You cannot escape spreadsheets when in marketing. Regardless of what you are working on, clients’ retention, small business marketing improvement, revenue calculation, or budget planning, it is always necessary to have it all tracked, measured, and summarized. Spreadsheets work great for not only keeping it all in one place but also visualizing things that matter the most.
The two most famous apps for managing spreadsheets are Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. They both seem to tick all the boxes. Is there any difference when picking the right one when it comes to storing and organizing data? Are you still in doubt about which one to choose?
Without further ado, let’s discover their differences as well as similarities and find out which spreadsheet is best for marketers.
Why do marketers need these tools?
Both tools, Google Sheets and Excel, are utilized to collect, store and manipulate all the marketing data. You can use them both or work in only one spreadsheet. All the information is stored in cells that form columns and rows, making data easily accessed and measured.
There are multiple ways to utilize spreadsheets, from conducting basic calculations to making more complex and in-depth analyses.
Marketers will benefit from the tools carrying out marketing campaigns, looking at video marketing statistics, or organizing email and customer lists, as all the data is stored in a single spreadsheet where it can be sorted, measured, and analyzed for further actions.
Differences and similarities between the two
While both spreadsheets have their own benefits, some things make them stand apart. Let’s see what Google Sheets and Excel have in common and what are the distinctions between the two.
You can use both tools for personal and business use.
As for Google Sheets, it is free for personal use with a 15GB storage capacity. For extra space, there is an option to purchase more storage if needed.
GSheets offers several business-use plans, depending on the required functionality and capacity. It starts from $6 and 30GB per user per month.
Microsoft Excel, on the other hand, doesn’t have free plans and offers several in terms of costs. You can either pay for lifetime use or choose a monthly or yearly subscription. For personal use, it starts from $6,99 per month or $69,99 per year for one person. For business use, it’s $8,25 with 1 TB storage per user per month.
For one-time purchases, it is the same for both personal and business use: $139.99/user for Microsoft Excel and $249.99/user for an office bundle.
GSheets, as well as Excel, allow integration with different applications.
When using Microsoft Excel, you can use offered add-ons to synchronize the required data from several online services databases, CRMs, CMSs, helpdesk software, project management tools with Excel.
The same goes for Google Sheets. Utilizing different integration services, you can set up a WooCommerce Google Sheets integration or easily export the information from apps and platforms like Trello, Shopify, HubSpot, etc.
Ease of usage
Google Sheets has a simple and intuitive interface. If you are new to using spreadsheets, it may be easier to get acquainted with them first.
Microsoft Excel, in turn, has more features and, as a result, more buttons and different menus, making it more complicated for users to get along with the tool.
Although both spreadsheets have similar functionalities, it would be easier to choose Google Sheets and learn them in the first place for those who are just starting to use them.
You can shift to Excel later when feeling confident managing more complex functionality.
All the files you create with Google Sheets are stored in GDrive, which is well secured with an HTTPS connection and has an option to add two-step verification.
In Microsoft Excel, users can set passwords on files or, for better protection, store them in OneDrive. The latter allows to add verifications and ensure all the data is secure and cannot be accessed by anyone unwanted.
However, there’s still a risk for the data to be affected by computer malware. So be careful when installing unknown apps and stay aware of how to remove it.
Google Sheets for Marketers
Now it’s time to have a closer look at Google Sheets and discover what it has to offer in terms of its functionality.
Google Sheets is quick and convenient when you are to work on the same document with your colleagues.
You can easily share the link to the file and customize how you want others to work on it.
People can either view and make suggestions, comment or edit the whole document if needed. You will see all the interactions and change history.
Being web-based, GSheets has a limitation on the number of cells (maximum 5 000 000). The more you add, the slower the speed and the more complicated the usage will be.
Regarding GSheets functionalities, you can either utilize the basics and do simple calculations or explore add-ons for more complex operations.
Google Sheets allows you to save data in real-time, filter it whenever needed and customize charts by applying various styles and changing their color. You can also create charts, add pivot tables and visualize existing data. For those feeling intimidated about where to start, the tool has a nice gallery of templates to choose from:
Google Sheets is a fantastic tool for marketing where you can create a content plan, follow publishing dates, track email campaign statistics, PPC ads results, and many more.
You can also compile marketing research, scope out the existing competition, and track valuable results of A/B tests.
Google Sheets is also accessible for SEO, helping to analyze keywords and check page rankings. You can highlight it for better visualization.
Overall, GSheets present a simple way for internal knowledge sharing within marketing teams.
Microsoft Excel for Marketers
Using Excel might be slightly problematic to collaborate if you have a file saved on your laptop.
To enable others to access and view it, you need to move it to a shared folder or use OneDrive.
Another option is to switch to Excel Online, which makes it possible to work on the same file with other people in an online mode.
Unlike Google Sheets, Excel, being installed on the laptop, can easily accommodate vast amounts of cells without influencing speed or performance, making it smooth and quick.
Compared to GSheets, Excel is known for more advanced functionalities and, as a result, a more complicated usage. With Excel, you can access features like Power Pivot and Query, which enable in-depth analytics.
Customization is also on point in Excel, where you can customize charts, ribbons, tabs, change themes and adjust the toolbar according to your preferences.
With Excel, it is possible to add pivot tables for data summaries without struggling with complicated formulas. All the data can be easily formatted, filtered, and sorted.
Microsoft Excel has add-ins for extended functionality. You can get an extra button, add a side panel and work on the document in a more advanced manner.
There are free add-ins as well as those which need to be purchased.
Excel is a great tool for data analysis. It can extract data from websites, workbooks, platforms, and other worksheets, analyze it and consolidate it for a detailed narration of the way the business is currently performing.
Excel also creates reports for historical business analysis, making it possible to determine whether the team met the objectives.
You can also make special worksheets, create graph timelines, save templates for inventory management, financial records, and more.
With the help of plugins, you can also conduct predictive analytics. All the formulas and calculations from different sources can be centralized in a single spreadsheet, making it possible to compare and measure tons of data for better business decisions.
Microsoft Excel and GSheets are both great when it comes to analyzing marketing activities. Spreadsheets allow you to organize different data types, measure it and visualize them using a single app.
Excel is the way to go when it comes to working with a vast amount of information and conducting in-depth analysis. All the functionalities and additional plugins will enable smooth and productive work.
Whether you are not dealing with a lot of information or just getting acquainted with spreadsheets, Google Sheets will tick all the boxes for you.
You can perform basic calculations, budget planning, and simple analyses in Google Sheets.
Dmytro Zaichenko is a Marketing Specialist at Coupler.io, a data integration tool. He has over 2 years of experience in digital marketing. Apart from experimenting with marketing tactics, he’s a huge NBA fan.