The 6 most common Google Data Studio problems (and how to fix them)

Google Data Studio is a free reporting tool that is easy to learn. In September 2018, the
product was still in beta and under continuous development. Because Data Studio is a new
product, its properties are constantly changing, and you may encounter some strange error
messages. The messages are not always the most informative.
This article presents the most common problems in Google Data Studio and how to fix them.

 

Problem 1: Invalid dimension, metric or filter selected

You’re getting the error message "Configuration Incomplete: Invalid Dimension, Metric or
Filter selected". The erroneous fields or filters show up in red in the Properties panel of the
graph. Usually, this problem appears after the data source connected to a report or graph
has been changed. It can also happen if the data source structure has changed.

Solution

If you have knowingly changed the data source, click the metric or dimension showing as
red and select the desired variable in a new data source. If the filter appears as red, you
need to create a new filter based on the fields of the current data source.
If you have not changed the data source, check the structure of the data source and update
the data source fields at Data Studio’s end by clicking Refresh Fields in the data source field
editing view. If the problem persists, reconnect to the data source.

 

Problem 2: Date fields not showing correctly in Data Studio

Most reporting tools detect different types of data reasonably easily. Even dates may be
presented in different formats. Data Studio, however, requires that dates are in a fixed
format in order to be identified as dates. Data Studio handles dates in the format

YYYYMMDD[HH:MM:SS]

Data sources with a so-called fixed schema (such as Google Analytics) automatically
provide Data Studio with the correct date format. The so-called flexible schema (Google
Sheets, BigQuery), on the other hand, may cause problems with dates. In the case of
flexible-schema data sources, Data Studio attempts to guess the type of the field based on

its heading and content format. Fields named “date”, “year” or “month” are usually identified
as date fields.

 

Solution

Reformat dates in the data source into a format Data Studio understands. It may help to
change the heading.

 

Problem 3: Google Sheets data does not update

Data Studio includes two types of data sources: those that update automatically (such as a
database) and those that require manual updating (such as Google Sheets). Automatically
updated data sources update every time the report is opened or the time window is
changed. Those that require manual updating will update only by clicking on Data Studio’s
own Refresh button. The browser’s Refresh function reloads the report, which only updates
data from automatically updated data sources.

Solution
Click on Data Studio’s own Refresh button.

 

Problem 4: The report filter only filters data from one data source

Reports usually use data from several data sources, and users often want to filter graphs
based on other criteria than dates. The date selection works automatically in all data sources
as long as Data Studio recognises the dates correctly. Data from two sources cannot usually
be filtered by one filter because Data Studio is unable to combine fields from different
sources.

 

Solution
Create a field in all your desired data sources using the same ID. This tells Data Studio to
combine the fields in the different data sources. Use this field as your report filter. Note that
a field ID can only be determined when it is created; an existing field ID cannot be changed.

 

Problem 5: You cannot find a report shared with you

You receive a link in your email to a Data Studio report shared with you. When you click on
the link, however, the view that opens does not include the report.

Solution
Make sure you have logged into Data Studio using the correct Google account. The default
account is the one you have first used to log into Google services in the browser you use.

 

Problem 6: MySQL connection suddenly does not work

You receive an error message “Connection does not exist”, and your MySQL connection
stops working. The reason is likely to be a performance issue.

Solution
Create a new view in the database that includes only the data you need in the report. Create
a new MySQL connection and select the view you just created.

Still having problems? Don’t fret! Get in touch, and we’ll resolve all these issues for you.

Subscribe to Avaus newsletter

It gives you the latest trends and freshest phenomena in marketing from B2C and B2B perspectives.