Reporting for the sake of reporting… you’re doing it wrong

By June 27, 2018 Stories

Analytical reporting is a marketer’s best friend. It should help inform which campaigns worked well, which fell flat and why – most importantly it should shape your future online marketing strategy. But for many, both agency and in-house, reporting becomes a monotonous monthly task that is given very little thought.

Many of us will think that we are creating valuable and informative monthly reports and why shouldn’t you! You may have already set KPIs, you know which metrics you’re going to measure across your digital channels and you have a reporting template in place. Great! But it’s easy to fall into the complacent trap.

Very often reports are put together based on a template or plan, but no further analysis is done to understand why. It’s all well and good reporting on the metrics you’ve chosen and identifying if KPIs have been hit, but more thought needs to put into why things have happened.

Why has traffic to the website spiked on a particular day? We often see with clients that we deliver full-service marketing to that traffic will spike on a day in which we gain coverage from a press release. Why have Twitter followers dropped this month? There is such a focus on growing social media followings that less attention is paid to the relevance of the followers. Why has there been a drop in the e-shot open rate? Maybe it was down to the time in which the e-shot was sent, in which case A/B testing may help you to find the most lucrative time to send out your campaigns.

Marketing reports shouldn’t just be standalone reports to the rest of the business – if you are in-house, then it is important for reporting to be collaborative across the company. Instead of sitting down with a senior management team and presenting sales reports or financial reports separately, take the time to analyse them together beforehand. It may be that the marketing report shows a really successful month with a huge increase in website traffic, but if the sales don’t reflect this, then it’s up to marketing to understand why the increase in online traffic hasn’t resulted in direct sales.

Most importantly, marketing reports should be used to identify what works and what doesn’t. Ensuring that goal conversion tracking is set-up analytics is a great way to track the performance of your campaigns and understand in more depth if something has been successful. For example, you may be running a lead generation campaign across your social media channels. It would be easy just to look at social media metrics such as engagement or reach and the newsletter sign-ups separately. But by setting up goals, you can identify which platforms performed the best and how many leads each platform generated. If Twitter didn’t perform as well as the others, further testing could be done before you may decide that the channel isn’t suitable for this kind of campaign.

Analysis may eat into your day, as it can be a time-consuming process to pull together an informative report, but the outcome is worth it. Without in-depth analysis, you will never truly understand how well your marketing efforts are working and how they can be improved in the future. If you need support with your marketing reports or wish to speak to us about digital marketing, please get in touch.