Looking for a FREE Data Visualization tool? Then Google Data Studio (P.S. Free For a Reason)
Updated May 04, 2019

Looking for a FREE Data Visualization tool? Then Google Data Studio (P.S. Free For a Reason)

Sam Lepak | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio is our organization's current aggregate data visualization tool for all organic media (Instagram, Facebook), marketing analytics tools (Firebase, Google Analytics, Google Search Console), and other user information software (Cooper - CRM, PostgresSQL, Google Sheets).

Our team's marketing department frequently looks at reports and dashboards to see leading and lagging KPIs across each platform.

Google Data Studio allows us to view all our data sources in one location, track A/B multivariate tests with WoW and MoM data, and makes it easy to make decisions and conducts tests as the data is presented in an easy-to-consume format.
  • Pre-loaded Report Templates: Without a data visualization experience/training it's most likely difficult to set up the desired dashboard you envision. Fortunately, Google Data Studio offers pre-loaded reports for the most common data source connections. These common connections include: Google Ads, Firebase, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and more. They save a lot of time and are easy to substitute data variables.
  • Being a remote company, it can be difficult to share in real-time... not with Google Data Studio. If our team is viewing the data on a call, we are able to update the dashboard in real-time and everyone is able to see the changes made without refreshing. Subsequently, as one user is able to change data parameters (dates, labels, etc) and the rest viewing the data are able to follow along.
  • It can be difficult to get ideas how you should prepare your data - which KPIs should I include? In what order? Should I use a pie graph or bar chart? Thanks to Featured Data Studio reports I'm able to look at shared reports generated by others to get ideas on how to set up similar data.
  • While Google Data Studio has a resources (video tutorial) tab, it's very basic. The tutorials state navigational answers to exploring around the site, setting up data connections, and creating calculated fields. The videos are outdated 2016 and older and rarely dig into the actual building of reports and dashboards, especially with Google-owned products.
  • In order to connect solutions outside Google's products such as 3rd party tools, you need to pay a subscription to a 3rd party service to connect the data. The two main companies (Supermetrics, Power My Analytics) help you connect these 3rd party tools through their subscription services.
  • Notification of data connections being removed. On a few occasions, I will enter Google Data Studio only to find out there is missing data and that I need to reconnect a data source. While this doesn't happen too often it would be ideal to be notified so I can fix this right away rather than be notified by a team member that the connection is broken.
  • As of today Google Data Studio hasn't helped us make any earth-shattering data decisions. More or less, Google Data Studio has allowed us to save time by instead of switching between platforms to view data from Google Analytics and Google search Console, etc. we are able to view all the data sources in one location.
  • Google Data Studio has provided our team with data transparency. Every member of the team is able to view the data in real-time even while someone else is making a change to the reports. We are able to share these reports and help inform of changes we need to make to our product.
  • Thankfully Google Data Studio for us has been free, else we wouldn't have purchased the tool. We are an extremely lean company and Google Data Studio helps us stay lean and save time with their free software.
You get what you pay for with Tableau and Google Data Studio.

Google Data Studio is free (for the most part) for a reason. And Tableau is a paid software for a reason.

The reason being is that Tableau allows for greater control and customization of the data and the ability to connect more enterprise data sources. Tableau also has more user resources and a more intuitive interface. Compared to Google Data Studio, which has outdated user resources and can be extremely frustrating at times for users that are new to setting up data visualization dashboards.

If you are looking for a free data visualization tool or are a smaller business that uses mainly Google entry products and a few outside analytical tracking tools, then I would highly recommend Google Data Studio. Instead, if you evaluate data from a lot of third-party tools or you have an enterprise software solutions, it would be better suited to look into a paid data visualization tool like Tableau.

Looker Studio Feature Ratings

Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Predictive Analytics
Not Rated
Customizable dashboards
Report Formatting Templates
Report sharing and collaboration
Publish to PDF
Report Versioning
Report Delivery Scheduling