Raven Review: “Reporting from the Clouds”
This announcement from Raven stated that a new reporting engine would soon be released. As far as when it would rollout, there was no date or descriptive details around what the new features of the reporting engine would be.
Just today, Spyder Trap has been given beta access to Raven’s new and improved reporting engine.
Raven’s New Reporting Engine Beta Invite
Thanks John! We’ve been patiently waiting to get in, kick the tires and take it for a spin.
We have been test driving it and have found it to be easy to use, allowing us more time to interpret data and make stronger recommendations (and less time being bogged down by data entry). It also allows for reports to be sent as hyperlinks so that clients can access reports on the web, negating the need for PDF files to be circulated as email attachments. That said, reports in PDF format can still be generated, if the need arises.
Raven’s New Reporting Engine: The Test Drive
As we have been pushing toward migrating away from paper reports (and even away from static PDF files), we have been looking for better tools to deliver our insights to clients. One of the tools in our arsenal, aside from our ability to deliver live, real-time dashboarding, is the new Raven reporting engine.
Raven is the standard for aggregating performance data from disparate sources and creating a valuable snapshot of digital marketing campaign performance. It is invaluable in allowing users the ability to take a holistic look at online marketing efforts. Its reporting features have been the industry standard for monthly and quarterly reporting since their inception.
Raven’s cloud reports are easy to navigate, are “fully responsive” (our findings show there is still some work to be done) have a clean appearance, and allow portability. They’re also great for large screens in the board room, allowing for presentation value that is not present in PDF reports. Spyder Trap offers a variety of reporting solutions for our clients: digital cloud-based reports, PDF/PowerPoint reports, and real-time KPI dashboards.
Raven’s New Reporting Engine’s Updated Features
Raven Tools published the following items noting what to expect with the new reporting engine.
- Mobile ready – Not quite! Many graphs did not load correctly.
- Interactive and beautiful – True!
- Metric options that are flexible – Flexibility within the new reporting engine isn’t even comparable to the old way Raven Tools built reports.
- A report builder that’s WYSIWYG – No change here. Looks like the old WYSIWYG editor.
- A reporting engine that we can continue to upgrade and improve well into the future – And we are eager to see what happens. This was a strong beta launch!
Raven’s New Reporting Engine: Tips and Tricks for Getting Started
Notable items we experienced working through report setup
- Be aware that the reporting engine ports over to the custom dashboard. You may end up building your first report, only to find, you’re building your new custom dashboard. For those of you with beta access, don’t click on the first button that says “New.”
- Be sure to grant access to the new Raven email account for restricted Webmaster Tools access. It looks like it has changed recently, until you do that, you’ll be having no fun with Webmaster Tools within your new reports.
- Play around to learn about the new biggest changes in widget types prior to jumping on building your snazzy new template. See below, there are four widget types that make the reports much sexier.
- Data within tables is can be sorted. Both the report builder view and published report will allow interactivity with moving data in tables.
- All report components can be customized as far as inclusion or exclusion, simply click in the “customize” in the upper right-hand corner.
Raven’s New Reporting Engine: Sneak Peek at Widgets and Published Reports
Certain Raven reports used to go on.. and on.. and on.. and on..
Before you know it, you’re looking at an 86-page PDF with about .7% of it being relevant to your current effort or monthly report. Notice below, the “KPI Widget” is a major condenser of information.
Site auditor was one of the worse behaving components in reports. Now, even site auditor can play nicely. Let’s say, for example, my effort for the month for a client was fixing duplicate title tags, unnecessary redirects and removing improper schema. This view works quite nicely, especially if last month’s report were to contain the prior number.
Here’s the default bar chart view:
Default Line Graph Widget:
Published reports contain interactivity within Bar Charts and Line Graphs with a nice hover over effect which displays data contained within.
Raven’s New Reporting Engine: Still Lacking in the Following Areas
Hey, it wouldn’t be a review if we didn’t call out some flaws, right!?
- Customization of theme colors. Most likely will rollout after beta testing’s initial phase has completed.
- Better insights into events, ecommerce and AdWords.
- Historical crawl data
- Smart relationships between entities (e.g. establishing patterns based off of indexation patterns)
- Tag Manager, the data layer allows for the collection of virtually any type of data on the site, bringing in the possibility of behavioral analytics, enhanced shopping cart abandonment tracking, and even hover, time-based, or scroll-tracking stats. We love Tag Manager and utilize it within our web analytics workflow.
- Roll up reports. For those who have multiple properties that need to be analyzed and summarized in one report.
Raven’s New Reporting Engine: Review Summary
Unfortunately, until the level of detail needed to provide actionable insights to experienced marketing teams that include data from external sources, deeper level of transaction data, etc., may still find Raven’s new reporting engine is a cosmetically enhanced version of the past, with a better grasp on controlling report bloat. For many businesses, marketers and agencies, it will be a big step in the right direction.
We also report at intervals and depths that serve client needs. Contact us to learn more about our custom reports, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager consultation. Or leave a comment to let us know how you use digital reporting to gain tactical insight in your digital marketing efforts.