Every modern business collects and uses data in one capacity or another. The problem is that as businesses grow, the amount of data they collect also grows and starts to become unmanageable. Managing this data also becomes a heavy time-consumer that costs a business more than it benefits it. The right tools make it much easier to parse large amounts of data, understand it and then use it in different ways, including in making critical business decisions. One such tool is Excel pivot tables.
Before we look at how to use them and the benefits of doing so, we have to first understand what they are. Pivot tables are a feature that has been included in Excel since 1986 that allows you to summarize, slice, and organize large sets of data. Once this happens, you can create customized tables depending on your data sets.
Pivot tables are extremely useful because they allow you to do all the above without changing any of the underlying data, which would be terrible if its collection took a lot of time, money, and effort. You also do not need to create any formulas, but you do need to know how to create them for them to be beneficial to you. Marketers can sum, average, count, sort, and filter without worrying about user errors.
So, what are the benefits of using pivot tables?
No, pivot tables are not easy to learn. It takes quite a while for marketers to learn how to leverage their power. They are also considered an advanced tool in many industries and not just in marketing. However, once you learn how to use this Excel feature, it will open up numerous capabilities for you and your business. You will find it easy to use and to reorganize your data as you wish. All of this can be accomplished in a simple click once you learn how to use the feature.
Perhaps the most common use of pivot tables is in analyzing massive data sets. This feature gives you a lot of flexibility when extracting significance from such datasets. This is something you will likely do fairly often or even daily, so it is beneficial if it is made as simple as possible.
The first area marketers use pivot tables is in the analysis of campaign data. You will likely receive data for different timeframes, segments, and engines which will be in hundreds of rows. Receiving data like this can make it impossible to gauge performance. Use a pivot table to summarize the data by campaign or other metric depending on the data you want to pull. Do all this while filtering and sorting your campaign. The options are endless here.
Another common use is in analyzing keyword performance for different campaigns. Keyword data, especially in paid campaigns, gets very messy as different keywords are launched for different locations, platforms, match types, and more. Removing or adding some qualifiers allows you to see the totality of a keyword’s performance. Use a pivot table to see the top keywords depending on metrics like clicks, revenue, impressions, and more. Other uses include ad copy analysis and analysis of the quality score of each keyword plus how each is performing.
As a marketer, you likely already pull data from different sources and analytics platforms for different social media platforms. This data likely contains duplicate rows, and it is impossible to analyze the data if it is fragmented like this.
Pivot tables make it easy to take all this data and drop it into a single Excel sheet. If done right, the data should merge, and all duplicate rows should be gone. You now have a single sheet of data that you can analyze using whatever tools and techniques you wish, including another pivot table.
Many more marketers and businesses need to do this because it allows them to make much better use of their data. Instead of having duplicate or similar lines from frontend and backend services, they can have single likes that combine this data from multiple sources and enable better analysis.
One of the most important reasons for collecting data in a business is to identify patterns. Perhaps you want to see how much customers buy on average in a given season or which products are in demand at what time of the year. A marketer might want to see when their campaigns produce the best results. Such data patterns allow businesses to forecast different aspects of the business, and for marketers to know when to trigger certain campaigns for the best outcomes.
Organizing large datasets in a single pivot table can help a marketer identify important data trends. Identifying these data trends becomes very important in making decisions that affect the future of the business.
As every marketer knows, they have to produce detailed reports from time to time. Reporting can take a lot of time, and no one wants to spend a lot of time and effort cleaning data and organizing it so it can be included in reports. Pivot tables can help marketers who create recurring reports by making the process more efficient while also eliminating user errors.
When setting up, ensure you choose an entire sheet instead of a dataset as the data source. If you set the dataset for the whole worksheet, the pivot table will update the table every time you add new rows and refresh. These automatic updates and ease of report creation are incredibly useful for marketers who do quarterly, monthly, and even weekly reporting. This tip will help you to continue building upon data you already have and have analyzed. You do this by selecting the Data tab and then Refresh All.Every marketer who is not using pivot tables should start learning how to use them. They can be incredibly useful for several functions, making their work easier and saving them a lot of time.