A marketing report provides valuable information to businesses relating to their Key Performance Indicators. The best reports measure progress, point out ways to improve performance and calculate the value of existing marketing strategies. All these are based on data gleaned from various sources.
If you are involved in marketing in any way, marketing reporting is vital as it provides evidence that your strategies are working. It proves that your marketing efforts are leading to sales and increased revenue. A marketing report is a simplified analysis of the success (or failure) of all your data-driven marketing. It needs to be presented in such a way that it is understandable to anyone who has any stake in the decision making of the business.
What Should You Include?
If it is your responsibility to produce a marketing report, you need to consider various pieces of information. A good report will show where the business is succeeding, areas for improvement, which marketing strategies are proving the most fruitful, and in which areas you should consider investing your budget. For example, based on evidence in a marketing report, you may decide that PPC advertising works best for you and invest more money in that for a month to see if it boosts sales further. Relevant data is key to backing up the judgements you have made.
The report should be laid out in easy-to-follow sections that break down the various areas of marketing pertinent to your business. Ideally, it should consist of;
In this, you should summarise what has worked, what hasn’t and action points for moving forward. You should detail as much as possible, but only highlight the key facts and figures – too much data can be as confusing and pointless as not providing enough data!
You should then include reports on the metrics for all the separate campaigns you have adopted: Search Engine Marketing, PPC, Social Media, Content, etc. Your report needs to include comparisons between the different campaigns, so it is clear which have been the most or the least successful. All this should be backed up by relevant data, including conversion rates, clicks, SERP position increases or drops and best performing ads.
The report should then outline goals and ideas for future campaigns based on the evidence in the report. Looking back on information from previous months will help you see how your business has grown. You also need to include the estimated costs of future goals and the predicted ROI you expect to see.
How do you get the best data?
There are numerous ways to collect the relevant data that you need to produce an informative marketing report.
Google Analytics is the go-to tool for the majority of businesses when it comes to analysing marketing metrics. It is free and straightforward to use and provides you with essential information such as the number of visitors to your site, how long they spend there, where they are coming from etc.
If you want to measure your performance against that of your competitors, then SEMrush is the analytics technology for you. It can help you monitor your rivals’ activity on social media and provide you with ways to outrank competitors in search results. It also enables you to track your own brand and analyse the keywords that you want to use to see how effective they are.
While these data harvesting tools are helpful, it is how you interpret and act on the key data that is important. You may see how many people are visiting your site, but it is up to you how you act on the data and what steps you take to increase traffic or sales.
Once you have the relevant data, your aim is to present the information in an easily digestible form for all the stakeholders involved. It is here that you have to be selective about the information that you use. The metrics that you include need to clarify what you are trying to report in the best way possible.
A dashboard is the clearest way to do this and is the preferred option for almost all marketers. Using a detailed analytics dashboard such as the one from 123 Internet Group enables you to pull data from a wide variety of channels and present it in one dashboard. Or you may prefer to use separate dashboards for different information (one for PPC, one for Social etc.). Either way of working is acceptable.
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When Should You Report?
Most businesses will look at their performance data on a daily basis, and indeed marketing reports can be produced daily, weekly and monthly. The monthly reports are most commonly used as they provide a more comprehensive overview of long-term progress.
Daily marketing reports give you the information you need to make daily action plans. Daily reporting could help you spot potential trends in your campaigns early on and help you spot potential problems before they end up costing you money.
Weekly reports help identify downturns in performance that could affect the whole month if spotted too late. This might include online advertising performance and website traffic. If website traffic is down on certain days, is there a reason? Perhaps there is a problem with the website that could affect sales or traffic? A weekly report will enable you to deal with these problems before they have a noticeable impact.
Monthly reports are informed by daily and weekly reports and are the reports favoured by most businesses. A monthly report provides the most tangible evidence on which to base future decision making. Monthly reports will often be informed by the weekly reports but has the advantage of offering a bigger picture of long-term performance.
Should You Outsource?
Like any aspect of marketing, producing your own marketing reports takes time, although it is not as daunting as it may first seem with so many templates and reporting tools available. However, if you simply don’t have the time or staffing available to produce quality reports in the given timescales, outsourcing to a reputable agency is likely to be your best option. It also enables you to get a fresh perspective on your achievements and access to a wider range of digital marketing tools.
If done properly a marketing report will enable you to see clearly what your business is achieving and help to inform your future decision making.