Marketing reports are indispensable for any business. But they form the bread and butter of what digital marketing agencies do. How else would we prove our worth to our clients?
In this article, we look at the advantages of using an automated reporting system for your agency analytics. We’ll also explain some report automation best practices and discuss your options for digital marketing reporting tools.
But first, here’s a quick primer on marketing report automation.
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What is marketing report automation?
If you work in marketing then you’re familiar with the monthly—or sometimes more frequent—need to produce reports for your clients. In these reports, you demonstrate the value your agency brings by proving ROI.
Instead of doing your reports manually—the old fashioned way—marketing report automation uses an automated reporting system to basically produce the report for you.
You can use marketing automation reporting to keep track of:
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Website performance
- SEO strategies
- Social media campaigns
- Google Ads campaigns
- And much more
How does marketing report automation work?
The automated reporting system works by pulling data from your client’s various marketing channels and platforms. These might include your client’s website, Google Ads, Facebook, and other social media channels.
The automated reporting system then converts the aggregated data into a monthly (or weekly or half-monthly report). It can even send weekly updates to your inbox or your client’s inbox, allowing you to keep an eye on things in between reporting periods.
This system can also be programmed to deliver your agency analytics to a precise schedule, for example, the same day every month.
Why use marketing report automation?
Now that you understand what it is, let’s take a look at the almost endless benefits of report automation.
Saves time and money
With a system pulling and aggregating data, then organising that data into a comprehensive and attractive report, you’ll save countless man hours.
Think about it. If a report takes 1 employee 1 day to produce, and you pay that employee $30 per hour, then reporting for 1 client, at a rate of 1 report per month, will cost you $2700 per year. Now multiply that by your number of clients. See what we mean?
Saving time will have many positive knock-on effects, like helping your team to better meet deadlines, whether report-related or otherwise.
You might be thinking that report automation is inferior to a manually produced reporting, which is personalised to the client and crafted with TLC. Think again!
Report automation gives you a much greater level of accuracy and precision, almost entirely eliminating error.
But what about that personal touch that you get from a human-created report?
Today’s automated reporting systems and white label reporting dashboards are very sophisticated and have customisable features, so you lose none of the benefits of a person-crafted report.
Customisable features can include:
- Emails messages
- And more
At the end of the day, improved precision and customizable features will allow you to better communicate the value you create for your client
Can be personalized
Many tools are “white label” meaning that you can apply your clients’ branding to each and every report.
This gives a highly professional and attractive appearance to your reports, but more importantly, gives a level of personalisation that you may not have had time for if you hadn’t automated your reports.
Boosts employee happiness
A recent study has confirmed what many bosses have known for a long time: happy workers are busy workers. According to this particular University of Oxford study, happy employees are 13% more productive.
An unexpected benefit of marketing report automation is the boost to employee happiness. Without having to produce reports, employees are free to perform higher-value, and more rewarding, tasks.
Unburdened by reporting, your team can focus their creativity and problem solving skills on strategy and campaigns. And we could all do with more time spent strategizing and campaigning.
Improves customer satisfaction
By using automation, you’ll impress your clients with the accuracy and precision of your results. But you’ll also be assuring them that your reporting is true, and never falsified. In this way, report automation actually increases the transparency and reliability of agency analytics.
Be sure to stress these benefits to your client to assure them you are compliant with report automation best practices. This is a great way to impress clients and increase trust in, and loyalty towards, your brand.
Streamlines in-house processes
We’ve already touched on the time and money-saving benefits of report automation, helping you to keep on top of all of your deadlines, not just your report-related ones.
In this way, report automation helps you to streamline your in-house processes. It gives you the advantage of seeing, and handling, all of your client’s reporting in one place. This helps you with your own reporting purposes, as you calculate your own agency’s ROI.
How to choose your digital marketing reporting tools?
Now that you know what report automation is and have seen what it can do, let’s take a look at how to choose your automation tool.
You’ll need to ask yourself many questions about your clients’, and your agency’s, unique reporting needs.
Ask yourself questions like: What type of KPIs am I trying to measure? At what frequency do I need to produce reports? Which features do I want to be customizable?
Four types of reporting tools
When choosing your reporting system, you’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons of four different types of systems. These are:
Dedicated automated reporting tools
These are specifically designed to integrate data across multiple platforms and channels to automatically produce marketing reports – for example, SEO audits and campaign reports. Such tools produce easy-to-read reports that can be shared with clients or non-marketing team members.
Data analytics dashboard tools
These systems are highly cost-effective and provide in-depth, detailed agency analytics. They are a little less customizable than some of the other types. An example of such a tool is Google Data Studio, which only reports on data from Google Search Console and other Google products and platforms.
These tools give you the highest capability to tailor and customize your reports. However, you need a developer or two to work it.
Business intelligence (BI) tools
This type of automated reporting system has advanced analytical features. It produces reports better suited to those in the know. It’s best used if you’re reporting to a tech-savvy marketing manager rather than a small business owner.
Why your agency needs to automate reporting?
Not only is report automation a huge time and money saver, it actually improves both your team’s and your client’s happiness.
Through report automation best practices like improving transparency and accountability of your agency analytics, you’ll keep your clients happy, build greater trust, and improve your own team’s efficiency.