Drill Down vs. Drill Through Reports: 13 Ways to Use Each to Analyze Your Marketing Performance

Reporting May 17, 2022 19 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    According to Databox’s state of business reporting, most companies believe that more than half of their employees are data proficient. Additionally, over 75% of companies claim they strive to embrace a data culture in their organization. What does that mean? These companies are looking to base their decision-making on data.

    Data-driven decisions help establish higher transparency and accountability, improve productivity and efficiency in your team’s performance, and ensure consistency throughout the organization. That’s why many businesses look to enhance their reporting processes and streamline their data collection, analysis, and presentation.

    Drill-down and drill-through reports are a way to get more from your data. This article will explain how these reports differ and share 13 ways experts use them to analyze performance and boost their marketing strategy.

    You can jump right to the section you’re most interested in.

    What Is a Drill-Down Report?

    Drill-down reports provide you with a more granular view of the data by assuming a hierarchical relationship between different data levels and allowing access to more detailed data overviews from a single, comprehensive one.

    A drill-down report has a digital format and can be created in applications. Users can click on a particular element for a more detailed, multidimensional view of the data without switching from one visualization to another.

    For example, you may have a graph representing the sources of traffic on your website. The data for the traffic coming from social media can be further broken down into different social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, etc. Or, if you have a list of customers by country, a drill-down report would allow you to access a more detailed overview of customers by the city in one click.

    Here are a few drill down dashboard report examples from Databox:

    Content Marketing Drilldown Dashboard

    With this Google Analytics drilldown dashboard template, you can track and compare the performance of your most popular website pages in one place, and answer important questions such as which website pages received the most clicks, which percentage of website visitors completed the desired goals, how your website pages perform comparatively and much more.

    Content Marketing Drilldown Dashboard Template
    Google Analytics Content Marketing Drilldown Dashboard

    The metrics included in the template are:

    • Organic pageviews by page
    • Bounce rate by page
    • Average time on page by page
    • Goal completions by page
    • Goal conversion rate by page
    • Exits by page
    • Total events by page
    • Goal conversion rate
    • Pageviews
    • Pageviews by page
    • Users by page

    Sales Team Drilldown Dashboard

    With this HubSpot dashboard template, you can track your sales rep’s productivity and performance side-by-side, and measure how they are performing comparatively, how many new deals are created and calls logged by sales rep, and the close rates for each rep.

    Sales Team Drilldown Dashboard

    The metrics included in the template are:

    • Emails logged per sales rep
    • Meetings booked per sales rep
    • Calles logged per sales rep
    • New deals created per sales rep
    • Close rate per sales rep
    • Closed won deals amount per sales rep

    Marketing Sessions Drilldown Dashboard

    This HubSpot Marketing Template drills down into your website sessions to help you track and measure the effectiveness of your blogging efforts. By monitoring quality and quantity content marketing metrics, you will be able to measure the success of your content strategy and understand your audience’s behavior better.

    HubSpot Marketing Drilldown Dashboard

    The metrics available in this template are:

    • Sessions
    • Number of Blog Posts Published
    • Social Sessions
    • Organic Sessions
    • Session-to-Signup Conversion Rate
    • Bounce Rate
    • Pageviews/ Session

    What Is a Drill-Through Report?

    Drill-through reports allow you to get additional details on the data you’re analyzing by offering an overview of other aspects that may be relevant to the analysis.

    Instead of using the hierarchical relationship between the data like in drill-down reports, drill-through reporting happens vertically: when you click to drill through the primary set of data, you don’t stay in the same dimension but move to another app, visualization, or platform.

    For instance, you may see the number of active customers on your website. Instead of drilling down into the data to learn more about the customers, your drill-through report may give you additional information about how this number of customers relates to other data, such as what pages they’re visiting.

    What Is the Difference between Drill-Down and Drill-Through Reports?

    Many people use the terms drill-down and drill-through interchangeably, but that’s incorrect. These two types of reports differ in the way they visualize the data.

    As we mentioned in previous sections, drill-down reports allow users to stay in the same visualization, examine the data on a high level, and then drill down to more detailed views.

    Drill-through reports involve various data visualizations and dashboards. They allow you to see more related data rather than examining the details of only one data set.

    Benefits of Drill-Down Analysis and Reports

    The benefits of using drill-down and drill-through reports in marketing are substantial, and our survey results confirm it. 100% of respondents claim they practice both types of reports.

    Do companies use both drill-down and drill-through report?

    Using drill-down and drill-through reports can lead to the following positive outcomes:

    • For almost 80% of companies, drill-down and drill-through reports enabled the extraction of deeper conclusions and insights that would otherwise remain untapped.
    • Around 70% of companies that use drill-down and drill-through reports claim their reporting experience improved
    • More than 55% of companies were able to look at their data from a different perspective.
    • Around 50% of companies claim drill-down, and drill-through reports helped them save time and money during the reporting process (as they didn’t need to create infinite static reports).
    Benefits of Drill-Down Analysis and Reports

    How 13 Experts Used Drill-Down and Drill-Through Reports to Analyze Performance and Improve their Marketing Strategy

    In this section, we share how experts use drill-down and drill-through reports to boost their marketing strategies. Leverage their insights to take action and identify areas of improvement in your strategy, too.

    Using Drill-Down Reports to Understand Your Data

    We asked 13 experts to share how they use drill-down reports, and here’s what they said.

    Elicit Instant Knowledge of Different Data Dimensions

    Drill-down reports allow marketing teams to gain instant knowledge on multiple data dimensions and modify their strategy accordingly. Having high-level data isn’t always enough to make informed decisions about how to proceed with marketing activities and campaigns. Digging deep allows you to understand why and how something happens within your campaign.

    “The use of drill-down reports provides the team with a deeper understanding of the data by letting them analyze what makes the figures up,” says Zephyr Chan of Better Tools.

    “For example, which state is performing better in terms of sales? Or which region has the lowest number of sales?. Therefore, it helps us develop a more specific marketing strategy based on the data. By practicing this kind of analysis, our team learned to better understand the data analysis. This subsequently allows them to produce detailed reports and make well-informed decisions regarding products and services,” says Chan.

    Understand the Why Behind Your Data

    Adam Stahl of Remotish agrees that diving deep into your data allows you to dig into the why’s and how’s of your performance and accompanies the claim with an interesting real-life example:

    “I have a toddler who is at a stage where she is always asking “why” as a follow-up question to most things as she is infinitely curious and wants to understand the world around her. As marketers, we should have a similar level of curiosity about the data and trends we’re seeing and that drive to understand the “why” behind it. By identifying that “why” with drill-down reporting, we can further understand it and use that knowledge to make better-informed business decisions,” explains Stahl and adds that digging into “sudden, sharp increases in site traffic” can help you identify the pages performing better than others.

    “For example, one time, we found with a client I had worked with previously that the sudden increase in the views for one of their blog posts was because it had been included in a class syllabus at a university. Without that drill-down reporting capability and desire to know more, we would have never known that is where their increase in traffic was coming from and may have likely made some incorrect assumptions otherwise,” says Stahl.

    Pauline Delaney of CV Genius also uses drill-down reports to gain deeper insights into where the data stems from. “Drill-down reports have positively impacted my marketing strategy,” says Delaney and explains how surface-level information doesn’t help you create an efficient marketing strategy. “One thing I have learned is the importance of looking at information in a detailed way. You’ll have to dig deeper and understand the hierarchy within the data. Only once you understand the root of the information will you be able to achieve a successful marketing strategy to propel your business forward.”

    Reduce Analytics Costs

    Analytics may cost less if done correctly, which drill-down reports can help with. For Brett Larkin of Uplifted Yoga, quality data and its comprehensive analysis help reduce the overall analytics costs in multiple ways.

    “The key to making informed business decisions is quality data. In business, data is currency. Ensuring you have accurate data & analysis is the only way to make decisions that secure business longevity and growth,” explains Larkin. When you can make informed, data-driven decisions, you decrease your chances of making a mistake and wasting your budget. At the same time, you get all the information you need from a single report.

    “Usage of drill-down reports has helped my marketing strategy by reducing overall analytics costs. A drill-down report is one of the most comprehensive analytics reports available and can save both money and time that you’d otherwise be investing in multiple analytics reports.”

    Find and Fix Your Weak Spots

    Drill-down reports can be used in situations where your campaign is underperforming. According to Brandon Walsh of Golf Clubs Guru, these reports allow you “a bird’s-eye view of your marketing campaign to gain insight into the overall marketing performance.”

    “If I find an anomaly in the data, I can easily pinpoint it and open the specific marketing campaign in question. This helps me conduct marketing data evaluation efficiently,” underlines Walsh and adds:

    “One thing I have learned through this analysis is that it only takes one poor marketing campaign to bring down the performance of your entire marketing plan. So you must work hard to ensure each campaign is top-notch.”

    Identify Where Your Revenue Comes from

    David Morgan of Snorkel-Mart uses drill-down reports to identify where most of his company’s revenue comes from.

    “This report allows us to understand which states under our jurisdiction bring in the most revenue. We then redirect our marketing efforts towards those regions that are profit-centric. A drill-down report allows me to expand on pre-existing metrics. For example, if our revenue comes from Texas, a drill-down report would allow me to expand on which counties are helping us increase the cash inflow,” clarifies Morgan.

    Sonia Navarro of Navarro Paving also uses drill-down reports to identify “cash cows” and redirect her marketing efforts accordingly. “With drill-down reports, I can expand on the pre-existing metrics. For example, if Wisconsin is where we are generating the most revenue, we would redirect our marketing efforts toward the respective region. A drill-down report allows us to create informed and strategic marketing campaigns. This ensures that our content meets the industry’s best practices,” says Navarro.

    Compare Your Marketing Campaigns

    Deep data analysis allows you to improve your performance from one campaign to the next. Creating detailed comparisons between your previous and current campaigns helps you use insights from what you did and apply them to what you’re doing now to generate better results.

    According to Jeff Johnson of Simple Homebuyers, “drill-down reports give you valuable insights into ways to improve your marketing tactics by comparing your previous campaigns.

    This data analysis helps implement an informed decision that improves your workflow and boosts efficiency. That’s because you can see which strategy produces the most effective results,” explains Johnson and adds that this practice doesn’t only improve a single campaign but can help with the overall marketing performance.

    “It also helps spot any issues with our underperforming tactics, which positively impacts our company’s growth and success. Additionally, it has made me realize the importance of gathering and analyzing data,” says Johnson.

    Analyze Advertising Performance

    Drill-down reports can help you identify where most of your quality leads come from and focus on that particular aspect of marketing, like SEO or advertising.

    For example, Kevin Huang of Ambient Home uses drill-down reports to determine what makes an ad perform well or poorly.

    “We often find that products are churning, as in they produce sales at little or no profit. Possible reasons can be climbing freight costs, too many discounts given, or rising cost-per-click,” says Huang and shares an example:

    “One of our best-performing ad groups initially seemed great: high net profit and good ROAS. However, in our drill-down report, we looked at the margin by geographic location. We found that shipping costs were diminishing most profit margins in certain areas. We have since adjusted local pricing and are seeing even better performance from this product line.”

    PRO TIP: Wondering which website pages drive the most conversions? In this data snack, learn how to create a dashboard that will help you better understand what type of content helps convert visitors to customers and where exactly the conversions you want to see happen most often.

    Using Drill-Through Reports to Explore Different Points of View

    We also wanted to know how our experts used drill-through reports to improve their marketing strategies. Here are their top tips.

    View Data from Different Perspectives

    Zephyr Chan uses drill-through reports to look at the data from different perspectives.

    “This feature of drill through reports allows one set of data to be viewed in different formats. Moreover, it can be analyzed with different features,” says Chan and explains how drill-through reporting impacts his team’s thought process:

    “This provides our marketing team with a vivid understanding of how to formulate marketing strategies and track performance of the marketing metrics. Practicing viewing data from multiple perspectives has broadened the team’s thought process. This has resulted in a detailed analysis, accurate reporting, and strategic decision making.”

    Numbers don’t tell you much until you put them in context. “I have learned the importance of qualitative and quantitative analysis via a drill-through report. The numerical without a perspective isn’t helpful for a business, as they wouldn’t contribute towards the decision-making process,” adds David Morgan.

    Track Multiple KPIs and Metrics

    Drill-throughs can give you a more thorough understanding of how different KPIs can influence marketing, especially if you look at the relationship between them.

    “For example, by consulting a drill-through sales report, I can understand the purchasing trends of my consumers on a much wider scale. Getting a visual representation of data from the beginning of my company to now helps me make more informed decisions regarding product launching and marketing,” says Brett Larkin.

    Sonia Navarro agrees that tracking KPIs is much easier and more efficient with drill-through reporting. “I can review the revenue per region and focus on those flourishing areas for my business. This allows me to redirect my marketing activities, and the company then uses the dataset to make educated decisions. The importance of research, both quantitative and qualitative, is huge. The statistics independently don’t hold much ground when they aren’t aligned with the company’s objectives.”

    Enhance Visual Reporting

    The way you visualize your data matters: charts, graphs, and tables give you a more streamlined overview of the data and draw conclusions more quickly.

    “Drill-through reports can boost your visual reporting, as well. They include various metrics and KPIs to provide you with a deeper understanding of your marketing performance,” says Jeff Johnson.

    “By tracking our KPIs (churn rate, organic traffic, etc.), we can improve our marketing strategies that positively impact our revenue generation and customer engagement. The drill-through analysis is much more advanced than drill-down reporting. That’s because it provides a visual representation of the information that makes it easier to comprehend for everyone,” concludes Johnson.

    Brandon Walsh uses drill-through reports in the same way. “Through this kind of analysis, I’ve learned presenting data just through numbers is never a good idea. You have to mix things up to capture audience interest. Creating bar graphs and pie charts helps the audience break through the information clutter and understand what the data is really about.”

    Pauline Delaney agrees: “I have learned that graphs and charts make it easier to grasp information. So, you can digest complex data even in one sitting.”

    Use Different Tools to Analyze Performance

    When you use drill-down reports, you may understand your top performers when it comes to driving revenue. But, if you want to improve your comparison process, says Evelyn Smith of Foxbackdrop, you need drill-through reports to analyze marketing performance.

    “This is because the same data can be computed using various metrics to enhance visual reporting. As a result, we can track the performance of our KPIs. For instance, these reports have given us valuable insights from the user’s end more systematically. It has allowed us to improve our marketing strategies, as we have better analytics of the KPIs (conversion rate, churn rate, etc.). This also helped boost our sales and customer engagement as well.”

    Editor’s note: Measure compound returns by tracking various metrics in one single marketing reporting software and have an instant overview anytime, on any device with Databox.

    Identify Campaigns and Activities That Make an Impact

    Drill-through reports enable you to identify the aspects of your campaigns and marketing activities that have the most significant impact on your goals. “One of the most common things we include in our drill-through reports are heat maps and other visual reports that give us details about why something works better than something else,” shares Sasha Matviienko of Citadel.

    “For example, once we find what [pages and channels drive the performance, we drill through the data to find what exactly is making the right impact.”

    Andrew Ruditser of Maxburst uses drill-through reports to measure the performance of various campaigns, one against the other.

    “This analysis helped us identify which campaign had the most impact on our marketing budget,” says Ruditser and shares an excerpt from his work for a healthcare company:

    “In the first quarter of the year, our client’s healthcare provider had a number of new developments in their market, including a new product. This new product was an important topic of conversation among the media and patients. This made it an excellent topic for a drill-through report to better understand how it impacted their traffic.”


    Drill with Databox for Optimized Marketing Performance

    Both drill-down and drill-through reports are essential for optimized marketing performance and campaigns that generate results. A deeper understanding of your data and looking at them from multiple perspectives will help you understand what drives performance and what doesn’t work for your audience. Your current and every future campaign will be created with those new insights in mind.

    Whether you want to drill down or drill through, Databox offers hundreds of dashboard examples and templates that:

    • Save your time
    • Give you a streamlined view of your most relevant metrics
    • Collect data from multiple sources for the most accurate analysis, and more!

    Create a free Databox account to get started right away and boost your reporting.

    Article by
    Stefana Zaric

    Stefana Zarić is a freelance writer & content marketer. Other than writing for SaaS and fintech clients, she educates future writers who want to build a career in marketing. When not working, Stefana loves to read books, play with her kid, travel, and dance.

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