Google Data Studio vs. Tableau: What's Better for You?

By Zekeriya Mulbay
Table of contents

Business intelligence tools became a necessity for most businesses, from small to mid size and bigger corporations.  There are certain players in the field, Google Data Studio and Tableau are the most popular ones. Almost all people who start thinking to order a new dashboard or investing in a business intelligence project with several touch-points, face a dilemma. Shall we choose Google Data Studio or Tableau. In this article, we will compare both solutions and we hope that this will help you decide.

Meet “Google Data Studio”

Google Data Studio is Google’s visual reporting and dashboard tool. It has been in our lives since 2015. It is a full cloud based solution. As a Google ecosystem member, it benefits from huge variety of connections with other Google products.

Meet “Tableau”

Tableau Software founded in 2003 and since then showed remarkable growth. Hence, its acquisition by Salesforce in 2019. It started as a desktop software and has always focused and data visualisation and comprehensive reporting.

Which one is better for You?

So have the basics and we can dive into details. Before moving further, we want to underline the fact that both solutions are top-notch services for data visualization and reporting. Although we find Google Data Studio more flexible and compatible with various businesses/organisations, we are sure that both products will help you to get more from your raw data. Let’s list some facts in order to compare both of them more systematically.


Google Data Studio is fully cloud based. On the other hand, Tableau offers both on-premise and cloud setup options.

Being on the cloud is good; to be in sync always, to connect various data sources with one click and many more. However, some corporations with sensitive data or with strong data security policies might not want to push their data to Google cloud servers. This might sound secure but on-premise or server setup options means more cost and maintenance as well.


We are always introduced to new services and products everyday. In our businesses, we utilise new tools to be more effective and profitable. These marvel of new softwares and solutions are good but all come with the burden of learning curve. Even if you are an executive who reads and evaluates reports and dashboards, you will need to learn how to use the html dashboard UI. It’s relatively straightforward. However, the data analyst who creates the dashboard or manages the dashboard will need more time to learn and implement.

In this aspect, Google Data Studio triumphs. It is very easy to use, get on board and create your fist dashboard in minutes. On the other hand, Tableau comes with a steeper learning curve and demands more focus and time from its future users. The reason behind this is being more detailed and comprehensive and this might be good for some businesses but again this comes with a cost.

Using - UI

Both tools offer you to interact with your data on a HTML interface. Tableau also offers a desktop version too.

Both tools offer rich charts, tables, diagrams and scorecards. We find Google Data Studio’s interface more straightforward and easy to adjust. Tableau might offer more tools if you have time and resources to utilise them and this might be useful if you want extremely specific reports. However we believe that this is a rare necessity and for most of the businesses, time is more important


Have you ever gave access to a Google Analytics property before? Google Data Studio uses the same initiative interface and menu style while sharing access and managing the access level of your dashboard. This comes into handy very much if your team is working remotely and everybody need to access and work on the project. Since everybody uses their Google identity, tracking log records is easy too. Tableau also offers some level of access thru its server but it is not as intuitive as Google’s options.

What about reading/reviewing access? You can give viewing access with interaction capabilities in both products. However, Tableau comes with more friction and settings. This might make it seem more secure but in the name of security, we believe that versatility is sacrificed. With Google Data Studio, you might choose to share a public link with interaction rights or you might do this only to select Google users.


Google Data Studio is completely free to use and share. Many data connections are included - like Google Analytics, Google Ads and more - however, you might need to invest in some 3rd party data connection solutions in order to connect some sources like Facebook Ads and Amazon. Good news is that you might develop your own data connector and decide not to use these 3rd party connectors.

Tableau is $70/user-month for creators. Viewer license is $15/user-month. It is definitely a significant investment for many businesses.


Both Tableau and Google Data Studio are good solutions to support most standard business intelligence use cases. However, they differ when it comes to the kind of supported data sources, pricing, and the learning curve.

To conclude, Google Data Studio is a much more elegant and user-friendly tool that feels aesthetically modern in every way. It is also free and hence for many small and medium scale companies, Google Data Studio is the winner.

But if you are a large enterprise with no human resource or budget constraints and you need to work with complex data, then Tableau should work well for you.

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