Are you starting to take your marketing reports more seriously, and wondering if the setup is worth the investment?
Marketing report automation can be one of the best things you can do for your team or clients. Not only does it take the tedium out of analyzing critical data, but it’s a proven method for seeing a higher return on investment (ROI) from your marketing efforts.
So, today, we’re going to look at 9 benefits of report automation. But before diving into the list, let’s get clear on what we mean by “report automation” in the first place.
Report automation is the process through which you build a report, select who needs to see the KPIs in that report, and send it out automatically with the freshest data available.
This is usually done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
It used to be that larger agencies would rely on marketing report automation more than smaller businesses. Big agencies would need to create marketing reports for their many clients.
That way, their clients could track the progress being made and continue to work with that agency.
And while larger agencies send more reports than smaller companies today, literally every business can benefit from report automation.
That’s because the online world is more competitive than ever, and many companies (of all sizes) are realizing that the right data gives them a sharper edge for their marketing efforts.
The only problem? Compiling that data manually takes time, is often filled with inaccuracies, and typically gets put on the back burner when other urgent projects crop up (which they always do).
Still not convinced that report automation is worth the investment?
Let’s look at 9 benefits of report automation, and how building marketing reports more efficiently can drastically improve your ROI.
How many hours a month do you or your staff spend compiling reports manually? With a wide variety of analytics available from a range of different marketing platforms, bringing them all together in one place takes a lot of time.
Then you have to multiply that by the number of clients you have (if you’re building reports for clients, of course).
As you’re planning your marketing reports, you may think it’s “just a quick task.”
But factor in the additional time in creating charts and visualizations, making everything look professional, and double-checking that you’re sharing the right reports with the right people.
It all adds up quickly.
With report automation, you set it up once and you’re done. This saves you hours of time each week which leads nicely to our next benefit.
If you’re running on a tight budget, your first instinct might be to continue manually compiling your reports.
Even though the monthly fee for a reporting building tool like MetricsWatch is small, it might seem like an unnecessary expense at first glance.
But report automation saves you money in the long run. Your staff members are no longer spending hours each month compiling reports, which means they can create and manage marketing campaigns instead.
And that also means you can take on more clients without taking on more staff.
For marketing reports to be useful, they need to measure the same metrics in the same way again and again. Otherwise, you end up with unreliable data, random metrics that don’t tell you much, and your marketing plan begins looking just as sloppy.
When you’re putting together reports manually, it’s difficult to achieve that long-term consistency. Different people have different ways of representing the same information.
Staff members change roles or go on holiday, and the person preparing the report might not do it in the same way as the last person did.
You actually see this problem quite frequently with teams creating UTMs. When small details get changed (like campaign names or capitalizations), it can throw off crucial KPIs.
No matter how good your guidelines and templates, you’ll never be able to get the same level of consistency as you can when you use a report automation tool. Once set up, it will reliably deliver reports at set times. And those reports will always measure data in the same way.
This point is true whether you’re a big marketing agency building reports for clients or a small business trying to grow.
Let’s look at how this is a benefit for larger agencies.
Prospective clients often have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a digital marketing agency. Any advantage you can give your agency is a plus.
Using a report automation tool demonstrates that you are serious about the analytical side of marketing as well as the creative side. It tells your clients that you understand the need to monitor and adjust campaign performance.
And it means you’ll have plenty of clean, visually appealing reports to hand to demonstrate your impact and worth.
All of which helps you stand out from the competition.
But what about those small businesses? How can they use report automation to attract new clients?
Having the right data consistently delivered to your inbox can help you find new leads. That’s because you’ll be able to make data-driven decisions about what your target audience is interested in.
You’ll see which parts of your sales funnel are working and which parts aren’t.
While you can check this information manually, the real question is, “will you?” Most business owners are busy juggling a thousand tasks while simultaneously putting out 100 fires.
And that’s just a typical Monday morning before the week’s even kicked off.
Automating your marketing reports is one of the best ways to remind yourself what goals matter, and what you really need to focus on to grow your business.
Although many marketers are visual people, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are brilliant with data visualization.
Few people go into a marketing career because they really love putting together spreadsheets and graphs. But marketing reports must be visually appealing and easy to understand, so they will wow your clients.
There are three choices here:
- You can continue to cobble together reports in something like Excel, relying on your basic knowledge and online tutorials to get them to the ‘good enough’ stage.
- You can invest time and money in training your team in data visualization, knowing they would prefer to be crafting a brilliant social media campaign.
Or 3) you use a report automation tool to create beautiful reports for you.
Plus, if you choose a white-label reporting option, you can customize those reports with your own branding. Or your clients’ branding if you prefer.
Now there’s also option #4 which is less appealing but happens frequently:
The human brain is a wonderfully quirky and creative tool. But it is not perfect. Especially when compiling reports in a hurry because they needed to be with the client yesterday.
When you are manually pulling together metrics from lots of different platforms for all your clients, it is easy for mistakes to be made.
The odd typo here, a number entered on the wrong line there, and your analysis is completely thrown off track.
Or worse, you end up with a report that contains data from the wrong client.
When you automate your reports, you avoid all these issues. The software can’t create amazing marketing campaigns, but that also means it can’t think creatively enough to make mistakes.
It just gets the right figures, to the right people, at the right time.
Let’s face it: people tend to be inconsistent about getting reports together on time.
There’s often a short window between the data becoming available and the report coming due. But your team is likely balancing a lot of different priorities, many of which are time-sensitive.
It’s easy for a repetitive task like compiling reports to slip down the to-do list–meaning reports might not always be ready when they are supposed to be.
Chasing up reports is a waste of your time, and it doesn’t give a good impression to clients either. Automating your reporting means you can rely on the data to be ready when you need it.
No job is fullfilling 100% of the time. All of us have tasks we’d prefer not to do. You can probably think of 10 things you job right now you find boring, difficult, or overly repetitive.
To a certain extent, routine tasks are just a necessary evil in every job. But the more you can cut down on dull admin duties, like compiling reports, the more likely you are to hang onto your talented staff.
Because unless you’re hiring an intern to compile your data, most of your team will find the task beneath their paygrade (which it is).
And when you DO hire an intern, you’ll have to go back and double-check the work as they’re learning.
It’s a bit of a catch-22 when you think about it.
But why bother asking your talented employees to do something that can be done automatically for half the cost of their company car payments.
At the end of the day, people like to do work that is interesting, creative, and speaks to their passions.
As a rule, they don’t enjoy doing tasks that could be done just as well by a machine. So, let the machine do the reports, and your staff members do the creative brainstorming you hired them for.
If you’re creating reports manually, making the reports themselves is just half the battle. You also have to get them to your clients.
And how do you do that? Email them individually as attachments? Upload them to a shared drive and then ping each client an email with the URL to let them know it is ready?
Sharing reports with each client individually is time-consuming.
But automating your reports means you no longer need to worry. They’ll be sent to your clients automatically at the frequency that suits them best.
This is an added bonus if you have different clients wanting different reporting cycles. You don’t have to keep an ever-changing list of who needs what and when. Just automate the whole thing and you can report to clients as regularly as they want.
Of course, you do have to think about the level of convenience from your clients’ point of view, too.
Automating reports makes sharing them easier for you. But if they are still going as an attachment or URL, your clients still have the inconvenience of having to open and save attachments or log into a third-party site and manage their usernames/passwords.
You can make life easier for them too by choosing a tool that sends automated reports directly in the body of the email.
How? Your best bet for that is with a tool like Metrics Watch:
Metrics Watch is the best marketing report builder available. Not only does it automate all your reports, but it sends the data you need directly to your team’s or clients’ inbox.
That means no more PDF attachments, and no more user management roles to configure.
Instead, you can get all the KPIs sourced from your favorite marketing channels like:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Ads
- Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram (paid and organic)
- And more…
Once you create the report with the drag and drop builder, you’ll simply determine who needs it and when.
Then the reports will be sent directly to your audience’s inbox on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
In other words, you’ll get your people the data they need in a format they already know. It’s what makes Metrics Watch the most frictionless automated report builder on the market.
Want to see for yourself? Click below to start your 100% risk-free Metrics Watch Trial today (no credit card required):
And that’s it! We hope you enjoyed this post and are starting to see the benefits of report automation.
If you did enjoy this post, you might be interested in the following:
- The Best DashThis Alternatives for Building Marketing Reports
- What Is Metrics Reporting? (& How Can It Make You More Money?)
- Your Top 21 KPIs: Marketing Made Easy
These articles will have everything you need to create better, smarter marketing reports for a larger ROI.