5 Excel Tips Every Digital Marketer Should Know

Zack Flores

Chances are if you are responsible for managing paid media campaigns, you spend a good chunk of your week in Excel. In the hands of a novice, Excel is a great tool for quick calculations and reporting. But, in the hands of a pro, Excel can revolutionize the way your paid campaigns perform and streamline your work week. Use the following tips to gain deeper insights and spend more time on strategy:

1. Shortcuts 

Save time and avoid using your mouse.

  • CTRL+SHIFT+L – Apply filters to the top row.
  • CTRL+A – Select all of the cells within the data.
  • F7 – Quickly spellcheck. Save yourself the embarrassment of a client catching a typo in an ad.
  • Double click the bottom right corner of a cell to copy everything downward in that column.
  • CTRL+F – Find and replace tool to quickly make edits to large data sets.
  • And of course, CTRL+Z to undo any mistakes quickly.

2. Helpful Formulas

Use these popular formulas to save time and gain deeper insights into your data.

  • SUMIF(s) – This formula helps you add data that meets the characteristics you identify.
  • LEN – Counts the number of characters in a cell, which is great for staying within character limits.
  • CONCATENATE – Combines text from 2 or more cells.

3. Pivot Tables

The Pivot Table is a digital marketer’s best friend. This tool allows you to create an editable table based off an existing data set. A pivot table can digest a confusing raw data tab from an ad network and spit out actionable items. See below for a day parting analysis example.

Viola, look at that clean table! The pivot table has made it much easier to see where day of week modifiers need to be applied for these campaigns to improve the portfolios CPA.

Tip: Don’t see the field you want to pull into the pivot table? Use the calculated field feature to create a custom value.

4. VLOOKUP

The VLOOKUP formula is the digital marketer’s other best friend (yes, it is possible to have 2 best friends. Especially, when they both save you so much time!). This formula will search for a value you identify in a column and return the value in the cell you desire based on a qualifier. Essentially, you will avoid manually matching data from table to table.

Once perfected, you can get creative with this formula and save yourself hours.

5. Charting and Graphing

Data alone is boring. You have analyzed and manipulated it, and know what story to tell, but a table is so boring. The helpful graphing and charting features of Excel brings the data to life and makes the numbers very digestible for clients to review and understand.

Don’t stop with just client facing charts and graphs! Use the advanced features of Excel to use your historical data to extract answers to questions that your clients are always asking (i.e. How many more conversions will X more budget get me? What should my CPA goal be? etc.)

Pro tip: Use the regression analysis in a scatter plot graph to uncover hidden gems in your data! For example, in the equation above, y represents conversions and x represents cost. You can apply this equation to estimate conversion volume given a projected budget.

In review, Excel is an exceptional tool for digital marketers that will give you tons of hours back in your day to focus on strategy, among other priorities. Excel is a beast, and you know how to use it for it to be impactful don’t hesitate to ask your colleagues questions. Chances are they may have a trick or two you never knew.