How to Create a Digital Marketing Report Your Manager Will Love
Regular Reporting Is Critical to Your Success
Reporting helps you show exactly how your social media campaigns, search engine marketing tactics, and other digital strategies drive business outcomes. If you can objectively prove—using data—that you helped grow sales X amount by doing Y during a certain period, you will have a much easier time with getting your budget requests approved, securing a promotion, and more. Such communication between yourself and upper management is also necessary for ensuring that the business is working towards the right goals and that those goals are being met.
Finding the Right Cadence
Should your reports occur weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly? Aim to provide your managers with at least some performance data on a weekly basis. It may be difficult to get the necessary information for a comprehensive report on that short of a timeline, so it’s okay to provide a slimmed-down weekly or bi-weekly report with more substantial briefings occurring monthly. The bare minimum reporting time frame should be quarterly, which is likely when your managers will have to report to their managers (executive team, board of directors, shareholders).
Tip: Consider ways to make deeper data dives more accessible to those who are interested by linking to specific reports in Google Analytics, for example, or sharing the excel doc that lists the performance of each article published within that time frame.
4 Key Questions to Address in Your Briefing
Managers typically don’t want to know the nitty-gritty details about everything you do. They are generally concerned with four basic questions:
- Question 1: How much money are we spending?
- Question 2: How many people are we reaching?
- Question 3: How effective are our marketing efforts?
- Question 4: What is the financial return on our marketing dollars?
If you can help your managers answer these four questions, you will be an invaluable asset.
There are lots of different metrics, charts, and graphs that you can use to convey this information. Here is an example of a top-level summary:
Each row in the table above helps answer one of the four key questions that managers have.
Question 1: Amount spent–total expenditure on creating and promoting marketing materials (Facebook Ads, prizes for contests and giveaways) during the reporting time period.
Question 2: Total reach–number of people who received your marketing message through a social media post, email campaign, etc.
Website visitors–number of people who received your marketing messages by visiting your website.
Question 3: New leads–subset of people who received your marketing message and became active sales leads.
New customers–subset of leads who went on to become customers.
Question 4: Cost per lead and Cost per customer–amount spent on generating one lead and one new customer.
Include a column for month-over-month (MoM) percentage change as well. In the table above, for example, we can see that there was a one percent MoM increase in marketing expenditure during the month of February. What’s great is that this one percent increase in spending led to a proportionally larger increase in total reach, website visitors, new leads, and new customers. In fact, the cost of obtaining one additional customer actually decreased by two percent! Having such concrete insights in hand can be immensely powerful when you are trying to secure a larger budget or better tools and resources for your department.
NOTE: If your sales have a significant seasonal or other cyclical component, you should instead provide comparisons from the same time last year (February 2017 vs. February 2018) as those will provide better context than MoM changes.
It can also be insightful to further break down results by marketing channels. For example, here is a depiction of website traffic by the source channel:
Here is another chart, which breaks down new customer acquisition by the source channel:
Information such as this can help managers identify the most profitable channels and allocate budgets accordingly.
Another option is to look at intra-channel results. For example, here is a chart that shows marketing outcomes by platform within the social media channel.
*For the “Cost per lead” and “Cost per customer” metrics, the “Total” column represents an average across the five social media platforms.
It appears that, among social media networks, Facebook was a great source of new customers in February with LinkedIn coming in as a close second.