What Should a Digital Marketing Report Contain?
Analyzing the results we’ve obtained is the last step for any marketing campaign or action we’ve carried out. It’s one of the most critical given that it gives us insight into the reach our efforts have had, and above all if they've achieved the objectives we set at the beginning. We need to share all this information with the client and, to do so, we usually create a performance report that has to fulfill a set of requirements and follow a structure to be useful.
The fundamental requirements for a digital marketing performance report
When creating a marketing report, it’s not the “what” that’s important but also the “how.” In other words, the keys are how we present the document, the information we include, and how we structure it so that the person who reads it can interpret it and find it useful.
Therefore, before we go ahead and start extracting data or information about the campaign we’re looking to analyze, it’s crucial you create a template that will serve as the structure you will base your work on afterward. At this stage, it’s critical you consider the following tips:
1. Your objectives are everything
Every marketing campaign or action has a purpose, and along with it, a series of measurable goals: website visits, lead generation, sales, and so on. The success or failure of a campaign will be measured based on those goals. These should be the report’s driving force. Analyze every piece of data and always compare it with your stated objective.
2. Less is more: only include critical information
Remember that this document's aim is that the person who reads it gets an idea of how the campaign or action carried out fared. It's likely that this person has little time, and the report should transmit everything they need to know about the campaign quickly and straightforwardly. Only include the essential details, and if you so choose, add secondary information in appendices.
3. A picture is worth more than 1,000 pieces of data
To ensure the report is efficient, besides selecting the most essential information, it's critical you know how, and they're comprehensible in a single look. Use resources like bar charts or tables to show the campaign’s data whenever possible.
4. Performance reports for all audiences
A good performance report is one that's understandable for anybody, not just for the marketing team. It's critical that a clear executive document can be interpreted by anyone, whether it be someone from the direct team but someone who doesn't have day-to-day contact with the project, such as the sales team or the CEO.
What should a digital marketing campaign performance report contain?
While every digital marketing professional has their style, the truth is there are some points they have in common such as the information the client needs to know when it's time to tell if the campaign has worked or not. Having this into account, order the data according to their degree of importance so, in the first few pages, the reader can answer the question they have in their head: how did the campaign go?
Our ideal structure and the one we tend to use in our reports is the following:
1. Overall campaign results
When the client receives the campaign performance report, they’re generally wondering how it went. Therefore, this should be our jumping-off point. As this is the most crucial part of the report, it should come first.
Try to make sure that the person reading the report has it clear how the campaign is going in the first four or five slides, as a maximum. It involves offering a summary with the campaign’s goals and the results we’ve gotten so, in just one look, the client can answer their questions.
Also, take advantage of this time to remind the client of the objectives they set with that campaign. Besides, it’s also important to remind them that they should be SMART objectives: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
2. Results by channel
Today, it's customary to carry out multichannel actions where we use social media, websites, Paid Media, and more. It's interesting for the client to know to what extent each channel contributed to achieving the goals set at the beginning of the campaign or action. Should you find this of interest, you can include this information at the beginning of the report. A table with a breakdown by channel and the corresponding data will suffice.
3. The actions carried out
The client's familiar with the campaign you've executed, so you don't need to go into too many specifics in this sense. Use bullet points to list the different actions you've carried out to refresh their memory, and that's it. If you desire, you can break it down by channel or areas if it makes it more transparent: SEO, web, design, social media, etc.
If the campaign includes SEO/SEM actions, we recommend including the results you’ve obtained in the final report. Remember to have the objectives present and explain how these channels have played a part in the results we’ve gotten.
5. Paid Media Traffic
In the same way, if we've run Paid Media campaigns (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and so on), we should include the results we've achieved in terms of our objectives. Include the main KPIs (key performance indicators) and put the rest in an appendix or a specific report that’s linked to this one.
Make a brief assessment of the campaign in a summary format with the objectives in consideration. Use bullet points to highlight three or four essential aspects.
In the same way you wrote your conclusions, make four or five conclusions based on the results you got from this campaign. They can, for example, be lessons to take into consideration for future actions.
8. Next Steps
More concisely, list out the next steps.
Note that these are general recommendations for developing a performance report after having launched a marketing campaign or action. Nonetheless, it’s critical you adapt this template your client’s needs or to those of the action you’re carrying out. The key to this report is that it’s useful, and in this sense, there can be many ways to execute it.
Nonetheless, remember that the most important thing is always to take the objectives you've set as a reference, go in-depth, and use a visual format to ensure that your client can see how the campaign fared in just one look.