Quill Engage User Q&A: BoomTown

June 26, 2014 Mickey Rausch

For our next Quill Engage user Q&A, we spoke with Zack Hanebrink from BoomTown ROI in Charleston, South Carolina.

Zack is an Inbound Marketing Manager at BoomTown, a web-based software company specializing in an end-to-end marketing solution for real estate.

Zack has been in marketing for the past ten years – almost as long as he’s been using Google Analytics. He’s been with BoomTown for the last three, where he runs a team that manages their inbound marketing for clients.

Q: How important is Google Analytics to your everyday work?

A: We leverage Google Analytics for client reporting as well as the ammo we need to make data-driven decisions.

Q: What is your biggest pain point using Google Analytics?

A: The question should have been “pain points,” as there are more than one! I love Google Analytics – it’s a phenomenal product, and it’s free. That being said, there are a few things that drive me nuts. To start, it’s always changing! And, even though you can see tons of data, the most basic metrics are often hard to see together. You can add some metrics to your Dashboard, but others you cannot. You can filter and segment some data in a Custom Report, but some you cannot. It would be nice if there was a simple dashboard with business KPI metrics, not just for myself but for the everyday user. You really have to know what you’re doing to pull a basic business KPI report.

Q: Can you describe a scenario where you struggled to communicate insight from Google Analytics data? 

A: The real struggle comes in the form of time. The data is there, and if you’re familiar with analytics you can decipher the data just fine, but it can be very time consuming.

Q: Do you have any strategies or tools you’ve used that help you save time spent in Google Analytics? 

A: Yep, several! To save time, I leverage a mixture of custom Dashboards, Custom Reports, Segments and Shortcuts. We also built our own internal Inbound Client Dashboard that pulls from the Google Analytics API, which is awesome by the way!

A couple other new tricks I learned to leverage is a Google Docs add-on called Supermetrics which enables you to pull Google Analytics data into a Google Spreadsheet with the click of a mouse. You can build your own custom dashboard which is nice.

Q: What are some hard-to-spot pitfalls that are critical to avoid?

A: The number one pitfall: Make sure you’re filtering the data the right way. You can see exactly what you want to see, but if you don’t understand how to filter things out and isolate certain things, your data can get skewed and you can’t make the best informed decisions. For example, our team created a “true organic” filter so we can view purely organic searches according to our definition as a company. It’s about creating your own views so you can be confident in understanding what you’re looking at.

Q: How have you been using Quill Engage? What does it provide that the Google Analytics dashboard does not?

A: If we create a new piece of content, sometimes we get great leads, and sometimes we get nothing. For the times we don’t have something great in our reporting to share, we get the quick update from Quill Engage without having to dig through analytics to find something. Quill Engage provides our team with weekly insight into the data. We like to share this insight with our clients. It’s definitely a time saver.

Q: Tell me about a day in your life before and after Quill Engage. 

A: We used to have 2-3 people spend a whole week on reporting – it was awful. The team would be pulling our own reporting dashboards from analytics, adding in that analysis, putting the data through an Excel template, and then a PDF before sending them out to clients. Half the time clients would never look at them, which was just a huge waste of time. Since we are a software company, I knew there was a better way. We ended up building an internal inbound traffic dashboard, which we rolled out earlier this year with success. We also send out weekly updates to clients that are more of a hybrid report, and we’ll cherry pick the insights from their QE reports to include with our updates.

Q: If you had to sum up your experience with Quill Engage, what would you say? 

A. The unique characteristic of Quill Engage is that it’s just the language. That’s what really drew me into it and what caught my attention.

It’s like a human actually went into Google Analytics and wrote a performance report. It doesn’t sound like it’s automated. It’s so human-like and it doesn’t sound template-generated.

Q: Looking out 3 to 5 years, what do you think will be the next big change in your industry?

A: It’s already changing. Email marketing, social media, SEO, content marketing … the variety of tools and measurements are forcing brands to understand how to use one cohesive strategy so it all works together; and then, learning how to track it appropriately. I think the future is ensuring everything works together and can accurately be measured.

Another thing to add that will become more widespread: Everybody’s producing content, but what from I’ve seen, the majority of companies don’t have a real content strategy. Many companies are not doing the personal research, understanding customer pain points, establishing a real strategy and doing it with purpose. I think we’ll see more people learn to figure that out instead of just being in the minority.

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Mickey Rausch is the Lead Support for Quill Engage at Narrative Science. Connect with Mickey on  and Twitter.

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