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Embedded Tableau Pricing | User vs. Usage-Based Pricing (UBL)

Embedded Tableau Pricing | User vs. Usage-Based Pricing (UBL)


Why Embedded Analytics with Tableau

Embedded analytics is a growing use case for organizations looking to deliver (and even monetize) their data with external audiences.  As an industry leader in data visualization, Tableau is often used as the underlying data visualization engine because it provides interactive dashboards for non-technical users, and it's incredibly easy to iterate as any data product evolves with customer feedback.  Tableau pivots quickly with changing user requirements.

Tableau's product suite supports various deployment options depending on the use case. Regarding external-facing products, the audience often goes beyond your organization's employees. With that in mind, Tableau offers two different pricing options- user and usage-based - to meet embedded customers' needs with a pricing model that scales with their organizational use case. Let's dive in!

Who's Hosting | Cloud vs. Server for Embedding

The biggest decision with any Tableau deployment is determining where the final visualizations will be published and accessed.  Tableau provides two hosting options with different pros and cons.

  • Tableau Server - Customers who purchase Tableau Server sign up to host and maintain their own underlying hardware to support the consumption of Tableau dashboards. Server is Tableau's original deployment option and gives users flexibility in deploying and managing upgrade/maintenance windows.  The biggest downside of Tableau Server is that it often requires special resources and attention to keep up with new Tableau versions (released 3x/year).  As of early 2024, new AI-related features such as Tableau Pulse were only released to Tableau Cloud customers.  The writing is on the wall that Tableau Server isn't as prioritized in the product roadmap, particularly after the Salesforce acquisition.  
  • Tableau Cloud - On the other hand, Tableau Cloud is the quickest path to delivering Tableau's full capabilities with minimal IT overhead. It is essentially a Tableau Server hosted and managed by Tableau without the hassles of infrastructure management. As a Premier Tableau Partner, our DataDrive team has been supporting more organizations migrating from Tableau Server to Tableau Cloud as the preferred deployment method of choice.

For the sake of embedded analytics, this blog article will only focus on Tableau Cloud deployment options.

User-Based Pricing | License by Role

The longstanding option for Tableau deployments has been role-based - i.e. defining individual users with specific permission roles within a Tableau Cloud instance.  Within Tableau Cloud, there are three types of licenses to consider.

  • Creator - Developers who need access to Tableau Desktop and Prep to connect, curate, create, and publish datasets and interactive dashboards.  Each Tableau Cloud deployment needs at least one Creator license to get started.
  • Explorer - Power users who want the ability to web-edit existing data sources and dashboards for their own analysis.  Explorers have virtually the same features of a Creator license without direct access to Tableau Desktop for connecting net-new data sources.  In an embedded product that white-labels Tableau, you also need to consider the development path for Explorer users as saving new content can be a complex user requirement for data portals.
  • Viewer - Standard license for most end users to view/interact with interactive dashboards while having capabilities to export summary data, set up custom views, and configure subscriptions.  This will likely be the largest licensed user base, particularly in embedded deployments.

Tableau provides list pricing for each license type on their website - keeping in mind discounts are available on pure-embedded Tableau Cloud environments that plan to use for embedded data portals.  If you are an existing Tableau Cloud customer, any new embedded environment will require a separate instance for the different licensing type. 

Usage-Based Pricing | License by Impressions

In late 2022, Tableau released an alternative licensing model for embedded Tableau Cloud environments to be licensed by 'impressions' - versus identifying individual access.  This licensing model better aligns with external-facing deployments with large communities of ephemeral (i.e. little access needed) users.  This is particularly helpful in deployments where it may be near-impossible to identify who would even access dashboards amongst a large population of potential users.

The unit of measure for embedded usage-based deployments is called 'analytical impressions' that are purchased incrementally at a set price.  Keep in mind that usage-based pricing is currently only available for embedded Tableau Cloud environments - ideally for high volume, low frequency users.

The concept of an analytics impressions is based on a pool of certain actions users take that count against the purchased pool of impressions.  Examples of analytics impressions are 

  • Loading a visualization (dashboard/worksheet)
  • Loading a Tableau Pulse
  • Downloading/exporting a visualization
  • Receiving an emailed subscription or data-driven alert

An important variable that DOES NOT count against analytical impressions is interacting with a dashboard/visualization after it has been loaded.  This alone allows the pre-purchased analytical impressions pool last longer in a embedded UBL deployment.

As of Q2 2024, user-based licensing pricing is only available by working with your Tableau account manager.

Embedded Tableau Deployment Considerations

The big question for an embedded Tableau Cloud deployment comes down to fitting one of the pricing models (user vs. usage-based) into an external data product roll-out.  While the answer is often 'it depends', here are some key considerations Tableau Partner DataDrive works deployments through.

  • Named accounts less than 100(ish) users - user-based pricing
  • Large communities with 'light' usage throughout the year - usage-based pricing
  • Row-level security across multiple web domains - user-based pricing

There is also a broader 'external data product' strategy to consider as how reporting functions are communicated and rolled out to customers may better inform what pricing model will pay back in terms of real revenue or customer value.  For example, many of our DataDrive embedded customers only provide reporting access to power users - limiting how many named user licenses that are purchased from Tableau.

Like we said, the answer for the best pricing model is 'it depends on the overall embedded data portal strategy'.

Embedded Data Portals Made Easy with DataDrive

DataDrive is an award-winning Premier Tableau Partner that specializes in rolling out external-facing data portals - leveraging Tableau's white-labeled data visualizations behind the scenes.  It's helped our customers move to market quickly, monetize their data for net-new revenue streams, and deliver a scaled, secure deployment without the headaches of managing data and web hosting infrastructure.  Check out our embedded reporting portals.

Let's Talk Data


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