing setting between ON and OFF and can invite further people. Essentially, they have the same sharing ability as the creator of the report.
  • You can share a report with an email address that is not a Google address, but it will only be able to be viewed (not edited) by the recipient, and only if Link Sharing is set to ON.
  • If you do not invite anyone to view or edit your report, you can still set Link Sharing to ‘ON’, and share the link. No logon will be required.
  • There is an option to set Link Sharing as ‘Anyone with the link can edit’, but you are unlikely to want to do that.

Think about your audience

In practice, if the report is for a small defined audience, you should invite individuals to view it or edit it. You will need to enable Link Sharing if some of your recipients do not have Google accounts. In this case, the recipients will need to take responsibility for keeping the link within the intended audience. Link sharing is ideal if you want to share widely and have people re-share.