What Should Be in Your Marketing Report? 6 Things to Include (and Where to Find Them)
A quality marketing report can make or break a relationship with a client.
Due to the varying timetables of how long it can take to get results, you need meaningful metrics to make an impact. Clients need to be able to understand those metrics in a way that makes sense and promotes further action.
Let’s define what a marketing report is, how often you should present one, and the six most important things you need to include.
What is a Digital Marketing Report?
A digital marketing report is a collection of data that illustrates how your marketing efforts are helping a business achieve its goals.
You can generate and present marketing reports weekly, monthly, quarterly, or any other period that fits the agenda. Many marketers will present different marketing reports for different timetables that focus on short-term or long-term goals respectively.
What’s included in a marketing report can fluctuate depending on you and your client’s unique goals. Therefore, any report might include:
- Website analytics
- Social media analytics
- PPC campaign metrics
- Email marketing data
- Any other data that demonstrates where you are concerning the objective
However, if you utilize any marketing reporting tools, you’re likely to find yourself overwhelmed with data. Even though certain channels might provide a wealth of metrics, it does not mean you need to include everything.
Doing so will often confuse your client and obfuscate the hard work that your team accomplishes within a given period.
Though sorting through the data can be challenging, it’s much easier if you understand your objectives. For the most part, however, there are the six most essential things that virtually every marketing report should include.
Let’s get into it.
1. Your Objectives (with Supporting Research)
Before you begin taking any course of action, you always start by defining your goals and objectives.
Likewise, your client needs a reminder of what the goals are for the period. This will ensure that any following data will make sense and be understood in the context of those objectives.
You must always clearly define your objectives and avoid making any vague, unclear promises. Examples of poorly-defined goals might be:
- Get more followers
- Make more sales
While we can understand the overall idea of those points, it’s fairly difficult to define something so broad. Instead, we can give our clients a better sense of progress by precisely describing what we are attempting to achieve:
- Increase monthly website traffic to X amount by X month
- Improve organic rankings by X amount
- Reach X number of conversions on a specific social media platform
The platforms we use will provide in-depth metrics that communicate these finer points. In most cases, those numbers show the true journey of progress while ultimately serving grander goals like gaining more followers or generating more revenue.
Furthermore, you should attempt to support your objectives by providing research that supports those actions. As an example, marketers understand that LinkedIn is a powerful platform for B2B businesses. If you’re trying to help your B2B client build traction on LinkedIn, you can include data that supports why this objective benefits them.
A quick and excellent way of generating excellent research data is through the use of DashClicks’ very own InstaReports software.
Marketing reporting tools like these can instantly retrieve live data about a business in seconds. This self-contained report focuses on website data, social media, online reviews, SEO, and paid ads performance. You can use that data to highlight pain points and back your active objectives in those respective areas.
Once your client understands what you’re working toward, they’re ready to listen to review the next items.
2. Monthly Website Metrics
A business’s SEO data is essential for every marketing report. Improving website rankings improves organic performance, meaning lower monthly spending.
In other words, your marketing team should always be working to improve the client’s SEO and website performance.
There are numerous free tools for tracking metrics for any domain. The most popular is Google Analytics, which encompasses everything you could ever need to know about a web page or the entire site.
However, GA provides an immense amount of data, not all of which is necessary to illustrate your points to your client. Here are a few key metrics you’ll want to highlight:
- Daily, weekly, monthly website traffic
- Number of unique visits
- Traffic by source (how are visitors finding the site?)
- Page clicks
- Average session duration
- SEO page rankings
You’ll want to spend more or less time on specific points depending on the goals for that reporting period.
If the goal is to simply boost brand awareness and traffic, highlighting unique visits as well as their origin is helpful. Highlighting areas of strong performance is what a client wants to see and will make a positive impression.
However, a great marketer won’t shy away from the negatives. If you notice a trend in poor numbers for specific pages, make it known. This is an opportunity for growth and improvement, which serves to help the client’s overall goals.
Including both positives and negatives also helps the client stay involved and proactive regarding their success. It also inspires their confidence in you when you are actively looking to improve instead of resting on your laurels.
Finally, we would be remiss not to highlight that tools like Google Analytics allow you to create custom conversions for the website. These will allow you to better track progress toward specific goals you have regarding the user experience. Not only does it drive your efforts, but it better communicates what you’re accomplishing in the marketing report.
3. Performance Metrics by Campaign
Your digital marketing efforts will extend across many channels in addition to the website.
Examples of these channels might include:
- Email marketing campaigns
- Social media
- PPC campaigns
The marketing tools you’re using for any of these channels will also provide their built-in analytics tracking. Similar to Google Analytics, you’ll want to pull relevant data from the platforms you’re using to run campaigns.
A. Email Marketing Metrics to Include
Email marketing reporting is fairly straightforward and should highlight your reach and conversion rates. Data points to include are:
- Number of emails sent
- Number of emails successfully delivered
- CTR (clickthrough rate)
- Subscriber data
- CVR (conversion rate)
It helps the client to know not only that emails are going out to real contacts, but that those emails are being read by the recipient.
When users open those emails, subscribe to the listing, or convert, it’s transparent that your marketing efforts work. Likewise, a low CTR or a spike in unsubscribers could indicate that the campaign needs some attention.
B. Social Media Metrics to Include
If one of your core goals is to boost brand awareness on social, you’ll want to include some data in your report. This is also applicable if you’re running paid social ads or relying on your following to boost numbers in other areas.
Some key metrics you might include are:
- Follower counts
- Engagement rates
- Ad or promoted post CTR
- Audience demographics
More followers, impressions, and engagement means that your social media content is making an impact. Likewise, shared content means an extended reach at zero additional cost to you or the client.
Additional insights about your audience on social media might motivate new campaign ideas depending on your findings.
C. Paid Ad Metrics
This is a necessity if you’re currently running any type of paid ad campaign on search or social media. Paying for clicks doesn’t come cheap, so you need to show your client that their money is being spent wisely.
Essential metrics to include are:
- Conversions & conversion rate
- CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions)
- Total spend
- ROI / ROAS (return on investment, return on ad spend)
You’ll want to highlight similar data for each platform that features a paid ad campaign for your client. Comparing and contrasting performance on different platforms can sometimes highlight where the client’s money is best spent.
Something else to consider is highlighting ad creatives that are performing well. It’s not uncommon to have creative differences between parties over what they want versus what gets results. Showing off the specific ads with the data leaves both parties with a better understanding of where to go moving forward.
Also, underperforming on other platforms is not always cause to pull all ads. Instead, you can use negatively trending data to promote new ad campaign ideas for the next period with your client’s final approval.
You can quickly and seamlessly track all of this data for each platform within the DashClicks Analytics app. Users can integrate platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, CallRail, and others at no cost. You can even track keyword rankings and other vital SEO data at the same time for all of your reporting needs.
4. Leads and Customers
Marketing data from the previous areas is important. It shows that your content is reaching new audiences and connections are happening.
However, many of these metrics can amount to little more than vanity if you’re not capturing quality leads. Those leads then need to convert into customers.
In other words, your client is going to want to see the bottom line from all of the previously reported data. You can do this by highlighting:
- Qualified leads by channel (where are we capturing leads?)
- Marketing qualified leads (leads that show engagement and interest)
- Sales qualified leads (leads show motivation to spend)
- Cost-per-action (money spent for each action taken by a customer throughout the marketing process)
- Customer lifetime value (money spent by customer versus the cost to acquire)
Your marketing channels will provide you with the necessary, but these data points will likely require a bit of basic math on your part.
For example, calculating a particular cost-per-action would mean comparing your total expenses versus the number of conversions. A low CPA will indicate that you are reaching engaged customers at a lower cost. A high CPA could indicate that you need to better qualify customers or simplify the process of getting a customer from awareness to checkout.
We recommend placing this data toward the end of your report for two reasons. First, the prior data provides the necessary context for your lead and customer data. Second, your lead data acts as an effective summary of all of your efforts within each marketing channel.
5. A Full Marketing Report Analysis (In Layman’s Terms)
All of your reported metrics now need an easy-to-understand breakdown. Your expertise is a big part of what they’re paying you for, so now’s the time to educate.
Though your client may be able to extrapolate their ideas from the numbers, they still want you to pull it all together and complete the story.
For this reason, your summary and analysis should:
- Explain positive results and highlight continued strategies
- Get ahead of negative snapshots and address the circumstances
- Propose new strategies or ideas to sustain or improve results
- Highlight exceptional achievements
Adding the final color to your marketing picture will better help nonmarketers understand the ebb and flow of the industry. Without your informed explanations, you leave clients to draw their conclusions, which can end up problematic even when there’s no cause for concern.
Likewise, a willingness to confidently address shortcomings outright can replace frustrations with new confidence. As with any customer service, letting the client know you’re aware and engaged can alleviate short-term concerns.
Just be sure that your team communicates a plan to address existing issues so that you don’t find yourself reporting poor results each period.
6. Future Plans and Strategies
Now that you’ve had your opportunity to tell the story, the client will be wondering one thing: what’s next?
A solid marketing report should conclude with a clear outline of planned strategies and actions between now and the next reporting period.
Those strategies will now be informed by all of the data presented previously in the report. However, as a precaution, make sure to call back to key reporting points to keep your analytics fresh in the client’s mind.
With this, the client has an idea of what to look forward to within the coming days and weeks. They’re informed and empowered to connect with you if they have questions or concerns about any of your marketing efforts.
Your plans should also reiterate existing goals or propose new ones based on what fits the bill. That way, you can point back to data from the previous month and easily demonstrate progress from period to period.
How to Determine If It Belongs in a Marketing Report?
Before we conclude, we’ll leave you with a few pointers that can help sort through marketing data. By asking yourself these key questions, you’ll be able to eliminate irrelevant data that fails to serve your report.
A. Does the Data Explain Our Progress Towards Marketing Goals?
As discussed above, platforms like Google Analytics or Facebook Ads provide a wealth of information.
This data provides value, but only if it tells you something about your immediate goals.
For example, if you’re attempting to increase website traffic by X percent for the month, stats like individual page rankings are not necessarily relevant to the topic.
Throwing in these additional facts will likely distract from the important conversation. However, a metric like bounce rate may be relevant if the website experiences a period of unusually high bounces. You may sometimes need to use your discretion and ask if this data is of immediate importance to the task at hand.
B. Is the Data Easy to Understand?
In this article, we’ve used a strong amount of marketing vernacular that you’re like familiar with. However, the same is often not true for those that operate outside of the industry.
You want to ensure that your report contains basic vocabulary that’s easy for all parties to understand. When taking the data from your analytics platform, restructure it in a way that speaks to the common person.
C. Does the Client Need to Know This?
This final point can be tricky if done improperly.
Even expert marketers will experience a rise and fall within certain metrics. Because we have expertise and insights into trends, we know when a red arrow is a cause for concern.
The same is not always true for the client and seeing negative trends will generally be a cause for alarm. Seeing numbers pointing down can end up dominating the report, even when much of your news is largely positive.
For this reason, think carefully about whether or not certain numbers need to be acknowledged or highlighted in the report.
Note that this is not an opportunity to evade talking about genuinely poor performance. Use your judgment to tell the difference and use your expertise to keep your client’s concerns at ease.
Use This As a Template for Your Marketing Reports
Marketers will virtually always want these six categories somewhere within their weekly or monthly digital marketing reports.
However, remember that these ideas serve as a general template. The exact metrics you want to include will depend upon:
- The types of marketing channels being used
- What types of campaigns you’re running
- The client’s immediate marketing goals
Nevertheless, these categories will consistently point you toward the correct numbers that directly address progress. It’s then up to you to provide context for your analytics so that your client can understand where you stand even without insider marketing knowledge.
Your marketing efforts run on the client’s budget, so you owe it to them to ensure they’re educated. However, you have the power to tell a clear and cohesive story that they won’t be able to discover themselves. Use that opportunity to show your strengths, plan new strategies, and omit obfuscatory data.
Remember, you can improve your reporting process right here at DashClicks by taking advantage of our free marketing and reporting software. Signing up for an account is completely free and you can integrate your third-party accounts at any time.
Demonstrate growth, highlight revenue increases, and get to the bottom line. This keeps clients happy and keeps them returning to your team for marketing services every month.