Why Status-Quo Paid Media Reporting Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

As omnichannel PPC strategies have become the norm of paid media marketing, the ability to report on multi-touch attribution has become a necessity for most agencies. But for agencies who use their own in-house reporting systems, they’re often challenged to accurately depict the customer journey from the first point of contact to a conversion, undermining their ability to show the value of their omnichannel marketing efforts.

For agencies in this situation, their reporting process typically works as follows:

  1. Specialized marketers handle specific advertising platforms. 

Agencies have a Facebook point person, a Google Ads point person, and so on. These marketers are specialized in their specific platform and are in charge of exporting data out of that platform and into a tool like Google Sheets — where they’ll either import it into Google Data Studio to create graphs or do it manually in PowerPoint or Google Slides. 

  1. Marketing teams then try to normalize the data. 

Marketing specialists may make their report or spreadsheet and hand it off to a data analyst who then creates a more accurate picture of paid media strategies across all platforms by taking several siloed sets of data (Google Search Ads CTR and your Facebook Ads CVR, for example) and looking at them as parts of a whole.

The problems with this process are two-fold: it’s often inaccurate — due to the complicated nature of multi-touch attribution data over varying periods of time, plus the manual labor required to export and import all of that data — and even when it’s accurate, it’s inefficient, time-consuming, and resistant to scale.

When we built out the paid media reporting side of TapClicks, we did so based on the specific needs of the marketing agencies we’ve worked with along the way. 

In this post, we discuss the challenges agencies experience when it comes to paid media reporting and the ways in which we’ve built TapClicks to help overcome those challenges — allowing you to find the most profitable parts of your paid media campaigns, scale them across your clients, and grow your business.

Note: If you’d like to see how TapClicks elevates your paid media reporting capabilities, try our free 14-day trial.

The Reality of Manual Reporting Processes — and How They Can Stall an Agency’s Growth

First, your clients need a mixture of search engine ads and social media ads to capture new customers at different stages of the funnel. This means your paid media strategy requires running marketing campaigns across several different channels. And due to the complex nature of paid media, you need multiple PPC managers with different channel expertise to run and evaluate campaign performance.

Now you have disparate arms of marketing teams working towards getting an accurate picture of your paid media efforts. This can lead to costly mistakes in paid media strategy

For example, let’s say your agency decides to decrease ad spend on Facebook due to a misinterpretation of data. Your team is seeing low conversion rates or landing page views with Facebook users, so logically they lower the ad spend. But that could be a significant mistake. Your Facebook PPC expert may be great at finding the value of your Facebook Ads within Facebook, but that doesn’t mean they have the means of understanding the value of your client’s Facebook Ads in relation to your Google Search Ads. You “saved” on ad spend, and now your Facebook ROAS is higher — which leads to a good report for your Facebook specialist — but your overall returns are lower because decreased Facebook spend actually hurt your results in Google Ads. 

To prevent those kinds of costly mistakes, someone needs to take the data from your client’s separate media channels and compile them into a cohesive story. 

The problem in creating a cohesive story with all data sets manually is compounded:

  1. Manual reporting to your client can take a full day (or more) out of the workweek.

This means team members are spending a day on tasks that can be solved with marketing dashboards and automation. Depending on the size of your client list — and the size of your clients — this can cost you more than 32 hours/month. 

  1. Manual reports are error-prone. 

Now, not only did your team spend an entire day creating the report, they need to go back and triple-check that everything is correct before they send out the wrong story to your clients. Otherwise, a winning campaign can look like one that’s draining your client’s pockets.

  1. Creating manual reports that capture omnichannel marketing efforts is increasingly difficult. 

Because all of your channels are separate, it’s not intuitive to create processes that help show relationships between different social media channels. Facebook Ads are under no inclination to make it easy for you to see how their ads work with Google or Twitter.

And that’s just for regularly scheduled reporting. If your client asks for a specific or special report, such as wanting to see the last 6 months of click-through rates of LinkedIn Ads and Google Search Ads, but not Facebook ads, then you’re going to have to set aside more time to create a custom report. 

Plus, keep in mind, at each of these steps, your marketing team needs to continuously update the data sets from their corresponding advertising platform — otherwise, they run the risk of analyzing today’s performance on yesterday’s data. 

These reporting demands lead to bottlenecks where your agency is unwilling or unable to take on new clients. A new client can hurt more than help as you can’t show value with the client, nor can you take them on without hiring on new staff to help.

How TapClicks’ Paid Media Reporting Tool Enhances Your Process

The antidote to the reporting challenges outlined above is to leverage a data analytics and reporting tool that’s catered towards helping digital marketing agencies assemble and report on data.

Here’s how TapClicks can transform and enrich your reporting:

1. Marketing-Focused Out-of-the-Box Connectors

Marketing data sources compatible with TapClicks paid media reporting tool

Generally, your paid marketing team is part of a larger SEO and content strategy — which means you’re going to want a tool that brings in data from those platforms.

At TapClicks, we have hundreds of instant-on connectors that our clients have requested — which means these are likely the same connectors your agency needs (or will need as it grows). These instant-on connectors don’t require any development, which means you can pull and analyze data on day one. 

But just as important as the connector is how the data is pulled out and transmitted into your marketing dashboard. Our API pipeline with marketing platforms such as Facebook is nuanced and can pull hundreds of advanced metrics and dimensions out of Facebook.

Note: Many small to midsize agencies turn to a combination of tools like Excel spreadsheets paired with Google Data Studio or Tableau. But those tools are only as good as the data connectors they work with. Google Data Studio has innate connectors with Google platforms — so Google Ads and Google Analytics and BigQuery — but it’s missing key players such as Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Bing Ads, and other popular advertising platforms.  Maybe your agency isn’t big enough yet that it needs a complete all-in-one marketing dashboard, so if you’re looking to stick with Google Data Studio, then you can likely benefit from our Megalytic Data Connector tool.

The Megalytic Data Connector lets you get key data into your Google Data Studio, letting you set up automated reporting, and letting you create compelling visuals with easy, drag-n-drop widgets.

2. Data Transformation and Enrichment

Data transformation and enrichment with TapClicks paid media reporting tool

Getting the right data into your PPC reporting software is step one, but step two is being able to transform and enrich that data.

For example, if you pull in last month’s data from Facebook for a client and it’s showing eight leads — that’s not the full picture. A lead isn’t a sale — it isn’t necessarily true that increasing Facebook Ads to get more leads means you’ll get more sales. Your Facebook Ads could be bringing in unqualified leads because they’re boosting their ads to the wrong target audience. With data enrichment, you can pull in your client’s CRM data from tools like Salesforce. Now you can see what leads led to actual sales

If your paid media reporting focuses only on data sets from PPC advertisers — and doesn’t pull in other data such as sales metrics from CRM platforms — then you’re reporting on the success of your strategy from an ad spend perspective, not from a return on investment perspective. 

Data transformation, on the other hand, is critical for paid media reporting because it helps agencies present a more accurate view of their data to clients. With data transformation, you can take metrics from different platforms (such as Facebook’s ad spend and Google’s cost) and transform them into one metric.

3. Automated Reporting and Tiered Access

Tiered access with TapClicks paid media reporting tool

Many agencies have a reporting day — when you sign a client, both parties agree on when reports will be sent. They could be at the end of every week or at the end of the month. Either way, reporting is a recurring task that is costly. While reporting can’t be eliminated, it can be delegated to automated tools that free up your team to focus more on doing the work and getting results.

With TapClicks, you can either automate your reports or give your clients specific access to a client dashboard

With automation, you set up when you want reports created and how you want them sent out. Then TapClicks pulls the data, updates your graphs, and sends the report to your clients. You can do this with multiple levels of detail. For example, the weekly reports you send to the Head of Marketing will probably have more detail for various KPIs than the monthly reports you send to the executives, who are looking for more of a blunt report on your agency’s impact on their bottom line. 

You can also give clients access to specific dashboards — this way, if a client wants to see something immediately, they can just log into TapClicks and view the data.

However, by working with thousands of agencies, we’ve learned that clients often want unique reporting sent to them in addition to the client access and the established recurring reporting schedule.

That’s why we made sure it was intuitive and easy for your team to create custom reports, by changing the dates of the data you need and picking whatever data sources your client is requesting. 

4. Sales Enablement

The heart of paid media reporting is showing value to your clients. As we discussed above, however, it’s difficult to show value when using tools that aren’t sophisticated enough to depict the efficacy of your ad campaigns. 

In a similar vein, reporting tools can help with sales. 

With TapClicks, you can present case study-like marketing dashboards (scrubbed of any confidential information) to potential clients to show them the value you can bring to their brand. This helps visualize the real-world impacts of your marketing strategy. Instead of telling the client what you’ll do, you’ll show them what you’ve done with similar brands, highlighting the value of paid media versus relying solely on earned media.

TapClicks also lets you present prices with mark-up factored in — so you’re not showing the client how much it costs to run Adwords, instead, you’re showing them what it costs to have your team run Adwords, which is the true cost.

Finally, with TapClicks, onboarding a client is quick and efficient. Sometimes clients have multiple content marketing and PPC marketing agencies working for them at once. Some agencies take 2-3 weeks just to onboard a client, and a significant portion of those weeks is getting all of the accounts set up and synced. With TapClicks, you can do that in one day. This means your agency can get started more quickly on developing and executing strategies aligned with your client’s business goals. 

Final Thoughts

Paid media marketing goals are evolving, yet reporting tools often struggle to keep pace with the agencies they’re meant to help. 

Over the past decade, we built up TapClicks alongside our clients to help them streamline their processes by being able to pull valuable data across all major marketing platforms. From there, our clients can easily enrich and transform the data, taking data sets from all the major advertising and social media platforms that they use. 

This lets your marketing team — and your client — have access to real-time data that is as sophisticated as the cross-channel ad campaigns you’re running.

If you’d like to see how TapClicks elevates your paid media reporting capabilities, try our free 14-day trial.

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