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Written by: Tom Murray | Managing Director, Agency
Reporting is always one of the main topics for all clients during all phases in the agency relationship from the pitch, to on-boarding, to during the live campaigns and even when off-boarding. Without proper reporting, it’s the same as driving into a thunderstorm without wipers, or watching a solar eclipse without sunglasses. You won’t be able to see anything, and you’ll be blind as you try to maneuver through. Without proper reporting visibility, everyone from the media buyers, to the creative team, to the client won’t be able to see how their campaigns are doing and ultimately performance will suffer.
Even with so much importance on reporting, most agencies lack the proper reporting resources. While everyone may put that they are “proficient at Excel” on their resume, the amount of Excel knowledge that is actually out there at ad agencies is quite lacking. This causes a big problem when it comes to reports. Reports are only going to be as advanced as the WORST person’s Excel knowledge on a team. This is because the reports need to be taken down to a level where everyone on the team can understand and implement changes to the report. This means reports are bulky, often lack any advanced splits, and tend to not be visually pleasing. How many times have your Excel reports crashed due to size or shear number of formulas? Hint, use an “array” formula, and those formulas won’t crash your sheets, but I promise you, there is a better way than relying on formulas.
Not only are the reports not functional, but they take teams an overwhelmingly high amount of time to create, update and troubleshoot. My estimate from experience is that agency teams that have to do reporting themselves without Excel wizards are spending as high as 60% of their time on reports. This means that for at least 20 hours a week, instead of being inside campaigns, optimizing performance, and coming up with new strategies, their time is instead spent on keeping reports just barely functional. Finally, reports also need to be manually updated each time, which means the report is only really accurate at that one point in time, and then needs to be replicated each time it needs to be pulled.
We saw this as a big problem and decided that it was not acceptable to have broken reports or waste too much time manually updating spreadsheets – both for the sake of our team, but also our clients. This is why we invested heavily into Business Intelligence tools such as Domo, as well as investing in a full stack reporting team comprised of various experts of different fields.
Domo allows our team to have powerful, real time dashboards that are connected all via APIs automatically. This saves endless hours of exporting sheets, manipulating data, and ensuring all of the rows and columns match up in Excel sheets. These dashboards are completely transparent, showcasing all of your data under one roof, updating every few hours. We pull in data from over 30 sources, and process nearly 1 TRILLION rows of data each year from our partners.
We are able to do this by hiring reporting experts in different areas. We have visual report builders, who create the dashboards and ensure they are easy to interpret and understand, while also making them aesthetically pleasing. We also have database and SQL experts that allow us to create custom slices of the data with ease. Finally, we have API experts that are able to connect the data properly from platforms such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc and into Domo easily and architect the data properly.
Overall, having this team and auto-updating dashboards ensures that our team is not wasting time in Excel and instead focusing on driving maximum performance for your campaigns. To drive performance, media buyers must be laser-focused, having the most accurate and real time data available at their fingertips, and leveraging a BI tool such as Domo allows us to do just that and always be one step ahead.