Digital reporting on a low budget – advice from MeasureCamp

MeasureCamp Dublin took place on October 19th – it’s a global event where digital analytics people come together to swap knowledge, and it was great to see it take place in Dublin for the very first time. 

MeasureCamp is an ‘unconference’, which means that it has no keynote speakers: instead, the attendees decide the agenda. You can propose a session on anything you like it, and use it to present something you’ve learned, or start a discussion on something you’d like to know more about. 

One of the questions that keeps coming up in my work in non-profits and digital is how to get good reporting systems set up on a low budget.  When we’re working with multiple channels that don’t speak to each other, and we don’t have the budget for expensive enterprise reporting tools, how do we get good reporting dashboards set up, and minimise the manual work involved?  Google Data Studio is fantastic for websites and Google Ads; what services are out there to build it out to cover more channels?

So I proposed a session on digital analytics reporting with no money – and a great group of people came along to share the tools, plugins and hacks that they use to get decent digital reporting on low budgets.

I put together a wishlist for a digital reporting system for organisations with low budgets:

  • Free / affordable
  • Cross-channel – covering organic and paid social, Google Ads, websites, email
  • Single dashboard
  • Minimal manual work
  • Shows the right metrics (engagements and conversions rather than vanity metrics)

Here’s what we talked about:

Tableau PublicFree platform for creating dashboards. Data here is publicly viewable.
TableauThe premium version of Tableau, costs $70 per month. I’d heard that Tableau is not that user friendly, but the person who recommended this said they took a Udemy course on it and picked it up quickly that way.
CyfeDashboard tool, free single license available which gives you up to 5 reporting widgets, including Facebook Ads.  Paid plans are very affordable, starting at just $29 per month. I had a play around with this and it looks very promising, although unfortunately the email reporting is a bit limited.
Meta BaseAn open source tool with a graphic interface, supports mutiple users and email reports. This system needs a database, the Singer open source database was recommended. Meta base is available in a web version or as downloadable software, and was described as user friendly.
Microsoft’s Power BIA very powerful analytics tool from Microsoft. Connects to Microsoft systems like Sharepoint and Dynamix.  Many charities are entitled to free Microsoft licenses, so this could be a good free solution for non-profits.
SupermetricsSupermetrics provides integrations between Google Data Studio and popular platforms. It was recommended by a number of people; however, it’s not cheap. It may be suitable for medium-large charities who have a budget for reporting. I’m currently working on building dashboards for a medium sized charity, and the $99 a month plan covers almost everything they need.
FunnelDescribes itself as an alternative to Supermetrics, also quite expensive.
AppsFlyerRecommended for mobile attribution – so relevant to any organisations that have mobile apps
AdjustAnother platform for measuring mobile marketing
CrowdTangleRecommended for tracking shares across different channels. Their paid platform lets you benchmark yourself against competitors. They offer a free Google Chrome extension that tells you where links have been shared.

A few other links and resources:

  • If you’re not familiar with Google Data Studio, check it out – it’s a fantastic free tool for building reporting dashboards
  • The blog has lots of tutorials and hacks for digital analytics, including this useful script for pulling Mailchimp reports into Google Sheets
  • This Social Media Tools Comparison site from Sociality compares the features and pricing of the various social media management platforms. More about social media content management than reporting, but many of these tools have reporting built in.

Another useful MeasureCamp tip from a session on agency / client work: the time management tool Toggl was recommended for tracking hours on different projects. It has really attractive UX and the free plan can be used for a team of up to 5 people.

Big thanks to the MeasureCamp Dublin team for a wonderful event – it was a really friendly event with an absolute ton of analytics expertise, so I’d really recommend following them on Twitter and attending the next MeasureCamp event in your area.

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