Justifying the Cost of an Analytics Reporting Tool to Your Boss

Published March 27, 2015
It’s that time again! The dreaded week when you need to produce all the monthly analytics reports – dozens of them, maybe even hundreds – to send off to clients! You’ll spend the next 40 hours (or more) of your work life focused on grunt work - cutting and pasting and formatting – while your other work piles up all around you.
But you’re savvier than this. You know this work could be automated with the right tool. You may have even done your research and identified the tool that’s right for your company. But budgets are tight and everything needs to be cost-justified. To get your boss to pull the trigger (or sign off on the purchase), you need to justify the cost of that analytics reporting tool and show why it’s a good business decision.
This post is designed to help you do that, providing you with the ammunition you need to show how investing in an analytics reporting tool will save money and add value to the business.

Blog Image Cost Justify Report Automation


Time is money. Save lots of it.

Have you ever tried to figure out how much it costs your company to produce monthly client reports without an analytics reporting tool? Let’s do some quick math, shall we?

To simplify our calculations, we assume the average cost of each employee is $100,000 per year – this includes salary, benefits, taxes, overhead, etc. That works out to roughly $50 per hour. That’s our labor costs.

Now, suppose you and a colleague spend a combined 60 hours (30 hours each) every month putting together analytics reports for clients. The total cost to the business is:

[table th="0"]
Cost to Produce Reports without Tool:,2 x 30 x $50 = $3\,000

Now, suppose you purchased an analytics reporting tool subscription. This allows you to get the reporting done in half the time – 15 hours each, instead of 30.

[table th="0"]
Savings Using a Reporting Tool:,2 x 15 x $50 = $1\,500

You’ve just saved $1,500 a month.

Now, suppose you are using a tool like Megalytic. Our largest, most expensive plan, the Enterprise plan, costs $180 per month. Even if you seleted this one, you’d still be saving way more than the cost of the tool.

[table th="0"]
Savings Using a Reporting Tool:,2 x 15 x $50 = $1\,500
Cost of Reporting Tool:,- $180
Monthly Savings:,$1\,320
,X 12
Annual Savings:,$15\,840

Going with an analytics reporting tool will save your business $15,840 each year by improving productivity. At $180 per month, the tool easily pays for itself every month.

Produce higher quality, branded reports. Improve client relations.

In addition to saving time, with an analytics reporting tool, you can produce a higher quality report than you can by cutting and pasting charts into a word processor.

Consider the chart below – from Google Analytics – showing weekly Sessions (visits) to a website over the last 13 weeks.


Weekly Sessions Chart from Google Analytics


There is nothing wrong with this chart except that anyone with a basic familiarity of Google Analytics can immediately tell it was cut and pasted from the Audience > Overview standard report. What feeling do you think it gives client when they see this – knowing they’re essentially paying you to cut and paste?

In comparison, consider the chart below – generated by Megalytic – from the same Google Analytics data.


Megalytic Rolling Avg Widget


This chart shows the same data, but offers a few advantages for inclusion in a report.

  • It includes a rolling average (red line) which makes it easier to spot traffic trends.
  • It includes numbers on top of the bars that make it easier to read the weekly totals.
  • It is not obviously cut and pasted from Google Analytics – or any other tool.

When you use an analytics reporting tool, your charts and tables will all look like they belong together because they will have the same styling. Your report will not look like it was cut and pasted together from a variety of different places.

A higher quality report can help increase the perceived value of the services you offer to your audience. When you deliver a report to your client, colleague, or manager – the quality of the presentation makes an impression. A high quality report says you care enough to put in the extra effort to create an attractive report, rather than simply cutting and pasting from other tools.

This is a real win-win. Your audience perceives a higher value report, and you actually spend less time producing it.


Branding on reports is extremely important to some organizations – particularly digital marketing agencies. With an analytics reporting tool, you can add logos, headers, footers, cover pages and commentary within the reports – all working together to reinforce your brand.

The result is a report that looks professionally-produced for a specific client (external or internal). Here is an example monthly report, produced for a hypothetical hotel: Sample Megalytic Report.

Get your other work done.

One of the biggest savings to your organization from using an analytics reporting tool might be the time it frees up for you and your colleagues to get other work done, no longer having to manually produce reports.

If some of the time you have freed up can be re-directed to billable work, you may even end up bringing in additional revenue to your business. Suppose that the 30 hours that have been freed up can all be redirected to billable client work at a rate of $100 per hour. Then, the additional revenue to you business is:

30 hours x $100 per hour = $3,000 additional revenue

Even if the time freed up by using an analytics reporting tool cannot easily be redirected to billable work, the additional time can still have great value to your organization. It may mean you are finally able to tackle important projects that have been on the back burner for months. Or, it could mean that you are better able to support existing clients, helping to deepen the relationship and grow your company’s business with them. Or, maybe you’re simply able to leave your office at a more reasonable hour, giving you extra time to spend with family, friends and pursuing other interests!

Lastly, if you support the sales process – maybe by helping to generate proposals for new business – then you can make a contribution to bringing in additional revenue for the company.


Making the decision to invest in an analytics reporting tool can help your organization in a couple of ways. It helps automate and streamline your reporting process, saving significant amounts of time. It can also improve the quality of the reports that you produce. The first benefit can save your organization money by eliminating time spent on grunt work. When that time can be redirected toward billable work or sales activities, there can also be additional revenue to your business that can be quantified. The second benefit can also help to increase revenue by improving client retention. Most businesses will find that the financial benefits of automated reporting will far outweigh the nominal monthly cost of the tool itself.


When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:



It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.


Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?

The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.

Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.