Table of contents
- What Is Automated Reporting?
- Manual Vs. Automated Reporting
- How Does Automated Reporting Work?
- Benefits of Automated Reporting
- Implementing Automated Reporting Software to Boost Your Business
- Best Practices for Automated Reporting
- Case Studies: Successful Implementation of Automated Reporting with OWOX
- Future Trends in Automated Reporting
Automated Reporting: Making Work Smarter
Masha Efy, Creative Writer at OWOX BI
Embracing automated reporting can improve your business processes in a lot of ways. Imagine that you are managing a website that publishes articles on various topics. Every week, you need to collect data on readers, trending articles, and traffic sources. You find yourself spending hours copying and pasting figures from different sources.
But hold on!
With the help of automated reporting software, you can set up a customized report that automatically updates all the data you need – just choose the parameters like the timeframe and the specific metrics and dimensions you're interested in. The software does the heavy lifting for you.
Want to know more about how to make your reporting process a breeze? Stick around as we will tell you everything about automated reporting and its benefits.
What Is Automated Reporting?
Automated reporting is the process of generating and producing reports with the help of software or tools and without the need for manual intervention.
It saves time, reduces mistakes, and makes sure reports reach the right people regularly.
Manual Vs. Automated Reporting
Both manual and automated reporting have their own strengths and weaknesses. Manual reporting relies on human effort and can be time-consuming, while automated reporting streamlines processes and offers greater accuracy.
If you don't know which one is better for your company, think about, how complex is your data, how often you are planning to create or update reports, and what are your resources and goals.
Here is the table breaking down the features of both types of reports:
How Does Automated Reporting Work?
Automating reporting simplifies data collection, data transformation, datamart (report) preparation, and uptomated updates for up-to-date insights. Let's see how it works.
Step 1: Data Extraction
This step initiates the reporting process and involves collecting data from diverse sources like databases, applications, or APIs. With the help of automated reporting software, you can easily collect your advertising cost data, as well as Google Analytics 4 (or other on-site analytics tool) conversion data.
After that, you can assess a lot of different metrics, among them Cost per Lead (CPL), Cost per Acquisition (CPA), and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
Extracted data is then loaded into a central repository, creating a unified source of truth for analysis and reporting.
A common challenge arises from the different data formats across different advertising platforms. However, an automated solution solves this issue and integrates cost data from platforms like Instagram Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Snapchat Ads into Google BigQuery through streamlined pipelines.
During this phase, collected data goes through blending, cost attribution and preparation for reporting.
Making reports that combine data from different advertising platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn Ads, along with on-site analytics from tools like GA4, is tricky. You either need to know SQL, or use a tool that does all the heavy lifting for you.
Automation is here to help create a single report that puts everything together so that marketers could focus on figuring out which campaigns are working well and which aren't.
Measure non-google CPA and ROAS in Google Analytics 4
Data Preparation for Reporting
In this step, refined data is organized, filtered, and aggregated to generate datamarts suitable for reports that provide insights to your team.
The final step involves presenting data through visual formats like charts, graphs, and dashboards, making complex information easy to understand. Visualization tools let you create interactive dashboards for a clearer view and then share reports with your team to help everyone make better decisions based on these numbers.
Benefits of Automated Reporting
Automating reports has many benefits that make your business more profitable and your team efficient. By automating, you save time on manual tasks, so you can focus on understanding your data and making decisions. Let's explore the advantages of automated reports:
Say goodbye to manual data cleaning and updating; instead, access readily usable and automatically refreshed datasets
Handling numerous metrics across various channels manually is a time-draining process. Automating reports will help you spend less time on routine tasks and focus on making more money.
Reduced time, money, and errors
Although manual reports might seem cheaper at first, automation is actually more cost-effective in the long run. You'll save money by not adding extra people to your team. Your team can then use that saved time to create and manage marketing campaigns.
Improved Data Accuracy
When people work with numbers, mistakes can happen. Automation reduces errors, making sure your data is correct.
Enhanced Data Analysis Capabilities
Report automation tools often consolidate data from various sources onto a single dashboard. This integration takes data from your website, advertising platforms, emails, and CRM/ERP systems. The result is a complete view of customer interactions, simplifying tracking and analysis across different channels.
Streamlined Reporting Processes
Automated reports make it easier to share information with your team. Reports are no longer separated, so everyone can work together and understand how your business is doing. They also let you see vital information more often and on a schedule.
For example, OWOX BI gathers website data in real-time and updates advertising costs every day and automatically attributes costs to conversions. This is difficult to do with manual reports, so your team always has the latest information to analyze even small changes in campaigns.
Creating visualizations manually can take a lot of time and might need some technical know-how to make charts and graphs that show insights clearly. Also, it's harder to make interactive visuals that let you explore data deeply when you do it by hand. Automated reporting tools do this for you, cutting down on mistakes, and providing lots of choices for visuals as well as customization options.
Implementing Automated Reporting Software to Boost Your Business
Here's a short instruction on how to seamlessly implement an automated reporting solution:
Choosing the Right Tool
When you pick a reporting tool, think about how well it can put together and analyze data from different places, presenting it in tables, charts, and visuals. There are various types of reporting tools, including self-service, visualization, business intelligence, application performance, enterprise, and finance-related tools. Your task is to select the tool that aligns with your business goals and marketing strategy needs.
Integrating Data Sources
To integrate your data, start by picking sources from which you want to extract data, such as Shopify, Google Analytics 4, Google Ads, and others. Then, set up where this will go – like an app or a database, add more sources if needed, as well as upload historical data.
Then, you can link your data storage with the visualization tool, generating dashboards that update automatically and allow simple sharing. Or you’ll need first to blend those data together with the data transformation tool ensuring it's ready for holistic analysis.,.
When you're adding such tools to your workflow, help your employees by giving them training sessions. These sessions will teach them about the tool's features and how to use them the best way.
But more importantly, you’ll teach them how to read the report, how to make decisions and take actions to really optimize the strategies based on data. Show them practical examples and let them try different features.
Consider Data Security
Just like you wouldn't leave your house unlocked, you need to protect your data. Data breaches can cost millions, so make sure your reporting tool has strong security features like encryption and access controls.
Testing and Monitoring
Regular check-ups keep your tool running smoothly. Conduct test reports to see if the data is accurate and the visualizations are correct. Monitor the tool for any glitches or errors. This helps catch issues early and keeps your reports reliable. Just like you wouldn't drive a car without checking the engine, you shouldn't rely on a tool without proper testing and monitoring.
Best Practices for Automated Reporting
To ensure you're making the most of automated reporting, consider the following best practices:
Visualize What Matters
When creating reports, focus on visualizing key metrics that directly impact your business goals. A well-organized and visually appealing dashboard can quickly convey important information to stakeholders, helping in better decision-making.
Customize Reports for Different Stakeholders
Tailor your reports to suit the needs of various stakeholders. Executives might require high-level summaries, while analysts need detailed figures. Adjust your reports to present relevant data, ensuring each stakeholder gets what they want.
Automate Data Preparation
Leverage tools like OWOX BI to automate the collection, cleaning, and structuring of data from various sources. This stops manual data manipulation, saving time and ensuring the data's accuracy.
Continuously Evaluate and Improve
Are the insights aligning with your goals? Are there any missing metrics? Constantly refine your approach to keep your reports relevant and valuable.
Case Studies: Successful Implementation of Automated Reporting with OWOX
Let's take a look at how OWOX transformed businesses by solving analytics and reporting challenges, leading to better insights and strategies:
Transformative Impact: Automated Reporting & Maching-Learning Attribution at MatahariMall
With gigabytes of data in daily Google Sheets tables, they needed to analyze web behavior, app and ad cost data, and completed orders from the CRM system in a unified report.
By partnering with OWOX BI, they successfully transformed their reporting process. They integrated all data into Google BigQuery, built an ML Funnel Based attribution model, and automated calculations to create comprehensive reports.
This solution allowed MatahariMall to control ad campaign bids, accurately measure advertising channel performance, compare attribution models, save time, and reduce human errors. As a result, their marketing efforts became more efficient, and they got better control over their budget and results.
How to Automate Marketing Reporting in the Restaurant Business
A restaurant brand with 57 locations faced new challenges due to the expansion. They wanted to know which ads brought new users to their website and app, and at what cost.
They also wanted fast reports to compare real performance with forecasts and to measure the impact of media impressions.
They used OWOX BI, to merge data and create advanced analytics, which helped them understand metrics, optimize budgets, and analyze user behavior.
They split purchases into new and returning customers, reducing costs, and found media impressions significantly impacted orders. Through automated reports, they aligned their goals, tracked performance, and optimized budgets effectively.
How a Digital Agency Saved Their PPC Reporting Time Using OWOX BI Software
The digital agency faced a challenge as its client base grew: creating monthly ad campaign reports took up too much time, and left little for new campaigns. They chose Looker Studio to make automatic reports to save time. But they needed to include ad cost data, so they used OWOX BI to make their reports more accurate.
As a result, they saved 90 hours of work by PPC specialists each month, letting them work on new campaigns. Clients can now see their ad stats anytime, not just monthly.
Future Trends in Automated Reporting
The landscape of automated reporting is experiencing a shift driven by three major trends.
Automated reporting is moving beyond historical data to predictive insights. Machine learning algorithms forecast trends, helping businesses anticipate customer behavior and market shifts. For instance, Netflix's recommendation engine uses predictive analytics to suggest personalized content, leading to 80% of viewer choices being influenced by these recommendations.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing automated reporting by pulling insights from vast datasets, whereas natural language processing allows systems to analyze unstructured data, making sense of customer feedback and sentiment. Chatbots and virtual assistants are integrated into reporting platforms, providing real-time insights.
According to Gartner, in 2022, 70% of white-collar workers interacted with conversational platforms daily.
Evolving Reporting Tools
Reporting tools are becoming more intuitive, user-friendly, and visually engaging. Interactive dashboards allow users to customize views and drill down into data. Tools like Tableau and Power BI enable dynamic exploration of data, resulting in a 40% increase in data-driven decisions for organizations.
Explore the Power Of Automated Reporting With OWOX BI
Can automated reporting be customized?Yes, you can choose the data sources, metrics, and formats that matter most to your business. Customization also extends to designing visually appealing reports and dashboards that align with your brand and the preferences of your audience.
What are the best practices for automated reporting?To make the most of automated reporting, start by setting clear goals and selecting relevant metrics. Choose a suitable reporting tool and check for data accuracy and quality. Regularly review and update your automated reports to keep them relevant. Finally, consider user needs and create reports that are easy to understand and navigate.
How does automated reporting work?Automated reporting involves using tools and software to collect data from various sources. This data is then processed, analyzed, and presented in the form of reports or dashboards. Automated processes can include data extraction, transformation, loading, and visualization.
What are the benefits of automated reporting?Automated reporting offers several benefits. It saves time and reduces human error, as there's no need to manually collect data. It provides real-time figures, improves data accuracy, and allows for better decision-making. Additionally, it facilitates communication by delivering consistent reports to stakeholders.
What is automated reporting?Automated reporting is a process where data is collected, analyzed, and transformed into reports automatically, without manual intervention.