Illustration of a spreadsheet with a red line and a dashboard with a green circle (Cover Image)
Brand Tracking >September 17, 2021

Why Spreadsheets Hurt Your Brand Campaigns [Updated]

September 17, 2021
Laura Harker
Freelance Writer & Editor

Are you still receiving your brand tracking data via spreadsheets? Or even worse, a PDF document? Well, we don’t mean to sound alarmist, but those days are long gone.

To be fair — there was a time when Excel was seen as a magical tool that could do almost anything for anyone. And although there are still those who love a good spreadsheet — there’s no denying that they’ve become a bit dated.

Plus, they can be over complicated for beginners — and even those with plenty of experience can still struggle with advanced features.

So, in an effort to move with the times and stay competitive, we recommend you start conducting your data analysis for brand campaigns via a dynamic brand tracking dashboard — which we’ll discuss in this article.

Furthermore, we’ll touch on a few ways such outdated processes might actually be damaging your brand campaigns.

Why Spreadsheets Hurt Your Brand Campaigns

Source: Unsplash

1. They’re Outdated and Hard to Use

We think it’s fair to say that very few people actually enjoy working with spreadsheets.

Why? Usually, because they don’t really know how to use them. And when you attempt to use a spreadsheet incorrectly, it can very quickly devolve into a frustrating task — especially if you aren’t really a “numbers person”.

Furthermore, when you try to share important data in spreadsheet form, you run the risk of alienating some coworkers, as many people will do all they can to avoid using spreadsheets.

Plus, if a person or team comes up with a fantastic campaign idea that has the potential to drive growth for your target audience and spreadsheets are their only option, their aversion might actually prevent it from being implemented.

Therefore, in order to use brand tracking data to grow, you need to make sure your insights are up-to-date and accessible to everyone.

2. You Risk Misinterpreting Brand Campaign Data

Let’s say someone on your marketing team is completely new to spreadsheets. In this case, they might find your brand data fairly tricky to analyze.

And even those who know a thing or two about spreadsheet data could still potentially misinterpret the results.

Additionally, there are no easy-to-use visualizations with spreadsheets — meaning you need to be eagle-eyed to spot important nuances in pages upon pages of raw data.

Furthermore, spreadsheets make it difficult to determine what’s important data and what isn't. This means that important data can often remain undiscovered.

In the end, teams that use spreadsheets might wind up making poor choices or bad decisions because of a simple misinterpretation. Not only that, they run the risk of missing new opportunities for growth or wasting their budget on campaigns that aren’t performing.

3. Spreadsheets Have Limited Comparative Capabilities

Even spreadsheet geniuses can find it difficult to draw significant comparisons between different spreadsheets. Just imagine how hard it would be for beginners!

Making comparisons between your target audience and that of your competitors is hard enough as-is without having to flip back and forth between two spreadsheets. Furthermore, comparing data over time is much tougher — after all, spreadsheets don’t store historical data.

Now, before you say it — creating a huge spreadsheet database isn't going to solve this issue. If you continually added every single piece of data that you ever received to a massive database, it would be extremely time-consuming.

And it’s likely that your computer would crash. No one’s got time for that — especially not in today’s busy workplace! Plus, you’re very likely to lose historical data through the tedious copy/paste task that keeps your database up to date.

4. Spreadsheet Data Quality Isn’t Always up to Scratch

When you’re paying for a brand tracking service, you want to know that your money is being well-spent. Thus, it’d be a pretty bad sign if your supplier were entering data manually.

Isn’t that the case with brand tracking data in spreadsheets?

Manually entered brand tracking data is likely to be littered with multiple errors, and we don’t even want to think about just how many could be hidden in a spreadsheet.

We especially don’t want to consider how such errors could negatively affect brand campaigns! But, if your current brand tracking software is still presenting your results via spreadsheets, maybe you should reconsider your provider.

5. Spreadsheets Offer Limited Options for Advanced Analysis

When you’re analyzing data in a spreadsheet, you’re restricted to looking at the categories and groups that are already chosen — there’s no opportunity to explore further.

For example, perhaps you initially set up your brand tracker to monitor men aged 18-25 who play PS4. But now, you also want to track men aged 26-35 who play PS4. While this data might be in your spreadsheet, good luck trying to narrow it down to find the answers you need.

On the other hand, if you use a dashboard to analyze your brand campaigns, you can easily take a deep dive into your data and find new insights. Plus, you’ll be able to easily segment niche audiences — which is essential so that you don’t miss out on potential new audiences.

6. Sharing Spreadsheets Isn’t Simple

To be fair, it’s not impossible to share spreadsheets with others. You are able to grant access to a select group, but, often, that’s not enough.

Even with today’s advanced cloud computing solutions, how can you be sure that the data won’t accidentally get deleted or changed? As transparency and trust are more important than ever when it comes to building a strong team, it’s best to ensure data is accessible to everyone — not just a small group.

Sticking with data presented in spreadsheet form could lead to some team members feeling out of the loop — especially considering spreadsheets don't provide real-time data. Just think about it: the data you receive once a week may already be outdated.

Eventually, this could lead to loss of motivation and feelings of frustration, which are never good for team morale.

Why Dynamic Dashboards Are the Future

By now, we should all be on the same page about how spreadsheets hurt brand campaigns.

So, why are so many people still choosing brand tracking software that uses them?

Instead, they should consider using reliable brand tracking software with modern data sharing functions so that their whole team can enjoy:

1. An Intuitive Dashboard

High-quality advanced brand tracking software will provide a dynamic dashboard that your whole team can log into and use to collaborate.

Most importantly, a good dynamic dashboard should be intuitive — so intuitive that even a self-confessed “technophobe” would be able to use it. With dynamic dashboards, you can instantly see your brand tracking results, make comparisons, segment your data, and more.

Ultimately, this will allow team members who are normally wary when it comes to numbers to build confidence — which will be reflected in improved brand campaigns.

2. Fast, Easy Comparisons

With a dynamic dashboard, all your data and insights can be accessed with just a click of a button. And because dynamic dashboards are easy to use, you’ll quickly spot any changes or anomalies that might crop up in specific data sets.

Why is this important? Because being able to identify changes is the entire point of brand tracking — to see how your latest campaigns have affected brand perception.

Most importantly, your brand marketing campaigns will be of much higher quality when you have access to precise data. When you can see how your brand health is changing over time as a result of brand campaigns, you compare across target audiences and your competition.

3. Easily Segmented Data

Dynamic dashboards like ours allow you to segment and organize your data however you want. Why does this matter? Because splitting your data up via different target audiences or demographics makes it even easier to analyze.

Remember, great marketing comes from the ability to connect with your target audience — and, these days, the most important target audiences are niche audiences. Therefore, knowing the perception these audiences have of your brand is vital.

Plus, audiences change over time — nothing remains static. Therefore, you’ll need to segment your data in order to identify possible new target audiences who might be performing well.

4. Shareability & Access to Historical Data

One of the most important aspects of any self-proclaimed dynamic dashboard is the ability for all team members to log in and have access to the exact same data. If one person creates a new chart or graph, everyone should be able to see it.

Additionally, you need to be able to share your data easily. Whether it’s a graph of your target audience’s brand awareness levels or a chart showing brand associations, you must be able to share them at the drop of a hat.

Finally, with a dynamic dashboard, you aren’t limited by size and amount of data as you would be with a spreadsheet. Dashboards allow you to store large amounts of historical data, quickly sift through to find what you need, and segment to discover new insights — and each member of your team can do this easily and quickly.

5. A Single Source of Truth

One of the biggest challenges those using spreadsheets for brand tracking data face is inconsistency. When multiple people have access to the same spreadsheet, it’s easy to accidentally (or willingly) alter data to show preferred outcomes.

And without a single source of truth, how can you be sure all insights are accurate? That’s why using a dashboard makes such a big difference. Multiple users can access the tool — they can all make new charts and graphs to explore and examine the data.

However, the data itself remains constant — a single source of truth. And because of this, you can place much greater faith in the insights you discover.

Final Thoughts

At this point, we hope we’re all on the same page about how and why spreadsheets can do more harm than good. Though they may mean well, they just can’t hold a candle to the usability of a dynamic dashboard.

If you’re in agreement, then we think it’s time you got your hands on some advanced brand tracking software. We promise you won’t miss your spreadsheets.


Updated by: Cory Schröder on 01.10.21

Brand Tracking

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