Digital marketing performance reports are more than necessary. Not only for obvious reasons, like tracking your strategies’ performance, but also because by showing a clear and easy-to-understand performance report to clients, agencies are able to build a relationship of trust through transparency and accountability with their clients.
Here’s why reports are more than just PDFs you consult once a month, but instead, a valuable asset for clients and agencies alike.
Identifying the right KPIs for the client’s business
Every company is different, and so are the marketing strategies for all of them; social media, SEO, PPC, email marketing, content marketing… With this ever-growing amount of available data from multiple platforms, it is of utmost importance to understand what KPIs to track and which ones should be discarded.
For every great agency, the secret lies in having an acute understanding of the industry their client is in, and choosing all the relevant KPIs to keep track of.
So the starting point for any agency should be to learn more about their client’s industry, and discuss what goals their client has in mind. Then, once they have a marketing strategy in place to achieve those goals, they can choose the key performance indicators that will provide the most relevant information to track each of their clients’ marketing strategies closely.
It’s also important that agencies stay away from vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are stats that aren’t directly linked to goals, for example, your number of followers on Facebook if social media isn’t part of your strategy. These are nice to look at from time to time, however they should not be a part of your monthly or weekly reports since it will only make marketing reports heavier, without any benefits. These metrics should be discarded from the get-go to make sure only the relevant data for the client’s goals are showcased.
Giving an overview of data trends and progression over time
A great performance report will not only provide data and results, but it will also have context and references over time. An agency will usually compare their client’s data year over year (YoY) and/or month over month (MoM), in order to contextualize the data regarding seasonality.
For example, if the number of sales for a B2B business is lower in December than November, it might seem a little concerning at first. But showing in the report that the company had more sales this December than the same month last year (and that a lower number of sales is normal during the Holidays) will not only give context but change an otherwise bad result into what it really is: an improvement.
Different types of performance reports can be used to showcase the information as clearly as possible, depending on the strategies used, such as a Google Analytics dashboard, a Social media report, or a SEO reporting dashboard. An overview report can also be used to showcase all your data into the same report.
No matter the type of report that you choose, it’s important to make sure it is sectioned by marketing strategies to make sure the data is clear and concise and to present the information with easy to understand graphs and charts that will really showcase the trends and progression of the data over time.
Here’s an example:
Appropriate and properly customized charts are essential to a quality digital marketing report as it gives a better idea of how well marketing strategies are working, without it, it would be a lot more difficult to grasp all the trends of your marketing performance.
Benchmarking data against relevant competitors
In order to track your marketing efforts efficiently, it is also crucial to compare your results against competitors.
Data is irrelevant without context; is 10 000 visits per day on your website a good number for your industry? Is a 65% bounce rate normal or is it really bad? It all depends on your industry, and that’s why benchmarks are crucial.
It’s important to include them in performance reports since without proper benchmarks, it’s almost impossible to determine your digital performance. It’s also important to choose competitors that are relevant according to the relative size and industry of the business. This will help make your reports more relevant and easy to understand and act upon.
Translating data insights into actionable tasks
All these relevant stats and marketing metrics in your report are of no value if they are not translated into actionable tasks at the end of the pipeline.
Agencies should determine the tasks that need to be done next to achieve their clients’ goals and make sure to include it in their performance report, along with the tasks that have been done recently.
It’s also a good practice for agencies to have a quick one-on-one discussion with their clients about what’s been done and what’s coming up in order to make sure they’re both on the same page.
Refining and improving the report according to the client’s needs
A digital performance report is all about the clients’ needs. And those needs can change.
Agencies are not always in their clients’ shoes and may ignore some of the more intricate aspects of the clients’ business if they do not pay close attention.
It’s important for agencies to tailor the report to their clients’ needs and make sure the reports are still relevant month after month. A quick discussion on the phone or through a video chat from time to time is enough for agencies to make sure their client’s expectations are met, that both parties are working towards the same objectives and that the report still answers all the right questions.
Not only does this help agencies make better decisions and create a better report, but this improves the communication and overall relationship between the agency and its clients. The client is listened to and knows his campaigns are well taken care of, which in return can only improve client retention for the agency, and provide better results for the client.
Creating a great digital marketing performance report is not just about having a good-looking or complete report. It’s about improving communications between clients and agencies.
Clients deserve a report that’s concise, with clear graphs and charts, so that they can easily understand how their digital marketing strategies are performing. By creating a report with all the right KPIs, benchmarks, actionable tasks, and comments, and by keeping clients’ data relevant to their goals and needs, agencies do not only provide a very complete report, but they enable a better relationship with their clients. Clients can then understand their agency’s work better, and be confident that they are working towards scaling their business every single day.
And this is why a digital performance report is a must, both for clients and agencies.
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