This is a fairy tale about a marketing professional in search of the best marketing reporting tool. Golidlocks wanted to be able to measure the impact of the work she was doing. The problem was her work crossed many areas of digital marketing but the tools didn’t.

Some were too big and very expensive, others were small and didn’t include integration with all the most common platforms and some were just cumbersome.

If you are a marketing agency or simply a business owner looking for a marketing reporting tool that is right for your business, read on. What was too small or too big for Goldilocks might be just right for you.

All these tools easily import data from sources such as Google Analytics, AdWords, social media services, some even integrate with email tools and allow you to upload a CSV files.

The differences are in the details, such as which products it will pull data from, how easy it is to add notes and comments, how complete the report is, and how expensive.

Octoboard

This is one of the least expensive tools offering a very attractive starting fee, ideal for single businesses, or small agencies. Goldilocks loved this tool initially because the reports were attractive and easy to build. As her business grew, switching between clients became difficult and there was no ability to upload CSV files and create custom graphs.

The biggest issue was the inability to compare year over year data for most applications. The side by side charts just don’t tell the correct story. Octoboard, was just too small and she moved on.

Sprout Social

Everyone raved about Sprout Social, so she decided to give it a test. She found that the social media reports are lovely and the ability to post and reply directly from the Sprout Social dashboard was definitely appealing. With integrations on Pinterest and Instagram this tool met her social media needs.

But the world is bigger than just social media. Goldilocks needed a tool that would do a deep dive into Google Analytics and email marketing, and Sprout Social was limited in that area

Megalytic

Megalytic offers a library of widgets that you can drag and drop into a report. You can also set up reports to be automatically updated each period and sent automatically. That would be a huge time saver.

Goldilocks was impressed by some of the updates to the user interface, but she was frustrated by the comparison to the previous period instead of year over year. For companies with a seasonal business, the previous period data just didn’t paint an accurate picture.

Tap Click

This tool works with more than 100 service providers to pull in data quickly without the help of a support team or IT pro. It has a ton of customizable widgets you can use to drill down into specific metrics, uncover problem areas, or show improvements in a client’s marketing efforts — all tailored to the specific needs of the client.

The problem? The data was a bit overwhelming and building reports for each client seemed a bit cumbersome. While there was lots of good information, this product was just too big for Goldilocks.

Dash This

Unlike other tools, you don’t pay by the connection, just for the dashboard so there is a flat fee for each that you manage. There is a great list of integrations, and pulling data into Dash This is quick and elegant.

This is one of the only tools that integrates with Google My Business, and with the rising popularity of that platform, Goldilocks was intrigued. The report dashboard was attractive, and there is an option to send a PDF which will satisfy many of her old school clients but Constant Contact isn’t currently on the integration list. 

Raven

And then she found Raven Tools. Priced in the same price general range as Megalytic, and slightly more than Octoboard, this tool packed a powerful punch. Not only did it pull performance data from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, but she could schedule content and reply right from the dashboard. This would allow her to cut back on her use of other scheduling tools.

There was also an extremely robust SEO, Site Auditor, and competitive comparison tool that none of the other platforms offered. While it did many things well, there was no integration with Pinterest, Instagram, or Google My Business.

Test, test test

At the end of the analysis, there wasn’t one tool which felt “just right.” So Goldilocks decided to test two tools, building reports for clients on both platforms.  It was time consuming, but worth the effort. Although Raven offereed great SEO information which she apprciated, she knew her clients would glaze over for that part of the analysis. 

So, for her, Dash This won out. The user friendly interface with the ability to clone reports quikcly helped tip the scales in favor of Dash This.  Also, the simple attractive reports, made conversations with clients much more productive.

It isn’t perfect and eventually a few clients may ultimately be moved to the Raven Tools, but for now it feels just right. 

The moral of marketing story …

There is no single marketing tool which can do everything so if you are in the market for a new tool, make a list of your must have features and those that would be nice to have. Ideally you should find a product that meet 75-80% of your needs if you are going to pay a monthly subscription fee. Then test the tools to see which one is closest, even if you can’t find one that is just right. 

 

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