Digital Marketing Reports: How to Create One (& What to Include)
When it comes to digital marketing, it’s never been easier to measure the effectiveness of every dollar spent. When you have this information, you can improve and maximize the return on investment from your marketing efforts. One of the best ways to record and present this information is to create digital marketing reports.
In this article, we are going to discuss the purpose of a digital marketing report, discuss what to include in the report, and give you some tips on how to create an effective digital marketing report.
Let’s dive in.
The purpose of a digital marketing report
The core purpose of a digital marketing report is to measure the progress of your marketing efforts so you can identify actionable steps you can take to improve your performance. A great digital marketing report will help you to make decisions so that you can meet and exceed your marketing goals – whether that be improving brand awareness, boosting sales conversions, improving lead generation, or any other metric.
Here are some of the main purposes of a digital marketing report and why they are important:
Shows Your Progress
When your marketing team or client can see the results of your campaigns, they can see for themselves what is working and what isn’t. Without having digital marketing reports, your teams will be flying blind and possibly implementing marketing strategies that aren’t the best use of your resources. Having digital marketing reports a core part of your workflow means everyone knows where you are heading and how you plan to get there.
Helps you deploy resources
When you know the effectiveness of every dollar spent, you can better deploy your resources to maximize the results of your marketing strategies. For example, if your reporting shows that your content marketing strategy is resulting in better outcomes than your social media marketing strategy, you can increase spending on content marketing and reduce spending on social media marketing.
Provides Real-Time Information
Digital marketing reports don’t have to be static documents that are passed around at the end of the month. There is an excellent selection of software tools to create and share marketing reports. Having access to real-time information helps you make better marketing decisions so you can maximize the return on investment of every dollar spent.
Keeps Your Team Informed
Distributed teams are now common, so it’s important that every team member knows exactly what is going on with the marketing strategy. Digital marketing reports help you do this by giving each team member up-to-date information on the areas of the marketing strategy that they are responsible for so they can make improvements to boost the effectiveness of the overall strategy.
What to include in a digital marketing report
The most effective digital marketing reports are well-organized and should include both summaries that are easy for people to scan as well as detailed information that backs up that summary. Your report must be easily understood by both experienced marketers and non-marketers, as they will likely be viewed by a wide range of people.
Here are the most important categories that your digital marketing report should contain:
1. Summary Page
The purpose of the summary page is to highlight all of the most important pieces of information. For example, you may list each KPI and then state the results or status of each one. When a reader views this page, they should come away with a good understanding of the current state of your marketing plan and the results of what has been done so far. All information presented after the summary page should back up this information.
2. A Marketing Strategy Section
It’s a good idea to have a section in your digital marketing report that reiterates your marketing strategy. Whether it’s your team members or your clients reading the report, stating the marketing strategy you’re pursuing reminds everyone what your strategy is. For example, you may state the target market of your plan, the channels you are using to reach them, which of those channels are performing best, and which channels have the best growth opportunities. You can also outline any changes to the original strategy if you’ve made any.
If you’re writing a report for a client, this section will help them to see how effective your strategy implementation has been so they can be reassured that they hired a great marketing agency. For teams, it will help them better understand the bigger picture and how their efforts to date have helped achieve good results.
3. Show Metrics
Once you have articulated your marketing strategy and how well it’s performing so far, the next thing to include is a set of metrics and show the conversion rates of each of them. The best way to show this information is to visualize it by using graphs and other charts.
Here are some examples of metrics you can show in your report:
Leads generated by each channel
The source of each lead generated
The cost of each conversion (for paid channels such as social, PPC)
The source (channel) of each conversion
A breakdown of revenue by channel
Paid vs. organic lead breakdown
Email sign-ups and opening rates
Website traffic bounce rates
This information is important, as you’re able to compare results each time you publish a new digital marketing report. This helps your team and client know you are making improvements between the period of each report.
4. Channel Breakdowns
If your marketing strategy involves using multiple channels, it’s a good idea to have a section in your report dedicated to each one. For example, if you are simultaneously implementing a content marketing strategy, social media strategy, and a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy, you should detail the plan and results of each in a separate section.
Let’s take PPC as an example. In your PPC section, you should detail the strategy you are pursuing and then include information such as:
The cost per click
The cost per conversion
Total ad spend vs total return on investment (ROI)
5. Future Goals and Budgets
To convince your client to stick with you as their marketing agency and to inform your team where you are heading, it’s important to have a future plans section that outlines the next set of goals you will be pursuing. Within this section, you can also outline the budget you have for each part of your strategy so your clients can see that you are paying good attention to their marketing spending.
When you create a new digital marketing report, you can refer back to the goals and budgets of your last plan so you can show your progress and highlight the ROI of your work.
How to create a digital marketing report
When creating your digital marketing report, you must make sure you customize the approach you take depending on the specific client or people that you are preparing it for. This might involve highlighting specific information or uniquely presenting the information. Regardless of how you prepare your report, keep in mind that the main purpose is to show the effectiveness of each dollar spent so they can make informed decisions or be assured your work is having its desired effect.
Here are a few good tips to consider when creating a digital marketing report:
Use a report template
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel; lots of other clever marketers have already put the work into figuring out what a great report looks like. Use one of their templates, and you’ll automatically check some of the other boxes below. DashThis, for example, has various marketing dashboard templates that you can customize with your priority KPIs.
Give actionable information
By this we mean to make sure the information in the report informs your client or team so they can use it to make better business decisions. This will not only help them improve the performance of their business, but it will also show them that your agency is a great business partner to have.
Keep Your Report Organized
The best reports are ones that the reader can instantly understand what the information says and why it matters. One of the best ways to ensure this happens is to use a marketing dashboard tool that lets you drag-and-drop KPIs/metrics, and create a shareable link to share results. Your clients and team can easily check each metric and see the results of your marketing efforts to date.
Use graphs, charts, and visuals
When presenting complex information, the best way to make it more easily understandable is to use motion graphics and other images. For example, by using a tool like Piktochart’s graph maker, you can easily create visuals to help people quickly understand your points.
Focus on Metrics
When you focus on metrics, you’ll be able to better hold yourself accountable for the work that your team implements. Each time you release a new report, you’ll be able to see if you met the goals set in the previous report and the progress made with the overall marketing plan KPIs. This will also help to keep your team motivated, as they can see their work is having a positive effect, and if you work with clients, they can see that you’ve made good progress.
Make Them “Live” Documents
By this we mean to make sure your digital marketing reports are easily accessible by your clients and team so they can refer to them 24/7 and see the real-time progress of their work. This will help them to make better decisions and improve their work and, as a result, boost the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.
Hopefully, you’ve made your way to the end of this article and you’re now much better informed about why you should create digital marketing reports, what you should include in your reports, and some of the best practices for creating reports that will get results