What is Analytics Canvas?
Analytics Canvas is a no-code, visual data-preparation SaaS tool that provides a user-friendly interface for working with data in Google Analytics (GA4), BigQuery, and Looker Studio.
Analytics Canvas Online and Windows desktop applications connect users to data in text files, spreadsheets, databases, and APIs, and features a 'canvas' where users interact with data and create data workflows.
With functionality that is comparable to spreadsheets or SQL for data processing, users can access data, analyze it, create calculations, blend data together, and create automated data workflows that can be updated on schedule or on-demand.
Unlike spreadsheets, Canvas can process much larger datasets and uses a simple, visual UI for managing data inputs, documenting the detailed steps of a data workflow, and for automating routine data tasks.
While traditional data-prep / ETL tools can cost tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars to license, Canvas is designed to be accessible, starting at just $49/mo.
A product of nModal Solutions Inc., a Toronto based company that was launched in 2008 by nModal's founder, James Standen, Analytics Canvas was created to address the complexities marketers faced in accessing GA data for specialized reporting. Data volumes were just too big for spreadsheets and data sampling made extraction complex. While traditional ETL tools could handle the task, they were bloated with features marketers didn't need and were far too complex for junior marketers to master without extensive training. They also lacked a specialization in Google Analytics, leading to the delivery of sampled data.
James had already built Datamartist, a visual data-prep application designed to create and manage data warehouses. Seeing a need from the Analytics community, James developed a simplified version of Datamartist called Analytics Canvas. Canvas would feature the addition of a GA connector that eliminated data sampling and more advanced functionality for those with multiple websites.
Analytics Canvas quickly became the leading GA4 integration tool for Google Analytics, offering a dynamic and user-friendly solution for data extraction and analysis on both GA4 Standard and GA4 360 Properties. While Canvas started as a Windows desktop application for Universal Analytics, it is now a platform that offers on-premise, installed applications through Windows Desktop and Server, and Cloud-Hosted applications through Analytics Canvas Online and specializing in the GA4 Data API and BigQuery Event export.
Today Analytics Canvas is used by consultants, free-lancers, lone-wolf analysts on marketing teams, and agencies around the world who need to create reliable, repeatable, and cost-effective reports across GA4, Google Ads, Search Console and more.
Who uses Analytics Canvas?
Designed by an engineer and data scientist who spent decades working with data in the enterprise and leading IT teams, Analytics Canvas is at home in an IT environment.
Within IT, Canvas is used for:
- getting data from Google Analytics into reporting processes without investing in learning the API
- rapid prototyping when the business doesn't yet have all their needs defined
- staying current with the Google Analytics API without investing scarce resources
- batch processing from dozens, hundreds, even thousands of Google Analytics accounts, properties, and views
- creating and publishing TDEs (Tableau Data Extracts) for consumption by business users without using TABCMD
- traditional ETL processes
Best of all, Canvas has been audited and approved by government and enterprise IT departments around the world, and integrates seamlessly into existing processes as it can be triggered by existing ETL or BI software.
Analytics Canvas is designed for self-serve data analysis without involving IT.
With a focus on Google data tools, such as Analytics, Search Console, Ads, Sheets, BigQuery, and Looker Studio, Canvas is designed to assist analysts in:
- connecting to data sources
- profiling and preparing data for analysis
- publishing datasets to dashboards and reports
- automating mundane data tasks that enable analysts to become more productive
Marketers and business users use Analytics Canvas for accessing data from APIs, databases, and files without writing code. For combining / blending data from various sources, and generally for processing data that is too big for spreadsheets.
Most customers who aren't in IT had never used an ETL or Data-Prep tool before Analytics Canvas, but have now discovered a better way to visualize data tasks and explore data faster than they ever could using traditional spreadsheets.