How to make a Sankey Chart with Looker VS SankeyJourney

How to make a Sankey Chart with Looker VS SankeyJourney

When it comes to analyzing customer journeys on an app, Sankey diagrams or flow charts can be a valuable tool. While Looker Studio does offer the ability to generate Sankey diagrams, it is not necessarily the best choice for customer analysis. Instead, SankeyJourney offers a range of features that make it better suited to the task.

How to make a Sankey diagram with Looker Studio ?

Let's start by looking at Looker Studio. While it is possible to generate Sankey diagrams on Looker Studio, the process can be complicated and limited.

Previously (when Looker Studio was still called Data Studio), you needed to have the appropriate add-ons installed (from Community Visualizations), and even then, generating a Sankey diagram with more than two nodes was close to impossible .

Now, there is the possibility to directly generate a Sankey diagram from the interface by clicking on 'Add a Chart' and choosing 'Sankey'. You are then asked to choose two dimensions (one for source, and one for target), and one metric (for the weight, most of the time corresponding to 'Record Count'). This means that only two nodes can appear on the graph, which is far from using all the potential of Sankey diagrams!

For these reasons, Looker Studio is primarily designed for big picture data analysis, rather than specifically for customer journey analysis.

Here is an example of the sankey charts you can expect from Looker Studio. The graph display the proportion of male and female using an app in Belgium and France. While the chart is beautiful, let's be honest, it is not really bringing any more insights that a bar chart would have displayed.

Example of Sankey diagram generated by Looker Studio
Same data, but displayed in a much more efficient way using a column chart

Is there any workaround with some back-end work on BigQuery ? 

As you probably know, Looker / Data Studio can be plugged to BigQuery for more complex data visualization objectives. This usually offers great flexibility to data analysts, but in the context of generating a big picture overview of your customer journeys, this is unfortunately not enough. 

How to visualize user journeys with sankey diagram with Looker then ?

Short answer is : Looker Studio, (previously called Data Studio for the nostalgics) is probably not the most suited tool for you. 

In contrast, SankeyJourney is an online Sankey diagram maker that is specifically designed for customer journey analysis. It offers a range of features that make it easier to generate Sankey diagrams that are tailored to this purpose. For example, SankeyJourney allows you to upload a CSV file containing your event data and map the columns to user_id, event_name, and event_timestamp. This makes it easy to generate a Sankey diagram in just a few clicks.

One of the most significant advantages of SankeyJourney is its ease of use. Unlike Looker Studio, which can be challenging to navigate, SankeyJourney is intuitive and straightforward. You can edit the Sankey diagram easily, including designing the number of steps to display, filtering the events you wish to show, and choosing the color palette for your diagram. You can also edit the size of the label, group events together, and use the event looping feature to clean up redundancies and discover new patterns in users' journeys.

SankeyJourney also allows you to interact with the Sankey diagram, making it easier to analyze and understand your data. You can click on nodes and segments to produce filters on the Sankey diagram for the selected step of the journey. You can also specify the duration of a user's session, so you can display the journey of a user for a particular session only.

SankeyJourney interface to generate a visulaizatoin of the aggregate of your customer journeys

What can we conclude about Looker VS SankeyJourney

While Looker Studio is a general data analysis tool, SankeyJourney is tailored to customer journey analysis, with features that help you understand how customers interact with your app. You can analyze the journey of a user from the first event to the last, identifying key touchpoints and opportunities to improve the customer experience.

In conclusion, while it is possible to generate Sankey diagrams on Looker Studio, it is not the best choice for customer journey analysis. SankeyJourney offers a range of features that make it easier to generate Sankey diagrams tailored to this purpose. With its ease of use, interactive features, and focus on customer journey analysis, SankeyJourney is the ideal tool for anyone looking to analyze customer journeys on an app.

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