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MozCon 2019: Dana DiTomaso – Improved Reporting & Analytics Within Google Tools


Continuing on with our MozCon series where we discuss some of the most influential and informative presentations that we attended at the MozCon 2019 Digital Marketing conference in Seattle, Washington. In this week’s blog post we will be discussing Dana DiTomaso’s presentation on ‘Improved Reporting & Analytics Within Google Tools.’

WHO IS Dana DiTomaso

Before jumping into her presentation, we would first like to introduce Dana DiTomaso. Dana is the President & Partner at Kick Point, a digital marketing agency in Edmonton, Canada. She is a professional speaker giving keynote speeches on digital marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) and many more at conferences all around the world. She has also been noted as ‘SEO Speaker of the Year’ in 2018 by Search Engine Lands.




Dana expressed the importance of reporting for all digital marketing professionals and specialists alike. Being in the field herself, she explained that the issue with reporting is that it can be ‘boring’, if not done correctly. Dana stressed that these reports should provide value and reflects the clients’ business goals and values.

In order to ensure our marketing reports provide this clientele value, Dana emphasised just how important it is for your reports to work specifically for you!

This presentation will covered 3 Google tools and their role in creating reports with direction and purpose that will complement your digital marketing activities and furthermore provide value for your clients.

These Google tools include:

  • Google Tag Manager (GTM)
  • Google Analytics (GA)
  • Google Data Studio (GDS)

Dana suggested the audience first review her blog post regarding Goal Charter, where she explained the importance of documenting clients’ goals and breaking it down into clear objectives and measurable results.

kick-point- dana-ditomaso-goal-charter-blog-post

STARTING THE PRESENTATION – Google trifecta of reporting excellence

The presentation started with Dana identifying the 3 Google tools that will help you create an excellent report.

Using a well-thought out analogy, where by:

  • GTM can be considered to be a factory where resources, in this case data, is collected and built.
  • GA can be considered as the warehouse where the product is stored
  • GDS can be considered as the showroom where you sell your product, in this case your report.


Having these tools work together will result in a comprehensive report that your client will value. The most important aspect of this process is to plan ahead!

In the next section, we will be discussing just how to plan ahead before starting your reporting process.

Planning Ahead with Google Tag Manager

Dana recommended starting early. With references to her blog post on Goal Charters, by documenting your goals early, you will be able to understand what you are looking for with GTM, GA and GDS.

Goal Charter tells you what metrics you will be needing. By doing this, you will be able to established a scope for your reports; where by the client can review and discuss the importance of what the scope entails. This will be able to prevent any unnecessary work further down the road.

Dana suggested sketching it out, as seen in the image below:


This will provide you with a clear vision to what your reports should include. Furthermore, this will be able to set up the parameters of what data you should track in GTM.


Study & Structure Google analytics

When the data populates in GA, Dana suggested to document every setting and why this might be important for you. These documents will further provide you insight into what metrics and dimensions will contribute to your reporting goals.


To help you with your documentation ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why did you set your data a certain way?
  • Why you have custom channels?
  • Why have you named your dimensions?
  • Why did you change your tracking?
  • Why did you exclude your IP address?

These why-based questions will help you understand your data better and more importantly, trust your data. By addressing these questions, you ensure control over your data. This will allow you to understand why your data doesn’t make sense because you have familiarised yourself with the fundamental processes behind it.

For example, in the image below, having you have a browser tab open it will count as a session,


However if you leave multiple tabs open you will find that this will represent multiple sessions.

multiple-tabs-open-google-analytics-sessionTherefore, by understanding this mechanism you will be able to identify outliers in your data collection and can deduct your findings to ensure your report reflect accurate and meaningful information.

Another example Dana shared with the audiences was having the ability to track people’s buying habits offline through the integration of third-party CRM applications such as Salesforce. By inputting the ride code and unique Customer ID (CID) of a user, you will be able to take disparate sets of data and use them to generate a tracking metric on GA.


With this you can see the actual cash transaction which will further provide accurate data tracking for Ecommerce websites. Furthermore, you can survey responses to these transactions to bring together offline and online purchases together.

ShowTIme with Google Data Studio


Now let’s talk about the ‘showroom’. Dana discussed how we can use GDS to uncover more value in your data to improve your reports.

As Dana said,

“Good reports explained themselves”

A good report can provide your clients with information and KPIs that can govern future business decisions. They should paint a clear picture incorporating all essential parts and their relationships that are relevant and valuable for your client.

Here are some tips:

  • Provide notes and anecdotes
  • Use colour to for visual clarity
  • Answer clients’ questions
  • User familiar client terminology
  • Display relationships between data

It is important to remember you have control over your data, and you can even choose to blend your data in GDS.


Dana explained that each data source in the blend must share a set of one of more dimensions. This is known as join key. For more information on blending data visit Data Studio Help’s article on Data Blending. But that’s not all, Dana suggested exploring the settings in GDS to ensure you get the most out your reporting.

a key takeaway message

Dana left the us with one key takeaway message:

‘Ignoring what doesn’t help you is just as important as watching what does help you’

The data you decide to exclude in your report can refine your findings to align with your clients’ objectives and goals. However, it is just important to ensure that the data you keep in your report provides information further provide value and drive actionable insights.


Reporting is an essential component for all digital marketing professionals and specialist alike. This process can provide tremendous value when you understand the data you are tracking for you and for your clients. It is imperative you developed a sound plan before utilising GTM, GA and GDS. Dana’s presentation discussed just how effective planning ahead and configuring your data setup can do to your current reporting activities.

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