Looker vs. Explo for Embedded Analytics

Looker vs. Explo for Embedded Analytics


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Looker is one of the more popular BI solutions today. This blog provides a direct comparison of Looker and Explo, dissecting their capabilities in meeting the demands of modern SaaS companies seeking an embedded analytics solution.

What Is Looker?

Looker is an analytics platform that offers a suite of tools designed to empower businesses in making data-driven decisions. It provides an infrastructure for data exploration, visualization, and analysis, catering to a diverse range of industries and use cases. Looker's strength lies in its data modeling layer, allowing businesses to define and standard business metrics across their organization. They also have an embedded offering that we’ll dive deeper into.

 Key Features:

  1. Customizable Dashboards: Looker enables users to create personalized dashboards tailored to their specific needs.
  2. Data Modeling: With LookML (Looker Modeling Language), users can define and manage data models, ensuring consistency and accuracy across analyses.
  3. Embedded Analytics: Looker offers embedded analytics capabilities, allowing businesses to integrate analytics directly into their applications or platforms.
  4. Collaboration Tools: Looker facilitates collaboration among team members with features such as shared dashboards, scheduled reports, and commenting capabilities.

 Potential Drawbacks:

  1. Complexity: While powerful, Looker's robust feature set can sometimes lead to a steep learning curve for users, particularly those new to analytics platforms. Setup requires learning LookML, their own proprietary language.
  2. Cost: Looker's pricing structure may pose challenges for smaller businesses or startups, as it is quite expensive compared to competitors.
  3. Resource Intensive: Implementing and maintaining Looker may require dedicated resources in terms of time, personnel, and infrastructure. Support resources are only available through community forums and paid, third-party companies. 

What Is Explo?

Explo is a modern customer-facing analytics platform designed to meet the specific needs of software companies looking to integrate analytics into their platforms or applications.

Unlike traditional analytics platforms that primarily focus on internal BI, Explo is designed specifically for embedding analytics directly into customer-facing products and customer end-users. 

This strategic focus allows SaaS companies to enhance their offerings by providing powerful analytics and reporting capabilities directly within their applications.

 Key Features: 

  1. Embedded Analytics Integration: Explo specializes in embedding analytics into existing software applications, enabling features such as multi-timezone support, mobile responsive dashboards, and additional exporting options.
  2. White-label Customization: Explo offers extensive white-labeling capabilities, allowing software companies to tailor the embedded analytics experience to match their brand's look and feel.
  3. Ease of Implementation: With a user-friendly interface and robust API documentation, Explo simplifies the process of integrating analytics into software applications. Explo also connects to any SQL database and supports various existing data models.
  4. Scalability: Explo is built to scale alongside growing user bases and data volumes to ensure embedded analytics performance remains optimal. While making it easy to manage permissions and custom analytics on a customer level.

By focusing on the embedded analytics use case and prioritizing features tailored to this specific scenario, Explo stands out as a preferred solution for software companies seeking to differentiate their offerings through enhanced analytics capabilities.

Software Comparison: Looker vs. Explo

 In the quest for superior embedded analytics, comparing Looker and Explo is essential for software companies. G2 provides a comprehensive analysis of these platforms, aiding decision-makers in identifying the ideal solution for their needs. Let's dive into this comparison to pinpoint the best fit for your organization. 

Ease of Implementation & Support

Looker’s implementation is supported by its proprietary LookML semantic layer and language. While LookML provides a structured framework for data modeling and management, it has a huge learning curve for users unfamiliar with it.

Explo, on the other hand, takes a flexible approach, relying solely on SQL for its analytics operations. This simplicity allows for a more straightforward implementation process, especially for teams well-versed in SQL.

In terms of support quality, Looker offers limited free support and more comprehensive assistance that comes at cost and relies on third-party service providers. Explo stands out from Looker here, providing responsive and dedicated support that starts at implementation and continues through the engagement, ensuring a smooth integration experience for customers.

Speed of implementation is another crucial aspect where Explo often outperforms Looker. With its SQL-based approach and flexibility, Explo can be implemented relatively quickly, allowing businesses to start leveraging analytics capabilities sooner.

While Looker's proprietary LookML offers structure and depth, Explo's SQL-based flexibility and streamlined approach often result in a faster and more straightforward implementation process, making it a preferred choice for businesses.

End User Customizability

Explo empowers users with self-serve capabilities, allowing them to customize their experience through editable dashboards and a report builder. This flexibility enables each customer to tailor their reports and dashboards to their unique preferences.

Explo goes a step further by integrating generative AI for report creation. This feature leverages AI algorithms to automate report generation, providing users with insightful analyses and recommendations.

In addition, Explo facilitates continuous sharing and distribution of reports through various channels. Users can easily collaborate and disseminate insights with stakeholders, enhancing communication and decision-making across the organization.

In contrast, while Looker offers some level of customization, Explo's emphasis on self-serve capabilities, AI-driven insights, and effortless sharing mechanisms sets it apart, providing users with unparalleled flexibility and control over their analytics experience.

Seamless Embedding

Explo's approach to embedding analytics is characterized by its extensive white-labeling capabilities, which allow businesses to incorporate analytics into their products or applications without compromising branding or user experience.

With Explo, software companies can effortlessly tailor the embedded analytics experience to match their brand's aesthetic preferences and design specifications. This level of flexibility ensures a cohesive and consistent user experience.

Explo offers a flexible web component embedding option in addition to an iFrame option. The customer management system within Explo is simple to use and allows companies to securely manage and share analytics with thousands of users.

While both Looker and Explo offer embedding capabilities, Explo's emphasis on flexibility, simplicity, and white-labeling sets it apart as the preferred choice for businesses seeking integration of analytics into their applications.


Looker's pricing model, based on the number of end users, can quickly escalate costs, especially for organizations with a large user base. This linear approach might prove financially burdensome, particularly for companies aiming to scale their analytics capabilities.

 On the other hand, Explo's pricing model, structured around customer groups, offers economies of scale. This means that as the number of customers grows, the cost per customer decreases. Explo's pricing aligns well with software companies seeking to embed analytics into their products without incurring expenses.

 In essence, while Looker's internal focus may lead to ballooning costs when used for the embedded use case, Explo's external analytics orientation and scalable pricing make it a more cost-effective choice for businesses looking to maximize value.

Why Companies Choose Explo Over Looker

Spekit, a fast-growing platform in the SaaS industry, needed a scalable analytics solution without disrupting its product roadmap. They turned to Explo for several reasons:

1. Swift Implementation: Explo enabled Spekit to build and test their analytics solution within just 14 days.

2. Cost-Efficiency: Spekit estimated saving around $100,000 annually in support costs by using Explo instead of building an in-house system.

3. Flexibility and Control: Explo gave Spekit's developers the freedom to create customized dashboards and reports that integrate with their platform.

4. Supportive Partnership: Spekit valued the collaborative relationship with Explo's customer success team, receiving guidance throughout the implementation process.

5. Enhanced Customer Experience: Explo's solution not only met Spekit's technical needs but also inspired improvements in customer service initiatives.

 By choosing Explo, Spekit achieved rapid scalability, cost savings, and improved customer satisfaction, making it the preferred analytics solution over Looker. 

Check out more customer reviews and testimonials.

Get Started with Explo for Embedded Analytics

Explo emerges as a top-notch solution in embedded analytics with unmatched flexibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. It empowers businesses to integrate analytics into their platforms, driving value and enhancing customer experiences.

Ready to embark on your journey with Explo for embedded analytics? Take the next step today and discover the power of embedded insights. Click here to get started with a trial or take a tour of Explo's features, and unlock a world of possibilities for your business.

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