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

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

Choosing your data visualization platform can be a difficult task. There are so many options and most of them offer similar features, so how can you really make the best choice?

You want to start using data visualization to benefit your business but you're not sure which tool to start with.

Google Data Studio and Tableau are two of the most-used solutions and we are here to compare their features, benefits and limitations.

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 the huge variety of connections with other Google products. You can also read more about pros and cons of Google Data Studio here.

Meet “Tableau”

Tableau Software was founded in 2003 and since then shown remarkable growth. Hence, its acquisition by Salesforce in 2019. It started as 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.

Setup

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.

Learning

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

Sharing

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 provides some server-side access, but it isn't as user-friendly as Google's offerings.

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.

Pricing

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.

Conclusion

For most common business intelligence use cases, Tableau and Google Data Studio are both excellent options. However, they differ when it comes to the kind of supported data sources, pricing, and the learning curve.

To sum it up, Google Data Studio is a far more refined and user-friendly application that reflects a more contemporary sense of style and aesthetics than Excel. Google Data Studio is also free, which makes it a popular choice for small and medium-sized businesses.

In the case of a large company, Tableau is the best option for handling complex data because it has no restrictions on the number of employees or the amount of money available.

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