A common misinterpretation for reports is that they should only show positive results. Whilst it’s clearly important to demonstrate success, it’s also important to recognise which parts of the campaigns aren’t working as hoped. Digital marketing is such a reactive and unpredictable sector, with lots of methods available to use and a variety of channels at our disposal in order to reach the desired audience. It’s never a case of one-model-fits-all, and instead each strategy will require adaptation and fine-tuning during a campaign. There are multiple components that are essential to a digital marketing report, regardless of the industry or business. Here we’ll be breaking down a digital marketing report and discuss the various sections that should be included.
Which sections are included?
Often a report would open with a summary of the campaign performance for that month or quarter in relation to the objectives and KPIs. All digital marketing campaigns will have objectives and goals set at the beginning, whether it’s to increase SQLs, reach more people on social media, or get more people visiting and engaging with a company website. Essentially, it’s the top-level overview of the marketing efforts over a period of time.
Digital marketing campaigns consist of a variety of channels, often including social media, SEO, email marketing and content creation in the form of a blog or downloadable resources such as whitepapers. Each of these channels should have their own section within a report, with a breakdown of the objectives, work carried out to meet the objectives, and data analytics to evidence the results of said work.
Finally, a conclusion can be included at the end of a report that aims to summarise the overall performance and provide short insights moving forward for the various channels. It can highlight the objectives that have been successfully met, and where more work needs to be done or a change in approach is required for meeting the remaining objectives.
An example structure could therefore resemble the following:
- Overview of performance
- Website/SEO breakdown
- Social media breakdown
- Email marketing breakdown
Of course, each report is going to vary depending on the business, strategy and objectives set out. Furthermore, these days there are countless applications and platforms that can be used to manage content, analyse data and generate reports. In fact, due to the sheer volume of tools available, digital marketing reports can become highly complex and provide incredibly detailed insights to user behaviour and activity.
Data is key
For any report, using data is essential for demonstrating the results and trends, allowing for problems or opportunities to be identified and recommendations to be made. Digital marketing and data analytics are a perfect match. The use of digital platforms and tools means that virtually everything can be tracked or measured. This is one of the major benefits of digital marketing; having access to quantifiable data that can be viewed at any point in time means you get an accurate picture of the campaign.
In the report, data visualisation is important and can tell a clear story to the readers. With the vast amount of data available, it can be difficult to narrow down and draw conclusions. Visualising data suitably in graphs and charts helps to build a simplified breakdown of a channel’s performance.
There will be key metrics used for each channel, such as open and click rates for email marketing and impressions, likes and comments for social media. If we were to use SEO as an example, some of the key metrics may be traffic sources, keyword ranking, position tracking, number of backlinks and page speed performance. Each of these will have their own visualisations in order to demonstrate the changes over time.
Including the raw data itself in a table format may be beneficial as well, especially for those metrics that may be showing signs of significant fluctuation. A metric for determining the success of inbound website marketing, such as SEO and blog writing, is organic traffic. This often varies each month due to keyword competition, volume of new content being added and algorithm updates. Sometimes seeing the exact user count per month in a table format can give a more in-depth assessment.
Recognising the purpose
Throughout a digital marketing report, it’s important to be aware of its purpose and what the client requires. When constructing the report, the information being included should give the client a clear understanding of where their investment is going. They need to observe the balance between their financial input and the results it’s yielding.
As previously mentioned, objectives are set out at the beginning of a digital marketing campaign. These are discussed in collaboration with the client or stakeholders, outlining clearly how their money will be spent and which areas of the business they want to see results in. This could be goal conversion using call to actions in email campaigns, or increasing the number of resource downloads from their website.
Ensuring the purpose of the campaign is being considered when reporting the data will help to produce a comprehensive report that ticks the right boxes. When it’s unclear where money is being spent, significant problems start to arise.
Digital marketing reports and the elements included will vary depending on the individual client, however the overall structure of a report often remains consistent. Re-establishing the objectives and goals, giving an overview of the campaigns performance, followed by a breakdown of the individual channels and finished with a summary that highlights the aspects that worked and where some adjustments are required. All of this needs to be done using accurate data that is suitably presented, giving the client a clear picture of where their investment is going and the results its yielding.
At Inflowing, we’re comfortable with data and use a variety of metrics to measure performance and identify areas that need improvement. Adapting and reacting are key to successful digital marketing campaigns; we provide weekly and monthly reports to our clients to ensure that we keep on top of performance and adapt strategies in a timely manner.
Inflowing is a B2B marketing agency. We help B2B organisations do meaningful things with marketing. Whether that’s getting more leads, more visibility, or supporting their sales teams.
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