The way in which you can generate reports from the platform is very flexible. If you want your regular client reports to look exactly a certain way, with chart choices and column preferences remembered by the platform, then we would recommend you create one or more reporting users. You might want to create users called MonthlyReports, QuarterlyReports or YearlyReports (bear in mind, usernames need to be unique on the platform, so if these ones have been taken, you will need to modify them slightly - ABCMthReps e.g.). Then when you login as the MonthlyReports user, you can go through the modules you want to include on your monthly client reports and select Last Month as the date range for the charts which are to appear on the report. Similarly, if you login as QuarterlyReports, you would perhaps want to change the date range for charts and tables to Last 3 Months, as this will then show data for the last 3 full calendar months.
NB: The platform will remember your preferences, right down to: USER/SITE/CAMPAIGN/MODULE!!! IT'S THAT PRECISE!
So, firstly, let's create one or more reporting users...
A) Create Reporting Users
- Go the Users tab (only admin users will be able to see this).
- Give your reporting user an appropriate name (e.g. MonthlyReports, as discussed above).
- You will need to add an email address (it doesn't matter if you just make one up, but you might want to create a proper one as you can schedule these reports to just be emailed through to a specific inbox and then you've got a nice reporting archive of your own).
- Enter a password - remember you might want to share this with other admin users in your organisation.
- Select the appropriate language as this will affect the language used for the reports.
B) Next, create a Custom Report
The reason for doing this next is that if you first decide what modules to include on a regular client report, you can print a sample and then go through each module and further refine how each module will look on the final report.:
- go to the Reports section (Settings/Reports), click on New Custom Report Template:
- Add a Cover Page (recommended) for Page 1
- Add an Executive Summary (optional) for Page 2
- Add a Header Image (typically a logo, printed at the top of all subsequent pages)
- Select the Modules you want to include (drag from the left to the middle and re-order as you see fit)
- Select the sites you want this report to be applicable to
#6 - flexibility in allowing you to specific reports for just certain sites allows you lots of flexibility in how you report to clients, as you can have differently formatted monthly reports, for example, for different client websites.
C) Login as that user and set UI preferences!
You need to do this! Logout as your existing user and log back in using the login details you created in A). You will need to obviously do this for each reporting user you have created, if you have created more than one.
If you want to, you can also set user preferences for the UI, as this will be also reflected in the reports generated by this user. Go back to the Users tab and click on the blue 'Edit Permission' link in the Actions column:
A colour box will appear:
You might want to consider removing the scores from appearing in the UI. You may also want to consider removing the task descriptions, task statuses and task assignments. NB: UI preferences specified here will also be reflected automatically when you schedule these reports for this user and they're then generated by the platform.
Here's an example, where I've removed the scores, descriptions, task statuses and task assignments from the UI for this reporting user:
As you can see, it de-clutters the UI somewhat! You may want to do this for your normal user logins too, if you just want to look at raw data and don't need the system showing unnecessary descriptions for modules you're already familiar with, for example.
D) Specify chart types, date ranges and columns for tables
This is where you can get really precise with reporting. There is a lot of data in the platform in different modules, but you can really determine exactly which pieces of data you want to appear on the reports.
Go through each module for that custom report (hence, why it's handy to have a sample you've already downloaded) and consider doing a few things:
- Change the Date Range (red arrow below) for the charts (in some components, this will also automatically update the table below it - e.g. Monitored Keywords and Link Referrals)
- Use the Column Selector (purple arrow below)
- Sort/filter the tables (you can tell that I've sorted the table in this example by the Date Last Checked column) by clicking on it
Change the date range for the chart and you'll notice that it will automatically refresh. Similarly, if you use the Column Selector (purple arrow), you can remove columns you don't want to appear in the UI or on reports:
You'll notice that, in this example, I've deselected the Nofollow and Redirect columns. Now, if I try to export this component, I'll get the following:
Note, the UI preferences (date range, no task status and no task description) are all reflected in the final result. On the next slide.....
See? The deselected columns (Nofollow and Redirect) don't appear on the report!!!
Now, taking another example, the Organic Visits component, I can even specify the type of chart that appears. In this example, I've decided that, instead of Line Chart or Stacked Column Chart, a simply Column chart works better for this particular module:
In the above example, I've left the date range showing a full year's worth of data, but it's up to you. I could equally well have chosen Last Month and a Line Chart or Last Quarter, even though this is for monthly reports. It's that flexible!
Now, if I try to print this out in PDF....
...you'll notice that it's not only remembered my chart type and date range preferences, it's also taken into account the filter I added to the table to only show 2013 data! NB: this only works, though, when you're logged in. The preferences the system remembers are User/Site/Campaign/Chart types/Column Selections - row filtering is not normally remembered by the platform.
D) Finally, Schedule a report!
This is obviously optional. There's nothing wrong with just logging into the platform and downloading reports on demand, but the scheduled reporting function is pretty nifty.
Simply go to the Reports tab (My Sites/Reports or click on the Custom Reports link from the dropdown in the top right hand corner of the screen):
As you can see, it automatically adds in the email address you created for this reporting user, hence my point above about setting one up and using this option to create a nice reporting archive, so you can keep a record of what reports you have generated for a client during a campaign.
That's it! You've created very specific custom reports. Make them as detailed or as simple as you see fit!
Clever, huh? If you have any questions regarding this particular functionality, please add a comment or get in touch by logging a ticket within the platform.