Updating Your Report Templates with New Data Each Month

Published September 29, 2017
Admit it – you dread the first day of every month. That’s when it’s time to start cranking out the monthly analytics reports. For your clients – if you work at an agency – or, if you are an in-house marketer, for the various departments that need data.
Every month, it’s the same routine. A new month rolls in and you spend the next several days exporting data from Google Analytics, importing it to Excel, massaging it, building charts and analyzing it so your client or team can understand the key takeaways. Or maybe you cut and paste screen shots into Word or Google Docs, add some explanatory text and format everything to look nice.
You don’t mind pulling together data for the people who need it – that’s your job and you like your job. The problem is the tedious, mundane work of putting the report together takes up most of your time, leaving precious little for real analytics and insight.
You’ve thought about automating the reports, but it doesn’t seem possible. After all, the reports change each month. You are not just cranking out cookie-cutter analysis. And you need to add commentary to explain, for example, the impact of the latest campaign and how it outperformed the last one. You wish you had a way to do it faster, without sacrificing its value.
Sound familiar? If so, let us introduce you to Megalytic’s Google Analytics Report Templates. These templates hand the grunt work over to Megalytic, while leaving you the flexibility to modify your analytics each month to adjust to new campaigns and other changing business circumstances.
Today, we walk you through the process of automating a monthly report in Megalytic and show how you can retain the flexibility you need.

image of report template for monthly automation


Example of a Monthly Report

Let’s say your marketing department wants to track some basic metrics each month, comparing them with historical results. They also want to see detailed analytics on the top campaigns – and these campaigns may change each month.

Here is an example of this type of report: Digital Marketing Report – September.

The first three charts/tables are the standard metrics with historical comparisons:

  • Key Metrics – Compared with Last Month
  • Daily Traffic – Last 6 Months
  • Top 10 Campaigns – September 2014

These can be automated because they are the same each month. The data and the date ranges in these charts/tables may change, but their definitions are the same.

But, what about the next three?

  • Campaign – Football Team Sales Event
  • Campaign – Fall Sales
  • Campaign – Act Now Email

These tables dig into the data for three specific campaigns that the company ran during the month. They were chosen for deeper analysis because they are cross-channel and/or generate a lot of traffic. These campaigns had high visibility with the marketing staff during the month, and you wanted to call them out.

This group of tables will change each month. You need some flexibility and discretion in choosing which campaigns to include. To “set and forget” this would be a disservice to your team or your client.

Megalytic Templates let you automate the portions of the report that repeat from month-to-month, while retaining the flexibility to update the campaign statistics to reflect the new campaigns that roll out.

Megalytic Templates

To ease the hassle of monthly reporting, Megalytic lets you create a report once, and then save it as a template. Once saved, you can recreate that report and modify as required to meet the changing needs of the business.

Here’s how you do it.

Want to try this with your own data? Create a Megalytic account here: Free 14 Day Trial.

Step 0 – Create the September Report in Megalytic

Since this is a short blog post, we aren’t covering the process of creating the report in the first place, but it’s not that hard and you can see how it is done here: Getting Started with Megalytic and Creating a New Report.

Step 1 – Save the September Report as a Template

First, select a report you have created in Megalytic. In this case, we have chosen the Digital Marketing Report – September. Next, click on “Save as Template.”

save a megalytic report as a template

Follow the prompts, and give the template the name “Digital Marketing Report – Monthly.”

Step 2 – Use the Template to Create October’s Report

It’s a new month and it’s time to create your October report. Why start from scratch?

To create the October report, start by clicking “Create a New Report” on the left side of the Megalytic dashboard. When the template picker opens, click on the tab labeled “My Templates” and select the template you just created – “Digital Marketing Report – Monthly.”

create a megalytic report from a template

Upon clicking this, Megalytic will automatically build a new October report from the existing template. You will want to update your cover page (in this example, updating the cover to say “October”, rather than “September”) and change the text as desired. Usually, people use the cover page to give a short introduction to the contents of the report. Think of it like an executive summary.

Step 3 – Update the Date Ranges of the Widget

To update the date ranges in this October report, start with the first widget – “Key Metrics – Comparison with Last Month,” and click on the date range to open the date picker.

change the date range with megalytic's date picker

Select October as the current period and September as the previous period. Click “Apply.”

update the date range of a megalytic widget

Now, go through the other five widgets in this report and update the date ranges similarly.

Step 4 – Select New Campaigns for the Last Three Widgets

In the September report, we highlighted three campaigns:

  • Football Team Sales Event
  • Fall Sales
  • Act Now Email

For October, we want to change the campaigns highlighted in these widgets. To do that, we make use of Megalytic Filters.

Suppose that the first October campaign we want to highlight is “BlowoutSale.” We will convert the widget that currently displays “Football Team Sales Event” to show the “BlowoutSale” campaign instead.

First, we change the title of this widget to “Campaign – Blowout Sale”. Then, we open the widget editor and click on “Show Filter” to open the filter that selects the campaign.

opening the filter on a megalytic widget

Next, enter the campaign code “BlowoutSale” in the filter and click “Apply.” The widget will now show the data for the new campaign.

editing the filter on a megalytic widget

To finish up, we update the other two Campaign widgets to show the details for the specific campaigns we want to highlight for October.

Lastly, we update the comments to highlight the insights we have gleaned from this month’s data. That’s it. The report can now be downloaded as a PDF: Digital Marketing Report – October.

downloading a megalytic report as a PDF


Monthly reporting can be challenging to automate because the reporting needs of our clients and colleagues change over time. As illustrated in the example here, the October report is similar to September, but the campaigns have changed. With Megalytic templates, you can automate the repetitive components of the report, while retaining the flexibility to update specifics like campaigns. This style of automation is not completely “hands-off,” but is still much faster than exporting data to Excel, re-building custom charts and tables, and pasting into Word each month.


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.