The 3 Marketing Reporting Capabilities That Matter Most (But Often Get Missed)
If your marketing reporting tool is only made to handle simple, straightforward reporting — by pulling data from advertising platforms and using templates to create engaging monthly marketing reports — then you’re missing out on key functionality. We know this because we built (and continue to refine) our Smart Marketing Cloud with direct input from our clients — from marketing agencies to media publishers to large retail brands — on what they need to be successful. We’ve learned where the gaps are in other reporting tools and built ours to fill those gaps. Specifically, with TapClicks you can:
  1. Use your data to tell stories — Just looking at KPIs without being able to tell a story with your data leads to various interpretations of what’s going on with your marketing campaigns, and there’s no guarantee those interpretations will be accurate or in your favor.
  2. Eliminate bottlenecks  — Agencies, brands, and media publishers have all experienced hard-to-solve bottlenecks between their analytics and media teams. Analytics teams often spend so much time on creating marketing reports for media teams that they can’t spend the time they’d like to on analyzing data and generating insights. Meanwhile, media teams get stuck with long wait times on reports that they needed yesterday.
  3. Leverage data transformation and data enrichment — Omnichannel marketing demands omnichannel reporting and analytics, which isn’t cost-effective or intuitive unless your reporting tool leverages data transformation and data enrichment, two key features of TapClicks that let you take ownership of all data sets.
In this post, we’re going to look at each of these needs, covering the challenges involved with executing them without TapClicks, and then demonstrating in detail what the experience is like when you’re using TapClicks for your marketing reporting. Looking for an all-in-one reporting solution to analyze your marketing data and create automated reports? Check out our free 14-day trial.

1. Telling Better Stories with Your Marketing Reporting

Data becomes your greatest asset when you can use it to show evidence for proposed changes in marketing strategy — and that’s the part that gets missed by more general reporting and analytics tools or in-house solutions. Let’s say you developed specific digital marketing strategies with an overarching goal of lowering your cost per acquisition (CPA). You’re a relatively new eCommerce brand that is spending an arm and a leg on PPC campaigns. You’ve done your research — including surveys from your target demographics — and research shows that you’re going to recoup the biggest ROAS from Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. You’ve worked on improving campaign performance for the past two months and have been able to show a positive return on investment (ROI), shown below as a sample slide from our reporting tool.

Marketing reporting example via TapClicks ReportStudio

However, your marketers have found potential in investing in a more fleshed out SEO and content marketing strategy, putting an emphasis on inbound clicks from organic search instead of paid media efforts. The problem is you’re recommending something to your superiors that runs contrary to what they know to be true. This makes it hard to convince those in charge of allocating the marketing budget towards this new search engine-based strategy. This is an example of the limits of data. Decision-makers will look at the KPIs, and if they see a high CTR rate, a high conversion rate, and a solid return on investment, they may not want to change course. But by looking at your marketing efforts with TapClicks, you can see exactly where your bottom-of-the-funnel traffic is coming from, and how to cater towards those buyers and improve your bottom line. So, instead of having long-email threads or conference calls where you need to continually pitch your angle to get buy-in on your strategies, you can use your data to show that increased website traffic from organic search rankings is more valuable to the overall business than the ongoing social media marketing efforts. By using TapClicks’ marketing dashboard, all of your data sources (from social media platforms to Google Analytics to CRM platforms) are connected to your client dashboard. This gives you real-time data with white label marketing reporting. In the screenshot above, we see a positive ROI. But in the screenshot below, you can see where that positive ROI is coming from — not from all the money your company spent on paid marketing, but on the little it did spend on increasing organic traffic and building an inbound marketing funnel. Marketing reporting example via a TapClicks analytics dashboard With an easy way to present your marketing data as a story, decision-makers are more likely to buy into your suggested strategies, allowing your team to demonstrate greater value.

2. Eliminating Bottlenecks to Improve Adaptability and Overall Business Growth

When teams are balancing the act of developing strategies while remaining adaptable enough to respond to quick-changing markets and feedback from internal stakeholders, even the most adaptable teams will run into trouble due to bottlenecks in their reporting processes. We see this happen all the time in marketing agencies, media publishers, and internal marketing teams for large-retail brands. Let’s say you send an email to your media team, requesting that they shift a percentage of spend from discovery-based ads (such as Facebook) to inbound based ads (such as Yelp and Google Search Ads). You also want a report comparing the performance across all platforms by the end of the week. You’re doing this in preparation for a major predicted spike in search interest due to a coming holiday weekend, so speed and accuracy are critical. If you’re navigating that change without TapClicks, you’re going to run into some serious obstacles. After the requested change in spend is made, your media team notifies your analytics team, so your analytics team can add in a new report they need to compile by EOW. But your analytics team isn’t likely just sitting on their hands waiting for work — your analytics team has its normal reporting schedule, plus other requested changes from SEO managers and email marketing managers. If your analytics team is so far behind that they can’t take on another new report, your marketing managers are going to need to decide which reports in their queue take priority, creating tension between departments. This means reaching out to the marketing manager to sort priorities, which is time-consuming in itself. Plus, you now have a handful of department managers trying to clarify who needs what when and whose campaign takes priority. Finally, adding more reporting tasks to your analytics team means taking away time that they can spend on data analysis, which is where your data team finds wins and new strategies to develop that deliver results. These bottlenecks — where your media team is reliant on your analytics team and your analytics team is reliant on your team’s reporting tools — can lead to tension between departments, wasted resources, and a failure to grasp the efficacy of any last-minute campaigns.

How TapClicks Eliminates Bottlenecks Between Departments

With TapClicks, the request for a new change in spend plus a report to track progress begins and ends with your media team. All the media team needs to do is make changes to your marketing dashboard. Then from that same dashboard, they can create and send off a report with a few clicks. This is a win for your company because:
  1. There’s no risk of communication errors between media teams and analytic teams.
  2. You get the report you wanted, documenting the change you requested.
  3. The analytics team isn’t spending their week trying to get ahead in creating reports just so they can do some data analysis.

How TapClicks Eliminates Bottlenecks Between Advertising Platforms and Marketing Dashboards

API changes can significantly affect your ongoing campaigns. But finding a process to keep up with API changes isn’t easy, in part because most platforms make changes so often that notifying their users isn’t economical. Below is a screenshot of multiple dates where Facebook planned to change its API — that doesn’t factor in unplanned changes.

Graph API Changelog: The challenge of managing API updates for accurate marketing reporting

These changes are important to keep an eye on because they can affect how you’re receiving data and sometimes these changes lead to broken API connections between your reporting tool and the platform. Here’s an example of how we’ve seen unadvertised API changes drastically alter the results of an ongoing lead-gen campaign: Let’s say your team launched a Lead Ad campaign that works by collecting the contact information of users in exchange for a free eBook. Your team has set it up so that the eBook gets emailed to the user and that triggers an email sequence crafted to convert that user into a buying customer. Everything looks good on your end — your team has seen sign-ups happening and email sequences going out. But then in the middle of the campaign, Facebook does an API change that breaks the link between sending out the eBook and triggering the email list. Now, at the end of the campaign, your team is looking at data that doesn’t make sense. They have 50 signs ups but only 25 users are getting the email sequence. Without a tool like TapClicks, your media team is now manually adding contacts for each captured lead to the email sequence. Plus, this wreaks havoc on your metrics as it’s difficult to normalize the data — email sequences are made to work like a finely tuned watch, and now you’re comparing metrics between two groups: Group A who got the right sequence, and group B who got the delayed sequence. With TapClicks, API changes are incorporated almost automatically because we have a connector team that’s entirely focused on this. Monitoring data connectors is time-consuming work that takes marketers and analysts away from their other tasks. That’s why we built a team that’s constantly monitoring API connections, not a team that waits for changes to occur before acting on them. If the above problem occurred with an agency using TapClicks, once we were aware of the problem, we’d have our connector team fix the API connection, and your campaign would proceed as planned.

3. Enriching & Transforming Your Marketing Data to Compliment Your Omnichannel Advertising Campaigns

TapClicks for marketing reporting and analytics

Omnichannel PPC marketing requires omnichannel PPC reporting software, however, most reporting tools fail to let businesses get an accurate picture of their campaigns across their various marketing channels and CRM platforms. This is because you’re juggling different data sets out of various platforms — Google Adwords and Facebook Ads aren’t designed by their respective platforms to be viewed together, even though omnichannel marketing is built upon the assumption that those separate campaigns will impact one another. Whether you’re using a marketing reporting tool or an in-house reporting process (eg. Excel and Google Data Studio), the problem is the same — you have to take disparate data sets and find a way to view them within one dashboard. You also have to make sure your dashboard is up to date and can be customized to send reports, whether on a weekly or monthly basis. If you’re using Google Data Studio or some comparable tool, you’ll get access to a few marketing report templates. These templates do make it easier to utilize data visualization, so your team can create charts and graphs showing important metrics such as the click-through rate of Google Ad campaigns or landing page’s bounce rate, but they don’t show you how separate campaigns are working together. Without this big picture, your team is at greater risk for making mistakes when deciding where to allocate ad spend. With TapClicks we solve this problem by offering data enrichment and data transformation. Both features go a long way in letting you demonstrate value by creating a more accurate picture of your overall marketing performance.

Data Enrichment

Data enrichment is taking multiple data sources and gathering them in one reporting and analytics tool. For example, if you’re running a PPC campaign on Linkedin, Google Search, and Twitter Ads, you’re dealing with three different sets of data. A lesser reporting tool will take the data out of the advertising platform, create separate reports for each channel, and then require your team to analyze and look for relationships between each data set. This is time-consuming and error-prone, especially as your company grows in sophistication. With TapClicks, all of those data sets are pulled into the same marketing dashboard. Now you can see how your Facebook Ads impression rate relates to your Google Search ads conversion rate. You can take a look at customers who ended up buying your service after getting to your landing page to see which traffic sources are bringing in the most qualified leads. TapClicks for marketing reporting and dashboards

Data Transformation

Data Transformation lets your team blend data sources to tell a more complete story of your marketing. Let’s say you want to show the overall cost of your ad spend compared to the overall ROI, as demonstrated not just by the number of leads but by the number of closed sales, as shown by your CRM data. You can transform various types of ad spend data sets into one metric and just call it Campaign Ad Spend. Then you can put that data in a graph next to the dollar amount of sales closed.

Final Thoughts

Unsophisticated reporting — which we define as reporting that only lets you take disparate data sets and create visually interesting charts and graphs — is a problem for companies looking to demonstrate value, whether they’re working with internal or external stakeholders. To show an accurate and revealing marketing report, your reporting tool must:
  • Let you tell a story with your data — to do this, you need to be able to not just show a campaign’s ROI, but where that money is coming from and how to maximize profits.
  • Eliminate bottlenecks — reporting, whether done manually in-house or with simpler reporting tools, is a time-consuming process that can lead to bottlenecks when launching new campaigns.
  • Compliment your omnichannel marketing efforts — to do this, you need to be able to blend data sources together from different (and even opposing) marketing channels, as well as transform your data into one metric to show the overall impact of your campaigns.
These are just some of the things we learned over the last decade as we worked with digital marketing agencies, media publishers, and large retail brands to refine, improve, and scale up marketing efforts. Looking for an all-in-one reporting solution to analyze your marketing data, create automated reports, and tell better stories with your data? Check out our free 14-day trial.

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