How to use Reference Lines in Google Data Studio

By Zekeriya Mulbay

Usually marketers want to know how their campaigns are performing over a time period. They would like to be able to group data by specific date ranges if they use the date range filters. This angle give them changes in KPIs over time and let them make calculated decisions.

How to set a reference date

  1. Click on the chart/report you want to add
  2. Navigate to DATA tab on the right hand menu
  3. Click on the drop down menu, under the Default Data Range selector

Choose the desired reference point.

Here is how to set it;

When you add a reference date, you will get a red or green arrow with a value under the main value. If you are using table charts, you will get this in the next column. These numbers show the difference between reference points.

For example;

The scorecard from the above shows there has been increase of %9.4 compared to previous year.

You can make some changes how this value will be shown. In order to do that, when the chart is selected, navigate to STYLE tab and find the section COMPARISON METRIC.

  • You can change the colors of arrows
  • You can change the decimal precision
  • You can show absolute change instead of ratio (%)

Spread the word

Keep reading