What to Look for in Automated Reporting Tools (With 7 Competitors to Consider)

If you are a growing agency or marketing team that creates a lot of reports, both internally and for clients, you need automated reporting tools. An automated reporting solution will save your team hundreds of hours a month by eliminating manual tasks like importing data, visualizing data and designing reports.

But which automated reporting tool should you use?

This article was created to help agencies answer that.

Below, we’ll discuss the common and less-common features of automated reporting tools, and how to choose the best reporting tools for you. Then, we’ll give an in-depth explanation of how our reporting tool, TapClicks, differs from others and list seven other tools to consider.

Tired of wasting hundreds of hours a month manually creating reports? Try our free 14-day trial  to see how TapClicks automates your reporting, and so many other tasks across the entire marketing lifecycle.

How to Choose an Automated Reporting Tool

Having helped thousands of companies over the past 12 years scale their reporting and marketing operations, we have found most automated reporting tools on the market include:

  • Built-in data connections to the major digital marketing platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, etc.
  • The ability to set up live dashboards or schedule standard reports.

But for scaling agencies and enterprises what most automated reporting tools don’t offer is:

  1. The data integrations to more traditional marketing channels, like various radio and TV ad management platforms. Without these integrations, agencies and brands that advertise on these channels have to report on the metrics manually.
  2. The ability to automate data analysis, like adding or grouping metrics (total spend/clicks, CTR) across platforms and different campaigns or calculating and incorporating markup costs in client facing reports. Marketers spend hours doing this data analysis every week before they build their reports. If, instead, you have a tool (like ours below), that can automate this step, then all you have to do is define the metrics and set up the calculations once before activating it across all reports and dashboards. This can save your team a massive amount of time.
  3. The ability to automate the creation of PowerPoint or PDF reports monthly, weekly, or at whatever frequency you choose. As we said, most reporting tools have a dashboard feature, but even then, most agencies or in-house marketing teams need to send PowerPoint or PDF reports to executives or clients and they are typically forced to take screenshots of visuals from the dashboard and paste them into a PowerPoint presentation (for example) every month.

General BI vs. Dashboard Reporting

All the tools discussed in this article come with some automation capabilities, but vary in other features. As the list is compiled of mainly BI and dashboard reporting tools, in making your decision, it can be helpful to know the difference.

Business intelligence tools (i.e. Tableau, Looker, Domo) is a general term for software that performs big data analytics and data visualization. BI tools can combine and blend disparate sets of data to produce insights to drive decision-making in an enterprise. A tool of this size usually requires dedicated IT support, can be expensive and require extensive training before a typical marketing team member can use it effectively.

Dashboard reporting tools are specifically designed to take in data (usually, marketing or business performance data) and visualize it in evergreen dashboards or snapshot-in-time reports. These tools are typically far easier to learn, require very little technical expertise and are more affordable. What some tools in this category lack, that causes some companies to move to general purpose BI tools like Tableau for their data visualization however is flexibility being able to do whatever data calculation you want and build whatever visual or graph you want.

Our tool, TapClicks, is a marketing dashboard reporting tool built with enterprise level flexibility and scalability. It’s built to let enterprise level agencies or brands automate the reporting of large amounts of marketing data, by letting them do whatever calculations they want and create any dashboard or presentation/PDF style report automatically, on whatever schedule they want.

Next, we’ll describe the features of TapClicks in detail.

TapClicks: Automated Reporting Tool for Scaling Agencies and Marketing Teams

TapClicks: Let Your Data Do the Talking

What separates TapClicks from other automated reporting tools is that we built every feature with scale in mind. Every manual process we could automate, we did. This way, brands or agencies with even hundreds of unique clients or campaigns to report on can do it, without wasting dozens of hours per employee per month on manually creating reports.

Differentiator #1: TapClicks Directly Connects to Almost Any Marketing and Ad Platform You Can Think of, So You Never Have to Manually Import Data Again

The first, and arguably most fundamental aspect of automating reporting is automatically importing data into your reporting tool. While all the reporting products on this list come with automation tools, the difference is that most have a limited set of marketing sources that they connect with. So data from certain sources (say, Google Ads) gets imported automatically but others (say radio ad buys or even Amazon ads) have to be imported manually.

Manually importing data into your reporting tool is a massive employee time sink.

In contrast, TapClicks offers direct data integrations to 250+ marketing and ad platforms (we call them “instant-on connectors”) which is more than any of our competitors offer. In addition to the major channels that most tools provide, like Google Ads, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, we cover even non-social platforms and specific media systems like Verizon Media, Adroll, AppNexus, etc. So, enterprise level marketing that uses a mix of digital and traditional advertising has the software to conduct media buys and reporting on niche channels directly, without a broker. Connections to these 250 marketing and ad platforms can be done by a marketer with no coding or API expertise required.

In the rare occasion you want an integration with a platform TapClicks doesn’t offer, the TapClicks team can even create a “Smart Connector” which manually pulls the data everyday, to update your metrics.

Overall, this means that TapClicks users won’t have to build and maintain data feeds and API-based connections to those platforms, which can be a resource drain. Our development team builds the data integrations to these platforms and even maintains the APIs. This means your development team doesn’t have to deal with fixing it or talking to the ad platform (e.g. Facebook). We have those relationships and we’ll ensure the data integration is always up to date.

TapClicks Pulls Past Data to Give Your Reporting Context

When you first set up TapClicks, our platform will pull data from your last 12 months into the system to be analyzed and visualized. Past data provides context to any new campaign or reporting going forward by giving a benchmark of past performance metrics. This way management has the reporting to clearly see where improvements have been made or need to be made, from the first moment you use TapClicks.

So now when you use our automated reporting tools (see below) you know the metrics you are delivering to clients are always accessible, up-to-date and accurate.

Differentiator #2: TapClicks Automates the Creation of Dashboards and Marketing Reports. Create It Once, Deploy across Hundreds of Clients or Campaigns

The second part of automating reporting (after importing data) is automating the data analysis and creation of graphs and visuals. Again, this is where most brands and agencies spend tons of employee-hours, which typically follows these steps:

  • Get data from source (Facebook, Google Ads etc.)
  • Add up impressions, clicks (there can be hundreds of these) and manually calculate other key metrics for each campaign like click-through-rate, return on ad spend etc.
  • Create visuals and graphs to summarize this data, and paste these into a PowerPoint or PDF

Here’s the kicker: this process has to be repeated for every campaign or client, and done every month, quarter (or even week).

In contrast, with TapClicks, the reporting process follows much simpler steps:

  • Teams have the data ready (see Differentiator #1)
  • Set the platform to run whatever calculations the team wants (see Step 1, below)
  • Choose the visuals (widgets) for the report (see Step 2, below)

And here’s the good news: Once the report is built, their work is automatically saved as a template that can be reproduced across however many campaigns or clients they want. And, they can schedule it to automatically update with fresh data at any frequency: daily, weekly, monthly.

Let’s look at these steps in more detail.

Set Up a Dashboard in Minutes

To set up a new dashboard, users simply navigate to TapClicks dashboard and click on “Manage Data Sources” on the left sidebar.

Dashboard homepage

Click on the channel you want to create a dashboard for, enter your credentials for that channel, then simply authenticate TapClicks to start extracting performance data.

Step 1: Easily Group Metrics Together or Do Calculations Using Different Metrics for Your Reporting

Most of our clients using our automation tools to scale their reporting have campaigns running across many different ad channels and platforms, and need to create reports that summarize performance in aggregate. To do that, you need to combine stats that are similar across all of those platforms into single metrics.

For example, a social media agency may want to report on overall “engagement” from various campaigns for a given client. Each platform will have different metrics that can all be considered “engagement,” like retweets and comments on Twitter or Likes on Facebook.  

Normally, an account manager at a digital marketing agency is forced to add up those “Engagement” metrics one by one each time they are running a report. They export data from each platform (or worse, log in to each platform one by one), add up clicks from here, retweets from there, and so on. Then, they report on the total in a spreadsheet or PowerPoint slide. This is incredibly time consuming, especially when it’s done across hundreds of campaigns or clients and done weekly or monthly.

In contrast, with TapClicks you can create a custom metric called “Engagement” and define what that means for your company. For example you can tell TapClicks to add up all of the above engagement metrics from different platforms into a single dataset. 

Tracking engagement metrics

For example, “Engagement” is being defined to include clicks and phone calls from Facebook Ads, then below that, Clicks, Check-ins, Clicks to Play video and more from another platform.

Or here’s a list of metrics included in that same screen from YouTube that is also used to define “Engagement.”

Examples of Active Metrics

You can imagine how tedious it would be to manually add up the totals from all of these engagement metrics into a single report. TapClicks let’s you set this up once and easily report on this in every future report across hundreds of clients automatically.

The power of TapClicks is that once these metrics are defined, they can be used in any visual, chart, graph or report you make for any campaign or client from any platform. TapClicks automatically connects to almost any marketing platform (see Differentiator #1), and these metrics will automatically be updated every time someone on your team runs a report.

This feature alone can save hundreds of employee hours per month for many brands and agencies.

Step 2: Present Your Data in Easy to Understand Reports with Charts, Graphs and Other Visuals That You Set Up Once, and Can Replicate across Hundreds of Reports

TapClicks uses the same model of “set it up once, replicate it however many times you need” for calculating metrics (see Step 1, above) as it does for creating the visuals (what we call “widgets”).

Once you have calculated the metrics, you then can create report dashboards. A dashboard is a collection of charts, graphs or other visuals that report on your data. The powerful aspect of TapClicks is that every dashboard in TapClicks is by default a template. This means you can use it across however many different reports or other dashboards you want.

TapClicks allows you to create your dashboard display from scratch by simply picking the visualizations or widgets that best display the metrics you would like to monitor.

However, to save time many users begin by selecting a dashboard from the templates we offer, and then customize the widgets as the campaign progresses.

Example of dashboard templates

We offer over 20 dashboard templates from ad platforms like Google and Facebook to eCommerce platforms like Shopify. All our templates are white-label so they can easily be customized to your clients’ branding.

Widgets are easily customized by data source (or channel), how you want that data organized (ad groups, ad cost), the metrics you want to see (CPM, CTR, PPC etc.) and how you want them displayed (graphs, tables, bar charts etc.)

Widget data can be displayed in graphs, tables, bar charts, etc.

You can read more about our widgets and dashboard capabilities here

Client facing dashboards can reduce the number of standard reports needed each month because they have instant access to live metrics. One key feature is with TapClicks you can set up individual permissions at a widget level to limit what your client sees. This way the dashboard only displays (and your client only sees) the metrics that show the value of your marketing.  

Automating Dashboard Updates

Let’s say an agency is managing 20 dashboards for a variety of clients and have identified a new metric they want to report for all clients. To update their dashboards, most reporting tools on the market require you to go into each dashboard to make the update.

In contrast, with TapClicks, as we mentioned above, you can make a single update to your dashboard template and have the changes reflected across all live campaign dashboards automatically.

TapClicks’ Report Studio Brings the Power of Automated Reporting from TapClicks to a Presentation Builder

Having automated dashboards is useful, but we know that many agencies and in-house marketers still need to generate and send presentation slides (PowerPoint or PDF) monthly or weekly to stakeholders, clients, or executives summarizing their results.

Typically, marketers are forced to take screenshots of visuals in their reports and dashboards and paste the images into PowerPoint slides to painstakingly build these regular reports.

To solve this problem, TapClicks includes a feature we call Report Studio, which extends the features of TapClicks’ automated reporting right into a presentation builder. It’s like having TapClicks connected directly to PowerPoint so that a given presentation is an automated report.

Example of an automated report presentation.

For example you can drag and drop graphs, charts, or any widget showing click-through-rate over time, engagement month over month, or total conversions across all campaigns from any platform, into presentation slides. TapClicks will automatically pull that latest data from the platforms you’ve connected with, do the data calculations you’ve asked for and generate the visual in the slide.

Importantly, this also means these presentations can be scheduled to be generated and emailed as attachments weekly, monthly, or whenever you want, and all data reported in the presentation will be automatically updated to be current.

Once again, a massive time saver.

Just like our dashboards, we also have many preset templates to choose from when building presentations in ReportStudio.

ReportStudio presentation templates.

Not only does it allow your team to build ad-hoc last minute reports in a fraction of the time it normally takes, you can now automate the process and delivery of the report.

Automating Reports Delivery

TapClicks automates delivery:

  • At any frequency you prefer (daily, weekly, monthly)
  • In the recipient’s preferred format (PDF, PPT, CSV)
  • Branded to the recipient’s company
  • Segmented by groups and relevant stakeholders

Reports can also be triggered by campaign metrics or milestones, too. For example, you can set a report to be generated and emailed if costs ever reach a threshold or if clicks drop to a certain number. And, if you identify a new metric you would like to report on, you can make a single update to your report template and have the changes reflected in all reports automatically.

For Agencies That Need It, TapClicks Also Has Ad Order Management and Project Management Solutions

All the other BI and reporting tools discussed in this article focus on just analytics and reporting. In contrast, we’ve also built ad order management and project management solutions so that enterprise level agencies can manage their entire ad buying, project management, and reporting from a single, integrated tool. Specifically, aside from our reporting tool (we call TapReports), TapClicks’ marketing platform includes:  

  • TapOrders is our order management tool. It allows you to submit and clarify orders, automate all handoffs between sales and Ad Ops so nothing is missed and so much more.

Check out our full article on the benefits of TapOrders, here. 

  • TapWorkflow is our project management tool. It allows your ad op manager to coordinate and fulfil all creative deliverables by keeping all communication visible, automating handoffs, using data to highlight operation delays etc.

Check out our full article on the benefits of TapWorkflow here. 

  • TapAnalytics is our analytics and visualization tool. It seamlessly pulls all the data from each API connector into a single dashboard, so you have all metrics in one place to make data driven decisions in real-time.

Check out our full article on the benefits of TapAnalytics here.

So, if you want to know how delayed handoffs between your SEO and design team impacted the overall ROI for the campaign, you can do this in a couple of clicks, without integrating any third party software.

This level of reporting (which can be automated) provides you with accountability and visibility in every handoff, and deadline. This highlights where efficiency can be improved, who is responsible to do it and how it impacts the overall execution and ROI.

If you want to see how TapClicks can save your marketing team hundreds of hours a month by automating your reports, why not Try our free 14-day trial today!

Other Automated Reporting Tools to Consider

Still want to compare some of the other best automated reporting tools? In this section, we talk about seven other platforms which provide automated reporting to help you find the right option.

Tableau

Tableau

Tableau is a business intelligence tool that is used to provide general data management or actionable insights for large brands and enterprises. Tableau offers powerful data visualization which includes standard reporting and dashboards, both of which can be automated.

One key feature Tableau provides is embedded analytics. This enables Tableau users to integrate their data into external applications to provide analytics and reporting to their customers, partners and suppliers.

While Tableau draws on a broad and diverse range of data sources, unlike TapClicks, it has limited marketing connectors. For enterprises specifically targeting analytics and data visualization in marketing and advertising, TapClicks’ Marketing Operations platform is a more robust solution. That said, if you have the technical bandwidth and the budget, Tableau is considered one of the best automated reporting tools on the market.

To check out our full article on the difference between Tableau and TapClicks, click here.

Domo

Domo

Domo is a business intelligence and data visualization software that is fully mobile and brings data analysis into all decision making. Domo integrates with hundreds of data sources and tools from your CRM to social media and web analytics.

Reviews state that customizing reports can be a drain on time, and because of their tiered pricing, getting the extra tools you need can involve expensive add-ons. In contrast, TapClicks reporting is easily customized and automated.

However, a key feature is Domo’s App Dev Studio. This enables clients to build custom intelligent apps with minimum or no coding at all. These apps resource teams in large enterprises to automate and streamline workflow processes, so they have the reporting in hand to make data driven decisions.  

Domo requires upskilling to get the most from the tool, so we recommend it for larger companies that have the bandwidth.

To check out our full article on the difference between Domo and TapClicks, click here.

Looker

Looker

Owned by Google, Looker is a big data analytics platform and business intelligence software that enables large enterprises to conduct advanced analytics, extracting query logic in each analysis, which makes data analytics and reporting easy to manage and scale.

Connecting to hundreds of data sources, Looker runs raw data through the 50+ SQL databases before applying its proprietary modeling language, LookML, to the results to transform the data into metrics. These metrics are easily visualized and reporting automated, so users have what they need to make better decisions.

While deep-dive data analytics and scalability are a strength of Looker, the product requires dedicated IT maintenance and is labor intensive to set-up and customize to an organization’s specific needs. That being said, if you can supply the time and human resources, Looker is capable of producing multi-layered insights to inform marketing reports.

To check out our full article on the difference between Looker and TapClicks, click here.

Datorama

Datorama

Owned by Salesforce, Datorama is a marketing intelligence platform, which means it is more of a marketing-centric data analytics and reporting software than a general Business Intelligence tool.

One of Datorama’s strengths is how customizable the product is. Datorama enables marketers in mid-size and enterprise organizations to connect all their data sources to its Integration Engine for easy report generation and real time decision making.

Datorama also offers mobile capability with its app marketplace so its clients can customize an app around monitoring specific marketing KPIs like lead generation or Facebook Ads.

Granted, Datorama is built for a more agile workflow like marketing, however, it still does not have as many native data integrations as TapClicks, and it requires more time to set-up before reporting can begin.

To check out our full article on the difference between Datorama and TapClicks, click here.

AgencyAnalytics

AgencyAnalytics

AgencyAnalytics is a dashboard reporting platform that describes itself as “Automated Reporting Software for Agencies.” With 60+ out-of-the-box connections to many of the major marketing channels, AgencyAnalytics requires less set-up time than other tools on this list.

AgencyAnalytics comes with a range of SEO tools to track ranking and competition, social media activity, monitor backlinks, and audit sites. One key feature is the drag-and-drop editor to customize reports and dashboards in very little time. And, the dashboards are white-label so they can be integrated with any company’s branding.

While TapClicks offers white-label dashboard reporting and SEO tools , there are a couple of points of differentiation to keep in mind:

  • TapClicks offers almost five times as many integrations as AgencyAnalytics. So, you’re covered on more niche marketing platforms too.
  • TapClicks is built for agencies that want to scale, so several accounts can be grouped into a single client, and there is no limit to the amount of campaigns that can be run. Whereas AgencyAnalytics caps two of its pricing tiers at 15 or less campaigns.

To check out our full article on the difference between AgencyAnalytics and TapClicks, click here.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI provides a suite of tools that perform in depth data analytics and dashboard reporting for enterprise-level companies. Categorized as more of a general business intelligence tool, Power BI comes with 120+ native integrations (TapClicks offers 250+), automated and ad-hoc reporting capabilities, and a vast library of built-in visualizations.  

If you have experience with other Microsoft tools, the interface and functionality is user-friendly, otherwise, reviews state the product will require some upskilling to get the most out of it.

While Microsoft offers a host of complementary tools, like Power Automate and Power BI Report Server, Power BI is sold in tiered feature packages, so it’s important to know what’s included in your budget.

Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics is a self-service BI with 100+connectors, in-depth data reporting and visualization. Add to this, a host of interactive dashboards and standard reporting templates that can be used for ad hoc reporting or automated. All templates can be white label too and reviews praise the design of their reports as second to none.

One notable feature is that the tool comes with an intelligent assistant that can understand queries in natural language and is powered by AI. This is used for data analysis in real-time.

The tool requires some technical know-how and because of the pricing tiers, it is not suitable for smaller businesses. That said, if you have the budget and the in-house capability, Zoho Analytics is a powerful reporting and analytics tool.

Try Out TapClicks for Free

All of the BI and reporting tools discussed above offer automated reporting tools, but where TapClicks differentiates is in how we scale your reporting. We do this by offering:

  • More data integrations to marketing specific platforms.
  • A report studio with more customizable templates for dashboards, widgets and regular reports.
  • Unlimited accounts per client, where updates can be made across all campaigns at once with just a few clicks.
  • All the tools you need (order, project, analytics, reporting) on one platform to execute all your marketing without any third party software.

If you want to level up your marketing and see how TapClicks can save your marketing team hundreds of hours a month by automating your reports, why not Try our free 14-day trial today!

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