The right data visualization tool can help you convert your data into compelling stories and intriguing reports -- which tool should you be using, though?
Two of the most popular data visualization solutions on the market these days are Looker Data Studio and Microsoft Power BI. While neither option is perfect, they both offer a variety of features that can help you improve your data management strategy.
If you’re not sure which one to choose between Looker Data Studio vs. Microsoft Power BI, this guide can help. It breaks down the key features, pros, and cons of each solution.
What Is Looker Data Studio?
Looker Data Studio is a Google tool (part of the Google Analytics 360 suite) that helps you centralize data from various sources and convert it into customizable reports and dashboards.
Looker Data Studio Key Features
Looker Data Studio users have access to the following features and capabilities:
- Tell data stories with a variety of customizable charts (line, bar, pie charts, bubble graphs, etc.)
- Let others engage with your reports with viewer filters and date range controls
- Create product catalogs, video libraries, and more by including links and clickable images
- Add text and images to annotate and brand reports
- Turn data stories into works of art with unique styles and color themes
- Connect to a wide range of data sets, including BigQuery, MySQL, Google Marketing Platform products, Google consumer products, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Reddit
- Share insights and collaborate with individuals, teams, or the world
What Is Microsoft Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI is an end-to-end business intelligence platform that helps users centralize their data to create a single source of truth, analyze their data to uncover more powerful insights, and translate those insights into impactful visualizations and reports.
Microsoft Power BI Key Features
Microsoft Power BI users can utilize these features and capabilities:
- Access next-generation AI tools with Copilot, which analyzes and draws the right data into your reports and helps you generate them more quickly
- Centralize data from numerous data sources in a secure hub
- Convert raw data into eye-catching visuals with the help of AI-powered tools and a convenient drag-and-drop report-builder
- Infuse insights into apps like Microsoft 365 while keeping your data safe and secure
- View Power BI reports on the go on iOS, Android, and Microsoft mobile devices
Looker Data Studio Pros
Looker Data Studio offers many benefits, especially for those who are already familiar with other Google products. The following are some of the most frequently cited pros of this tool:
Free Base Solution
The base version of Looker Data Studio is free, making it a good choice for individuals and teams with tight budgets.
This tool is an online service and doesn’t require you to download an app. Many users appreciate the convenience and like that they can access it from a variety of devices.
Versatile and Customizable
Looker Data Studio is flexible and useful for professionals across multiple industries. It’s easy to tailor to your team’s unique needs and create meaningful visualizations that bring you closer to your business goals.
In general, Looker Data Studio is easy to navigate and comes with a fairly small learning curve. It’s especially easy for those who are already comfortable with other Google tools to figure out.
Looker Data Studio Cons
Looker Data Studio also comes with a few downsides, including those shared below:
Unclear Pricing for Looker Studio Pro
If you want to upgrade to Looker Studio Pro, you’ll have to contact Google directly for pricing details, as there’s no information readily available on the site.
Insufficient Customer Support
Some users have complained about the lack of customer support from Google and are frustrated that they have to rely on videos and articles to resolve their problems.
Can Be Slow to Load
This tool lags occasionally and can be slow to load, especially when dealing with larger data sets. Some users complain about having to refresh the page frequently, too.
Microsoft Power BI Pros
Like Looker Data Studio, Microsoft Power BI also comes with several pros that make it a promising solution. These are some of the most impactful ones:
The desktop version of Microsoft Power BI is free, and the Power BI Cloud Service costs just $9.99 per month, making both options accessible to a variety of businesses.
Easy to Use
The Power BI interface is relatively easy to navigate, particularly for those who already utilize other Microsoft tools.
Many users appreciate that Microsoft Power BI updates often and consistently provides access to new features, tools, etc.
Connects to Numerous Data Sources
Microsoft Power BI can connect to numerous data sources, making it easy for you to centralize all of your team’s data and convert it into compelling visualizations.
Microsoft Power BI Cons
Microsoft Power BI users also have to deal with some downsides, including the following:
Struggles to Work with Large Datasets
Large datasets can be tricky to manage with Microsoft Power BI. It tends to slow down when working with lots of data, which can be frustrating, especially when you have a deadline quickly approaching.
Web Version Is Harder to Use
Some users have noted that the web version is harder to use than the app version, which creates extra difficulties for those who only have access to the free desktop solution.
Very Sensitive to Data Formatting
Microsoft Power BI is also quite rigid and sensitive to variations in data formatting, which can create problems when transferring data from other platforms and using it to create new visuals.
Bottom Line: Looker Data Studio vs. Microsoft Power BI
Looker Data Studio and Microsoft Power BI both offer a variety of benefits and some potential drawbacks.
For example, Looker Data Studio is a good solution for those who already use other Google tools, whereas Microsoft Power BI will likely be a better fit for current Microsoft users.
If you’re looking for a free solution, both Looker Data Studio and Power BI could work for you, but the pricing tiers for Power BI are more transparent than the pricing for Looker Studio Pro.
Power BI is available on a desktop or a mobile app, but Looker Data Studio is a web tool that doesn’t require you to download an app. Depending on how you do most of your data visualization work, either option could be useful.
As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of Looker Data Studio vs. Microsoft Power BI. Keep the information from this guide in mind as you make your decision so you can choose a solution that works best for you and your team.
How DashboardFox Can Help
As we've explored the potential of Looker Data Studio and Microsoft Power BI, there's another player that deserves your attention in the Business Intelligence (BI) space—DashboardFox.
While both Looker and Power BI offer impressive features, DashboardFox brings something unique to the table. Designed with ease of use in mind, DashboardFox provides an intuitive interface that makes data visualization and reporting straightforward, even for those with minimal technical background.
Similar to Looker and Power BI, DashboardFox offers a solid range of features, allowing connection to multiple data sources, generating eye-catching visuals, and sharing important data insights. But, what sets it apart is its distinctive approach to pricing.
DashboardFox operates on a one-time payment scheme, a stark contrast to the recurring monthly or annual fees you'll encounter with Looker and Power BI. This pricing model can lead to substantial cost savings for your business over time.
Moreover, DashboardFox provides robust customer support, addressing one of the chief concerns users have with Looker Data Studio. Our team is just a click away to assist you with any technical concerns, ensuring you can focus on leveraging your data rather than troubleshooting software challenges.
Thinking about making the switch? We're confident that DashboardFox can meet your needs, and we're keen to show you how. Book a meeting with us or avail of our free live demo session. You'll see firsthand how DashboardFox can elevate your data management strategy and foster informed decision-making.
Take your data strategy to the next level with DashboardFox. Let's start the journey together.