What should you look for in a marketing agency reporting tool? In our experience, for larger agencies managing multiple clients, the key is automation.
Reporting can become a massive time suck for agencies, with employees spending dozens of hours every month on repetitive reporting tasks. So buying a reporting tool that simply plots data or creates a generic dashboard isn’t enough. Agency employees will still have to spend dozens of hours every month on “monthly reporting” tasks (pulling the right data, doing calculations to get key takeaways, building reports for clients) unless the steps of reporting are automated.
Specifically, we think you should look for the following four automation features in a marketing reporting tool:
- Automated Data Importing and Storing: Does it pull data automatically from every single data source you have, even more, traditional marketing channels like TV and radio ads, and store it in one single tool? (So that all of your marketing data is truly in one place without you having to get data manually.)
- Advanced Data Calculations: Can it automate repetitive data calculations and transformations, including advanced calculations of data? (So that you never have to do the same data manipulations twice, saving your marketing team a lot of time.)
- Automated Dashboards (Pre-Defined or Customizable): Does it automate the creation of dashboard templates so you can edit one thing in the template and have those changes be automatically applied across dozens — or even hundreds — of dashboards in real-time (e.g. for all clients)?
- Scheduled Reports That are Sent out Automatically to Clients: Does it automatically produce and send PowerPoint and PDF reports too, and not just dashboards? (So that your team doesn’t have to spend time every quarter or every month creating the same reports with updated data or copying and pasting graphs from dashboards into slides.)
Our marketing reporting and automation platform is specially designed to fulfill all 4 of these criteria and this post will discuss each in depth.
Even if you’re evaluating reporting tools that are not TapClicks, the discussion of these 4 factors to look for in marketing agency reporting tools should be useful.
Note: Want to see how easy it is to use the TapClicksreporting tool or learn how it can help your marketing agency? Try our free 14-day trial.
Factor #1: Direct Integration to 250+ Major Marketing Platforms So That All Your Data is Automatically Imported from All Campaigns
For any marketing agency, the first step in creating weekly or monthly reports for your clients involves importing data from all the different marketing platforms you use to run your clients’ campaigns.
Most modern marketing reporting tools have some kind of data integrations with major marketing platforms, but the problem with most of them is that they connect to a limited number of marketing platforms, primarily to just common digital ad platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Bing Ads.
But if you’re a marketing agency handling enterprise-level accounts, chances are you have campaigns running on obscure and non-social media platforms like Radio Ads, TV Ads, and Podcast Ads (we’ll list a few more examples below).
This means, for the platforms that the reporting tool can’t connect to, you need to manually import data from each platform and for each campaign into a spreadsheet — and then perform calculations, create graphs, and generate overall reportable numbers.
This is a tedious task, and it wastes dozens of employee hours every month (or week).
We once spoke to a marketing manager who said he was spending 27 hours a week just pulling in data from his marketing campaigns.
If only a part of your campaign data is automatically pulled in and a part is not, then the fundamental problem of saving time and reducing your marketing efforts through an automated marketing reporting tool doesn’t get solved.
Direct Data Integrations to 250+ Marketing And Ad Platforms Save Hundreds of Hours of Manual Work
TapClicks connects to 250+ marketing and ads platforms (called instant-on connectors) which is more than what our competitors offer. With these connectors, you can start pulling in real-time data from any marketing source within a few hours. Many even pull in historical data so you can immediately start analyzing past results.
Here’s a list of a few common and other specific, non-social media, and CRM platforms that TapClicks connects to.
Leading digital marketing and advertising platforms TapClicks has instant-on connectors with:
- Facebook Ads
- Google Analytics
- Google Ads (Adwords)
- Instagram Business
- LinkedIn Ads
- Pinterest Ads
- Quora Ads
- Twitter Ads
- Google Analytics
- Microsoft Ads
Other less-common digital media platforms:
- QuickBooks Online
- Microsoft Azure SQL
- Genius Monkey
Connecting to all of these platforms is simple and can be done without any coding experience or API expertise.
Custom API Connections to Platforms Where There are no Integrations Available
While TapClicks has native integrations with hundreds of digital marketing platforms, if there’s a case where your marketing agency needs to connect to a local or proprietary data source or non-native platforms, the TapClicks team can build a custom API connection for you, called a ‘Smart Connector’.
TapClicks’ Smart Connector can pull data from just about any source you can think of.
Additionally, TapClicks’s development team manages and maintains these API connectors in sync with the latest versions of any marketing platforms’ API.
So say, if Instagram updates its API, your digital agency doesn’t have to worry about the connections breaking or talking to the Instagram team platform to fix it — our team will take care of it for you.
This review from Capterra perfectly sums it up:
Factor #2: Automated Data Calculations Extract Key Marketing Metrics So That You Never Have to do Data Calculations Manually
Marketing managers spend a lot of time turning raw data into custom reports they can send to their clients. Creating reports from the raw data typically requires a lot of calculations to uplevel granular campaign by campaign data into higher-level trends and takeaways.
For example, your clients might need information on:
- Metrics across different campaigns and different platforms to measure which ones are performing better (Instagram Ads vs. Linkedin Ads vs. Pinterest Ads vs. TV vs. Podcasts vs. Radio).
- Total cost metrics like cost per engagement, customer acquisition cost, or cost per conversion across all marketing platforms and campaigns.
- Total visits, backlink analysis, impressions, clicks, and conversion rates on the website through a combination of SEO, email marketing, PPC, Ads, and other marketing campaigns.
- Average comments or shares per post on dozens of social media platforms where your client has a presence.
- The performance of different conversion tactics (like using different CTAs or headlines or colors) you are using on, say, hundreds of landing pages.
Creating these client reports typically take hours. Depending on how frequently the client wants to see the reports, agency employees must do these calculations every week or every month — for every client.
TapClicks fully automates these calculations so that your team can save hours of laborious work on client reporting. You simply define the calculations or metrics you need to report on once, and those new metrics are there forever to use in future reports.
For example, you have to report monthly on total engagement across various marketing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. You might want to define Facebook’s engagement as the total number of likes. Twitter engagement as the total number of retweets. YouTube’s engagement as the total number of views. Instagram’s engagement as the total number of comments.
Normally, you’d have to find the total likes, retweets, views, and comments on each platform and manually add that up, repeating this every month for every client. But with TapClicks, you can create a new metric called ‘Total Engagement’ — and define total engagement as a sum of likes, retweets, views, and comments.
Once you define this ‘Total Engagement’ metric, it will be there for you to drop into any report, PowerPoint, dashboard, or calculation. You’ll never have to manually add up engagement metrics into a total again.
Automating Advanced Calculations: Adding Up Metrics from Campaigns with Specific Names and If/Else Statements
While automating the addition of metrics like engagement is useful, there are instances where doing more advanced calculations based on if/then statements for certain campaign names may be useful, too. TapClicks lets marketers set up those calculations easily.
Let’s take an example of a tire manufacturing company. Say this company runs 266 ads on Facebook in five different locations.
Further, you want to know the total ad spend on all campaigns for a product category called ‘HNP’. Normally, there’s no easy way to do this. You’d have to manually find all campaigns with the text ‘HNP’ and add up all the ad spend.
But TapClicks can automate this kind of calculation. We’d just define a particular metric called “All HNP campaigns” that looks for the text ‘HNP’ in the campaign name. From 266 campaigns, we now see 191 campaigns with ‘HNP’ in the campaign name.
With the help of advanced calculations, we now see the total ad spend on all HNP campaigns in one single line.
Another example is from one of TapClicks’ clients who had an attribution problem while running ads for their laptops. They had ads on Reddit and other platforms and wanted to figure out how to attribute those sales back down to the individual laptops sold through Amazon.
With the help of TapClicks’s advanced calculations using ‘If and Else’ statements, they could look for the word ‘Reddit’ in the Amazon Data and if it was found in the data, add up ad spend and sales data. And from there, they could know that they spent $3,000 on advertising on Reddit and understand the direct sales revenue from that spend.
In short, almost any calculation a marketing agency needs to do on data from any and all platforms can be set up once in TapClicks and re-used over and over again in reports with no additional work.
Factor #3: Customizable Dashboard Templates to Visualize Data Easily Across Hundreds of Dashboards
In the above factors, we saw how TapClicks pulls and imports data from 250+ marketing integrations and automates data calculations that agencies need to do on that data before reporting on it. The next step is to plot this data in a visualized format on marketing dashboards so that your clients can consume the data easily.
Almost any modern marketing agency reporting tool will have some kind of graphing, visualization, or dashboard functionality where you can create reports and dashboards of marketing data that measures the performance of PPC, email marketing, or SEO efforts. This is common.
But in our experience, the best marketing agency reporting tools (in particular those that are a fit for larger agencies with lots of clients or clients with large monthly marketing budgets), should allow you to easily make changes to dozens or hundreds of dashboards without having to update each one manually.
That’s because without a feature like this, if an agency wants to change how they report on something across all of their clients, it can become incredibly tedious to make that change on every dashboard or report for every client.
For example, if you use a dashboard like Google Data Studio to track essential KPIs and you have a hundred different clients, that means you need to create a hundred different dashboards. If your agency now decides to add a graph for all clients of total TV ad spend over time, or report web traffic generated in a different way for all clients, you’d have to make that change manually on every dashboard.
In TapClicks, each element in every dashboard is a template.
So if you change one element in the template, it automatically changes across all dashboards.
So in the above examples, if all your dashboards were based on the same template (even if each one had some elements that were custom to that client’s dashboard) — you could add that new graph for TV ad spend on the template dashboard and all of your dashboards would update accordingly.
Single visuals or widgets can be templates, but so can entire dashboards. You can also update entire dashboards or layouts once and have that change be reflected on all the individual dashboards that are using the report template.
You also have the option to use predefined dashboards on TapClicks and customize them for your clients.
Case Study of How TapClicks Helped ImageMark Save Over 48 Hours a Month with Automated Dashboards
ImageMark is a full-service marketing agency based in North Carolina.
Before using TapClicks, Chris Downing — ImageMark’s Digital Marketing Manager — used Canva to create reports for data visualization, which was highly time-consuming and rudimentary.
Next, he tried several marketing reporting tools. In every tool, he realized that every client needed a custom dashboard to review analytics each month, totaling 2-3 hours per report per client.
Chris had 16 clients, so he was spending around 48+ hours each month just on creating reports for clients with different KPIs. He wanted to use a platform that would allow him to create custom dashboards for clients easily and quickly without so many hassles and frustration.
TapClicks helped Chris create a custom scalable dashboard where ImageMark could connect all their clients in one place. Chris could now go into the dashboard and change the view for each client when he wanted to review an individual client’s analytics or pull their monthly custom reports. This way, Chris could optimize his time and effort on client reporting.
Factor #4: Automated Presentation and PDF Reports to Avoid Manual Creation of Powerpoint Reports
Dashboards save agencies a lot of time that would otherwise be spent pulling in data from various marketing campaigns.
However, agencies have told us that despite the usefulness of dashboards, most clients also want reports as email attachments — typically in a PDF, PPT, or Keynote format — to better understand the marketing performance.
To build these reports, most agencies take screenshots of visuals (for example, from their reporting dashboards or graphs they make in spreadsheets manually) and put them in their marketing reports — one by one.
And agency employees (e.g., account managers) do this every month or sometimes even more frequently. But, unfortunately, creating these digital marketing strategy reports even though you have live dashboards is time-consuming. As a result, agencies waste dozens or hundreds of employee hours monthly just on creating reports.
At TapClicks, we wanted to save time for agencies by creating a reporting feature to build PowerPoint or PDF presentations that automatically update with the latest data whenever they want.
We call this Report Studio, and it’s a full-featured presentation builder inside TapClicks.
You can build your monthly reporting slides (or choose from one of our designed templates) and just drag and drop any metric, graph, or widget into the slides, where they’ll automatically update anytime the presentation is opened, saved, or exported.
TapClicks will then auto-generate that presentation with each widget, graph, or number updated and email it as an attachment to your clients.
All you have to do is schedule these reports (you can even white label them) as monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly, and have them sent to your agency’s clients as an attachment automatically.
One Capterra reviewer said this about the report scheduler feature:
Ready to Try TapClicks Marketing Agency Reporting Tool?
TapClicks offers the following features that automate and scale marketing reporting for agencies working with enterprises:
- Direct integrations to 250+ different marketing platforms.
- Automated reports.
- Customizable dashboards that automate data calculations (that you can set up once and deploy across hundreds of campaigns).
- Live PowerPoint reports that are automatically sent out to your clients at any desired frequency from our reporting platform.
If you would like to know how TapClicks differentiates itself from other marketing reporting software like AgencyAnalytics and Klipfolio, we have a detailed post that you can read here.
Want to see how easy it is to use the TapClicksmarketing reporting tool and how it can be useful for your marketing agency? Try our free 14-day trial.