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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 vs 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 difference between 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.

Criteria to Consider When Deciding Between Looker and Tableau

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

  • your existing infrastructure,
  • company size,
  • data analytics 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.

How to Transfer Data to Looker or Tableau?

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 data sources and send it all to your visualization or BI tool (business intelligence)
That's where tools like Improvado save the day. Improvado is a tool that helps marketers automatically link all data to a single digital marketing dashboard, or to visualization or business intelligence tool.

Both Looker and Tableau are compatible with Improvado. This means you can rely on Improvado to automate the process of sending raw 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

Data transformation from your marketing channels to Looker


Looker — a powerful data analytics platform—can help both large and small companies glean value from their data sources. This platform helps to make collecting, visualizing, and analyzing raw 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.

From the analytics standpoint, Looker provides code blocks called Looker Blocks. This software module includes data models, SQL patterns, and visualization capabilities. Analysts can customize blocks in any way they need. Besides, Looker’s analytic layer works perfectly with both normalized and raw data.

As for the machine learning algorithms, Looker doesn’t have native support for this technology. Nevertheless, Looker cooperates with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to improve user experience with machine learning. Right now, Looker is integrated with Amazon Sagemaker. The interoperability of these tools allows analysts to develop and train machine learning models, which means that Looker is looking towards facilitating predictive analytics.

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, you 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 marketing 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)

Looker Pricing:

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

Video:

What is Looker?


How to Transfer Marketing Data to Looker

In case if you’ll decide to go with Looker, your next step is to make sure the data from all the marketing channels you use is transferred smoothly to the final destination.
There are many tools to help you do it. For example, with Improvado, your data will be highly secured and up to date.
Here is a quick look at how data can be sent from your marketing data channels to Looker.👇

Learn how to transfer marketing data to Looker or chat with experts.

Tableau

Tableau Data Process Dashboard

If you are looking to transform data into beautiful visualizations with actionable insights that make an impact then Tableau may be the BI tool (business intelligence) you need. Business 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 desktop onto their own computer or leaving it in the cloud on Tableau’s server.

Tableau offers a unique approach to data analysis. With its Ask Data module, analysts can type questions in a common language and get actionable insights right on their dashboards. The software answers in the form of automatic data visualizations. This feature eliminates the need to perform additional operations with data to get the required insights.

What’s more, Tableau supports a lot of machine learning-based features. Analysts can use predictive analytics, recommendations, clustering, and more functionalities to build accurate forecasts and extract better insights.

Besides, Tableau also integrates with Aible, a cloud-based AI solution. With its help, Tableau builds predictive models in minutes. Another way to run predictive analytics is by integrating Python. As you can see, Tableau offers broad integration capabilities to bring more opportunities to its users.

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 business users 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.
Tableau 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:

How to Transfer Marketing Data to Tableau

In case if Tableau is your choice, the Improvado tool can help you send the data from all analytics tools that you use (200+ connectors supported). Here is how you can do it.👇


Ready to automate all your marketing data processes? Book a free call with an expert.

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 that are available as Looker Blocks.

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.

As for Tableau, it offers vast opportunities for different data manipulations, SQL queries, forecasting, etc. It’s still a great solution if you plan to work with large datasets, complex data views and integrate third-party tools for your analysis 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.

Looker tries to replace conventional OLAP functionalities with custom solutions for data examination. However, if OLAP is irreplaceable for your analysis, Tableau suits you the best.

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 tool.

As for the comparison of Looker vs. Tableau, Looker provides more integrations with third-party software and it’s easier to connect it with other solutions compared to Tableau.

What’s next?

If you still need more research to decide which tool to choose, this might help you:
💬Tableau VS Looker discussion on Reddit
📔How to Choose Viualization Platform [CheatSheet]
✔️Get free consulting from experts who have done it before

✔️12 Best marketing dashboards.


The Final Decision

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 (business intelligence) will you choose?

Whether you settle on Tableau vs 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.

FAQ

What is Looker good for?
Looker is a robust business intelligence and visualization tool that helps companies create illustrative charts and diagrams for a better understanding of their efforts. From the user’s standpoint, the app provides a clear and straightforward interface, works in a browser tab, and improves team productivity when it comes to dashboarding.

How much does Looker cost?
Looker doesn’t disclose pricing information on their website. To get the price tailored to your requirements, you should contact the company directly. However, third-party resources claim that the price for a team of 10 members starts at $3,000/month.

Is Looker owned by Google?
Yes, Google acquired Looker in February 2020.

Is Looker the same as Tableau?
Even though both of these tools have the same purpose, they still have some differences. It’s hard to compare Looker vs. Tableau because the real benefits of these solutions rely heavily on your business requirements. Due to Looker’s simplicity, the software doesn’t require a desktop version. However, it lacks flexibility in several points.

Tableau is a solution with more advanced features. Still, the large data files may take up to several minutes to load, and massive dashboards can be slow at times.

How is Looker different from Tableau?
Tableau utilizes both structured and unstructured data to visualize data 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.

How Improvado integrates Tableau or Looker with my data ecosystem?
Improvado streamlines marketing data from all your current data sources to load it into the data warehouse. From there, normalized and cleansed insights are sent to Looker or Tableau. With the help of prebuilt marketing dashboards, analysts get detailed charts and graphs in seconds. Thus, they can focus on the analysis instead of routine data manipulations and data cleansing.

Want to try Improvado? Click here to Request a Demo.

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