How to make your reports run faster in Looker Studio?

You're the happy owner of a 8 cores 4.5GHz CPU laptop, coupled with a gigabit internet connection. Top-notch, least to say. And still, your Google Looker Studio dashboards (previously known as Data Studio) take ages to load, so frustating!

No worries. In this articles, we'll review all best practices to make your reports run faster. Spoiler: you might not be able to implement all of them, and it's fine. You need to find the right balance between speed and amount of data you want to share, I can't make the call for you. But I can guide you in the right direction to get some improvements here and there.

Without further delay, here goes our list of best practices. Enjoy the reading :)

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Reduce the number of data sources

Sounds dumb right? Well, it's not totally true. Of course, for native Google or third-party connectors, there is no way to overcome having various data sources. But for database connections, you might be able to combine them so instead of having 3 different data sources to get 3 metrics, try to mix them into one. It's all about calculation efficiency here, and believe me, it works.

Use views instead of queries for databases data sources

Linked to the previous one, what about relocating the calculation outside of Looker Studio? Indeed, when you're using a query, you're asking Looker Studio to pull loads of data and make a lots of transformation. It's way more efficient to give it a cached table ready to be read by using views.

Change data freshness frequency

For viewers, Looker Studio relies on cached data (for editors, I believe data gets updated every time you open the dashboard, so not much you can do here). So try not to refresh data too often, select the longest delay data freshness (usually 12 hours), for most reports people don't need last minute data. You can find this option under Resource, Manage added data sources, Edit, and then top right of your screen, Data freshness:

Looker Studio data freshness

Reduce the number of components

This is the trickiest one. Do you really need to show every single metric with five controls on your report? Think twice about what you share here, because this can dramatically improve the speed of your reports whilst having a limited impact on your users (do they need to know average session duration by keyword query and country? Maybe not).

If you still want to share as much data as you can, then consider splitting them on several pages, or even splitting your reports in two (what about sharing a fast high-level KPIs reports, and a slower one with all data at hand?).

Limit the number of controls and calculated fields

Related to the previous one, every control / calculated field add some burden on Looker Studio. Reduce where possible, it'll run smoother.

Set a small default date range

If you've got a report-level date range control, try to select the smaller range you can (last 7 days?). It can provide some improvements when first landing on the report, although when playing with it it'll still take some times to update:

Looker Studio restrict date range control

Use the Extract data data source

Linked to what we've seen previously, we can cache data directly in Looker Studio using the Extract data data source. Basically, it allows you to cache data from any existing data sources. Reduce the number of fields (dimensions & metrics) and put a date range restriction, so when data is pulled, it goes through less rows and runs faster:

Looker Studio extract data

Limit the use of Blend data

Blended data are not efficient at all and take a lot of CPU. Try to limit their use, or at least limit the number you're using to boost a bit your dashboard.

Delete not used data sources, blend data and filters

Are there some components you are not using (ie attached to 0 chart)? Well, just delete them. Gain is unclear here, but sounds like a good practice for clarity anyways!

If you managed to follow some of the recommendations above, you should already observe some improvements in your report. You're very welcome :)


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