How to automate marketing reporting
Vlada Malysheva, Creative Writer at OWOX BI
Reporting is an integral part of all marketers’ and marketing analysts’ work. Reports help with analyzing ad campaigns, finding growth zones and weaknesses, and, most importantly, proving the effectiveness of marketers’ efforts.
At the same time, reporting is also the most tedious part of a marketer’s work. There is too much data, and it’s stored in different sources and formats. All this data must be collected, processed, and regularly merged to create informative reports. Manual processing is time-consuming and leads to inevitable human errors. Thus, data quality decreases along with trust in the reports. For these reasons, working with modern marketing data without full automation doesn’t make sense.
In this article, we describe how automated reporting reduces errors, improves quality, and enables you to generate reports at a scale not possible with a manual process.
Why report automation is important for marketing
Big data is invaluable for getting an idea of what’s going on with your marketing. However, the more data you handle, the more difficult it is to collect, store, and process it, build reports from it and harness it to attain valuable insights.
Problems you can encounter when creating reports and how automation helps to solve them
1. Collecting data
Analysts collect data from disparate services and systems. Naturally, the data from these sources differs in its structure and format. In addition, to be sure of the quality of data obtained from advertising services, you need to constantly monitor updates to the data. You risk getting poor quality data and reaching erroneous conclusions if you don’t. A survey by Forrester Consulting shows that marketers are wasting 21% of their budgets due to incorrect data.
Instead of manually collecting data, it’s better to use connectors that import data automatically. Connectors typically use APIs to collect data from all required channels. The software automatically launches a data source’s API and retrieves the latest campaign performance data whenever it’s time to update it.
Without this feature, marketers have to manually call an API each time they need data, or they need to seek help from developers and analysts, distracting them from their direct responsibilities.
Instead, you can use services such as OWOX BI Pipeline, which collects data from your website and various advertising platforms and enriches it with data from your CRM, and email service.
2. Normalizing data
Structuring data from disparate sources into a single format is tricky. For example, you might collect cost data from different ad platforms (Google Ads, Twitter Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.), and each platform can have its own currency and its own label for the currency field. Manually converting all these expenses into one currency is difficult.
Many errors and inconsistencies may appear when working with a large amount of data, mainly related to infinite SQL queries and scripts. Everything will collapse if something fails or changes (for example, updating the service API).
Process automation is your security guarantee. The connector you choose to collect data should normalize it: clean it, stabilize it, check its quality, convert currencies, and so on. For example, OWOX BI Pipeline ensures the quality and security of data collected. It can also provide you with a visual report on the relevance of data uploaded to Google Analytics from advertising services.
3. Merging data
Without merging your data, you won’t see the whole picture, and you won’t be able to calculate essential metrics such as ROI and effectively allocate the budget. If you only have a few data sources (website and Instagram), merging data is easy using tools such as Google Data Studio.
However, suppose you have a large project. In that case, you likely use multiple platforms, launch many advertising campaigns simultaneously, and want to consider your customers’ actions online and offline. It’s simply impossible to manually reduce all that data into one table without errors.
In such a scenario, you cannot do without special services such as OWOX BI in addition to Data Studio, Tableau, Power BI, and analyst's help.
4. Creating reports
The main task of building reports is to provide decision-makers with answers to their questions as quickly as possible so they can act on data rather than guesswork.
Visualizing data and connecting the right data sources is a time-consuming process that’s often simply impossible without the help of analysts. Business users cannot build reports on their own, slowing down the workflow.
Also, when creating reports, you need to select the appropriate attribution model (taking into account the features of your sales funnel), use complete and high-quality data (to avoid erroneous decisions), and automatically update the data on which reports are based.
Depending on the needs and size of your company, you can choose any convenient service for automating reporting, from the familiar Google Sheets to sophisticated business intelligence tools.
With services such as OWOX BI, you can free up time to analyze and improve marketing strategies. With OWOX BI’s unique approach, you can create reports of any complexity without the help of analysts and without writing SQL queries.
Benefits of automating marketing reports
Automating reports will help make your business more profitable and your team more efficient. Removing manual labor from the reporting process will free up time to find insights and make decisions. Let’s look at the main advantages of report automation.
1. Saves time
Manually tracking hundreds of metrics across dozens of channels is a waste of time. By automating reports, your employees will be able to spend less time on routine tasks and pay more attention to work that affects the company’s profits.
2. Saves money
If you have a tight budget, manually compiling reports may seem more profitable at first glance. However, automating reports saves you money in the long run. It also means you can attract more customers without hiring extra staff. Employees won’t have to spend tens of hours each month reporting and instead will be able to create and manage marketing campaigns.
3. Increases data quality
When you manually enter data into simple spreadsheets, the probability of human error reaches 40%, and in complex tables, it approaches 100%. Report automation eliminates the human factor when entering data.
4. Allows you to receive reports on time and at the appropriate frequency
By automatically running reports, you can analyze relevant data more frequently and on a schedule. In addition, marketers and analysts can create new reports as often as they need. For example, OWOX BI collects data from websites almost in real time and updates cost data from advertising sources once a day. This frequency is difficult to achieve when manually generating reports because it often takes longer to collect and prepare data. Due to the higher frequency of reports, marketers are always kept up to date with the latest trends and can analyze even the slightest changes in campaign performance.
5. Puts all data on one dashboard
As a rule, the majority of report automation services work with many marketing sources. You can quickly merge data from your website, advertising services, email, and CRM/ERP systems on one dashboard. When all data is automatically reported, it becomes easier to discover customer touchpoints with your brand and track user interactions across different channels.
6. Improves communication between departments
By automating reports, you can improve communication and transparency across the company. Your reports will no longer be disparate and can easily be shared with colleagues.
7. Facilitates uniform metrics and calculates them for all reports
For reports to be useful, they must measure the same metrics in the same way over and over again. Otherwise, you get unreliable data and random metrics that won’t tell you much.
It isn’t easy to achieve this consistency when creating reports manually. Different people present the same data in different ways. Employees go on leave or get replaced, and one person may not prepare a report the way the previous did. For example, UTM tags can be placed differently, and small details such as campaign names can change. This could distort important KPIs.
No matter how good your recommendations and templates are, you can never achieve the same level of consistency manually as you can using a report automation tool.
How to automate marketing reporting with OWOX BI
OWOX BI is a single platform that allows you to collect, process, and analyze your marketing data. The service automates the delivery of data from disparate sources to Google BigQuery, ensuring that it’s always accurate and relevant. By implementing our services, marketers and analysts can easily save four to five hours of routine work a day.
We will develop a data model based on the individual logic of your business. We set up data transformations in a simulated structure and automate their update. With OWOX BI, you’ll get data ready for use in marketing and product reporting, transparent monitoring of data quality, and the ability to create reports without SQL using a convenient report builder.
How OWOX BI can help you with marketing reporting automation:
Step 1. Plan a metrics system. Our specialists will help you develop a metrics system, taking into account all your needs and tasks.
Step 2. Collect primary data. OWOX BI collects raw data from your website, Google Analytics, advertising services, offline stores, call tracking systems and CRM systems into your storage. The platform works smoothly with large advertising accounts and uploads all data, regardless of the number of campaigns. When importing cost data, OWOX BI recognizes dynamic parameters in UTM tags, converts cost data into a single currency, and monitors data relevance.
Step 3. Normalize raw data. With OWOX BI, you don’t have to manually clean, structure, and process data. You’ll get ready-made datasets in the most understandable and convenient structure. Moreover, at any time, you can get a visual report on the relevance of data uploaded to Google Analytics and Google BigQuery.
Step 4. Get business-ready data. With OWOX BI, you’ll always have data that’s ready for use in reporting. You no longer need to create a separate dataset for each new report. With up-to-date and unified data, you can gain insights into the performance of your business and accelerate its growth.
Step 5. Visualize the data. The OWOX BI platform allows you to analyze data and build reports using familiar and convenient tools. When your marketing data is ready, you can send it to any business intelligence system or visualization service in a couple of clicks.
Book a free demo to find out how OWOX BI can assist you in automating reporting and guaranteeing data quality.
To improve your marketing department, you need to know everything you can about your customers. All of the above solutions will help you completely change how you do business. By eliminating tedious and routine work, you’ll be able to direct all your efforts toward improving your marketing strategies.
Automating marketing reports opens up new opportunities to attract potential customers, retain them, and grow your company. Don’t miss the opportunity to boost ROI in your campaigns and get detailed data about marketing effectiveness.