Last updated for your viewing pleasure on April 10, 2022

Custom Data Visualizations: Access & Build Your Manifest Path

Written by: JJ Reynolds
Lover of both data & having a good time. I spend my days creating bombdiggity reports🤘🏽 that knock the socks off our clients and help them take action faster than ever before through dynamic Looker Studio Dashboards!

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You have stumbled upon Manifest Path (Custom Visualization) but do not know how to use it, if your data is safe, or what to do next.

I am here to guide you through the world of custom visualizations within Looker Studio.

Manifest Paths allow for Looker Studio users to build custom data visualizations for internal use or share them with the world. With a custom visualization, you do not need to worry about default chart limitations.

I have chosen to share a few custom visualizations publicly FOR FREE

Checkout all our publicly available custom visualization

How To Use Custom Manifest Paths

A manifest path should look something like this 👇

gs://manifest-path

Pro Tip: You must include the “gs://”

Community Visualizations – Add

Directly to the right of “Add a chart” you find “Community Visualizations & Components” drop down.

Google has approved a select few to their community visualizations library.

I do not know Google Chooses to approve or disprove community visualizations. I have submitted 2 and have never gotten a response…

If you know someone at Google, hit me up and i’ll slide them a $20 to hit approve on my community visualization applications.

Custom Visualizations

Hit “Explore More” and a modal will open at the bottom of your screen.

Now you have the option of selecting one of the many “Custom Visualizations” or select “Build Your Own Visualization” (which we have done for you)

Now you have a little box open for you to paste in your Manifest Path…

Why is it called a manifest path you ask?

I have no bloody idea 🤷, I am sure there is some coder reason why.

If it were up to me, i’d have called it a “Wizy Vizy” but i guess that is why I do not work at Google 🙁

Simply Paste your custom Manifest Path (aka Wizy Vizy) here and you are up and running!

Ta-da! That is is.

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Is My Data Secure with Custom Visualizations?

Your data is secure when using a Custom Visualization.

In fact as a creator of custom Visualization for the public (that is you reading this) and clients for Mediauthentic.com we have next to 0 visibility on their application.

We can not see:

  1. ❌ How you are using them,
  2. ❌ What you are doing
  3. ❌ How often they are being utilized.

I am not a Lawyer, (I have watched Suits though) so if you have any concerns, I would consult with your legal team before going hog wild.

I can tell you, only one time has any client ever voiced a concern and taken action on this. We ended up needed to build a completely custom viz due to an internal policy about not using any public libraries, but that was a Billion (with a B) dollar company that was happy to pay for that custom service.

Otherwise we just create them using js libraries which allow you lots of flexibility.

How To Make My Own Custom Visualization: Manifest Path?

If you want a partner who has created custom visualizations before, Please Contact Me. LookerStudio.VIP/consulting

You will spend dozens of hours to make a simple chart, then dozens trying to adjust it to a specific use case, then dozens of hours trying to make it do something you didn’t intend and rebuilding it from scratch.

Google actually has some great literature on how to do this. 🤯 not a normal Sentence I know.

You can read about how to create your own here:

  1. Overview of custom visualizations https://developers.google.com/datastudio/visualization
  2. Instructions: https://codelabs.developers.google.com/codelabs/community-visualization/#0
Screen grab of Google’s Instructions

Simple Instruction on How To Create A Custom Visualization.

If you haven’t realized, I am not a coder.

I can get around with Google for basic HTML, CSS, SQL, and JavaScript, but could not do this on my own. I work with awesome developers (Hi👋 team) who help bring my childish visions to light & help get our clients amazing actionability out of Looker Studio 😲!

Now we can pump out an EPIC 🤘 custom visualization in a couple of weeks as long as I define what we need up front without having to rebuild it because I missed noting something very basic like the fact that a user should be able to hover to get other metrics (my bad).

If I were to start at a new company with 0 team, these are the steps I would follow.

Steps to Success

  1. Create a hyper specific use case that you need a custom visualization for.
    • Common use cases would be:
      • A visualization which takes more than 50 components (Looker Studio’s limit)
      • Custom interactions
      • Custom layout of a custom data schema
      • Multiple external factors that you want to build into your component
  2. Hire a developer who has these qualities:
    • Java Scrip
    • Comfortable with React
    • Master of CSS & HTML 🙂
    • Understands data handlers
    • Comfortable with a variety of data sources & UX / UI limitations of GDS
    • Is fun to work with because you will be talking through edge cases a lot 🙂
  3. Design the functionality and option-ability you want in Adobe XD
  4. Send said designs to your developer.
  5. Answer their questions about calculations that need to be done, hover effects, & default values/states.
  6. Repeat steps as needed until you have a visualization that works for you.

How I Personally Use Custom Manifest Paths

There are three reasons I use custom visualizations. I am sure other people have other reasons, but I wanted to give you my slice of life 🙂

WOW Clients

Nothing says “I love you” like a custom visualization to a client. Seriously, we have build just under a dozen custom visualizations for our clients.

Examples I can disclose;

  • Facebook Ad Custom visual for all image & copy analysis & buildouts.
  • Dimension breakout where a user can click on any entity and it opens a modal with ever metric associated with that dimension.
  • Multi location analyzer, we had a 100+ location enterprise where we needed to know a few custom breakdowns. Problem is in GDS you can only have 50 components ☹️. Had to go custom.

Marketing

Marketing is hard and I want to make sure we always have leads knocking on our door. So I want to show off what we have built for FREE, then imagine what we can do with some thing Custom if needed.

Fun + Community

You are here on LookerStudio.VIP, meaning you know that I love to overshare lol. It’s a lot of fun to build custom visualizations. Its challenging and I get to hear amazing responses from people on how they are using them and what they would like to see next.

If you are on my email list, you can hit ‘reply’ to any email you get and let me know what you are thinking 🙂

Need Something Custom?

So after reading this you have decided that custom might not be for you?

Consider having me consult & then we can build out something that suites your needs that is 100% just for you!

Grab a time that works for you👇👇👇

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