Review of The Best Data Visualization Tools: Tableau vs Looker vs Power BI [2020 Update]
In this article, we have done a comprehensive review of Looker vs Tableau vs Power BI vs Google Data Studio vs BigQuery data visualization tools.
Big data is only as useful as the insights and learnings we are able to visualize for our teams. Good thing data aggregation and data visualization tools are available to help us make sense of all the numbers in a clear and beautiful marketing dashboard.
Companies use data visualization software to better sense of their business data. Using this Business Intelligence software, you can interact with the data, analyze it, present it, and more. It brings data to life. Tells a story in a visual way.
There are a wide array of data visualization tools out there to help you make your data more visual, with a range of features and uses. All you need to do is pick one that’s best for you, however, this can be a bit daunting with all of the options.
To help you in your search, we put together this post comparing Tableau vs Looker vs Power BI vs Google Data Studio vs BigQuery data visualization tools.
IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind that 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.
In the meantime, here is a comparison the differences between the leading data aggregation platforms, Tableau vs Looker vs Power BI vs Google Data Studio vs BigQuery.
What is Tableau?
Tableau is a visualization tool that helps businesses transform their data into insights that can lead to action. The tool makes it easy to connect data in almost any format from almost any source. Interactive dashboard with visual analytics can be created with simple dragging and dropping, and data transformed in graphs, maps, charts, and other visualizations.
Who should use Tableau?
Data analysts, or really anyone who needs to make sense of any business data, can use Tableau to easily read data and gain valuable insights. The tool can be a helpful way of keeping track of progress for businesses that have many clients, and there is no need for any coding expertise to use Tableau. With an option for cloud hosting, it may also be a good option for those who don’t want more software installed on-site.
- Versatile features
- Intuitive user interface
- Customizable dashboards
- Extensive offering of data source integrations
- Marketing Dashboards can sometimes be a bit slow
- Somewhat limited graphs
- Larger data files can take some longer to load
There is a set of plans starting at $12 per month for hosting the tool on public cloud or on-premise, and another set of plans starting at $15 per month for being fully hosted by Tableau.
Tableau offers the ability to connect to an extensive list of data sources.
What is Looker?
Looker BI is a business intelligence and data pipelines visualization tool that is one hundred percent in-database, capitalizing on the fastest and most recent analytic databases for real-time results. Users can easily customize and create an array of interactive visualization from the assortment of charts and graphs the platform provides.
Who should use Looker?
Looker is a useful business intelligence tool for teams across nearly all business departments. The tool is a good choice for anyone looking for something simple to use, but still provides plenty of insightful information in a visual way.
- Great customer support
- Easy to use
- Integrates with databases and big data platforms
- Larger marketing dashboard sometimes take a bit longer to load
- Not as flexible due its simplicity
- 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 for Looker is done on a custom basis. To get more pricing information, simply contact Looker for a quote.
Looker can be used with over 50 data sources.
Is Looker better than Tableau? Yes and no. It depends on your exact needs, your team expertise, and the way you do business.
What is Power BI
Microsoft’s Power BI is a suite of data visualization and business analytic tools. It offers tools to easily analyze, transform and visualize data pipelines, including the ability to build reusable models. The software enables users to integrate their apps, so as to deliver reports along with real-time dashboards. Providing a user-friendly interface and excellent data visualization capabilities, users can choose from the Pro plan or a more limited free version.
Who should use Power BI?
If your business favors Microsoft and you have a team of Excel power users, then Power BI will probably work well for you at a low price point. The free version is designed more towards individual users, offering limited storage and other capabilities. Teams will probably want to go with the Pro plan with more storage, faster refresh cycles, and collaboration capabilities.
- Creates a single data model from different types of data sources
- Good data visualization capabilities
- As part of Microsoft business suite, linked to other tools as Excel and SQL Server
- Limitations in the free version can be frustrating
- 3rd party visuals cannot be exported to PowerPoint
- Could be challenging if you are not a powerful Excel user.
Power BI Pricing:
Pricing for Microsoft’s Power BI tool ranges from free for individual to $9.99 per month for the Pro plan, as well as more custom pricing for larger deployments.
Power BI Integrations:
Power BI boasts that it offers hundreds of data sources.
Google Data Studio
What is Google Data Studio?
Google Data Studio is a free data visualization tool designed to help people bring their data to life. Since the tool is Google, it connects easily to other Google tools, such as Sheets and AdWords. You can upload data from many other data sources as well. Setting everything up is quick and simple if you already have a Google account.
Who should use Google Data Studio?
Google Data Studio is a great data visualization tool particularly for startups and entrepreneurs as the tool is free to use. It is also ideal for client use as well, with its ability to create a wide variety of custom made visual reports.
- Free to use
- Easy to create simple charts
- Can upload data from many sources
- Clean interface
- Depending on what you’re trying to do, there can be somewhat of a learning curve
- Connections with third-party data sources can sometimes disconnect, with data showing as missing
Google Data Studio Pricing:
Google Data Studio is free of charge.
Google Data Studio Integrations:
Google Data Studio offers more than 100 data connectors.
What is BigQuery?
BigQuery is Google's fully managed, cloud-based, low cost enterprise data warehouse for analytics. You can focus on analyzing data to find meaningful insights using familiar SQL
The tool allows you to run fast, SQL-like queries against multi-terabyte datasets in seconds, giving you real-time insights about your data.
Who should use BigQuery?
BigQuery is great for businesses who only want to pay for what they use. With the platform’s “pay-per-use” pricing, Google BigQuery offers a low-cost SQL-based data warehouse that can be fairly useful for companies with smaller budgets for analytics.
- It is easy to get started on it.
- Cloud-based/No need for installing on own devices
- Some learning curve if not experienced in IT
- Lack of scheduled queries.
- Visualising large data datas is not very intuitive
Google BigQuery does pricing on a “pay-per-use” basis, meaning users only pay for what they use.
BigQuery doesn’t not provide a list of data sources for the platform.
If you're in the market for a business intelligence platform with data visualization capability to help you make sense of all your data, you will likely want to review this list in detail, comparing Tableau vs Looker vs Power BI vs Google Data Studio vs BigQuery.
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