Whatever your goal may be—training for a marathon, saving for a house, or developing a character in Red Dead Redemption (hey, goals come in all shapes and sizes!)—there’s probably a tool out there to help you visualize your progress.
If you’ve ever used a Fitbit, for example, you’re well-acquainted with their dashboard. Colorful, easy-to-understand metrics visualizations track how many steps, hours of sleep, and glasses of water you’ve accrued—not just on a day-to-day basis, but week-over-week, month-over-month, and so on. The Fitbit dashboard makes it easy for users to identify where they have seen success and what they may want to work on going forward. Plus, seeing those line graphs steadily increase over time is pretty darn motivating.
While consumers are used to integrated reporting dashboards like Fitbit’s in their daily lives, media professionals are typically not so lucky. But automated reporting and visual dashboards have many benefits for marketers—particularly when it comes to client communications.
Marketers have access to an ever-growing list of channels and formats with which to spread their clients’ core messages. However, with those increased options has come increased complexity: according to a recent report from Advertiser Perceptions, advertisers use an average of nine platforms per campaign—and six in an average day. This ever-growing media fragmentation saddles digital advertisers with the unenviable task of unifying many disparate data sets.
Those without access to automated reporting must download multiple files, sort out the data points they’re interested in, create graphs and charts, and put together presentations from scratch—for all the different clients they serve. Stitching together those data sets is time-consuming and unfulfilling for marketers, and it means more manual errors, inconsistencies, and redundancies for clients. With low confidence in their analytics, agencies can’t glean the insights they need to come up with winning strategies.
At the same time, robust and easy-to-understand campaign insights are increasingly “must haves” for brands. Economic upheavals including war, supply chain disruption, and inflation have put brand loyalty very much at stake; while the proliferation of mis- and dis-information online threatens brand safety. Those brands who can stay data-driven and nimble with their marketing as the digital advertising industry churns will be best-positioned to maintain consumer trust and loyalty.
Still, in one study, about 60% of US agency and brand professionals cited a lack of transparency as a strong threat to digital ad budgets. This lack of transparency impairs brands’ ability to build their strategies from solid data—and hinders client relationships before the first campaign kickoff meeting is even scheduled.
Is it high time for the media buying industry to leave manual reporting behind? Signs point to yes. But what can agencies replace it with? Simple: business intelligence and reporting automation, technologies that unify data sets across channels like search, social, and programmatic.
Consolidating campaign information into—and generating reports from—one central place not only boosts data confidence and empowers marketers to tell their most creative, well-informed brand stories, but also reduces the time they have to spend on manual and repetitive tasks. And in the context of the Great Resignation, reducing manual labor wherever possible is critical to avoiding high rates of costly employee turnover.
Automated report dashboards can be particularly impactful. As marketers know well, visuals are key to quickly and clearly telling a story. Turns out, this is as true for behind-the-scenes marketing operations as it is for a simple display ad.
Visualization helps even the most experienced professionals make better sense of data. In one experiment performed by a cognitive psychologist and a behavioral scientist, two groups of economists were asked to determine the odds of different outcomes based on a regression analysis. The economists who were provided data in text form got most of their answers wrong. The economists who were given a scatterplot, on the other hand, performed markedly better. In the same way, visual dashboards empower marketers and clients alike to find patterns in data they trust.
Even more, automated report dashboards are often “always-on;” in that users who are given access can see the dashboards any time. So if a certain client representative wants to check in on how their campaign is performing at 2AM on a Saturday, they can. Do we recommend it? Well, no...but that’s beside the point! This "always-on" quality provides much-needed transparency and reassurance for the client, and can strengthen agency-client trust as a result.
The expectation for transparency, precision, and trust has only grown under the many economic pressures brands face today. And as marketing complexity increases, consumer behavior evolves, and the media landscape changes, we can count on the importance of meeting—or better yet, exceeding—those expectations to remain steadfast. Agencies with access to the right tools and partnerships will be well-equipped in that department.
The Data Canvas dashboards available in Basis drive holistic, seamless, and easy-to-understand campaign insights, giving clients a real competitive advantage in the marketplace. Curious? Connect with us to learn more!