At Huddle we’re always looking to find ways to save time on regular, repetitive tasks, freeing us up to spend more of our clients’ budgets on more involved, profit-generating activity.
One of the regular tasks we wanted to streamline was our monthly client reports.
Top 3 Objectives
At the beginning of an ongoing relationship with a client, we identify their top 3 objectives for their website and digital presence. What do they really want out of a website? Why are they active online? What’s really in it for them?
From here, we agree Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that show how well we’re meeting those objectives, and it’s these that we report on each month.
Introducing Data Studio
Part of this service is producing an actual report document regularly. Previously, we were using Google Docs to do this – creating tables and charts within a document outlining our activity and performance. However, this made producing the reports each month quite time-consuming and took time away from our other activity.
We realised that the activity we do to prepare the reports is largely the same each month, and so we began to look for ways that we could streamline our efforts and reduce the amount of time spent on this aspect of the report, while potentially improving the quality of the reports as well.
Coincidentally, we’d been itching for an opportunity to try out Google Data Studio, Google’s new dashboard building tool that promises to tie into its Analytics service.
Consolidate Reporting Tools
Previously, we were using a combination of spreadsheets, written reports, individual product dashboards and (gasp) scribbled notes.
It was taking up too much time and detracted from our ability to undertake ongoing activity effectively. We needed something that we could set up to do the work for us.
Along came Data Studio, and in three simple steps, we managed to streamline the reporting process to allow us to focus our efforts to boost our other services.
We created a master spreadsheet with all of our data. Most reporting tools allowed us to export their reports, which we then combined into one centralised spreadsheet. This step was a little fiddly, but once we got all of the data in we were good to connect it to Data Studio.
Example Master Spreadsheet
We connected the spreadsheet to Data Studio, and added any other relevant sources, like Google Analytics and Search Console, for example.
Example Data Connections
From there, we could use the drag and drop interface to build our reporting dashboard. We structured the report around our three top objectives identified for each individual client, and added in the relevant agreed KPIs to each one.
The flexibility and styling options allowed us to brand up the dashboard for each individual client, to really make it feel like it was theirs and encourage them to get invested in the data.
Example Reporting Format
The best part about Data Studio is that from this point onward, the report will happily update itself each month. The client can even log on at any time and see live, up-to-the-minute stats.
We still produce our monthly activity report, but now it focuses on what we’ve done that month and what we plan to do next month, and takes about a quarter of the time to produce. The KPI dashboard we’ve produced acts as a centralised indicator of performance, and gives us somewhere to focus on on our monthly client calls.
One way we can see Data Studio becoming exponentially more powerful is by cutting out our need for a centralised spreadsheet and being able to plug in directly to analytics tools from Buffer, Twitter, and so on. Though we’re sure Google has something along these lines up their sleeve!
Check out this five-minute introduction from Google to learn more.
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