How to plan your marketing reporting
09 Jan 2023 | by Joe Meade
8 min read
The marketing reporting process is an essential part of any company’s marketing efforts. This is because the process of creating a marketing report tells you whether your marketing campaigns are performing well or whether they need to be refined.
Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about marketing reporting, including what a good marketing report needs to contain, how to decide what information you should include, and how the report should be laid out. But, let’s first start by analysing why marketing reporting is so important.
Why should I produce a marketing report?
Marketing reports are vital in several different circumstances and scenarios. Reasons you might put together a marketing report include:
- Justifying marketing expenses
- Advocating for a larger marketing budget
- Figuring out which of your marketing activities has worked best
- Finding holes in your marketing strategy
- Deciding whether resources have been allocated correctly
Although at first glance it may look like lots of numbers, graphs, and charts that are hard to decipher, a properly executed marketing report can help you answer a number of important questions about your marketing campaigns, such as:
- How do I know that the marketing campaign I executed worked?
- How can I prove to my boss that an additional marketing spend will provide even better results?
- How can I fix campaigns that are faltering?
- How can I improve the ROI of campaigns that are already successful?
What should a marketing report contain?
A good marketing report provides a snapshot of your business and its performance. This is because a marketing report takes data from your marketing channels in real-time, visualises it, and lets you create a custom report that you can send to your marketing team and key stakeholders.
Marketing reports are important because they allow you to quickly and easily stay on top of your marketing performance across all channels. These reports can also tell you where your digital marketing efforts are successful and where they might need to be refined.
Marketing reports vary depending on what data you’re reviewing. They can assess where your traffic and leads are coming from, what content these people interacted with, if and when a customer converted, and how long it took for a prospect to become a customer.
Depending on the channels you’ve used and the goals of your campaigns, your marketing report may include an analysis of the following metrics:
- Website data, including page views, top landing pages, new vs returning users, and paid vs organic traffic
- Blog data, including page views, top posts, top categories or tags, and traffic by source
- SEO data, including top-ranking keywords and pages, keyword movements, and rankings
- Paid data, including goal performance, ad spend, cost per conversion, and ROI
- Email data, including most popular email, new subscribers, unsubscribers, number of emails sent, click-through rate, and email open rate
- Social data, including followers, engagement metrics, reach, and top-converting channels
- Lead data, including marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, average customer acquisition cost, and lead conversion rate
As we’ve mentioned though, each company’s needs are different and you’ll need to decide which of these metrics are appropriate for your business.
How to decide what goes in your report
A good marketing report contains a collection of data from different marketing sources. It also neatly and succinctly presents all of this information and provides you with an overview of your business’s marketing efforts, including how your efforts are performing against KPIs.
But, you don’t have to include all of the information relating to your campaigns and their performance. After all, a marketing report only needs to provide you with the data you need to make an informed decision and then take action.
So, before you put any information or data into your marketing report, remind yourself of the purpose of the report and what you’re looking to achieve. If a metric isn’t connected to the success of your marketing efforts, then it does not need to go into your report.
If you include too much information, conflicting pieces of data, and superfluous facts and figures, then you’ll find that it’s very difficult to make decisions quickly and stakeholders will be confused. So, only include data that provides you with good, digestible insights that you can use to tweak your existing strategy.
How you should lay out your marketing report
Selecting the data you’re going to add to your marketing report is vitally important. However, properly presenting that data is just as important. After all, marketing reports inform decisions. Due to this, your marketing report must be tailored to suit the needs of key decision-makers. For this reason, each marketing report is different.
However, generally speaking, almost all marketing reports loosely contain the following sections:
A strategy overview
This is a high-level snapshot that provides key information at a glance. It should get the reader up to speed as quickly as possible and should provide them with the context they need.
Within this section, you should include details about your goals, the personas you’re targeting, and which channels you’re using.
This is a one-page overview that should highlight key successes at a glance. In theory, key stakeholders who have limited time should be able to digest this page and get an overview of all the key pieces of information they need. They can then dive deeper into the rest of the report at a later date.
Campaigns/areas of focus
In this section, you should provide an overview of your recent efforts, including campaigns you’ve run, as well as projects and tasks you’ve completed.
This is the ‘deep dive’ section where you’ll include the majority of your data. Remember though, nobody wants to get lost reading pages and pages of analytics. As a result, you must focus on the content that is most relevant to you and your team.
In this section, you should place the most impactful data first. On top of this, you should also visualise as much data as possible. By including visual data in your marketing reports, you’ll make the report much easier to digest.
Within the section, you should also use callouts as much as possible. This way, you can provide additional context where needed, and also ensure any relevant information and key wins are sufficiently highlighted. That said, your report still needs to be a digestible length and you don’t want to include too many words or too much data.
Finally, when writing this section, you should consider your audience. Depending on who you’re presenting your report to, you may decide to inject some personality into your prose to keep things entertaining and interesting.
In this final section, you can again summarise the key findings. You should then outline your key learnings, exactly what you’ll be working on during the next reporting period, the goals you expect to achieve, and when the next report will be compiled.
How often should I create a marketing report?
Marketing reporting isn’t a one-off task. Instead, creating a marketing report should be part of your regular marketing activities. This way, you can keep your team informed about how their efforts are performing and the progress you’ve made towards achieving your goals.
Most businesses produce marketing reports on a monthly basis. However, if you’re tracking the progress of a particular campaign that’s held over a shorter timescale (such as a Black Friday event, for example), then you could produce a report weekly or even daily. But, if you’re producing reports that cover a shorter period of time, you should also make them more succinct.
Creating a marketing report each month may seem like a daunting task. However, to make your life much easier, you can create a convenient template that you can replicate each month. Not only will this process save you time, but it will also ensure that your report is consistent and contains information and data that can be directly compared.
How to put your marketing report to use
If you simply create your report, send an email to stakeholders and then immediately forget about it, you’re not experiencing the benefits the report can provide.
Instead, you need to digest your report and turn the data within it into actionable insights that can power your future campaigns. To do this, you should:
Look for trends in your data
Ask yourself questions such as:
- What content drives the most traffic?
- What subjects are most popular?
- What channels are giving me the best ROI?
- What keywords are doing well?
The answers to these questions will help guide your decision-making process and will influence your future strategies and campaigns.
Forensically examine weaknesses
Knowing your weak points can be just as valuable as knowing your strengths. So, when analysing your data, ask yourself the following questions:
- Which keywords need nurturing?
- Which campaigns underperformed?
- What do underperforming campaigns have in common?
- How could we improve these campaigns?
- How could we refine our messaging?
If you can highlight underperforming campaigns and spot trends, you can boost your ROI and ensure that you’re using your marketing budget as efficiently as possible.
Set new goals
Now you’ve highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of your current efforts, you can shift your budgets and emphases. However, as you alter your campaigns in order to make improvements, you should also set new goals for each campaign.
Although you have benchmark data available, you should consider what you expect to achieve by placing more budget behind a campaign, or by allocating more time to it. This will also help keep your team focused because they will have a definition of what success looks like.
How Apteco can help with marketing reporting
If you’re running multi-channel marketing campaigns, then you may think that marketing reporting sounds like a complex, daunting, and time-consuming task. Thankfully, when you enlist the help of our powerful solutions, the whole process is a breeze.
Firstly, with the help of Apteco intelligence, you can build and deliver campaigns that deliver incredible results. This is because Apteco intelligence adds extra insights and capabilities to your campaigns. With the help of predictive analytics, profiling, scoring and automation, your marketing communications will be provided with an added edge that helps improve performance and engagement.
Using this technology, you can provide individuals with their best next offer, automate A/B testing, and score your customers and leads on the individual level. This way, you can ensure you’re always targeting them with the right campaigns.
Once you’ve delivered your campaigns, we can also help you transform dashboard insights into campaign actions. Our interactive marketing dashboards combine high performance and ease of use to deliver an intuitive, practical user experience. The wide range of beautiful visualisations on offer makes your data easily digestible and helps you uncover actionable insights for immediate use in campaigns.
With our interactive marketing dashboards, you can:
- Choose from bar, column, donut, pie, line charts, number cards, and maps
- Set up drill-down layers so that others can explore and delve into the data
- Filter your data and drill down into particular areas of interest
- Preview layouts by device to ensure an optimal experience for all your colleagues, wherever and whenever needed
- Share interactive dashboards with your colleagues, groups, or just a select few
To discover more about how Apteco software can help you generate high-performing campaigns and beautiful and actionable marketing reports, book a demo for a time that suits you today.