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Looker vs Tableau - How to Pick Which is Right for Your Business

Data visualization allows the brain to process a large amount of data in one glance.

Through the use of charts and graphs, businesses are able to process information and use it to effectively and quickly influence course corrections and decisions.

Visualizations must be clear, precise, and useful. Data is only helpful if we are able to adequately communicate the information to our teams showing both the big picture and the steps necessary to achieve future goals. This is where tools such as Looker and Tableau come in handy.

There are a number of data visualization tools available, each with varying features. The task of picking which one can be overwhelming. In this article, we are taking a closer look at the popular Looker and Tableau to compare which visualization tool best meets your marketing needs.

Marketers love these two platforms because of the simplicity of use, high standards of customer service, and the beautiful, interactive visualizations they are capable of producing.

The following comparison breaks down the benefits of both BI solutions.

When making the final decision between Looker vs Tableau consider the following:

  • your existing infrastructure
  • company size
  • data analysis needs
  • Know what type of graphs, charts, or storyboards work best to communicate with your team
  • Know what type of access you will need, whether on-site or stored on the platform’s cloud.
  • Take a look at Looker and Tableau’s visualization output and decide which one would best communicate your marketing campaign data.

While these data visualization tools are great for building charts and graphs that tell your company story, it can still be a tedious challenge to gather your data from various sources and send it all to your visualization or BI tool.

That's where tools like Improvado save the day. Improvado is a tool that helps marketers automatically link all data to their data visualization or BI tool. Click here to learn more.

Both Looker and Tableau are compatible with Improvado. This means you can rely on Improvado to automate the process of sending data into whichever Data Visualization tool you choose, whether it be Tableau, Looker Google Data Studio, PowerBI or any other. Turn your data into beautiful, easy to interpret visualizations.

Read on to read a comparison of Looker vs Tableau.

Looker




Looker—a powerful data analytics platform—can help both large and small companies glean value from their data. This platform to make collecting, visualizing, and analyzing data a bit easier. Looker is browser-based and offers a unique modeling language. Looker is simple to use. The software makes it easy to choose, customize, and create a variety of interactive visualizations, providing a variety of graphs and charts to choose from.

Pros:

  • Great customization
  • Offers a visualization library of bubble charts, word clouds, chord diagrams, spider web charts and heatmaps.
  • Very intuitive
  • Integrates with big data platform and databases
  • No need to extract data, can leave it in the database
  • Offers analytics code blocks with SQL patterns customizable to your specific needs
  • Excellent customer support, technical support available through chat in seconds
  • Custom install options along with their hosted solutions
  • Works well on both Mac and PC
  • Easy link-sharing from a single tool that makes collaborating with teams simple
  • Mobile, tablet, and desktop friendly
  • Simple to use

Cons:

  • A lack of flexibility within the system due to the simplicity of the tool
  • Long wait times for large dashboards to load
  • Without an external tool, getting your marketing data into Looker is a very manual process - you can either use spreadsheets or build APIs in house (which is very resource intensive)

Pricing:

Looker customizes their prices based on your need. For a quote contact the company directly.


Video:

What is Looker?



Tableau

If you are looking to transform data into beautiful visualizations with actionable insights that make an impact then Tableau may be the BI tool you need. Users can easily connect to data stored nearly anywhere and in nearly any format. Interactive dashboards with advanced visual analytics are created through a drag and drop feature. With Tableau you can create charts, maps, graphs, and several other graphics. Additional visualization features are available that include storyboarding and Tableau’s very own Spatial File Connector which extracts geospatial data. Users have the option of installing Tableau onto their own computer or leaving it in the cloud on Tableau’s server.

Pros:

  • Beautiful, interactive visualizations that are easy to interpret
  • Additional visualization features include storyboarding and Spatial File Connector (which extracts geospatial data)
  • Intuitive analysis with a point-and-click user interface that provides the big picture of company trends and future possibilities
  • Fully customizable dashboards
  • Easy embedding
  • Single sign-on
  • Intuitive and user-friendly
  • Online analytical processing functionalities provide access to databases and web-based analysis
  • Allows user to convert reports into different file formats and share the analytical findings
  • Integrates with a large number of data sources
  • Mobile, tablet, and desktop friendly
  • Access to files using cloud and data warehouses
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • Sometimes large data files can take several minutes to load
  • Graphs are somewhat limited at times
  • The dashboard can be slow at times

Pricing:

Tableau offers two different sets of prices for its software. The first set of prices is for installation on-premise. The second set is for hosting the software on the Tableau server

Video:


In summary:

Visualization

It’s hard to make a clear call into which platform has better visualization capabilities since they both do it so well. Tableau uses structured and unstructured data to create visualizations and has the added features of storyboarding and Spatial File Connector. Looker creates customized visuals and also allows you to choose from a library full of blocks with pre-made dashboard and visualization templates. Improvado provides a number of Marketing Dashboard templates which are available as Looker Blocks.

Analytics

Looker is better when it comes to analytics. While Tableau is excellent with analytics Looker has the advantage due to its platform-exclusive analytics function, Looker Blocks. The blocks are pre-built but fully customizable to the user's needs.

Online Analytical Processing or OLAP

Tableau is the clear winner of this category because it works with OLAP cubes while Looker attempts to work around OLAP. For companies that require the use of OLAP then the choice is clear.

Integration

While you can use or build custom API connections to various outside systems and platforms, most people opt to utilize Improvado as a way to automate the process of extracting and aggregating data into their visualization tool.


The good news:

The final decision of whether to use Tableau vs. Looker rests on your specific needs. After taking into consideration your marketing and data needs, company size, data analysis, and preference for visualization which of the two BI tools will you choose?

Whether you settle on Tableau or Looker the good news is that both are fully compatible with Improvado. Improvado offers customer support, customization, and the smoothest data aggregation and visualization out there. It is fully compatible with the BI tool of your choice. Rely on Improvado to automate the collection of data over multiple marketing campaigns and feed it into Tableau or Looker for excellent visualization.

Want to try Improvado? Click here to Request a Demo and Get 1 Month Free.



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