Looker Studio vs Polymer: Features, Pricing, and Benefits Compared (2024)

How does Looker Studio stack up against Polymer? Read on for a look at factors like usability, cost-effectiveness, and data integrations.

Looker Studio vs Polymer: Features, Pricing, and Benefits Compared (2024)

You almost always find Looker Studio in listicles about the top data visualization tools. 

As a Google product, it's reasonable to expect a certain degree of quality and value. 

The question is, does Looker Studio deliver? 

How does it compare against Polymer? 

Before we go any deeper, a quick introduction.

What is Looker Studio (Google Data Studio)?

Looker Studio — formerly Google Data Studio — is a data visualization and analysis platform designed for streamlined integration with other Google products. It also supports third-party data connectors, enabling you to consolidate all your business data into a single source of truth.

Granted, Google Looker Studio is one of the most popular data visualization and analysis platforms in the market. It's versatile, easy to use, and integrates well with a large number of data sources. 

Looker Studio Features

Looker Data Studio comes with beginner-friendly data visualization features to cater to small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, and individual users. This includes a drag-and-drop dashboard builder, templates, in-app walkthroughs, and a help community. 

When creating reports, Looker Studio lets you connect to a new data source or select an existing dataset. 

Importing data using a Google connector is as easy as logging in to your account. But if you use a partner connector, the steps will vary depending on the source platform.

After importing your data, you're sent straight to the main report builder. Here, you can start creating data visualizations, add more data sources, adjust the layout, and insert additional elements (e.g. text, lines, images, and URL embeds).

Looker Studio also lets you add interactive control elements, like drop-down boxes, text fields, and sliders.

To share reports, click 'File' from the top menu bar and select 'Share' — or, click the down arrow next to the 'Share' button in the upper-right corner. 

Your options include an email invitation, automated report, direct link, or embed code. If applicable, you can also download a PDF copy of your report for offline sharing.

Looker Studio Pros

To maintain an unbiased perspective in this comparison, let's not forget about Looker Studio's main advantages:

  • It comes with a free version. Looker Studio is free for personal users and one-man data management teams. As long as you don't have advanced data management or analysis requirements, feel free to use Looker Studio for as long as you like without spending a single cent.
  • Pull data through over 900 data connectors. Connectivity is one of the biggest strengths of Looker Studio. In addition to 20+ native data connectors, you can choose from over 900 third-party data connectors to aggregate your datasets. 
  • Source data visualizations from the community. Find and use pre-built report templates created by the community directly within Looker Studio. Some examples are a violin plot, histogram, and user persona report. 
  • Sketch up charts with the "Explorer" tool. Looker Studio's Explorer feature is like a sandbox tool where you can experiment with data visualizations. It works like a staging environment where you build and make changes to visualizations — only exporting finalized versions to your reports. 

Looker Studio Cons

With Looker Studio's pros out of the way, let's take a look at its downsides:

  • A lot of third-party data connectors cost money. Having a free version is a main appeal of Looker Studio. Just be warned that a handful of partner connectors require a fee or subscription.
  • Unflexible and limited data visualizations. Comparing Looker Studio and other Business Intelligence (BI) platforms just might help you learn the difference between good and bad data visualizations. The default visualization options (not from the community) are limited, basic, and unintuitive to work with. 
  • Limited customer support options. Looker Studio only offers customer support via tickets and self-service resources. The community help option is nice, but it can take weeks or months before someone comes up with a solution to your problem.
  • Bugs and performance issues. Over the years, Looker Studio amassed complaints about technical issues, including bugs, lags, and browser crashes. These issues become more apparent when working with large datasets.

Why Polymer Is Better?

Looker Studio has its quirks, but it's still a good choice trusted by its loyal user base. 

However, being the best dashboard software isn't all about popularity. You need to look at factors like usability, cost-effectiveness, and data integrations.

This brings us back to the question, "how does it compare against Polymer?"

To ensure an objective approach, below are the key areas where Polymer outshines Looker Studio: 

1. Easier to Use

Looker Studio may be easy to navigate. But once you get to the report builder, you'll come across several questionable UI design choices. 

That's why Polymer is developed from the ground up by experts who live and breathe BI. 

Polymer is designed to show users exactly what they need throughout data analysis workflows. Our platform also incorporates AI to shave off hours from your day-to-day activities. 

For example, when creating a new report, you're immediately presented with "Suggested Insights" that instantly turn your data into actionable information.

Polymer also includes one of the most sought-after data analysis tools in the BI space: a prompt-based AI assistant. 

With PolyAI, all your questions and requests get turned into ready-to-use data visualizations. 

If you prefer building visualizations yourself, rest assured that Polymer will only show the settings you need. You won't find buttons or menus that aren't useful to the element you're currently editing — ensuring a smooth and focused experience. 

It's also worth noting that Polymer can generate an entire report from scratch — all by itself. In other words, you pretty much skip all the heavy lifting involved in dashboarding.

2. Cheaper

Looker Studio may offer a free version, but it's actually more expensive than Polymer for business use cases. 

Remember, a lot of third-party data connectors are paid. In addition, a Looker Studio Pro subscription costs $9 per user per month. 

With Polymer, the "Starter" subscription costs $25 per month — but that's for one report editor and unlimited viewer accounts. That amount isn't even enough for three users on Looker Studio. 

3. Free Data Integrations

Speaking about pricing, Polymer's data connectors are 100% free. 

There's no need to pay or manage a subscription to add a third-party data source. Just pick the connector you need, log in to your account, and grant the required permissions. 

4. Interactive Data Visualizations Done Quick

Everything you see in Polymer visualizations — from labels down to the vertices — are interactive right out of the box. That means you can easily slice through your data and empower your decision-making without touching code. 

Just focus on the best data visualization practices and let Polymer do the rest for you. 

5. Seamless Data Imports

One of the common problems Looker Studio users face is configuring data connectors. 

They sometimes encounter configuration errors, database connection issues, or glitches while using third-party connectors.  

Before you even learn how to use Looker Studio, you could spend hours troubleshooting data connector problems. This, of course, isn't a problem with Polymer's data connectors. 

We work tirelessly to ensure each data connector works as intended — every single time. All you have to do is log in and choose the datasets you need to import. 

If you're looking for a specific connector, don't hesitate to get in touch with us and let us know. 

6. Better Customer Service

Ticket-based support and community help are important. But let's face it, they're nowhere near enough for businesses that rely on data to enhance their decision-making. 

Aside from support tickets and free learning resources, Polymer also offers the following support channels: 

  • Dedicated account manager (Polymer Enterprise)
  • Slack channel (Polymer Teams)
  • Email (Polymer Pro)

If you need direct answers, you can also book a 30-minute help session with one of our experts. Get help setting up, learn advanced data analysis techniques, master our visualization tools, and more.

Additional Polymer Features

To sum up, Polymer is a better BI and data visualization platform in every aspect that matters. 

Before you make the final judgment, here are other noteworthy Polymer features that can enhance or refine your data analysis: 

  • Modular filter controls — Refine your data by creating conditional filters on a block-level. Or, create global filters to extract precise insights across your entire dashboard. 
  • Build powerful visualizations easily — Quickly build elements that visualize, explain, present, or organize your data. Create outlier charts, ROI calculators, scorecards, line plots, pivot tables, and more. 
  • Create custom metrics — Make it easier to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by creating custom metrics. Simply select two values and the correct operator to automatically calculate your metric while you focus on building visualizations.
  • Manage datasets on the fly —  Use the built-in data management tool to rename columns, modify their data type, set their usage, and more. There's no need to navigate to a different page to access this feature.
  • Track your goals — Assign goal values to scorecards to monitor performance and recognize correlations or trends in your data. Goal values automatically appear below the scorecard's current value, along with a progress bar for easier tracking. 

Get Started with Polymer for Free

Polymer is a modern BI solution designed for efficiency. 

Not only is it more powerful than Looker Studio, it's also much easier to learn and use. 

Don't take our word for it. 

Click here to start a 14-day free trial and discover what makes Polymer the BI platform of the future. 

Posted on
March 8, 2024
under Blog
March 8, 2024
Written by
Rand Owens
Founding team member at Motive (Formerly KeepTruckin) and passionate about all things Marketing, RevOps, and Go-To-Market. VP of Marketing @ Polymer Search.

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