Formulas explained

Dear fellow marketers, let me tell you something: I have a love-hate relationship with Excel. While it’s a necessary tool on which much of our industry relies, sometimes the constant fiddling with figures can drive anyone crazy! But one day, I discovered Google Sheets formulas and I finally understand what Bill Murray was talking about in What About Bob?

Granted, it’s not a cure-all solution. It won’t suddenly turn you into an Excel god, but it will make your life a whole lot easier. Trust me – once you learn the ins and outs of these formulas, you’ll wonder why on earth you struggled with Excel for so long.

Simply put, formulas are a set of instructions that tell your spreadsheet what calculation to perform on a data set. They can be used to perform complex calculations, manipulate data, and process information.

But wait, aren’t formulas just for accountants and financial analysts? Absolutely not! As marketers, we’re constantly dealing with data, from social media metrics to website traffic and email open rates. We need to be able to organize this data in a way that makes sense, analyze it, and use it to make informed decisions. Formulas are the key to unlocking the power of this data.

Before diving into specific formulas, it’s important to understand the building blocks of Google Sheets. Functions are pre-built formulas that perform a specific task. For example, SUM() adds up a range of cells, while COUNT() counts the number of cells in a particular range.

Operators, on the other hand, are symbols that represent mathematical operations. The most common operators are + for addition, - for subtraction, * for multiplication, and / for division. Here’s a quick cheat sheet:

- +
- -
- *
- /
- %
- ^

Now, let’s move on to some actual formulas. Keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list – there are hundreds of formulas available. But these should give you a good starting point:

SUMIF() is a powerful function that allows you to add up the values in a range of cells that meet specific criteria. For example, let’s say you have a spreadsheet that contains a list of sales figures, organized by date and by salesperson. You want to find out how much each salesperson sold in a particular month. Here’s the formula:

SUMIF(DateRange, "=MM/YYYY", SalesRange)

Simply replace DateRange with the range of cells that contains the dates, SalesRange with the range of cells that contains the sales figures, and MM/YYYY with the month and year you want to target. Voila! Google Sheets will now add up all the sales figures that correspond to that month.

CONCATENATE() is a useful function that allows you to join together two or more pieces of text. For example, let’s say you have a database of customers that contains their first name, last name, and email address. You want to send a personalized email to each customer, addressing them by name. Here’s the formula:

CONCATENATE("Dear ", FirstNameCell, " ", LastNameCell, ",")

This will create a new cell that says "Dear [First Name] [Last Name]," where [First Name] and [Last Name] are taken from the relevant cells. Simply copy and paste this formula into each email and you’ve got yourself a personalized message.

VLOOKUP() is one of the most useful formulas for sorting and categorizing data. It allows you to search for a value in one table, and return a corresponding value from another table. For example, let’s say you have a table that lists the phone numbers of all your customers, organized by name. You want to find a particular customer’s phone number. Here’s the formula:

VLOOKUP(CustomerName, TableRange, ColumnNumber, False)

Replace CustomerName with the name of the customer you’re looking for, TableRange with the range of cells that contains the customer names and phone numbers, and ColumnNumber with the column number that contains the phone numbers (starting with 1). Google Sheets will now look up the customer’s name, find the corresponding phone number, and return it in the cell where you entered the formula.

COUNTIF() is another handy function that allows you to count the number of cells in a range that meet specific criteria. For example, let’s say you have a spreadsheet that lists the number of website visits from different sources, such as social media, email marketing, and search engines. You want to find out how many visits came from social media. Here’s the formula:

COUNTIF(SourceRange, "Social Media")

Replace SourceRange with the range of cells that contains the source information, and "Social Media" with the specific source you’re targeting. Google Sheets will now count the number of cells that contain "Social Media" and return the result.

AVERAGE() is a simple formula that does exactly what it sounds like – it calculates the average of a range of cells. For example, let’s say you have a spreadsheet that lists the average time spent on your website for each page. You want to find out the overall average. Here’s the formula:

AVERAGE(TimeRange)

Replace TimeRange with the range of cells that contains the time data. Google Sheets will now add up all the times and divide them by the total number of pages to give you the average.

And there you have it, folks! Five Google Sheets formulas that every marketer should have in their toolkit. I hope this has given you a taste of the power of these formulas and the ways in which they can simplify your life. If you’re craving more, don’t worry – there are plenty of other formulas out there just waiting to be discovered.