The Comprehensive Reference To Marketing Reporting For Digital Marketers, Including Tools, Templates, Dashboards, and Software
Marketing is the art of spreading information to attract new customers.
War is ninety percent information.
Napoleon Bonaparte, French Military and Political Leader
What is marketing reporting?
Marketing reporting is defined as the process of measuring the progress towards meeting goals. It helps you to understand what actions to take and how your marketing effort is creating value.
Let us get a clear understanding of the benefits of reports building into our regular workflows. Although the worth of marketing is quite clear to us, other people consider marketing as a support function and the money spent on it as a cost. It’s is the place where you feel the need for marketing reporting.
Marketing reporting can help you prove the worth of marketing. For example, if you can show how your campaigns are generating leads, bringing revenues, and fulfilling the business goals. Then you can prove the value of your and your departments and their efforts.
However, marketing reports help you get a clear idea about how things are working and what needs to be improved, and where we should spend our budget and give our efforts. A marketing report can answer all these questions and help you make the best business decision.
Marketing reporting basics
After we understand why should we create marketing reports, the thing we should be concerned about is, what constitutes a marketing report? The report can be of any type and look anyway. The thing that matters to you in the report may not be equally important to another person. Hence a few sections of a marketing report are broken down and discussed below.
This section gives you an overall view and breaks down the major points like challenges, successes, and future goals.
This section reveals the source of traffic, which is divided by channel and device.
This section shows how much interest is a person to your site when they have visited it. Bounce rate, time spent on site, and frequency of visit are a few key points.
Business impact metrics
This is what proves the ultimate marketing success and includes things like the revenue, opportunities, and pipeline generated.
Which marketing metrics should you report to?
Although you may feel like reporting everything, it is not a good idea. Because doing so, you may overwhelm your clients and stakeholders who are interested in just a handful of metrics like; leads for sales, branded search, conversion, etc.
To identify which metrics should you use, you must first figure out the objective and goals of your business and which metrics can best determine the ROI.
Steps to build a marketing dashboard
Building a marketing reporting dashboard is necessary for every marketer. No matter what system you are using to track down your business data. A dashboard helps you get a quick view of the metrics; that you think are valuable to you and your stakeholders.
When you are building a dashboard, you must have a clear view of your goals and then determine the performance of your campaigns over time. Besides, you must focus on a single topic and avoid having too many metrics, which helps a viewer to scan and get a quick understanding of the dashboard. Including too many metrics can make it complicated for the user to understand.
The overall creation of a dashboard is straightforward. Also, it works the same way in all systems. All that you need to do is, determine your business objectives and targeted audience, and then decide the marketing KPIs that you want to add.
considerations while building marketing reports
When building marketing reports, even if the metrics are similar, the individual channel source report may be different. For example, if you are making an SEO report, it won’t involve any information on ads and quality scores. Whereas; a PPC report will include it. An SEO and content marketing report can be similar in some ways as you are looking for organic keywords leading to clicks and conversion. An SEO report may include content information. But a content marketing report may not include technical issues and individual keyword rankings.
Let’s take the example of SEO and PPC reports. A typical SEO report includes the below-mentioned information:
- Rank improvements
- Keyword performance
- Landing page performance
- Top performing content
- Increase in organic traffic
- Improvements made to content and overall optimizations
- Technical errors like 404 and missing H1 tags
- Backlinks created
- Inbound traffic
- Explanation of all the above points
A typical PPC report has similar goals where you want to show how your marketing efforts are driving more leads and traffic- the look of the metrics is slightly different
- Individual device performance
- Ad performance
- Overall PPC performance
- Quality score
- Keyword performance
- Cost per conversion
- Impression share
- Click-through rates
- Overall cost
- Average cost per click
- Average position
Despite the differences in both the reports, it still shows the lessons learned, your plans, and how you want to address any issue.
Marketing reporting software and tools
If you ask ten different marketers what their favorite marketing tools are, you are bound to hear ten different replies. Most individuals utilize spreadsheet-based tools like Google Data Studio, Excel, and Google Sheets, as well as BI applications like Tableau, Qlik, and PowerBI, to create reports.
The tool you choose will be largely determined by your budget and requirements. Google Data Studio is a wonderful free alternative to traditional paid reporting solutions for most businesses. This one’s main selling feature is that it’s completely free. While there is a learning curve, you can rapidly conquer it by using one of the many free Google tools or by trial and error.
Why do we need marketing reporting?
Increased complexity of marketing landscape
Types of marketing reports (by maturity)
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
Albert Einstein, Physicist
- Ecommerce transactions: You sell something online and you have a direct conversion value. In this case it makes sense to skip this section and move to the ROI section.
- Lead capturing: Your goal is to get as many leads, form fills, event subscriptions, etc. as possible. The final outcome is a persons email address and/or details.
How many confirmed transactions (not cancelled) did each marketing channel or campaign generate?
How many qualified leads, opportunities and deals did my marketing channels and campaigns generate?