Before we take our deep dive into reporting, I know what you’re thinking: Reporting isn’t the sexy part of marketing I signed up for!
That’s true—it isn’t brainstorming how to overcome problems, creating unique campaigns, or closing big deals. But what reporting does do is target campaign goals, easily identify campaign performance, and save you time understanding where improvements need to be made.
Reporting is taking all of the information associated with a campaign and compiling it in one, easy-to-digest place, ready to hand off to a client or your team to understand wins and opportunities.
Whether you’re in an agency or running campaigns in-house, you know all too well the importance of reporting. One problem we see in the industry is that people often overcomplicate their reporting process and end up spending too much time on it. When you have an efficient reporting process in place, you’ll actually have more time to focus on campaigns!
And that’s where we come in. We’re here to help give you some key points to follow when creating or refining your reporting process that will help you create the best possible way to analyze your campaign’s performance!
Keep it simple.
The first key thing to keep in mind come reporting time is to keep it simple!
As we all know, reports are often created not just so we can analyze performance, but to hand off to someone else to analyze that performance as well.
Whether we are handing the report off to a client or another team member, they will want an easy to understand, concise report that gets to the point.
Remember: More words equals more opportunities for information to be lost in translation.
You want to make sure your reports are not data dumps. You can give someone all the information in the world, but at the end of the day people just want to know if the campaign is working or not working, and why.
The best way to avoid this is to discuss your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)—what will best show the success of your campaign?
Is your campaign designed to get eyes on a brand or sales? Do we want phone calls or PDF downloads? Identifying this will allow you to measure those KPIs and get a quick understanding of campaign performance.
You also want to make sure you have a consistent reporting cycle.
We have heard horror stories of reports only being put together when asked; as you can guess, that leads to catching problems too late. Depending on your business and your industry, setting a consistent reporting cycle will help keep a close eye on performance. One example may be compiling a report once monthly, and a more in-depth deep dive every quarter.
Visualize your data.
If you want to keep your reports simple, you should create a way to visualize the data for easy interpretation.
Visualizing data typically means turning hard data (i.e. the numbers) into graphs or charts.
Graphs and charts allow you to compare data sets or check performance over time.
Pictures tell a thousand words and graphs explain a thousand data points.
Depending on what KPIs you are reporting on and the information you want to display, your choice of graphs and charts is going to be an important part of the process. Each one will
- Line graphs help show trends over time.
- Column graphs help compare data.
- Pie charts show percentages of a whole.
There are tons of possibilities, but you want to be aware not to oversaturate your graphs with information. It is better to make a second graph before making one too complicated.
Automate your process.
The goal of these reports is to provide all the information needed to decide the success of campaigns—and to do so in a time-efficient manner.
If you spend hours per week creating and adjusting reports, you end up defeating the purpose of reports in the first place. Ideally, your reporting process should be as automated as absolutely possible.
Whether your reports come in a simple Excel sheet or a complicated Tableau dashboard, spend the time to find a way for your reports to automatically import all the necessary data to show trends in your KPIs.
There are endless amounts of reporting tools out there like Tableau, Sisense, TapAnalytics, and NinjaCat, to name a few.
Find one that has the necessary connections with tools you currently use and take the time to create the perfect report for your needs. It will save you countless hours in the future, I promise!
Tell a story.
We’ve talked about the importance of making your reports easy to understand and pretty, but maybe the most important function of our reports is to tell a story.
We’ve mentioned how almost always, our reports are going to end up in someone else’s hands. We want that person to understand the campaign goals, campaign performance, and what changes need to be made.
Think of your reports like a short story. You can hand someone Red Fish, Blue Fish or hand them a Tolkien-level masterpiece. Both meet different goals but when it comes to campaign management, time is of the essence, people.
Just like a story, our reports should have a beginning, middle, and end. It should follow the story of your campaign and align with the campaign goals, displaying things in an order that makes sense.
For instance, you can follow a typical buyer’s cycle: Measure impressions of your campaign, share how many leads you got, and document how many sales you closed. Follow up with a recap of the data and end with recommendations for adjustments.
Put together an outline of what needs to be explained, just how you would when writing a book, and you’ll have a masterpiece of your own in no time!
Tired of building those reports by yourself? Sick of managing campaigns without seeing progress? Let us take over. Contact us today to find out how we can help.