Tips for Holiday Reporting Preparedness
There is a reason why there are so many cliches about preparedness. Catchy phrases like Always be prepared, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, a stitch in time saves nine, or most relevant to this post: Winter is Coming. Christmas and Holiday shopping is already here, available on store shelves at your local big box retailer, and there is limited time for planning. It is not too late to take advantage of the tools and resources available to you and your clients to make reporting accessible, timely, and relevant even in the whirlwind of the holidays.
Assuming your development or analytics team has not had a code freeze by now, you can, of course, rely on API solutions offered by various platforms like Facebook or Google Ads. Once a script is written, it can be refreshed at a moment’s notice to re-pull the data you need, with the expectation that the data will be accurate to the time that you executed the pull. But not everyone has the luxury of a dev or BI team that can execute such nimble reporting on short notice. Unfortunately, not all platforms offer API access, and still, others might have a latency on their available metrics which prevent the granular pacing that media teams might require.
For smaller teams or companies that are under a freeze during holiday, there are an array of other options available. Facebook, for example, has developed FAME, the Facebook Ads Manager for Excel, which is a very nimble tool that is easy to set up, and can be downloading your campaigns spend reports in less than 30 minutes from the moment you decided to install it. It also has the advantage of saving the query in the Excel sheet so you can refresh it and get up to data in a matter of minutes.
But FAME aside, most reporting will be done on the fly, and you may reach the point where simply scheduling reports are the best option. Most platforms can build a report in advance, save it, and schedule it to be delivered to your inbox at a cadence of your own choosing. If they don’t, reach out to your partners and get them to send you the data you need. This might be more challenging than you might think, so it pays to start the conversations today. Make a template of how you want the data structured to save everyone headaches in communicating the request.
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The careful reader will note that all of my recommendations are about how you are getting your data. Not how to ingest it, manipulate it, or report on it. The reality is that acquiring the data is the biggest hurdle you will face, and where a small amount of prep will pay the largest dividends. Forging actionable reports off of that data, well, that’s for another day.
Posted by Aaron Elkins