Having the right dashboard can be the difference of running a successful marketing agency and having clients wonder if you are data driven agency. With many tools to choose from some with high cost such as Datorama (Marketing Cloud Intelligence) to free or almost free tools such as DataStudio and in between such as TapClicks or DashThis, deciding the right BI tool for your agency maybe harder then you think.
Pros of DataStudio (Looker Studio)
As a marketing analytics agency, we have seen more and more agencies abandon their expensive tools and opt for Data Studio. The majority of those agencies are mid-size or smaller agencies who are price conscious and cannot afford high price tags. However, there are more advantages to Looker then most marketing analysts realize. Here are just a few:
- Fully Customizable: Data Studio can use any colors, have the widgets/graphs be as small or large you would like it. You can make it horizontal or vertical, you can put an image in header or in the full file. You can embed the dashboard on your website or embed a third party dashboard or report into it. There are no limitations with what you can customize.
- Cost: It is free, well almost free. It is free for any Google product such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Sheets very handy for those rarely used sources or offline initiatives, Big Query and CSV upload. The cost does increase if you were to use third party tools such as PowerMyAnalytics, Funnel or Supermetrics (more on that below).
- Ease of Use: basic functionality such as adding a source only require username/password or just your google login. Creating tables and chart is a drag and drop ease to get started. However, there are limitations as blending can be difficult, categorizing campaigns require a formula and dealing with special characters when blending almost impossible to work with.
- Maps: For those agencies that work with local businesses or run regional campaigns, there is nothing more visually impressive in seeing data on a map. Tableau used to be a leader in this, however, DataStudio along with their Google maps allows you to graph data by country, state they call it region level and City/Zip Code level. You can customize the colors, shapes you name it!
Limitations of DataStudio (Looker Studio) and how to overcome them!
- Limited Free Connectors: Perhaps one of the biggest problems is the fact that only a few connectors are free. You can use third party connectors, but they come at a price some can run you over $1,000 a month, but it is still a fraction of what Datorama or Tableau would cost.
- Blending More than 5 Sources: While connectors is one headache, putting together a dashboard which shows the total marketing cost from running 7 different platforms is impossible. And we all know that just social media can be more than five if you include: Meta, TikTok, Twitter (X), SnapChat, Pinterest and Reddit. The way to overcome it is to use funnel a third party data connector tool, while it can be difficult to use and comes at a high price it does do its job. Bonus it can even use reports that are emailed and add them for extra automation!
- Data Harmonization/Standardization: If you are like most marketing agencies with multiple people managing different channels for the same campaign, chances are the campaign name is not the same. When trying to blend/combine data from multiple sources on a campaign level it may not match. Some BI tools such as Datorama have a way to help you classify data with their easy to use tools. With Datorama reporting you would need to classify it using Case when formula. It is doable and works, however, as marketing analyst consultants we spend most of our time helping agencies harmonize and standardize their data. This is especially helpful when renaming is needed for client facing reports.
- Ease of Use: while basic functionality is easy, when you try to blend data, create custom metrics or dimensions, it could be a bit tricky, especially to trouble shoot when a connector fails. One way to overcome this is to partner with a marketing analytics company such as StrategicDB which can solve most technical problems without breaking the bank of going with a more pricey tool.
Using Third Party Connectors
There are a few third party connectors you can use to help bring all your channels together. They are all reliable and differ based on cost, connectors available and functionality. The most cost affordable that will is ideal for agencies that do simple reporting and basic social media and digital marketing channels is PowerMyAnalytics starting at $15 and going up to $295 per month. The second choice is Supermetrics which has more connectors then PowerMyAnalytics, pricing starts at $39 and goes up to $579 per month. They have connections such as Apple Search for those marketing agencies driving traffic to app store, as well as campaign monitor, klavio and more. Finally, the most expensive and has more features is Funnel.io which is currently priced at $1,100 per month has the most source connectors then any other third party tool. But the real advantage to using Funnel is the fact that you can do the blending in their tool and use DataStudio for visualization only. This means you can blend over 5 sources. You can also email your reports to the connector making data automation possible to most if not all sources.
A marketing analytics company specializing in DataStudio can help identify the best tool for your marketing agency. Keeping in mind that other tools or processes that can be implemented at a lower cost and higher efficiency.
Hiring a Marketing Analytics Agency
As a marketing analyst consulting company, we understand the frustration of having to deliver monthly reports to clients, with account managers spending the majority of their time pulling data and building beautiful PowerPoints as oppose to analyzing and optimizing campaigns. What’s more, without the reporting such as pacing, you maybe going over or under your budget making your agency less efficient. Without ongoing monitoring on all channels and accounts, it is maybe difficult to find a positive story to tell at the end of the month. Finally, without automation, the chance for human error is increased.
A marketing analytics agency can partner with you to ensure that all reports are automated, that the dashboard presents the necessary data to provide insight for your team and the client. At StrategicDB we help marketing agencies become data driven marketers by automating dashboards and help training your team to become more data driven simply by looking at the right KPIs. We have helped tens of agencies by automating their reporting, without the need to hire a full-time analyst. Contact us today to see how we can help your agency become data driven at a fraction of the cost it is currently taken your team to put their reports together.