blog post

What is the Difference Between Looker and Looker Studio?

Florian Cabirol
April 30, 2024
What is the Difference Between Looker and Looker Studio?

Quick steps to create a report with Google Sheets:

You can easiliy create a report following this step :

  1. Get informations from the data integration from our connector.
  2. Create a source on
  3. Download our Google Sheets extensions.
  4. Configure and run your request
If you need more informations, you can follow the tutorial.

How to install Google Sheets Catchr Add-on.

To start exporting your data to Google Sheets, you need to install the Catchr add-on. You currently have two options :

Option A: Via the marketplace:

  1. Visit the Catchr Add-on page on the Google Workspace Marketplace and click "Install."
  2. Grant the necessary permissions for the add-on.
  3. Upon successful installation, open a Google Sheets to proceed.
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Install Catchr Google Sheets Add-on

Option B: Directly within a Google Sheets:

  1. Open a new Google Sheets.
  2. In the top menu, click "Extensions", then hover over "Add-ons" and select "Get add-ons."
  3. Search for "Catchr" and choose "Catchr - data connector."
  4. Click "Install" and grant the required permissions.
  5. Close the installation pop-up when completed.
  6. Start using the Catchr add-on.
Install Catchr Add-on for Google Sheets
Install Catchr Add-on for Google Sheets

Once you have installed the add-on, you can start making requests.

The tutorial

Quick steps to create a report with Looker Studio:

You can easiliy create a report following this step :

  1. Get informations from the data integration from our connector.
  2. Create a datasource and new report on Looker Studio.
  3. Choose your metrics and dimensions.
  4. Use charts with your metrics and dimensions.
If you need more informations, you can follow the tutorial. You can also find a template for at the end of the page.

The tutorial

Quick steps to create a report with PowerBI:

You can easiliy create a report following this step :

  1. Get informations from the data integration from our connector.
  2. Create a source on
  3. Configure your request on the PowerBI request manager.
  4. Copy the given URL in PowerBI
If you need more informations, you can follow the tutorial. You can also find a template for at the end of the page.

The tutorial

Business intelligence (BI) plays a critical role in data-driven marketing to understand customers' behavior. It empowers marketers to analyze customers' needs, optimize marketing campaigns, and drive better business decisions. This guide provides an in-depth comparative analysis of two prominent BI tools, Looker and Looker Studio.

While both serve the purpose of business intelligence, they cater to different user needs and offer unique functionalities. Let's do a detailed evaluation of both Looker and Looker Studio to enable you to choose the most suitable one.

Looker: The Enterprise BI Platform 

Looker is a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) and data analytics platform owned by Google (since 2020). It helps you explore, share, and visualize data that drives better business decisions. Looker allows businesses to manage and organize their complex database and information in an easy and accessible way in one place.

Here is a step-by-step process of how Looker works: 

  • Data Collection: These are pre-built integrations that allow Looker to connect with different data sources, e.g., CRM systems, Web analytics, ADs platforms, and financial databases to extract raw data. 
  • Data Modeling (Look ML): It is a modeling language that transforms the raw data from your different systems into a consistent and understandable format within Looker ( e.g., customer names, product IDs, sales figures).
  • Data Visualization: The data is now ready to be visualized on dashboards in graphical format for reports, charts, or case studies. 
  • Data Scheduling: You can set up schedules for Looker to automatically refresh the data at regular intervals. This ensures your analysis is based on the most up-to-date information. 

Understanding Looker Modeling Language

Looker modeling language, or Look ML, is a language that describes different dimensions, calculations, aggregates, and data relationships in an SQL database. Looker formulates SQL queries based on a specific Look ML project about certain databases or information a business needs. In simple terms, Looker modeling language is a translator between your data and Looker. 

For example, an E-Commerce store wants to see its total sales by state. Let's see how Look ML processes this request with 'orders' and 'users' tables. 

Query Building: Look ML writes SQL queries to the 'order' and 'Users' table, filtering the user location table.

Data Analysis: It calculates the total sales amount for each state based on order values.  

Stat Presentation: The Looker displays the result as a table or chart showing total sales figures grouped by state. 

Look ML is a major difference between Looker vs Looker Studio as it makes data management  easier and more accessible to business owners and non-technical users. 

Main Features of Looker 

To understand the distinctions between Looker vs Looker Studio, we will first look at some prominent features of Looker. 

1. Cloud-Based Platform 

A complete cloud-based platform, Looker allows you to work directly from your browser without downloading any desktop software or application. Both the Looker software and your data reside on Google Cloud infrastructure. This allows you to maintain strict security measures and limit access to your valuable data. 

2. Advanced Workflow

Looker has an intricate and advanced workflow that automatically schedules and manages the process of extracting data from various sources, transforming it into a usable format, and loading it into Looker for analysis called ETL (Extract, transform, load). This eliminates manual tasks and ensures data consistency. The data reports can be set up to be delivered only when certain conditions are met. For example, receiving an alert if sales drop below a certain figure allows proactive issue identification. 

3. Machine Learning

Another notable difference between Looker vs Looker Studio is the use of machine learning. Looker offers a set of pre-built or custom-made machine-learning models to analyze data. These models can automate tasks, identify trends, and generate predictions all within the looker interface. 

There are different types of looker blocks, such as analytics, data, viz, and embedded. 

Looker models help you uncover deeper insights within specific data, providing a more comprehensive understanding. For example: 

Analytics block automates frequently used calculations or formatting logic for specific data analysis tasks such as calculating profit margin or conversion rate. 

4. Integration With Other Tools 

Looker has an excellent partner ecosystem that lets you extend your workflow beyond visualization tools and dashboards and connect with external data sources. These third-party integrations allow you to connect with different CRM systems, marketing platforms, or similar applications. This creates a unified view of your data, enabling you to analyze internal trends and external factors. Looker itself offers a library of supported connectors such as: 

  • Salesforce
  • Google BigQuery
  • Amazon Redshift 

Benefits of Looker

Looker offers several benefits. Let's discuss three of the most significant for a better comparison between Looker vs Looker Studio. 

1. User Friendly Data Analytics

Looker empowers users of all technical and non-technical backgrounds to gain insights from data. Its user-friendly interface minimizes the need for coding. Look ML, handheld by specialists, further reduces the technical barriers and allows a wide range of people within an organization to leverage the power of data for informed decision-making. 

2. Real-Time Alerting

Looker offers real-time alerting, which proactively notifies you like an early warning system. Let's say you are managing an online store with a limited stock of a popular gadget; the Looker can trigger an instant alert if the inventory dips below a certain threshold. This may include notifying staff to restock the item or temporarily pausing sales.  

3. Drill-Through Functionality

This feature allows you to analyze your data in a more detailed and organized way. For example, you notice a significant increase in sales for the West region this month. This new view might reveal which products are driving sales growth and help you evaluate the success of your marketing campaigns. These insights help you understand the 'why' behind high-level trends.

Looker Studio: Data Visualization Powerhouse

Google Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) is a free self-service business intelligence platform for data visualization. It helps you transform your business data into engaging reports and dashboards. 

It can be connected to over 800 data sources, pulling in the required information. This data can be easily transformed into colorful and interactive charts and graphs for dashboards and reports such as KPIs, digital marketing reports, or insights. 

The biggest difference between Looker vs Looker Studio is that Looker Studio doesn't require any sort of coding or modeling language, which makes handling data highly convenient for general users. You can share and collaborate on reports, informing everyone with real-time data insights. 

Main Features of Looker Studio

While both explore data, Looker Studio's drag-and-drop simplicity and interactive features make it stand out in Looker vs Looker Studio comparison. Let's take a look at them.  

1. Easy Data Integration 

Google Studio is a central translator, connecting your data across different sources (databases, spreadsheets, or analytics). With all your data in one place, Looker Studio empowers you to tell a rich story with this data. You can combine sales figures, customer demographics, and website traffic seamlessly into a single, visually compelling report that derives impactful insights. 

2. Drag-and-Drop Interface

Looker Studio's drag-and-drop lets anyone become a data visualization expert. Think of it as a toolbox filled with pre-built charts, graphs, and interactive elements. Just drag and drop these elements onto your report canvas to transform data into professional business insights in one click. 

You can choose from bar charts, line charts, geo charts, tables, and shapes. Since there is no prior need for any technical knowledge, all of your team members can easily create dashboards that bring data to life. 

3. Customization  

Customization is a major distinction between Looker Studio vs Looker. Looker Studio lets your reports adapt and tell a more interactive story. For instance, you can add filters that viewers can use to explore data by time period (see sales trend by month or quarter), geography (regional performance), or customer segment (buying habits of different groups). 

You can also pick from a variety of pre-built templates, saving your time while still allowing customization with interactive tools.  

Benefits of Looker Studio

Looker Studio offers plenty of benefits for business owners, such as real-time collaboration, data sharing for a wide range of audiences, and cost-effective marketing data analysis.

1. Real-Time Collaboration

Looker Studio offers built-in collaboration tools that allow multiple users to work on reports and dashboards simultaneously. Edits, comments, and revisions are automatically saved, ensuring everyone stays on the same page and can access the latest version. This streamlines team collaboration and communication, fostering a more efficient and transparent data analysis. 

2. Cost Effective Solution

Looker Studio is a powerful data visualization tool completely free of cost. You can shift your focus from software expenses to data analysis and communication. It empowers startups and small businesses to leverage the power of data visualization without worrying about expensive software licenses.  

3. Report Embedding

Looker Studio has a report embedding feature, allowing you to integrate your insightful reports directly onto different web pages or networks. Embedding lets you share your data stories with a broader audience. Unlike static documents, embedded reports are dynamic; when the data refreshes in Looker Studio, the embedded version automatically reflects the updated version. 

Looker vs. Looker Studio: A Comparative Analysis 

Let's create a comparison table to summarize the key difference between Google Data Studio vs Looker.



Looker Studio

Primary Function

Business Intelligence Platform

Data Visualization Tool

Target Users

Data Analysts, Business Users

General/ Business users

Data Modeling

Look ML


Data Integration

Pre-built Connectors/ Integrations  

Connects to 800 data sources



Free with Pro version

Learning Curve

Steeper (Look ML)

Easier (drag and drop)



Advanced Visualization Tools

Alerts and Notifications

Real-Time Alerting 



Collaboration Feature

Built-in Collaboration tools

Machine Learning

Pre-built Custom Models



Google Cloud Security

Google Cloud Security

Looker vs Looker Studio: Choosing The Right Tool

The above table provides detailed, comprehensive knowledge of the features and uses of Looker and Looker Studio. Here is a breakdown of the parameters of choosing between both of them.

Choose Looker If: 

  • You have a business that deals with complex data that requires manipulation and transformation. 
  • You need advanced analytics capabilities, like machine learning models, for data exploration and trend prediction.
  • Data security is a top priority. Looker offers robust security features to protect sensitive information.
  • You have a team of data analysts who can leverage Looker's full potential. 

Choose Looker Studio If: 

  • You need to create visually appealing dashboards and reports with a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. There is no need for any coding.
  • Suppose you have a limited budget. Looker Studio has a free version with ample features. 
  • You want an easy collaboration with your team members on reports and dashboards.
  • You have data from various sources that need to be combined and visualized in one place. 

Transform Your Business Data Into Industry Insights With Catchr

This article provides a detailed outlook on Looker vs Google Data Studio. Looker is a paid BI platform with advanced data modeling and machine learning, ideal for businesses with complex data needs. Looker Studio, on the other hand, is a free visualization tool perfect for creating reports and dashboards. 

After collecting and sorting all the data, you must prepare detailed performance reports such as sales, digital marketing, or KPIs. While this may be an overwhelming task, Catchr can make it easy for you. It can save you time by collecting marketing data from different platforms, enabling you to create insightful reports that combine data from multiple sources.  

Catchr keeps your data safe and up-to-date. You can integrate your data insights from Looker Studio with Catchr to create compelling digital marketing reports in an easy and simplified manner.

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In this template, you will find all the metrics and dimensions you would need to get a better view of your data.

If you need more templates, you could look at our looker studio template gallery.

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In this template, you will find all the metrics and dimensions you would need to get a better view of your data thank to our integrations.

If you need more templates, you could look at our PowerBI template gallery.

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