As a part of its recent Analytics 360 suite launch, Google released a new data visualization tool free to individuals and smaller teams called Data Studio. In many respects, it’s Google’s response to some of the bigger players in the data visualization space, namely Tableau, Microsoft BI, and Qlik.
The problem, however, is that it’s a weak imitation that suffers from some very serious pitfalls.
Let’s run through just a couple of them:
Pitfall 1: Limited Connections
One of Data Studio’s prime assets is its ability to connect with Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Google Sheets, and other Google services. And while that may seem awesome (and to an extent it is), it’s also extremely limiting. That’s because Google products make up only a tiny fraction of the more than 2000+ data sources available to marketers. So yes, you get a great view of how your Google services are working, but you have no insights into other channels such as MailChimp, Marketo, Twitter, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Hubspot, etc. (Though, you do get access to the ever so popular Google Plus, so there’s a feather in your cap! Yay!)
Pitfall 2: Limited Visualizations
As with most Google products, they are often no more than a watered down copy of a far more robust application – think Google Drive compared to Microsoft Office. They have some of the same features but never all or more. The same applies to Data Studio. It simply doesn’t have the same power or ability as those of its competitors that focus solely on data visualization. This could be because Google is relatively late to the game and years behind Tableau and other BI tools, which have had nearly a decade to work through growing pains and discover and overcome challenges associated with building data visualization programs.
Pitfall 3: Limited Flexibility
One thing that’s very apparent is an overall rigidity to the tool. Sure you can visualize a couple of marketing KPIs, but they’re independent of one another. That’s because there’s no blending capabilities. For example, you can’t see a dashboard of all of your social tools intertwined. For true insight seeking marketers, that’s an extreme disadvantage.
A Better Alternative
For serious marketing data analysts, Data Studio can hardly be considered an option. A much better solution would be to break apart the reporting problem into its base elements — data aggregation and data visualization — and solve for them independently.
At Alight, we’ve built a platform designed to fix the data aggregation problem. We call it ChannelMix. It works by aggregating all of your marketing systems, regardless of media or file type, into one location for a single source of truth. The great thing about our platform is that it can ingest any piece of data thrown at it and blend it together. We have a rich connection process that can handle APIs, ad hoc file uploads, and ETLs, which allow us to rapidly import data from sources that either don’t have APIs or have unusable or undesirable APIs.
The other unique feature of the platform is that it’s entirely BI tool agnostic, meaning it works with anything and everything. You’ve got a favorite BI tool, we’ve got a way to feed the data to it.
Interested in learning more? Let’s talk.