We're all familiar with the concept of Big Data, vast volumes of data pulled from countless sources, to eventually be processed into actionable insights for today's businesses. However, organizations also need tools to help curate the information and present it in an easy-to-read format. In other words, we need data visualization tools, a vital resource for digital marketing.

We will shine the spotlight on two well-known data visualization tools, Google Data Studio and Tableau. This article squares off Google Data Studio vs. Tableau, including what they are, their features, advantages and disadvantages, pricing, and functionalities.

First, let’s do a brief data visualization refresher.

Post Graduate Program in Data Analytics

In partnership with Purdue UniversityView Course
Post Graduate Program in Data Analytics

What Is Data Visualization?

According to the Tableau website, data visualization is defined as “…Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. By using visual elements like charts, graphs, and maps, data visualization tools provide an accessible way to see and understand trends, outliers, and patterns in data.”

Data visualization comes in many forms, such as:

  • Charts
  • Dashboards
  • Graphs
  • Infographics
  • Maps
  • Tables

So, data visualization tools like Tableau and Google Data Studio are Business Intelligence resources that help data analysts and marketers use data visualization to interpret data and put it to eventual good use.

Let’s check out our two entries.

What Is Tableau?

Tableau began life as a desktop app but has now expanded into a cloud-based hosted resource as well. It creates custom dashboards and is excellent for conducting deeper exploratory data analysis. It provides connectors for many data sources like Microsoft Excel, Google BigQuery, Snowflake, SAP HANA, SQL Server, Salesforce, Splunk, and Amazon Redshift and supports live connections for most of them. In addition, Tableau supports data transformation via its build-in module called Tableau prep, bundled with the creator license.

What Is Google Data Studio?

Data Studio is an open-source, cloud-based data reporting tool characterized by a user-friendly design that makes it simple to create customized dashboards and reports. Since it's a Google tool, it offers total support for most Google offerings such as Google Analytics, Firebase, and Google BigQuery. In addition, Google Data Studio inherits the sharing abilities of common Google products, so it facilitate sharing the reports and dashboards with other users. Besides the cloud-based data sources, it also supports popular on-premises data sources like MySQL.

Bottom line, both Google Data Studio and Tableau provide visually appealing dashboards with superb, rich graphics and are great for ingesting, manipulating, and processing data.

So, let’s move on to their features and see if we can pick a winner.

Google Data Studio vs. Tableau: What Are Their Features?

Let’s break down each tool’s features, beginning with Google Data Studio.

Google Data Studio

  • Google Data Studio is open source.
  • It works best with Google's offerings (e.g., software, tools, and systems), including BigQuery, Firebase, and Google Analytics. In addition, it provides support for most of its data formats.
  • Multiple users can work on the same data visualization.
  • Google Data Studio’s data connectors make data access easy.
  • Its less steep learning curve means rapid setup and deployment.
  • Since Google Data Studio is entirely cloud-based, there are no hardware requirements or on-site installations.
  • It has a user-friendly design.
  • It provides password-enabled shared access to secure data reports.
  • Google Data Studio provides automated real-time dashboard updates.
  • It supports data blending and drill-down analyses.
  • Users can download reports as a PDF or export them to Google Sheets.

Free Tableau Training Course

Learn the Basics of Tableau- FreeEnroll Now
Free Tableau Training Course

Tableau

  • Tableau provides multi-factor authentication and Row Level Security.
  • It is mobile-friendly, supports real-time dashboard updates, and can manage complex data.
  • Tableau natively connects to file-based and cloud-based data resources, many databases, and Excel files.
  • Tableau lets you share reports via the cloud, the Tableau server, or locally and overall offers more collaboration options.
  • It offers easy connections to customer relationship management systems (CRM) such as Salesforce, files, and databases.
  • Tableau is a more complex tool, ideal for experienced data analysts.
  • It offers a tiered pricing system.
  • Tableau can run in the cloud or as a part of an on-premises server.
  • Tableau offers a more robust set of charting and exploration tools than Google Data Studio. It also supports deeper interactivity for users as they create reports.
  • It offers Tableau Prep, an add-on tool that handles transformation requirements before dashboards and reports.

Google Data Studio vs. Tableau: A Data Visualization Comparison

We come to the heart of the matter. After all, both products are designed for data visualization. So how do they compare?

Google Data Studio excels at delivering eye-catching charts of all kinds, like bullet charts, graphics, geo maps, heat maps, pie charts, pivot tables, scorecards, and many more representations. In addition, it provides data analysts with dashboards that bring together different data sources and data streams, usually from Google applications or online ad data sources.

This function makes Google Data Studio perfect for viewing more digitally focused business and marketing metrics such as ad spend, site traffic, and search rankings. GDS also allows users to customize their reports and dashboards, including adding logos, icons, and other elements.

GDS also provides built-in comparison features so data analysts can view changes over time.

Tableau, like GDS, turns data into beautiful and functional charts, graphics, cluster maps, heat maps, infographics, and many more. The platform is designed for experienced data scientists and casual business users alike and enables everyone to create, modify and adapt visuals to suit almost any situation or need.

Tableau is a more complex tool than Google Data Studio, giving users a powerful tool for interactive visual exploration, coupled with a host of dashboards and analytics tools.

If you’re looking for simple, basic data charts, you should use Google Data Studio. But if you want a plethora of complex, detailed representations, you should choose Tableau. Just remember all of Tableau’s fancy functionality comes at a price; it’s a more complicated tool to learn and master.

A Functionality Comparison: Data Studio vs. Tableau

Now that we have an idea of their visualization capabilities let's see how Google Data Studio and Tableau stack up in terms of functionality.

Google Data Studio may not be the most powerful data visualization tool out there, but it offers a clean, simple, easy-to-use interface. GDS is a fast, efficient tool that provides flexibility and power. It also provides users with solid automation features, such as scheduled reporting and updates.

GDS has limited customization capabilities but is constantly adding new features and updates.

To best understand Tableau’s functionality, we need to split it into five parts:

  • Tableau Desktop. Creates and edits reports
  • Tableau Public. Permits users to share visualizations
  • Tableau Server. A tool dedicated to external sharing
  • Tableau Online. The cloud version of the Tableau software
  • Tableau Reader. The resource that allows anyone to view a report or visualization

Tableau supports many concurrent users and provides fast data processing while consuming marginal system resources. The tool also offers a great selection of advanced features and functionalities, including data cleansing capabilities, which GDS lacks. Tableau also gives users native connectivity with many different databases, cloud resources, CRM systems like Salesforce, and file types like the very popular Excel.

These Tableau functionalities make it easier to ingest, export files, and process data. Since the solution can work without Internet access (assuming you’re using the software version!), it’s perfect for users who occasionally work offline or are on the road.

Finally, Tableau offers stronger and better collaboration options than Google Data Studio can.

Data Analyst Master's Program

In Collaboration With IBMExplore Course
Data Analyst Master's Program

Google Data Studio vs. Tableau: What Are Their Pros and Cons?

Most of this article has called out each data visualization tool’s good and bad points, whether price, visualization or functionality. But let’s bring them all together into one convenient master list of each tool’s plusses and minuses.

Google Data Studio

Pros

  • It’s free
  • It’s easy to install and simple to use
  • It’s easy to put together a dashboard
  • More than one user can create and edit visualizations at once
  • It works great with other Google products
  • It runs off the cloud, which means no maintenance hassles
  • It allows real-time data integration

Cons

  • Since it runs off the Internet, you need access to a connection
  • It offers only limited customization options and only has about 50 components per page, a small number in comparison to other programs
  • It lacks native connector support for cloud-based data sources like Hubspot
  • Although it has an Application Programming Interface (API) for access management, it lacks it for automation.

Tableau

Pros

  • It’s available either as software or as a cloud-based app
  • Analysts can organize data systems by cloud systems, relational and nonrelational data systems, and file formats
  • It facilitates data blending (combining all data sources to make one visual representation
  • It gives users a generous selection of visuals to illustrate their data
  • Easily handles complex transformation support.

Cons

  • It can get pricey
  • It’s more complicated than Tableau; this tool requires users who have some technical proficiency.
  • It’s easy to share data within your organization, but not so much with external clients.
  • Although it’s available online or on-premises, it’s better suited to the latter function.

Google Data Stusio vs. Tableau: What’s the Pricing Like?

Let’s start with the easy one; Google Data Studio is free. All you need is an active Google account, and you’re good to go!

Tableau uses a tiered pricing model. It offers a free version, Tableau Public, with limited storage and privacy options. On the other hand, Tableau Creator is a full-featured offering that runs either in the cloud or on-premises. It costs $70 per month and is billed annually, with no price differentiation between in-house or on the cloud deployment options. In addition, Creator includes the desktop software and the Tableau Prep Builder, which creates visualization.

Tableau Explorer, which comes with a single Tableau Server license, costs $35 per month, billed annually when deployed on-premises. Explorer costs $42 per month (billed annually) if deployed on the cloud, with a Tableau Online license. Tableau Viewer, which lets users view visualizations, costs $12 per month as an on-premises app and $15 per month when deployed on the cloud, and is also billed annually.

Deployments require at least one Creator license.

Data Visualization Expert Master's Program

Make Data-Driven Decisions Like a ProStart Learning
Data Visualization Expert Master's Program

What Are Their Prerequisites?

Here are the system requirements for installing the Google Data Studio and Tableau.

 

Processor

CPU

RAM

Free Disk Space

Other

Google Data Studio

NA

NA

NA

NA

A Google account (to create & edit reports)

Tableau

(to install)

64-bit (x64 chipsets)

 

Must support SSE4.2 & POPCNT instruction sets.

 

ARM-based processors aren’t supported.

 

4-core

16GB

15GB

 

Tableau. Single-node

(production use)

64-bit (x64 chipsets)

 

Must support SSE4.2 & POPCNT instruction sets.

 

ARM-based processors aren’t supported.

 

8-core, 2.0 GHz or higher

64 GB (version 2021.4.0 & later)

 

32 GB (versions prior to 2021.4.0)

 

50GB

 

 The beauty of Google Data Studio is that you can use the Studio if you can run Google on your machine, although the following nations aren't supported. Thus you cannot use Data Studio in them:

  • Crimea
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • People's Republic of China
  • North Korea
  • Syria

(NOTE: You can view reports in the PRC but cannot create them).

Additionally, don’t install Tableau Server on a physical computer or a Virtual Machine that runs resource-intensive applications like databases or application servers.

Google Data Studio vs. Tableau: Which is Better, From a Business Perspective?

If you're involved in a small to medium business, Google Data Studio may be enough for you, especially if your organization is budget conscious. However, if your business is growing and challenging the larger companies, go for Tableau. You can also estimate your need by the organization's volume of data and processes.

So, there’s no “best” solution; it depends on your business’s needs.

Master data visualization, business intelligence tool and advance your career in analytics with the Tableau Certification Training Course. Enroll now.

How Would You Like Tableau and Data Visualization Training?

As long as the business world continues to rely on data to help make informed decisions, there will be a need for experts in data visualization. If this sounds like a field you want to center your career ambitions around, Simplilearn has a significant first step for you.

The Tableau Certification Training Course for Tableau Desktop Certified Associate Exam helps you master Tableau Desktop and prepares you for the challenges of a data visualization professional career. The course trains you to use Tableau effectively to organize data, create interactive dashboards, add different dimensions, and drill into outliers.

According to Glassdoor, Data Analysts in the United States earn $75,966 a year on average. In India, a similar position pays an average of ₹587,500 per year.

Simplilearn offers a vast selection of analytics-related courses and resources, everything you need to get your new career underway. So visit Simplilearn today, and make your data analyst career dreams come true!

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.