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8-MINUTE READ · By Tina Arnoldi

Google Sheets Vs Microsoft Excel – which one is better for digital marketing?

We’re breaking this down to help you make a decision and are looking at the following criteria:

Capacity 

First things first, how much data are you working with? The basic rule is Excel for big data and Sheets for small data. The cell limits are 17,179,869,184 for Excel compared to 5,000,000 for Sheets. So, if you need to analyze more than five million cells, then you will need to use Excel. For most of us, five million is probably more than enough space, but if you’re running big, global campaigns then you may quickly fill up a Google Sheet. In that scenario, consider Excel.

Speed

In addition to the above, processing speed is faster in Excel so if your data set has more than 5,000-10,000 rows, consider Excel over Google Sheets. Both Sheets and Excel slow down when reaching their max capacity, so the rule of Excel for big data and Sheets for small data holds true here. If you need to collaborate on a spreadsheet, Sheets is a more convenient and quicker option, but overall Excel is going to be the speedier choice when it comes to performance.

Collaboration

If you are responsible for marketing reporting, you will have an internal team or external clients that need to see the results. With Google Sheets, you have real-time collaboration so you are in a sheet at the same time as a colleague making edits. Changes are made directly in the sheet with edit rights or someone with only comment rights can highlight something for a colleague to review. You can also see who is actively working on your file and open a chat-screen on the right-hand side of your sheet to communicate about the data.

With the online version of Excel, you can share a sheet through OneDrive with editing rights for designated co-authors. What I unfortunately still see many people do is “collaborate” with a desktop version of Excel, meaning they email a sheet or save it on a shared drive for the next person to work on which is a nightmare. This runs up against issues with versioning. “I saved over it and forgot to rename.” “Why are we both editing version 3?” With Google Sheets, you have a version history so you can see the history of saved edits to the documents and what exactly changed so it is very easy to undo and go back to an earlier version.

Sheets almost always wins the collaboration comparison against Excel.

Integrations

If you want to import marketing data into a spreadsheet, the old and painful method involved exporting CSVs and importing them again, manually copy/pasting data, or both. Now with products like Supermetrics, you can automate the pulling of data into both Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. It is easier to import data rather than do an awkward copy and paste or manually add data from multiple sources, then map it to data from another platform.

With Supermetrics for Excel, you can integrate Excel with Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook, Bing, Twitter, Linkedin and other marketing platforms. You can also utilize Excel add-ins to embed content directly into your Excel documents.

With Supermetrics for Google Sheets you can do the same, but Sheets is more friendly when it comes to connecting to other data sources and integrating with other technologies. No surprise that Google Sheets integrates with the other Google products you already use, such as Google Analytics, Google Slides, or Data Studio. It is easy to integrate with other non-Google tools such as Zapier, CRM solutions or SaaS products.

Functionality

Most people use the basic spreadsheet functions in Excel which are also available in Google Sheets. For something more complicated, it is likely there is an add-on available in Google Sheets that will extend that functionality.

Excel has some pretty powerful features, especially when it comes to pivot tables. Pivot tables are useful when taking large data sets and turning them into digestible chunks through slicers and timelines for better filtering. The advanced functionality of Microsoft Excel may even turn some people off to the product because it can feel overly complicated. The simplicity of Google Sheets appeals to people who just want to do basic things in a spreadsheet. And because it is entirely online, there is nothing to install on a computer so there is no tech support needed in a corporate workplace to use Google Sheets, assuming it is not blocked from your network.

Excel has more in-built formulas and functions, as well as more chart options than what is available in Google Sheets. While there are a number of functions available for Google Sheets, including ones specific to financial data, Microsoft Excel has more advanced features for financial modeling.

But as powerful as Excel is, it is still is not a statistical software. People who need to do statistical analysis may want to consider software that is designed specifically for that reason or learn a programming language rather than wrangle with a spreadsheet.

Formatting & Templates

Some people want “just the facts.” Others want the bells and whistles in the reports. Both Excel and Google Sheets offer templates to appeal to both groups. The one go-to feature that makes tables easy to read is the alternating colors tool seen below in Google Sheets which you add with a click of a button.

If you want more than that, there are free templates in the G Suite Marketplace to help you complete marketing tasks and add some style. A simple Google search will also bring up templates that users have designed and decided to share.

Of course, Excel has extensive formatting options and templates and we have five popular reporting templates for Excel here on the Supermetrics blog. We also have a collection of Google Sheets reporting templates to help you get started with your marketing reporting.

Price

Show me the money! For those in a big corporation, the cost may be completely irrelevant. But for those in a budget-conscious organization, the pricing of Excel versus Sheets may play a big role in your decision.

With Google Sheets, you can use the personal version for free or upgrade to the G Suite for Business. The personal version has enough features for most users and it is what I use frequently for side projects, sharing sheets with other people. With G Suite, you can manage permissions for groups which makes it more appealing for IT administrators with pricing starting at $6 per user per month. The enterprise version ($25 per user per month) includes smart search across the entire suite with Cloud Search, additional security features, and App Maker.

Microsoft’s online version, Office 365 Business, starts at $8.25 per month per user and includes the desktop version of Office apps on PC or Mac. Online is the way to go for everything, especially when it comes to backups. But if you want a copy of Microsoft Excel only for your desktop, it retails for $130.

Company Policy

A final factor is your company and the ecosystem of choice. Many workplaces use the Microsoft Office Suite, especially in corporate offices, which typically makes Excel the go-to choice. Other companies use the Google Suite, and I would argue that Google Sheets is a better choice when it comes to remote teams too.

Conclusion

While Sheets and Excel have many things in common, there are definitely situations when marketers should take one over the other. If you’re working with small data sets and collaborating with others, then Sheets would be the way to go. If you’re using big data and doing a lot of in-depth analysis yourself, then Excel would make sense.

But as one of our customers said, “Everyday stuff gets done in Sheets, sophisticated models get done in Excel.” So it’s not always a case of one or the other. If you’re still not sure, you can always just get both.

If you want to automate your marketing reporting, then start your 14-day free trial of Supermetrics for Google Sheets and Supermetrics for Excel today.

About Tina Arnoldi

Tina Arnoldi is Analytics and AdWords Qualified and one of the few people in the United States recognized as a Google Developer Expert (GDE) for marketing. Her agency, 360 Internet Strategy, is also a Google Partner. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn.

The post Google Sheets vs Excel: Which is better for digital marketing? appeared first on Supermetrics.

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10-MINUTE READ · By Simon Pilkington

It’s no secret that Instagram Stories are by far one of the platform’s most popular features.

And even with 500+ million views daily, Stories still has plenty of room to grow.

In fact, 48% of marketers believe that Stories will become increasingly important for businesses in 2019 and beyond.

The rapid growth of Stories signals the need for businesses to rethink how they measure and report on their performance.

Why? Because measuring the success of ephemeral content is a different beast than a traditional Instagram post. Not only are you analyzing totally different metrics, but also trying to make sense of dozens of different data points in a 24-hour period.

Likewise, Instagram’s native reporting leaves a lot to be desired in terms of functionality. 

If you’re looking to squeeze more out of your paid or organic Instagram Stories, you’re going to need to step up your analytics and reporting. 

In this guide, we’ll highlight how to make better sense of your Stories performance with a breakdown of key metrics and tips for more robust reporting.

What Are the KPIs for Instagram Stories?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Stories reporting, let’s talk about metrics to watch and what exactly they mean.

After all, you can’t properly measure (or improve) your Stories performance without knowing what your KPIs are.

Keep in mind that the KPIs for Stories are split into organic and paid metrics.

Organic metrics can be found in Instagram Insights. Meanwhile, Paid Metrics are presented as part of the Facebook ads manager.

Psst, you can actually combine the two for the sake of streamlined reporting with the help of Supermetrics.

Organic Stories KPIs

Here’s a quick down of the performance metrics available in Instagram Insights and why they matter.

Impressions

How total views that your Story received. This is mostly a surface-level metric to track: as your follower-count grows, so should your impressions.

Reach

How many unique Instagram accounts viewed your story. This can help you understand what percentage of your audience is engaging with Stories alongside non-followers.

Taps Forward

How many times someone tapped your story to skip a post. This can be viewed as a sort of bounce rate.

Taps Back

How many times someone went back to view a previous Stories post. Taps back indicate that your post was of particular interest and worth seeing twice.

Replies

How many times a follower or viewer replied to your Story. This metric doesn’t mean much out of context but can serve as a sort of conversion rate if your Story has a reply-specific call-to-action.

Swipe Away

How many people swiped away from your Story. This can also be seen as a sort of bounce rate, but also might signal that someone wasn’t interested in finishing your story.

Exits

How many people left your Story to go back to their main Instagram feed. This metric is notable if someone leaves a series of Stories posts, indicating again that they weren’t interested in seeing the entirety of your Story.

There are also response metrics available for features such as Stickers and Polls which are pretty self-explanatory. Instagram doesn’t currently have native analytics available for Swipes Up, although you can track swipes via UTM parameters in Google’s campaign link builder (which we’ll cover shortly).

Paid Instagram Stories KPIs

From lower cost-per-click to cost-per-acquisition and beyond, Instagram themselves cite a variety of data-backed benefits of why Stories ads work so well. Here are some ad-specific metrics to consider in addition to the organic ones above.

Swipe Up

How many times someone swiped or essentially tapped through your ad. Think of this as your ad’s click-through rate.

Cost-Per-Click

The monetary value of the aforementioned swipe up or click-through. This is obviously something to keep an eye on during and after a campaign to help break down your ROI from running Stories Ads.

Conversion Rate

How many people converted as a result of your Stories ad. Improving your conversion rate means having a comprehensive understanding of each element of your Stories including creatives, calls-to-action and so on.

And hey, that leads us directly to our next section!

How to Streamline Stories Reporting and Dive Deep Into Your Data

Now that we’ve talked about the metrics themselves, let’s talk about how you can make the most of them.

The data baked into Instagram Insights and Ads Manager is certainly helpful, but those metrics aren’t the be-all, end-all of what you can learn and report on. Below are some tips and resources that’ll allow you to take a deep-dive into your data and integrate it into your existing marketing reports.

Go Beyond Instagram’s Native Reporting Options

As noted, Instagram’s native reporting leaves a lot to be desired.

For example, organic and paid analytics are reported in separated platforms. If you’re running ads alongside organic stories, it makes sense to look at both data sets together for a more holistic understanding of your Instagram presence.

That’s where tools like Supermetrics’ Instagram Insights connector can be a game-changer. Connecting organic and native analytics saves you serious time by keeping you from bouncing between platforms.

Additionally, the Supermetrics platform measures your Story performance in addition to demographic data, engagement over time and top-performing content. With all of your data in one place, you can immediately assess which posts are scoring the most engagement without second-guessing. If you want to use the template pictured below, you can grab it here.

Oh, and don’t forget that Supermetrics enables you to export your data into a single report via Google Sheets, Google Data Studio, and Excel among others.

Set Up UTM Link-Tracking in Google Analytics

As we mentioned earlier, tracking link clicks in Stories means setting up UTM link-tracking.

In short, you can assign a custom URL to your links that allow you to follow your followers’ behavior via Google Analytics once you click-through. This allows you to assess top-performing posts and promotions in Stories.

Setting up a tracking link is fairly straightforward in Google’s Campaign URL builder. Google recommends step-by-step how to label your link based on a destination URL and the details of your campaign.

Then, Google spits out a tracking link based on your parameters.

Mind How You Label Your Campaigns

Lastly, make a point to match your Story-specific campaign names to the ones that are already present in Google Analytics.

Doing so makes it easier to track and report on your campaigns. Specifically, this allows Supermetrics to combine on-site behavior data (such as bounce rate or session duration) within your reporting using combined data sources.

Ready to Step Up Your Instagram Stories Analytics & Reporting?

As Instagram continues to roll out new features and the Stories platform continues to grow, analytics and reporting will only become more important to businesses.

Putting your data under the microscope is key to understanding which tactics are working and how to score a better ROI from your Stories.

Knowing your metrics and what they mean is only half the battle. The other half is streamlined, actionable marketing reporting which goes beyond Instagram’s native analytics.

Having your organic and paid Stories metrics side-by-side makes it easy to analyze your overall Stories performance. With the help of tools like Supermetrics, the experts at Hello Social, and link-tracking via Google Analytics, you can better understand how your followers behave the business impact of your Stories.

About Simon Pilkington

Simon Pilkington is the digital marketing manager for Australian social media agency Hello Social. With almost a decade of experience working as a technical marketer, he specialises in creating and executing online growth strategies for international organisations.

The post Instagram Stories Analytics: How Digital Marketers Can Measure, Report & Improve Performance appeared first on Supermetrics.

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10-MINUTE READ · By Misty Faucheux

Google Data Studio offers advanced reporting visualization that includes customizable dashboards, charts and graphs. While the product is only a couple of years old, marketers have rush to embrace the platform since it allows them to show different data in a more visually appealing way. Yet, most people only scratch the surface of the capabilities of the platform. In this article, we break down ways to make your reports more meaningful to both you and your stakeholders and clients with some advanced tips and techniques.

Adding Date Range Filters

Most marketers want to see how campaigns are performing over a certain time period. With Date Range filters, you can group data by specific date ranges.

To add a Date Range filter, you can select the icon, and then draw a shape on the report where you want the filter added. Within the Date Range Properties panel, there is a “Data” tab. Use the default date range selection. In the “Style” tab, you can change the look of how the data appears on the report. Similar to Google Analytics, you can select predefined options like Last 7 days or Last quarter, or you can customize the data.

One issue with the Date Range filters is that it will by default add the filter to every element on your page. Yet, you may want other charts or tables to have different date ranges. So, how do you correct this?

The best way to ensure that your Date Range filter is applied only to certain elements is by limiting the filter to either a single element or a group of them. First, you must group the elements together. To do this, follow the below steps.

  • Select all the charts that you want to group.
  • Right click on the set, and select “Group”. Alternatively, you can click on the Arrange menu, and then click “Group”.

Once you group charts, tables, etc., the data filter will only be applied to the selected elements. To change the date of certain filters, you would apply the same principle. Select the icon, and then draw the shape over the widgets that you wish to change. Be sure to group the widgets that you want to add the filter to first.

To take this one step further, you can also add the Date Range filter to every page of a multi-page report. By default, the date will only appear as a page-level object, meaning that it will only appear on the page where you add it. To make it appear on every page in your report, do the following:

  • Start editing the report.
  • Select the Date Range control icon.
  • Click “Align”, and then “Make Report-level” menu.

You’ll now see the date range on every page.

One note about Date Range filters: These can only be applied to data sources that have a date dimensions. If your data doesn’t have any dates associated with it, this won’t work.

Adding Multiple Pages into a Single Report

As mentioned, Data Studio allows you to showcase different types of data into a single report with the use of pages. You can treat these like multi-page reports in Word or similar programs. For example, you could add an overview or summary page, and group like data from different data sources on a single page.

You can generate pages by clicking Page, and then one of the options. If you like the format of the page on which you are currently working, then you can duplicate the page and simply edit the other content.

You can also add a page within the toolbar simply by clicking the “Add a page” button.

Both sections allow you to easily create new pages as well as navigate to the page of your choice.

Once you produce your pages, you can change the Data Sources and Style of the page within the “Current Page Settings”. When you click “Select Data Source”, you’ll be able to scroll down to see all your integrated data sources and add them.

Creating Advanced Dimensions Using Formulas

In many respects, Data Studio works similar to certain Excel reports. Like Excel, you can add advanced reporting elements by using different formulas. Known as calculated fields, they allow you to manipulate the data within your data sources. These calculated fields can both dimensions and metrics, and they appear as new fields within the data source. For example, you can use a formula like REGEXP_MATCH() to return a specific value if X matches Y, or CONCAT(), which combines text from various sources.

To create a calculated field, follow the below instructions:

  • Begin by editing your data source.
  • At the top of the “Field” column, you’ll see a blue “plus” button. Click on it.
  • Give the field a name.
  • Enter the formula that you want to use for this field.

Once the field is created, you can implement the formula by applying the calculate field to a row of data within a chart.

The formulas within the calculated field use one of the following syntaxes: Functions or Arguments.

  • With Functions, you can generate formulas that use mathematical equations, logical comparison, text handling and more. A formula can also use multiple functions.
  • Arguments instruct he function to act upon a certain command. It requires one or additional field-expressions to be used as arguments: Some form of text that corresponds to a field name within the data source.

There are many types of functions you can use for calculated fields. The whole list can be found within Data Studio Help. One example of how you can use these fields is by cleaning up campaign tagging. We’ve all seen databases where there are different cases for say address, i.e. ADDRESS, address and Address. You can easily fix this by changing all the cases to lowercase.

You can do this by using the formula LOWER (___). For example, the easiest way to change all these to lowercase is with LOWER (Medium). It might be helpful to review the functions list, and then experiment with a few of the calculated fields. See example below:

LOWER(Source) – This would convert any source data (i.e. newsletter, AdWords, Facebook, etc.) to lower case. If you wanted to convert these back to uppercase, simply use “Upper(Source)”.

Take Advantage of the Community Connectors

Data Studio is developed by Google, so naturally it allows to report data from such platforms as YouTube, Google Analytics, Google AdWords and other Google-supported services. However, It is important for the marketer to see the “bigger picture” while reporting, and fetch marketing data for example from social networks and payment platforms. This is where community connectors come into place – they are easy to use and allow you to effortlessly to pull data from almost any source you need into Google Data Studio. Supermetrics offers 21+ high-quality connectors, which you can explore here.

Conclusion

Google Data Studio is an effective tool within the marketing arsenal. With it still being relatively new, however, most of us have barely scratched the surface of what can be done. Understanding some of the advanced capabilities of the product will enable you to produce more robust reports.

Before adding these items to existing reports, you may, however, wish to experiment with a dummy template. Nothing is worse than accidentally erasing or ruining existing data because of a bad function. Once you perfect your template, you can duplicate the processes into existing or new reports.

This article was updated on June 28th 2019 and originally published on July 31st 2017.

About Misty Faucheux

Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Flickr.



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The post Getting More from Google Data Studio: Advanced Tips and Techniques appeared first on Supermetrics.

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10-MINUTE READ · By Amy Hebdon

Paid search marketers need the best reporting tools possible to monitor and communicate performance. 

The good news is that between Supermetrics and Data Studio, you can create a custom report that’s far better than any paid reporting solution on the market.

So what’s the catch?

Having full customization means you’re on your own when it comes to assembling your report of dreams. 

You want flexibility and power? You got it. But now you’re staring at a blank canvas with no idea where to start.

Enter: reporting templates. Google Data Studio and Supermetrics each have their own gallery of dashboards and reports that are free to use and make it easy to choose a layout and get started.

If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes looking through dashboards for paid media, you’ve come across the mother of them all – the Google Ads Overview Report:

The Google Ads Overview Report in Data Studio is a great sandbox to start customizing dashboards, but it’s not the best report to use as-is. Unfortunately, because it’s so easy to update it with client data, many marketers are using it with few if any customizations. 

In this article, we’ll deconstruct the Google Ads Overview Report and build out two better reports (for both client reports and internal use) to improve your work and wow your clients.

Where the Data Studio Google Ads Overview Report Falls Short

Like many other marketers, I’ve learned a lot about Data Studio functionality just by copying and adjusting the Google Ads Overview Report. It’s actually pretty good. 

But like a plate in a salad bar, it doesn’t get really great until you add things to it. On its own, the report needs some fixing up.

The device breakdown section is a mess

Let’s start with an obvious problem area: the device breakdown charts.

Did you find what’s wrong with this picture?

Problems with the pie charts:

  1. There’s no legend.
  2. The slice colors are based on dimension order. Each chart is sorted by its own metric, which is driving inconsistent colors across charts. (Without a legend, this is a real design problem.)
  3. There’s no clear reason for this information to be included. It’s not answering any questions, encouraging any action, or showing a change over time.
It’s a hybrid report with no target audience

Is the report meant to be client-facing? 

The scorecards, pie charts and table are good visualizations for decision makers, but they aren’t very useful for the marketer who’s checking in on day-to-day pacing and performance.

On the other hand, there’s a data control that allows you to choose your account from within the page. You wouldn’t send this feature to your client, right?

The date range control (which randomly defaults to the last four weeks) adds to the mystery.

And the time series charts wouldn’t be appropriate for high-level client reports, but they aren’t useful for internal management either.

As it exists, the report doesn’t work for any audience.

Why all the chaos?

Why did Data Studio publish a report template that needs to be modified in order to be useful?

Because you’re supposed to modify it.

The Google Ads Overview Report is a nice, cleanly designed placeholder for you to add meaningful charts and data.

It solves the “blank page syndrome” so you can get to work on customizing without starting from scratch or worrying about design skills.

But it’s not a plug-and-play report to send to clients or monitor pacing. So let’s look at how you can customize it for each of those needs.

How to Create a Better Client-Facing Report

To make this template worthy of decision makers and leadership teams, we’ll give it a marketing makeover.

What makes a good client-facing report?
  • Client-facing reports help decision makers, leadership teams and other stakeholders quickly understand what happened and why it happened (including the impact of the work done by the agency or account manager).
  • Reports should “cut to the chase” and help the reader focus on the most important metrics and activity.
  • Because the end reader isn’t as involved in daily account activity, metrics and performance should be augmented with descriptions and context.
Lead with business KPIs, not search traffic

Good marketers use clearly defined goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and help their clients and management teams keep their eyes on the prize.

Keep your reports consistent by prioritizing KPIs, rather than secondary metrics like clicks and impressions.

Before – Scorecards:

The template scorecards lead with Clicks, CTR and Impressions – which aren’t priority metrics and are not where decision makers should be focusing their attention.

After – Scorecards:

The new report kicks off the report with KPIs that immediately tell the reader the most important story.

The main table in the report also emphasizes the wrong metrics.

Before – Campaign Table:

The table features three metrics: CTR, CPC and Cost / Conversion (or CPA). Each of these metrics is a calculated formula; the raw data is nowhere to be seen. Even with the heatmaps, it’s unclear what conclusions to draw from this table.

After – Campaign Table:

The new table swaps CTR and CPC for the raw Conversions and Cost data. We’ve also added month over month change columns. Finally, we’ve swapped the table styling, with two heatmaps becoming bars to better show the relationship between the metrics.

Looking at this table, you immediately notice that Campaign 1 earned the lion’s share of conversions, and that Campaign 5’s CPA is much higher than all others.

You can also see that the comparison columns for Campaign 5 have no data, meaning it just launched (or became re-active) recently. This immediately inspires questions about what happened and why.

Use text to provide context and analysis

The Overview Report is off to a great start by using headings and microcopy above the charts that follow. (Microcopy is short, targeted words and phrases that add helpful context for end users.)

Many reports – even paid solutions – have charts and scorecards with no explanatory copy, so we’ve got to give Data Studio credit for baking in headings.

There’s still room for improvement though.

Before – Microcopy:

The text doesn’t add context or provide information that’s not immediately clear just from reading the scorecards below.

After – Microcopy:

The microcopy has been updated to provide more context for readers. Adding an objective quickly informs the reader of goals and priorities.

Busy clients and leadership teams aren’t going to look at a dashboard of numbers and immediately know what to do next.

A good report doesn’t leave readers guessing, and it doesn’t make them wait until a meeting or phone call to answer important questions.

The updated template includes sections for Analysis and Next Steps so you can help your audience understand what happened and why.

For instance: Why did the conversion rate go down? Was there a change to the marketing (such as new ads or bid adjustments?) Was there a change to the offer, price or landing page? Was there new or increase competition? Is there a seasonal factor?

If you were reporting on the data highlighted in this article, you’d use this section to explain why Campaign 5 was launched, whether it will stay live next month, recommended changes for the landing page, and so on.

Be sure to explain your work and your role in the results, not just the results themselves.

Tell a story with data

Not all great stories begin with “once upon a time,” but how can a monthly, metrics-based report possibly tell a story?

Analytics Evangelist Brent Dykes says that storytelling with data needs three elements:

  1. Data
  2. Visuals
  3. Narrative

With Data Studio, data is easy. Use Google Ads as your data source, and you’ve automatically got 119 fields. (Use Supermetrics and that number jumps to 374.)

Visuals are as easy as adding a chart. Just be sure you’re using the best chart for your data. And include a legend.

That leaves narrative – the actual story behind the events. Many dashboard reports overlook narrative entirely. But without it, your readers are missing the explanation and engagement they need to drive change.

Image source: Forbes.com from Brent Dykes

Narrative isn’t just a written summary of what happened, and it’s definitely not just sentences that describe the data in your charts.

Here’s how the updated report adds narrative features:

  1. We’ve removed the date picker. By delivering a self-contained report on “last month,” the story of the report has a beginning and an end.
  2. We’ve used the journalists’ technique of leading with the most important info (in our case, KPIs).
  3. We’ve been selective about which metrics we’re including, and which ones we’re excluding, to reduce noise and clutter.
  4. We’ve updated the microcopy to provide needed context for the metrics.
  5. We’ve added Analysis and Next Steps sections to give more explanation, key insights, and an action plan.

The updated report meets the requirements for “storytelling with data,” so you can drive understanding and action every month.

How to Upgrade Your Upgraded Client-Facing Google Ads Template

You can grab the upgraded Google Ads Template For Clients here. But don’t just take it and run!

  • Update the report to reflect your goals and KPIs.
  • Choose the charts that show what matters most to your readers.
  • Update the microcopy and analysis for relevant context.
  • Add additional pages and charts for more granular performance details.
  • Consider using Supermetrics for additional dimensions and visualizations that aren’t native to Google Ads, like:
    • “Branded vs. Non-branded search queries” as a dimension
    • Full ad creatives (headline, text, body) from Google Ads

Customization is key!

How to Create a Better Internal Report

As you can see from the example above, customizing a report increases its value. This goes double for your internal pacing reporting.

What makes a good internal report?
  • Internal reports are for you and your team who are “in the weeds” every day.
  • They’re more likely to be pure dashboards without needing microcopy for context.
  • They should help you monitor pacing for spend and KPIs.
  • They should give you multiple views of daily performance and comparison to other time periods.

It would be impossible to create an internal template of much value within Data Studio, since it will be unique to:

  • Your goals (leads, CPL, revenue, ROI, etc)
  • Your top priorities, dimensions and metrics
  • Your budget (fixed, flexible, incremental changes)
  • Your pacing needs (do weekdays and weekends behave equally?)
  • Threats and opportunities within your account performance

To setup pacing, you’ll need to use calculated fields. Calculated fields are not retained the template once you change the data source.

Once you’ve customized your Client-Facing template, you can create a copy and modify it to meet your pacing needs.

Visualizations for Better Internal Reporting

Here are some visualizations I like to use for internal reports:

Conversions and spend MTD (compared to MTD target and overall goal)

Daily monitoring of key metrics (was the drop on May 21 expected?)

Aggregate metrics MTD compared to previous period

Daily performance by segment (campaigns, ad groups, keywords) against key metrics

Time series by segment to show recent and sustained trends

Update your internal dashboard reports so you can easily see and compare your key metrics all at once without having to adjust filters or sources.

You can use Supermetrics to integrate multiple platforms, data sources and accounts across different MCCs.

Templates + Customization = Holy Grail

Good client-facing reports tell a story through data, visuals and narrative to help readers take action.

Good internal reports help you monitor performance to find opportunities and catch pacing issues and threats before they become problems.

By starting with a Data Studio template and updating it to your needs, you can quickly create professional-level reports that improve performance and drive action.

And of course, you can supercharge your visualizations and data reporting when you use Supermetrics. Start your 14-day free trial of Supermetrics for Data Studio to take your reports to the next level!

About Amy Hebdon

Amy has managed Google Ads since 2004, and is the founder of the Google Partner agency Paid Search Magic. Together with her husband James, she also co-hosts The Paid Search Magic Podcast and runs the free facebook group Google Ads for Savvy Digital Marketers.

The post It’s Time to Stop Using the Google Ads Overview Report for Data Studio (and do this instead) appeared first on Supermetrics.

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8-MINUTE READ · By Cezary Urbanowicz

Working with data is part of every marketer’s daily routine. In SEO we prepare reports for clients, analyze the effects of our work, and plan further optimization of websites. As one of Poland’s biggest SEO agencies, we use Google Search Console and other tools, but gathering data and creating interesting reports is a time-consuming process.

That is why we decided to try Supermetrics and see if there is any way to reduce this time and to dig deeper into some numbers. Now, we want to share our easy methods of how you can use Supermetrics for SEO reporting.

We created three reports that can be useful for different stages of campaigns. In addition, some of them deliver data that is not available strictly from Google Search Console. The reports are especially useful when you need to evaluate your content in terms of SEO efficiency. They are a Content Efficiency Report, a Content Efficiency Report with Keywords, and a CTR Report Considering Position and Keyword Length.

1. Content Efficiency Report

Creating new content for SEO campaigns might be expensive, especially when you focus on quality. But do they always give you the expected results? In order to evaluate their effectiveness, we decided to analyze some data from Google Search Console, but in a nonstandard way. Of course, we could do that without using Supermetrics, but gathering the data manually would take much more time. We went for automation by using Supermetrics and adding some formulas in a Google spreadsheet.

How we generated data using Supermetrics?

We’ve chosen Google Search Console as a source, then a website which we wanted to analyze. In this case, it was our website widoczni.com. We were particularly interested in such metrics as clicks, CTR, impressions and average position in Google search results. It was particularly important for us to split the data into months. However, we excluded data coming from branded keywords as they usually generate higher CTR.

Step by step guidelines to create this report:

  • Data Source: choose GSC
  • Select Metrics: choose clicks, impressions, CTR and average position
  • Split by: split to rows – choose Full URL, split to columns – choose month
  • Filter: exclude any traffic that is irrelevant, for example, blog traffic
  • Options: in Brand keywords add your brand to exclude branded keywords

Important: In this report, we used manually created formulas to get some charts in the first few columns. Use a formula: SPARKLINE and add data range.

Why this report?

What GSC gives us by default is not enough. We would like to know the efficiency of our content in a certain time span in order to know if certain content influenced SEO results.

2. Content Efficiency Report with Keywords

This is an extended version of the first report. This time we wanted to see a relation between a particular keyword and impressions, clicks, and position on the SERP.

How we generated data using Supermetrics?

We expanded the content efficiency report by using additional data – keywords used in the search engine.

Step by step guidelines to create this report:

  • Data Source: choose GSC
  • Select Metrics: choose clicks, impressions, CTR and average position
  • Split by: split to rows – choose Full URL and Search query, split to columns – choose month
  • Filter: exclude any traffic that is irrelevant, for example, blog traffic
  • Options: in Brand keywords add your brand to exclude branded keywords

Important: In this report, we used manually created formulas to get some charts in the first few columns. Use a formula: SPARKLINE and add data range.

Why this report?

It helps us come to some vital conclusions and:

  • Rate our content in terms of future results
  • Plan new content
  • Analyze the efficiency of our content

The report also helps to detect keywords cannibalization.

3. CTR Report Considering Position and Keyword Length

Finally, a report that gives a chance to find data that is not available directly in GSC.

We wanted to compare CTR of every page of a website and see a correlation between the position in SERP and CTR. Additionally, we wanted to compare the length of each keyword and how it affected the position and CTR.

How we generated data using Supermetrics?

We’ve chosen to analyze metrics such as CTR, position in top 10 Google, and a number of words in each keyword (creating a range from 1 to +8 words).

Step by step report:

  • Data Source: choose GSC
  • Select Metrics: choose CTR
  • Split by: split to rows – choose SERP position (rounded avg., paged), split to columns – choose Search query
  • Filter: choose clicks greater and set 1
  • Options: in Brand keywords add your brand to exclude branded keywords

Why this report?

This report lets us use GSC data in a nonstandard way, which is available only with Supermetrics. It is a valuable source of knowledge for our SEO experts. For example, when it comes to sales pages CTR for pages ranked number 7 and lower is nosediving. This means one should take care of optimization and fight for better results. Whereas with blog pages there is not much difference in CTR between 1st and 10th position. This lets us to the conclusion that fighting for better positions is useless. Of course, every time we recommend to make separate analysis, as every page, company, and business could be different.

Conclusion

We came up with 3 different reports for optimizing content and planning SEO campaigns, which minimized the time spent on research. When we did that manually, it took us a few days. With Supermetrics we could finish reporting in 3 hours. What is more, automation protects us against some human errors like misspelling or omitting some data. When it comes to the last report, we gain additional data that is not available directly in GSC.

About Cezary Urbanowicz

Cezary is SEO Manager at one of the biggest SEO agencies in Poland – widoczni.com. He is experienced in website optimization as well as e-commerce SEO. His latest passion is conversion rate optimization.

The post How To Create 3 SEO Reports Using Supermetrics appeared first on Supermetrics.

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10-MINUTE READ · By Tina Arnoldi

Digital marketers have toolkits to help with both the strategic and tactical parts of their roles. In an earlier post, I talked about marketing reporting best practices to show the progress of your campaigns to both managers and clients. This time I want to cover 17 marketing reporting tools you can use to monitor, measure, and improve your digital marketing efforts for SEO, PPC, web analytics, and visualization & business intelligence.

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SEO & PPC Reporting Tools Backlinks – Free

Backlinks do still matter for SEO. Even though not any backlink will do, there are unfortunately still services where you can buy cheap backlinks to build up the number of links to your site. Do not do that because that is not going to help your website. It will likely only hurt you later.

The best place to start when building backlinks is to create a report seeing where you currently are. There are paid tools on the market but one of the freebie ones I like is the backlinks tool offered by Neil Patel. Very quickly you can see how many backlinks point to your site, which sites point to you and your overall domain score. You can also export the results if you want to analyze them further and as well as being free, it does not need any kind of login. Overall, this is a very efficient and effective way to create your own backlinks report.

Answer the public – Free with paid upgrade

Answer the Public is an excellent report tool for SEOs and Content Marketers as it takes actual search terms people use and visualizes them into a cloud. The reports organize terms by categories with the types of questions people type into search engines. Below shows the results for the search term of marketing. That is not a word I would suggest when creating content or choosing keywords for your ads because of how broad it is. But this shows you the number of questions that you could end up with depending on what you search.  

A one or two-word keyword is worth checking if you are researching a niche or obscure area. The tool allows you to see if it is something that people are even searching on before you create content or run a paid ad. If you have a lot of content projects, you can upgrade to the pro version for $99 a month as needed. This will give you unlimited searches so you can do a lot more than with just the free version.

Google Trends – Free

I discussed Google Trends in an earlier post about Google Ad campaigns. But the tool is just as valuable for your SEO work because you want to know the keywords people use for both your paid and organic marketing efforts. This tool shows keyword popularity over time so you can see trends for your targeted keywords. Use long-tail phrases to help generate new content ideas.

Keywordtool.io – Free with paid upgrade

It does occasionally seem like Google knows what we are thinking. That is because of the autocomplete feature that you can turn on and off in your browser. But it is a helpful feature to have on, not only to speed up your own searches, but also because it offers insight into how other people search on Google.

Google states, “We look at the real searches that happen on Google and show common and trending ones relevant to the characters that are entered and also related to your location and previous searches.”

Keyword tool.io is a tool that utilizes Google autocomplete. Use it to perform keyword research especially when you need ideas for long tail keywords.  The free version is limited and the upgraded version comes in at $199 a month. However, if you do extensive keyword research, it may be worth upgrading to access additional features, such as keyword use across channels.

SpyFu – Paid

SpyFu is a resource for both paid and organic marketing research as well as to spy on competitors. You can test it out for free as seen below. Enter your URL to see some basic SEO data. Monitor client sites to see ranking changes compared to competitors and do keyword research for new or existing projects. For newbies, the amount of data is overwhelming so I would not try to tackle every feature available in the platform.  Start with some basic marketing reports before experimenting with some more advanced ones.


RankTank – Free with paid upgrade

RankTank is a gold mine for digital marketers. There are an incredible number of free tools on here that will let you create multiple marketing reports, as well as upgrades to a paid version for $149 a month.

Much of what you need to do with SEO can be found in this toolkit. In addition to the ones above, they have free tools for getting email alerts about important SEO changes, checking keyword search volume, and conducting a basic SEO site audit.  If the pro membership of $149 a month is more than you need, you can make a donation to support the development of their free tools.  I like this site for newbies to who may not even know what is possible or what they do not know. Start here to see what is possible.

Ahrefs – Free Trial with paid upgrade

Ahrefs will provide you with a full range of tools for SEO marketers. From keyword research and domain reports to competitor analysis and site audits, Ahrefs is a powerful SEO product that goes well beyond marketing reporting. It has a relatively simple interface where you can enter your website and keywords and it will start returning data back to you fairly quickly. Once that is done, you have a dashboard where you can monitor each one of your client projects to see how their SEO metrics are performing.

SEO Site Checkup – Free Trial with paid upgrade

All SEOs need to do site checkups and this particular tool does exactly that. Like SpyFu, you can take it for a test drive on their website for some basic data. It provides a score on your site along with recommendations on what to improve.

Each suggestion includes an explanation for what it means and why it matters which makes this a nice tool for newcomers to SEO. It is a good tool to start with to see what kind of shape a website is in before tackling an SEO project. More advanced marketers might want to use it in conjunction with another tool.

SEMrush – Paid

SEMrush is not just for paid marketing. It also offers an SEO toolkit to assist with research and reporting. It offers a look into how competitors are doing with SEO which includes the backlinks and the keywords where they rank. Users can get retrieve some data for free once they register or buy an SEMrush subscription which starts at $99.95 a month.

And SEMrush is a powerful tool for people who do more than SEO. Reports are available for paid traffic, social media, content, and market research.

Web Analytics Reporting Tools Google Analytics – Free

I tell everyone to use this tool unless they are a big data shop using a paid platform. Some of my small business and nonprofit clients neglect this because they only have a couple of staff. They are too overwhelmed with the many hats they wear to deal with one-more-thing. But everyone needs to at least get Google Analytics installed to start tracking data and then learn how to use it later. The data collection is not retroactive so you cannot get data historically.

Once set up, you will want to look channel traffic for organic search to understand SEO performance. When you drill into organic search, you can see which search engines make up organic traffic such as Google and Bing.

If you are ready to learn more about Google Analytics, there are articles here on the Supermetrics blog or take advantage of Google Analytics Academy which offers free classes to take you through the tool.

Da Vinci Tools – Free

Da Vinci Tools is a recent find for me, created by Stéphane Hamel, a name I have followed for a while in the analytics space. The below screenshot shows the goldmine of information that is available once you add this extension from the Chrome Store. It includes heat maps which make it easy to identify high and low data points and an AB test calculator, and features for Data Studio and Google Tag Manager.

Search Console – Free

Please tell me you already use the Google search console. If you are not, stop what you’re doing and get that set up because that is a must have for everyone who does SEO.  Search Console is free and lets you know if Google thinks you are playing well with them or not. Read my earlier post on “Why every SEO analyst should use Google Search Console” and you will see why this tool is so valuable for marketers.

Hotjar – Free with paid upgrade

Hotjar is an excellent product to analyze the performance of your website, understand visitor behaviour, and ultimate improve both the user experience and conversion rate of your website. It covers everything from heatmaps, visitor recordings and conversion funnels to form analytics, feedback polls and surveys all under one roof. It’s a valuable reporting tool for marketers, designers, and web developers alike.

Marketing Visualization & BI Tools Google Data Studio – Free

Google Data Studio is part of the Google Marketing Platform that will turn your data into interactive dashboards and marketing reports. You can connect data from Google products such as Google Sheets, Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Google BigQuery. Then with products like Supermetrics, you can connect data from all your marketing platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. It’s free to get started and you can also try Supermetrics for Data Studio with a 14-day free trial.

Cumul.io – Free Trial with paid upgrade

Cumul.io lets you create interactive charts, dashboard, and reports. There’s no SQL editor, which makes it easy to use, but you’re still able to create some complex visualizations. A simple four-step process to get started with Cumul.io is to:

  • Gather your marketing data in Google Sheets through the use of Supermetrics
  • Connect these Google Sheets to Cumul.io
  • Build a simple dashboard using drag & drop with up-to-date information at all times
  • Use your dashboards on a regular basis and modify them as your goals change through time

When building reports like this, make sure to follow these four rules for creating the perfect marketing reporting dashboard.

Geckoboard – Free Trial with paid upgrade

Geckoboard is another solid dashboarding product where you can build simple and flexible reports optimized for large TVs around your office. It integrates with many of the major marketing platforms although there are limitations when it comes to customization of dashboards, so you might need a developer to help you out if you’d like something more bespoke. Geckboard, like other BI platforms, is more about visualizing data rather than providing any functionality around analysis and forecasting, but can be very powerful in terms of keeping everyone in your office up to date on performance, not just the marketing team.

Bringing All Your Data Together Supermetrics – 14-Day Free Trial with paid upgrade

This post is incomplete if I do not mention Supermetrics. We make it super simple to pull all your marketing data into one place so you can analyze and report on the performance of your marketing. The templates available here at Supermetrics make it easy for you to pull together data into one dashboard, and this is especially helpful when it comes to sharing data with a team that may not have a desire to log into these products..

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8-MINUTE READ · By Dino Mahi

The proliferation of marketing channels in the new digital age has led to an explosion of customer and marketing related data. To make timely sense of this information, marketers require new technologies that can condense the time to insights without blowing away operational budgets or requiring marketers to undertake an extensive skills overhaul. Data pipelines play nicely into this role in that they allow marketers to quickly assemble data from multiple sources, and then analyze it at scale using next-generation self-service business intelligence tools. In most of the cases, all this can be done with minimal IT involvement, and very low capital investment thereby making this technology an ideal fit for data-savvy marketing teams.

In this article, we provide a brief overview of what data pipelines are, and how they enable faster, more efficient data analysis cycles with minimal IT involvement.

Data pipelines vs. traditional data integration approaches

Consider the case of an eCommerce company running multiple campaigns across the Facebook platform. The marketing team realizes the shortcomings of constantly downloading campaign performance data in order to do exploratory data analysis and would like to automate the entire process. Before data pipelines, doing this would involve the following steps

  1. Provision a development machine and install a specialized data integration software (e.g. Talend, Informatica, Pentaho, etc.). Ensure that all dependencies for installation are met.
  2. Provision the target database software/hardware (e.g. Mysql database running on a dedicated machine). Setup the test and production databases.
  3. Use the ETL tool in Step 1 to build the integration to pull data using Facebook API, transform it as per business rules and then push into the target database.
  4. Manually implement all non-functional capabilities such as reporting errors when the script fails, notifications on successful completion, logging and audit for troubleshooting, version control and access control.
  5. When the script is ready and tested in a development environment, physically deploy it on a production machine from where it can pull data from the source and move it to target.
  6. Plug-in a BI tool like Tableau, QlikView or some other self-service BI software to slice and dice data.

This approach is riddled with inefficiencies and in any case, requires extensive IT involvement. Imagine running a campaign that plateaus out in performance within 2 to 3 days and any optimizations must be done within this period. Even the most well-coordinated efforts are unlikely to be enough to convert data into meaningful insights using the approach above.

With a data pipeline, however, the possibilities of in-flight campaign optimization are very real.  

Using a data pipeline, an analyst can get the same end result as above but without getting bogged down by complexities around software/hardware installation, data mapping, scheduling, and other non-functional capabilities. Being cloud-hosted, it provides the ability to scale the hardware (storage/processing power) requirements very inexpensively and automatically. Secondly, it provides in-built non-functional capabilities (e.g. Access control, version management, auto-scaling, error handling and notifications, failover support, etc.) which not only results in huge savings in time and cost but also end up significantly reducing IT involvement.

These differentiators provide a very compelling business case for data engineers to contemplate deploying data pipelines for marketing data analysis. The next section provides a more in-depth discussion of some of the specific benefits.

5 Reasons to consider using data pipelines for marketing data analysis

Lower capital costs: Data pipelines are typically cloud-based and offer pay-per-use pricing. This means almost no upfront capital investments in hardware, networking, license fees, and vendor maintenance contracts.

Faster deployment times: As mentioned in the previous section, one of the key USPs of a data pipeline is faster deployment. There is no software to install, no dependency libraries to be set up, and no need for dedicated hardware to run the integration code. A vast majority of non-functional capabilities are pre-built into the tool. Amazon Data pipeline, for example, provides drag-and-drop integration with its various services for things like access control, version management, alerts, failover, and auto-scaling features. This frees up developers to focus on implementing the business logic for transforming data rather than non-functional issues.

Shorter learning curves: Before data pipelines, developers would need to learn how to use dedicated ETL tools such as Talend, Informatica, and Pentaho etc. This usually has steep learning curves even for skilled data engineers, let alone marketing analysts. With a data pipeline it is entirely possible to code the majority of the transformations in plain SQL-something that is familiar to many Analysts. Supermetrics for BigQuery, for example, offers completely plug-and-play integration with Google BigQuery whereby data engineers do not have to write any code to pipe data from source systems into BigQuery. Other capabilities such as fetching data from the source system, setting up execution schedules, error handling, etc. can be implemented using basic configuration settings rather than writing code.

Data available in its original form: There are two competing approaches to preparing data analysis for analysis:

  1. ETL (Extract, Transform and Load)-Use a dedicated machine to transform the original data for specific analysis requirements and store aggregated data in a general-purpose database (e.g. Oracle, MySql). When hardware resources (storage, memory) are scant, this is the only option available to Engineers in order to keep costs low and also to be able to process ad-hoc queries within reasonable response times.
  2. ELT (Extract, Load and Transform)-Skip most of the transformation part and load the data as is into specially designed databases that do not suffer from capacity constraints. Moreover, these databases provide connectivity to next-generation business intelligence tools such as Tableau, which can pull in and process large data volumes with sub-second query response times.

A data pipeline leverages the second approach and allows marketers access to raw data in its most granular form. In exploratory data analysis or data science, where marketers often do not know what they are looking for, this capability is huge.

Plug-and-play integration with leading tools: Data pipelines benefit from templated integration solutions whereby ISVs and Vendors can create solution templates to quickly load data from source to target. For example, when using the Supermetrics for BigQuery pipeline which runs on the Google Cloud Platform, clients can automate the loading of their Facebook Ad performance data into Google BigQuery using simple configuration steps. There is no code to write and clients benefit from an import of their entire historical data in addition to periodic refreshes of new rows. Storage capacity or query response times are no issues given that the pipeline is hosted on Google Cloud Platform and therefore provides nearly unlimited scalability.

Conclusion

The capabilities required for effective data analysis in marketing have changed drastically in the new digital age that has given rise to complex, multi-touch, multi-channel user journeys. Thousands of dollars of marketing investments could potentially turn into sunk costs without the tools to analyze and action all this data in time. Data pipelines offer marketing analysts new ways to take much greater control of how cross-channel data is assembled, processed and stored. The cost, operational and technical advantages of leveraging this new architectural paradigm are simply too compelling to ignore.

About Dino Mahi

Dino Mahi is a Marketing Technology Specialist with over 15 years experience working with major brands on creating high level marketing technology landscapes and data strategies. A passionate Enterprise Architect with a background in marketing data analysis, Dino currently focuses on identifying innovate ways to blend online and offline data for building advanced customer and marketing intelligence solutions.

The post Why Data Engineers Should Use Data Pipelines for Marketing Data Warehousing appeared first on Supermetrics.

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14-MINUTE READ · By Misty Faucheux

As marketers, we have to justify our successes, and the most comprehensive way to do that is with marketing reporting. Typically, marketing reports are created in products like Excel or Google Sheets, and whilst spreadsheets are powerful reporting and analysis tools, if you don’t present the results in a simple and understandable way they can become a numbers dump. In short, they might make sense to you, but not your stakeholders.

Reports don’t mean much if they’re not readable. Visuals make it easier to showcase your important KPIs, but with the above mentioned systems, this can be extremely time-consuming. There are tools, however, that make it easier. One such tool is Google Data Studio.

In this article we’ll provide you with a comprehensive overview to Google Data Studio for marketers so by the time you read this, you’ll be creating interactive dashboards and beautiful reports in a breeze.

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What Is Google Data Studio?

Data Studio is one of the many tools offered by Google as part of the Google Marketing Platform that lets marketers create comprehensive visual reports and dashboards from their numbers. We run a lot of different campaigns using Google platforms, including monitoring SEO with Analytics or creating paid search campaigns with Ads.

Google Data Studio connects with these different platforms to create more appealing, easy-to-use, customizable dashboards that easily display your objectives. These dashboards are more visually appealing than the ones that you can create in Analytics, and you can also add more widgets. And, with products like Supermetrics, you can add all your marketing platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and more.

The Benefits of Google Data Studio

The major benefit of Data Studio is that it’s extremely user-friendly. While it might not be as robust as some other tools on the market, it’s easy to learn, and Google has a ton of tutorials to help you create comprehensive reports.

As mentioned, it allows for more metrics than Analytics, which is important if there’s more than you need to say than the handful of widgets that you can add to the Analytics dashboard.

Like a spreadsheet, you can also do calculated metrics and dimensions. For example, if you want to see the total conversions across all your different campaigns, you can create a formula for that in Data Studio.

Another major benefit is blended data. As a default, your charts will only be pulled from a single data source. But with a blended data source, you can create charts from several different data sources. For example, if you wanted conversions from more than your Google Ads campaigns, you could create a blended data source and add the ones from DoubleClick as well.

In addition to the above, Google Data Studio reports are also:

  • Interactive
  • Fully customizable
  • Come with pre-built templates
  • Free
  • Offer unlimited Google Analytics reporting
How to Automate Marketing Reporting in Google Data Studio

The way that Data Studio works is that it connects to you data sources and automatically pulls in your data, without you needing to remember to refresh your data. You can also pull in data from virtually any date range. You can also do all of this in real-time, meaning you’ll get the most up-to-date data possible.

Once your reports are setup, you don’t need to worry about manually updating the data. The connectors will continually refresh your metrics and dimensions. All you have to do is change the date range and pull the new report.

Data Studio reports are also easily shareable. You can assign users permissions, allowing them to view or edit your reports in the same way you would for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Google Data Studio Connectors

Google Data Studio requires connectors to pull in data from your different platforms. You access these connectors via the Connect to Data tab in Data Studio.

By default, Data Studio has over 160 connectors. These connectors allow Data Studio to directly access your data and refresh it. Once you connect to your data, you don’t need to worry about manually updating your data. Data Studio will do it for you.

One thing to note: If you’re connecting to a Google property, the connector will mostly likely be free. Other connectors from third-party companies may not be free.  For example, Supermetrics comes with free templates to easily and quickly create new reports. If you only wish to run Google Analytics reports, you can connect to Data Studio for free.

How to Connect Marketing Platforms to Google Data Studio

Like everything else with Data Studio, it’s pretty straightforward to add a connector. Simply log into your Data Studio account, and navigate to DATA SOURCES. Then, follow the below instructions:

  • Click the “plus” sign.
  • Find the connector that you want to use – if it isn’t listed in the first few, do a search for the connector.
  • Click “Select”.
  • At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a button that says “Authorize”.

  • At this point, a pop-up screen will appear telling you that Google Data Studio wants access to your campaign – click “Allow”.

  • You’ll be directed back to the main screen, and you can select the profiles that you want to add to Data Studio.
  • Once you select the right profile, click Connect in the upper right-hand corner.  Your data will now populate, and you can create a report from it.

For every platform that you’re using, you will have to do this. But once you’re done adding your connectors, you don’t have to worry about refreshing the data.

How to Connect Google Sheets With Google Data Studio

Many marketers use Google Sheets for reporting purposes. If you’re already storing data in one of these spreadsheets (for example, your Facebook Ads data or Pages insights), you can connect Google Sheets to Data Studio following a similar process to the one previously listed. To add Google Sheets, follow the below instructions:

  • Go to DATA SOURCES, and click the plus sign.
  • Select Google Sheets from the data sources list.
  • Pick a Spreadsheet and Worksheet that you want to add, you should see every spreadsheet connected to your account. If you have many, you’ll have to scroll down to the right one.
  • Now, you’ll see all the dimensions (green highlighted) and metrics (blue highlighted). You can manipulate these fields by changing the names of fields, disabling the ones that you don’t want to show up and adding calculated fields. If you wish to add a metric, click the three dots next to a dimension, and pick one of the functions.

  • Change the name of the data source to one that makes more sense to you. Data Studio creates a generic name that isn’t always the most descriptive.
  • Once the sheet is connected, you can select Create Report to add the report.

How to Connect Google BigQuery With Google Data Studio

If you use Google BigQuery and store your marketing data in a data warehouse, then we built a connector that lets you visualize all your marketing data that’s stored in BigQuery in Data Studio. The connector provides greater flexibility than Google’s native BigQuery connector since it fetches and combines data from multiple tables. It also works with data tables that are not from Supermetrics, provided you have appropriately named the fields. To visualize your Google BigQuery data in Google Data Studio, follow our simple step-by-step instructions.

How to Create Marketing Reports & Dashboards in Google Data Studio

After you connect all your ad, analytics and/or social accounts to Data Studio, it’s time to start creating reports. Think about the purpose of your report/dashboard. You want to be able to glean actionable insights from it. Also, be consistent with your campaign naming conventions (more info in this handy post) so you can easily create columns of combined data in Data Studio. If need be, change the names before importing the data into the report.

To start building your report, follow the below steps:

  • Click on a Blank report.

  • Select the Data Source that you want to use.

  • Click Add to Report.

  • Add charts to your report by clicking Add a chart in the top menu. You can select from 30 different charts.

  • Add your dimensions and metrics from which you want to build your chart or graph. At the bottom of this menu, you’ll see Filter. Add a filter to reduce the amount of data shown on your report. For example, if you’re running a multi-city campaign, but you only want to report information for one city, you could filter out the rest of the cities. You must use naming conventions to keep track of your different filters.

  • Pick a date range. For example, if it’s a monthly report, you’ll want that report to only reflect that time frame.

Feel free to experiment with different layouts. You can nearly fully customize any portion of your report. Once you have the report setup the way that you want, you can now share it with your team.

Google Data Studio Templates

If you don’t want to take the time to manually create templates from scratch, you can leverage third-party templates from sites like Supermetrics. Supermetrics has a gallery of pre-made templates for PPC, SEO, Social & Analytics that you can use right away. Simply select a template that you like, and hit the Use Template button.

> Check out the Supermetrics gallery of free Data Studio templates

Next, pick the Data Source report that you want to copy over:

Once the report is imported into your new template, you can further customize the template. Everything in the report can be adjusted based on your needs. You can change headings, delete boxes and more.

How to Share Google Data Studio Reports and Dashboards

To share the report, click on the + symbol in the upper right-hand corner. Enter the names that you want to send the report to, or get a shareable link.

You can also create a PDF of your report to be delivered to certain people automatically. Click on Schedule email delivery, which is the icon that looks like a clock.

Select the people to whom you want to send the report, the date, time and how often you’d like it to repeat. Finally, click Schedule.

Google Data Studio Best Practices

While Google Data Studio is relatively easy to use, beginners should use templates at first. It will make the report building go faster, and you won’t have to manually set up each and every chart or graph. Once you use these for a bit, then feel free to start manipulating them or creating your own. The following tips are also good to keep in mind when using Google Data Studio.

  • Make your reports visually pleasing. That’s one of the major benefits of this system over standard spreadsheets: you can make the reports more attractive and interesting to review. But you should also add context. A chart without an explanation is just a chart. You can customize any element by selecting the Style tab on the right-hand menu. This allows you to change colors, font sizes and fonts, and even add headers.
  • Connect all your marketing platforms asap. Whether you plan on running reports or not, go ahead and connect all your data sources right from the start. It will make it quicker to launch a report if you’ve already connected your different accounts. You don’t want to constantly be going through the process of setting up a connector unless you actually do have a new source. If you’re already in the data connector setup, it will save time in the long run.
  • Customize your reports. You can select from the two themes, but you can also create a custom report. This is especially helpful if you want to add your company’s or your client’s logo to the dashboard. For example, for every client, you could add a specialized header, add their logo color scheme and actual logo. If it’s for different departments within an organization, you could customize the heading based on their goals.
  • Schedule automatic reports. To eliminate the need to constantly go into Data Studio, schedule the reports to be sent to yourself as well as your stakeholders. If it shows up in your inbox first thing in the morning, you won’t have to waste time logging into Data Studio. You’ll have all the data that you need as soon as you need it. If you need to do analysis for a meeting, for example, you can quickly scan the data, pull your personal insights and provide actionable plans – before you even grab a coffee.

If you want additional tips & tricks, check out our article with 4 Rules For Creating The Perfect Marketing Reporting Dashboard.

Google Data Studio vs. Tableau vs. Other Reporting Tools

Many marketers often need to choose from multiple types of reporting tools. Of course, spreadsheets are the go-to, especially when it comes to analysis, but visualization platforms like Data Studio really come into their own when it comes to marketing reporting.

But how does Google Data Studio stack up against other reporting tools?

Let’s start with Tableau, which is a popular business intelligence tool. It creates visually stunning reports, and you can dissect data extremely well with it. It doesn’t natively integrate with Google products, but you can store data in a data warehouse. Like Data Studio, you have to use connectors to pull data from non-native sources.

One challenge with Tableau is that it can take a long time to setup everything. Users have reported that it can take up to 45 minutes to execute a query, especially if dealing with large data sources. On the other hand, you can add your Data Studio connectors and create your reports in minutes. Further, Data Studio tends to be a lot easier to use, especially when it comes to adding custom dimensions and metrics.

Other products like SAP Lumira, Databox and others tended to be more expensive than Data Studio. For example, based on ratings, SAP Lumira was easier to use and setup, and the quality of support was better. But it didn’t meet everyone’s requirements as far as needs, and users didn’t feel like the report interface and graphs and charts were comprehensive enough. It is good for creating benchmarks for different business segments, and it’s also hosted on Google, allowing both internal and external access. It also requires connectors like Data Studio, and there’s a wide community of them.

Databox slightly edged Data Studio in overall ratings, but not by much. The reporting offerings in this one also left something to be desired. They were great for high-level reporting, but not for getting down to the minute details – something that Data Studio does well. Once you understand how the tool works, it can be extremely powerful, but there is a steep learning curve. It can also sync with many different platforms, including Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, HubSpot and more.

Megalytic was one of the few that customers reported was easier to use and setup than Data Studio. Like Data Studio, Megalytic has built-in templates, and you..

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5-MINUTE READ · By Anna Shutko

Looking to create engaging, effective, and insightful marketing reports in Excel? Well, look no more…

Supermetrics for Excel is an intuitive, fast and convenient tool which brings your data from all the major marketing platforms, like Facebook, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Instagram and more, into Excel in just a few clicks.

And now we’re introducing five of our most popular reporting templates for Excel, which will help you get started with your reporting in this spreadsheet tool even faster. Here are the templates we will cover, click on the name of the template to jump to the relevant section:

Excel is a very powerful data-crunching tool. After you have populated the template with your data you can take advantage of formulas and other functions to dig even deeper into your insights and analysis.

From this article, you will learn what each template will provide you and how you can leverage each tab to uncover useful insights.

How To Download & Use These Free Excel Marketing Templates

Start by downloading the template or templates you’d like to use. After you have downloaded the template, open the file and go to the “Instructions” tab. Follow the simple step-by-step guide to set it up. Once complete, the template gets populated with your data and you can start using the report.

Let’s get started!

Facebook Ads Overview Excel Template

This monthly template will provide you with a solid overview of your Facebook Ads account performance. On the top of this report, you will see the key numbers for your campaigns – from cost and impression metrics to clicks and conversions’ statistics. Below that, there are trendlines which reflect the development of the above-mentioned metrics.

You can go deeper in your analysis: in the lower section of the report, there is a pivot table reflecting your last 30 days’ campaigns’ performance. Also, you will see from which country clicks on your ads come with an interactive map widget.

If you would like to dive even deeper and see how your campaigns have performed on a given day, head over to the “Data” tab.

This template is perfect for: Performance marketers, social media marketers, and agency marketers who want to get a good overview of their own or client’s Facebook campaigns’ performance.

Download the Facebook Ads template

Google Analytics Excel Template

This analytics template is a one-stop-shop for your website overview. You will see user numbers broken down by medium and month which will help you identify how the traffic has been coming from the different sources during the past few months.

On the right side, there are the key metrics, together with their trendline changes over the past 12 months. Additionally, you will see your traffic broken down by segment.

The bottom part of the template provides an excellent overview of page performance of the top 20 landing pages: you will see what was the landing page for each specific traffic source, a 12-month traffic changes’ trend, and the bounce rate number for each page.

This template is perfect for: Conversion specialists, web analysts, or digital marketers who want to get a good understanding of their website traffic behavior.

Download the Google Analytics template

Google Ads Overview Excel Template

The Google Ads dashboard will act as a good resource for your or your clients’ account’s health check. You will easily see how the KPI’s are performing over the previous 30-day period and their trendlines will provide you with the background information. In addition, a map breaking clicks by country will help you identify the countries which bring you the biggest amount of traffic.

This template is perfect for: Agency marketers who want to get a good overview of their clients’ accounts or professionals who want to understand how their Google Ads campaigns are running.

Download the Google Ads Overview template

Facebook Page Management Dashboard for Excel

If you have a Facebook page you want to monitor this Facebook template is a perfect fit for you. The top scorecards reflect the clicks, reach and likes metrics during the 1-day, 7-day and 30-day period. On the right-hand side you will see a sparkline chart of the engagement metrics where you can select the metric you want to track.

The template also contains fan metrics which reflect the total likes’ number and your progress towards the page followers target. Post statistics on the right show how much engagement each of your page posts got. You will also see the performance of the last year’s posts and be able to compare them against your recent content’s engagement statistics. Finally, you will get a good overview of your organic, paid and viral reach metrics.

This template is perfect for: Social media managers who want to see their Facebook page performance and find out what type of content engages the audience the most.

Download the Facebook Page template

PPC Paid Channel Mix Excel Template

One true superpower of Supermetrics lies in combining data from different marketing platforms and analyzing it in one centralized place.

With Excel, cross-channel marketing reporting can be taken to a whole new level: you can use pivot tables and advanced charting options to extract insights from all your social platforms. If you want to get started easily, then our Paid Channel Mix template is a to-go place: it combines data from Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, Twitter Ads and LinkedIn Ads.

You will see the key metrics (Impressions, Clicks, CTR, Cost and Conversion stats) on the top of the template. Below that, there are breakdowns of metrics per data source and campaign. If you want to go granular and see how a particular campaign on, say, Facebook Ads has performed, you will find product-specific data from each platform’s dedicated tab.

This template is perfect for: Both agency and in-house marketers who run campaigns on multiple social platforms.

Download the Paid Channel Mix template

Get started with Excel marketing reporting

The five templates will give you a good headstart – you will get the look and feel of how Supermetrics for Excel works and will be able to easily kick-start your spreadsheet reporting.

Getting all your marketing metrics into a single report allows you to:

  • Get a complete overview of how campaigns perform on each platform in order to understand the overall impact of the marketing effort better
  • Compare the performance of the campaigns across different platforms without switching between the UI’s
  • Save lots of time by automating the movement of data from a marketing platform to Excel spreadsheet
  • Eliminates the pain of exporting CSV files and possible human error in copy/pasting of data
  • Focus your time and efforts on analysis and campaign & channel optimization instead of boring, manual work

With the help of Supermetrics, you can extract any data from all the major marketing platforms and tweak this data as you need with the help of advanced formula and chart options.

Start your free 14 day trial of Supermetrics for Excel and you’ll get access to our entire feature set.

Happy reporting!

The post 5 Free Microsoft Excel Digital Marketing Report Templates appeared first on Supermetrics.

Read Full Article
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5-MINUTE READ · By Anna Shutko

Looking to create engaging, effective, and insightful marketing reports in Excel? Well, look no more…

Supermetrics for Excel is an intuitive, fast and convenient tool which brings your data from all the major marketing platforms, like Facebook, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Instagram and more, into Excel in just a few clicks.

And now we’re introducing five of our most popular reporting templates for Excel, which will help you get started with your reporting in this spreadsheet tool even faster. Here are the templates we will cover, click on the name of the template to jump to the relevant section:

Excel is a very powerful data-crunching tool. After you have populated the template with your data you can take advantage of formulas and other functions to dig even deeper into your insights and analysis.

From this article, you will learn what each template will provide you and how you can leverage each tab to uncover useful insights.

How To Download & Use These Free Excel Marketing Templates

Start by downloading the template or templates you’d like to use. After you have downloaded the template, open the file and go to the “Instructions” tab. Follow the simple step-by-step guide to set it up. Once complete, the template gets populated with your data and you can start using the report.

Let’s get started!

Facebook Ads Overview Excel Template

This monthly template will provide you with a solid overview of your Facebook Ads account performance. On the top of this report, you will see the key numbers for your campaigns – from cost and impression metrics to clicks and conversions’ statistics. Below that, there are trendlines which reflect the development of the above-mentioned metrics.

You can go deeper in your analysis: in the lower section of the report, there is a pivot table reflecting your last 30 days’ campaigns’ performance. Also, you will see from which country clicks on your ads come with an interactive map widget.

If you would like to dive even deeper and see how your campaigns have performed on a given day, head over to the “Data” tab.

This template is perfect for: Performance marketers, social media marketers, and agency marketers who want to get a good overview of their own or client’s Facebook campaigns’ performance.

Download the Facebook Ads template

Google Analytics Excel Template

This analytics template is a one-stop-shop for your website overview. You will see user numbers broken down by medium and month which will help you identify how the traffic has been coming from the different sources during the past few months.

On the right side, there are the key metrics, together with their trendline changes over the past 12 months. Additionally, you will see your traffic broken down by segment.

The bottom part of the template provides an excellent overview of page performance of the top 20 landing pages: you will see what was the landing page for each specific traffic source, a 12-month traffic changes’ trend, and the bounce rate number for each page.

This template is perfect for: Conversion specialists, web analysts, or digital marketers who want to get a good understanding of their website traffic behavior.

Download the Google Analytics template

Google Ads Overview Excel Template

The Google Ads dashboard will act as a good resource for your or your clients’ account’s health check. You will easily see how the KPI’s are performing over the previous 30-day period and their trendlines will provide you with the background information. In addition, a map breaking clicks by country will help you identify the countries which bring you the biggest amount of traffic.

This template is perfect for: Agency marketers who want to get a good overview of their clients’ accounts or professionals who want to understand how their Google Ads campaigns are running.

Download the Google Ads Overview template

Facebook Page Management Dashboard for Excel

If you have a Facebook page you want to monitor this Facebook template is a perfect fit for you. The top scorecards reflect the clicks, reach and likes metrics during the 1-day, 7-day and 30-day period. On the right-hand side you will see a sparkline chart of the engagement metrics where you can select the metric you want to track.

The template also contains fan metrics which reflect the total likes’ number and your progress towards the page followers target. Post statistics on the right show how much engagement each of your page posts got. You will also see the performance of the last year’s posts and be able to compare them against your recent content’s engagement statistics. Finally, you will get a good overview of your organic, paid and viral reach metrics.

This template is perfect for: Social media managers who want to see their Facebook page performance and find out what type of content engages the audience the most.

Download the Facebook Page template

PPC Paid Channel Mix Excel Template

One true superpower of Supermetrics lies in combining data from different marketing platforms and analyzing it in one centralized place.

With Excel, cross-channel marketing reporting can be taken to a whole new level: you can use pivot tables and advanced charting options to extract insights from all your social platforms. If you want to get started easily, then our Paid Channel Mix template is a to-go place: it combines data from Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, Twitter Ads and LinkedIn Ads.

You will see the key metrics (Impressions, Clicks, CTR, Cost and Conversion stats) on the top of the template. Below that, there are breakdowns of metrics per data source and campaign. If you want to go granular and see how a particular campaign on, say, Facebook Ads has performed, you will find product-specific data from each platform’s dedicated tab.

This template is perfect for: Both agency and in-house marketers who run campaigns on multiple social platforms.

Download the Paid Channel Mix template

Get started with Excel marketing reporting

The five templates will give you a good headstart – you will get the look and feel of how Supermetrics for Excel works and will be able to easily kick-start your spreadsheet reporting.

Getting all your marketing metrics into a single report allows you to:

  • Get a complete overview of how campaigns perform on each platform in order to understand the overall impact of the marketing effort better
  • Compare the performance of the campaigns across different platforms without switching between the UI’s
  • Save lots of time by automating the movement of data from a marketing platform to Excel spreadsheet
  • Eliminates the pain of exporting CSV files and possible human error in copy/pasting of data
  • Focus your time and efforts on analysis and campaign & channel optimization instead of boring, manual work

With the help of Supermetrics, you can extract any data from all the major marketing platforms and tweak this data as you need with the help of advanced formula and chart options.

Start your free 14 day trial of Supermetrics for Excel and you’ll get access to our entire feature set.

Happy reporting!

The post 5 Free Microsoft Excel Digital Marketing Report Templates appeared first on Supermetrics.

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