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Data Analytics

Getting to know Looker – common use cases

July 17, 2020
Vinay Balasubramaniam

Product Manager

Soleil Kelley

Product Marketing, Google Cloud

As we welcome Looker’s team and their business intelligence (BI) and analytics technology to Google Cloud, we’re exploring all the platform can do. Looker helps to leverage the full potential of data you’re collecting or have access to. You can model the data, analyze it, create visualizations, embed real-time dashboards, build data applications, and share the right data with the people who need it in your organizations. In many ways, Looker is like an API for your data.

With the potential to gather so much data today, that part often seems easy. But putting that data to work for you can really bring value. Get started with Looker’s unique approach to BI with some of these common use cases, and consider how you might apply some of these in your own organization. Once you know what you’re looking for and have some concrete numbers, you can decide which data can help you make decisions and set business goals. 

Check out these explainers to learn more about BI concepts and how you can work across business, IT, and operations teams to apply them appropriately.

Building beautiful dashboards. After all the work of getting data into BigQuery and applying analytics to it, dashboards are a great payoff. To build one that users will love, start by knowing what the reason for the dashboard is, and who the audience is within your organization. From there, get approval on the overall look of the dashboard, then start working on the actual creation. Ideally, your dashboard will be easy to scan and offer opportunities for users to drill down further if needed. You can also pay attention to details like flow and color to really entice users. Learn more.


Measuring customer profitability. Having a handle on customer profitability can help you understand whether customers are actually costing you money, rather than making you money. The measure of customer profitability is more complex than lifetime value or net margin of a transaction—it should include all touch points the customer has with your company. Those could include customer service interactions, fulfillment requirements, or overuse of services.

You can use a step-by-step process to determine customer profitability, including identifying customer channels, segmenting customer groups, and digging into your collected data to understand more about various costs related to customers. Once that process is in place, you can find that number as often as possible, then use the resulting information to adapt your business strategies and goals. Learn more.

Understanding customer segmentation. Customer segmentation refers to splitting customers into groups based on shared characteristics. These groups may have demographic, lifestyle, or behavioral differences that are useful to know. For example, you might segment customers using the recency, frequency, monetary (RFM) method to identify consumer habits and high-value shoppers. There are some typical customer segmentation models, ranging from simple to complex, and you may choose various models to understand your business and make product and budget decisions. Using customer segmentation can also inform your marketing and promotional strategies, and deliver the right content to users. With Looker, queries are made directly against your database and not by moving or extracting data to workbooks, cubes, .csv files, proprietary databases, or desktops. This key Looker differentiator promotes data integrity while keeping data movement to a minimum and access to sensitive information restricted. Learn more.

Using conversion funnels. Measuring customer or user experience can include lots of gray areas, but a conversion funnel is a way to explore how site visitors are progressing as they move around your website. You can do an initial conversion funnel analysis as a baseline measurement, then find where you can optimize the site experience for customers. You may measure conversions, transactions, and leads, but may also include average order value or gross margin. There are typically five steps in a site purchase funnel. Learn more.


Going beyond BI. Business intelligence is just the beginning—you can go beyond simply action-oriented insights to perform other tasks within Looker. For example, you can trigger workflows in other systems based on unified metrics within Looker using the Action Hub, securely and reliably send governed data to other systems, or bring routine tasks into Looker to close the loop between insight and action. Learn more.

These use cases just scratch the surface. To find more inspiration about what’s possible, head over to the Looker blog to discover the BI topics most pertinent to your business, catch one of Looker’s breakout sessions at Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir, or explore this new page.

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