40+ Experts Share The Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report

42 Experts Share The Fundamentals Of A Digital Marketing Report - www.ruleranalytics.com

A digital marketing report allows marketers to evaluate performance, uncover important insights and optimise for campaign success. In this four-part series, 40+ experts share what fundamentals they include in their digital marketing reports, the challenges they face, and what tools they use to extract and present data.

There are two things us marketers have in common:

  1. 1. We need to show whatever we’re doing is fulfilling company goals.
  2. 2. And, demonstrate how we’re contributing to revenue growth.

With a digital marketing report, marketers can monitor the progress of their campaigns and uncover important insights which they can use to inform future budgetary decisions.

Reporting is the foundation of our success.

Without regular reporting, you won’t know what marketing activity helped increase your sales, and it will only be a matter of time before your marketing performance reaches a point where gradual progression is no longer possible.

It’s as simple as that.

While many of us do frequently report on our marketing performance, there’s a bit of uncertainty on what we should (or shouldn’t) include in our digital marketing reports.

So, we reached out to our network of digital marketing experts and asked them the following question:

“What are the fundamentals you include in your digital marketing report?”

Using their insights, we’re going to cover the following topics:

  • Challenges of building a digital marketing reporting
  • Fundamentals of a digital marketing report
  • What tools and templates you can use to build high-performance reports.

In this series, you will learn everything you need to know about building a high-powered digital marketing report.

Ready?

Let’s go.

Editor’s note: Too busy with client campaigns to read the four-part series? Don’t worry! You can download the fundamentals of a digital marketing report to receive all the insights shared by our marketing professionals—we’ve even added a few extra tips!

Fundamentals digital marketing report - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

What Can You Expect To Learn From This Digital Marketing Report Series?

From the introduction, you may have noticed that this blog is part of a series.

That is correct!

The plan was to feature all our respondents in one roundup.

Then, we sent out the survey.

Honestly, we was expecting maybe 10-15 people to respond, but went on to receive a whopping 42 submissions!!

Instead of condensing all their juicy insights into one roundup, we decided to spread them over a series of four blog posts.

Doing it this way will allow us to dig deep into each topic, and will provide you all with the best possible value.

That said, as this is an introduction piece, we’re going to give you a sneak-peek into each topic (we will get to later on).

Here’s what is coming up in this series:

 

Who Will Benefit From This Four-Part Series?

Anyone responsible for reporting on marketing performance.

Doesn’t matter what niche you’re in.

Or, whether you work for an agency or in-house.

The best thing about our responses is that they’re diverse.

As part of our survey, we asked the respondents, “what area(s) of digital marketing do you specialise in?”

Here are the results:

Fundamentals of a Digtial Marketing Report - Job Titles - www.ruleranalytics.com

As you can see, our respondents specialise in multiple areas of digital marketing.

So, no matter what vertical you operate in, you can expect to find some valuable insights from this series.

Sound good?

Let’s get started.

Note: This is a 7,000+ word guide on the fundamentals of a digital marketing report. So, we have added a table of contents so that you can navigate to the topic that is most relevant to you. 

Main Challenges Of Building A Digital Marketing Report

Before we take a look at the fundamentals, we’re going to highlight some of the most common challenges when it comes to building a digital marketing report.

By highlighting the core challenges, we can move forward into this series and look for ways on how we can avoid these common pitfalls.

We asked our respondents, “in a few words, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to reporting?”

Below are the results:

Fundamentals of a Digtial Marketing Report - Challenges of Reporting - www.ruleranalytics.com

Applying Insights To Data: Nearly a quarter of our respondents find it a challenge to transform data into actionable insights. You can have all the data in the world, but it’s useless if you’re unable to make decisions that have a measurable impact on your business. Luckily, for us, our respondents have shared ways on how they overcome this common obstacle.

Attributing Revenue: This didn’t come as a surprise. At Ruler, people come to us every day and tell us how they struggle to attribute value to their most successful marketing activities. Previously, it was acceptable to count the numbers of conversions in Google Analytics and call it a day. But, not anymore. Marketers are being held increasingly accountable for the need to connect their efforts with revenue growth. Simple lead generation is no longer enough.

Important note: if you struggle with revenue attribution, then you should check out our ebook on how to attribute sales revenue to your channels, campaigns, keywords and landing pages. You can download that here.

Cross-Channel Reporting: The ability to view and analyse marketing data across all of your channels is critical for business growth. That said, in recent years, the customer journey has become increasingly complex, and cross-channel reporting has turned into a longstanding quest for marketers trying to connect the dots between leads and revenue. Fortunately, there are attribution tools *cough* that can track your users over multiple touchpoints and help you overcome this challenge.

Administration Time: Having the right tools can help integrate data from multiple sources and eliminate some of the challenges that we’ve just discussed above. Although, to ensure that this data is accurate does require a lot of administration time. Also, clients tend to have different reporting requirements. Depending on the number of services you provide, it can take a while to compile reports each month.

Succinct Reporting: Another challenge is managing to paint a clear enough picture about your performance which is easy enough to understand. Sometimes, we forget that reports are shared among stakeholders. Marketing teams are typically more interested in website performance, whereas board members have an eye for high-level indicators such as sales and revenue.

Client Feedback: Regular communication with clients is key as it can help improve your products and services. That said, there will be times when clients won’t give you feedback. Either they’re too busy, too over-trusting or feel as though they don’t know enough about digital marketing to have a say.

Changing Marketplace: The world has moved fast in the last 20-years, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. As thrilling as this sounds, predicting consumer behaviour and keeping up to date with the latest customers trends in a fast-changing world is difficult.

 

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report

So, why do we pour so much time and effort into our reporting?

James Brockbank, Managing Director at Digitaloft, sums it up nicely for us, “a digital marketing report allows us to demonstrate the performance of one, or more channels. Typically, against pre-defined KPIs. It’s an opportunity for stakeholders to see a snapshot of how a channel is performing, combined with insights and activity.”

We’ve put the following topics together based on the insights shared by our respondents.

As mentioned earlier, we’ll be releasing a more in-depth blog for each topic throughout April and May.

But, as promised, we’re going to provide you with a sneak peek of what’s to come.

 

Measuring KPIs That Matter

Note: We go into this topic in more detail in “Part 2: Measuring Marketing KPIs That Matter – The Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report ”.

Some businesses still view their marketing department as a “cost centre”.

By measuring the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that matter, you can prove that marketing is generating sales-ready leads and, more importantly, driving revenue growth.

Marketing Dictionary
What is a KPI? A KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.

When asked to share the fundamentals of a digital marketing report, the majority of our respondents took the opportunity to list what KPIs they use to help drive actionable results.

Below is a list of the most common KPIs recommended by our respondents:

  • Traffic Metrics
  • Revenue
  • ROAS
  • Cost/Cost Per Acquisition
  • Leads
  • Brand Awareness
  • Bounce Rate
  • Conversion Rate
  • Device Insights
  • Clicks
  • Impressions

If you’re thinking, “should I use ALL these KPIs to measure the performance of my marketing activity?”

The answer is no.

There isn’t a rule of thumb when it comes to choosing how many KPIs you should measure.

But, you should try and stick to a minimum number as possible.

For Phil Mackechnie, Digital Marketer at Radfield Home Care, he “simplifies all marketing metrics down to the most relevant common three metrics only.”

He added, “this way all contributing channels can recognise their common goals. Each channel can, of course, have additional secondary metrics. But, by having three in common, we can help and understand our common goals regardless of what channels we’re responsible for.”

With so much data available, there is a temptation to measure everything.

But, measuring too many KPIs at once can send you into a tailspin, and you run the risk of jeopardizing your growth.

If you think you need to measure more than ten KPIs per campaign, then they aren’t necessarily ‘KEY’.

You may as well call them PI’s (Performance Indicators).

Robert Stoubos, Founder of Odyssey New Media, believes that while “some campaigns require only reporting on certain metrics, others are multi-channel and require many more metrics to gauge cross-channel performance.”

So, on that note, we’re going to walk you through some of the factors which can help you choose your most effective KPIs.

 

Align KPI’s With Organisation Growth Objectives

“There are endless data points we could observe, so aligning the KPIs with the objectives is important,” says George Onofrei, Account Manager at Broadplace.

Aligning your KPIs makes it possible for everyone to see how they contribute to the organisation in the most effective way possible.

Ash Winder, Senior Paid Media Executive at SQ Digital, believes that “there are two key questions you need to ask yourself before creating a report.”

  • What are the objectives I’m measuring performance against?
  • Who is my audience?

Before you consider your KPIs, you must understand what your organisational goals are, who your audience is and how you plan to achieve your objectives.

Both Amy Wilkinson, Director of Disruptive Thinking, and Matt Sellars, Account Director at Converted, share the same belief that “the fundamental data point to anchor your reports around should be focused on organisational growth.”

Amy and her team “identify core marketing objectives with KPIs, that align with the client’s overarching strategic and organisational growth objectives.”

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Amy Wilkinson - www.ruleranalytics.com

Still not sure how to align your KPIs with organisational objectives?

Matt shares an example to help you get started.

“if your main goal is to have a particular ROAS, the data should add valuable insights into whether this goal has been achieved in a particular week or month. In the case of ROAS, this could refer to conversion rate, cost per click and ROAS. This will help gain insight into where there’s a positive and negative impact on the main business goal,” says Matt.

 

Listen To Your Clients Needs

So, now you’re ready to align your KPIs with organisational growth objectives.

But, what if you’re an agency and provide a service to clients?

In our experience, clients don’t always know what they want.

Mainly because they don’t know enough about digital marketing, and at times, will struggle to articulate their core value proposition.

We’ve already spoken about the challenges of getting feedback from clients.

But, when you understand your client’s needs, it becomes easier to choose what KPIs you need.

During their onboarding process, Andy Adams, PPC Specialist at Clicky Media, said that “initially, we will have the main KPIs from the client about what information matters the most to their overall marketing goals”.

He added, “We also tend to include a range of other reporting metrics that contribute towards their main KPIs”.

The same applies to Aaron Crewe, Managing Director at Novi.Digital.

He explained that “in terms of metrics, this is up to the client. We do often advise that they shouldn’t focus on ranking positions or volumes of visitors, even necessarily the number of enquiries, but rather the ROI of these enquiries.”

There’s this old age saying:

People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. 

Listening to your customers shows that you understand and empathize with their organisational goals.

More importantly, it gives you crucial information about what KPIs you need to establish your value.

 

Avoid Vanity Metrics

Ah, vanity metrics.

We’re sure you’re aware of how dangerous vanity metrics are.

If not, then make sure you read on!

Vanity metrics don’t add value to your business.

They can trick you into thinking that your marketing campaigns are generating results.

For Jeff Lyall, Head of Search Marketing at Be Found Be Chosen, “key metrics matter most to our clients. No fluff. No numbers for numbers sakes. Just the hard-hitting ones that they’ll have to report to the board.”

Social media followers and page views are a prime example of vanity metrics. These metrics may look impressive on paper, but they don’t exactly move the needle.

For Chris Rowett, Biddable Director at Journey Further, they “come across a lot of impressive-sounding metrics that add no actual value to the context.”

Chris R believes that “bounce rate is possibly the most iconic example.”

He added, “We had a great week for sales, but our bounce rates increased. There could be any number of reasons why the bounce rate changed. Including positive reasons. Such as, dropping customers to a more informative page (the product page perhaps) that leads to a 10% better conversion rate and 10% higher bounce rate.”

If you’re serious about scaling your marketing performance, then you need to base your decisions on actionable metrics.

 

Think ‘ROI’

The bottom line for any robust marketing strategy is to generate revenue.

“The outcome our clients are looking for is the number of MQLs. With accurate attribution models, we can steer our clients towards scaling their success with data-driven insights and can accurately forecast ROI depending on spend, says Chris Coussons, SEO Executive at Digital Allies.

Proving ROI is an essential task for any marketer, but the process for reporting ROI is not always straightforward.

We’ve come a long way in terms of analytics, but so many marketers still find reporting and measuring marketing ROI a challenge.

Revenue is the common thread between marketing and sales.

So, to truly demonstrate your value, you must make some reference to how your actions are contributing to revenue growth in your digital marketing report.

Important Note: The Closed-Loop Framework makes it easy for marketers to connect CRM revenue directly to their marketing activities. Download the ebook to learn more.

Head of Performance at Somebody Digital Ltd, Cristiano Winckler, believes that “all reports need to have the standard metrics, like impressions, clicks, conversions and conversion rate.”

That said, Cristiano always tries “to put a value on each conversion, even if it’s a lead generation campaign”.

“Ultimately, the client needs to be able to see a return,” he says.

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Cristiano Winckler - www.ruleranalytics.com

The same principle applies to Matt Cocking, Head of PPC at Purpose Media.

Matt says that “every report we send is focused on conversion. Without conversion, businesses don’t make money. So, why would you target yourself against anything else?”

He added, “the fundamentals for any report will include cost, number of conversions, the value of said conversions, a CPA based on cost/conversions and an ROI figure. This highlights if the business is making money or not.”

So, what ROI metrics could you apply to your reporting?

We’re going to look at revenue metrics in part two of this series, but let’s quickly take a look at some examples.

Cost, Cost Per Conversion and Conversion Rate are useful metrics to help support and measure revenue growth.

For Roy Dovaston, Managing Director at Click Guardian, he says that his clients are “most interested in cost, cost per conversion and conversion rate.”

To measure the efficiency of your digital advertising campaigns, you can use metrics such as ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) and CPA (Cost Per Acquisition).

“ROAS or CPA are useful and readily accessible metrics that can be used when optimising campaigns day-to-day.” says Andy Hunt, Strategy Director at We Influence.

With ROAS, you can see which of your advertising campaigns are affecting your overall bottom line, which is crucially important.

Aaron Crewe recommends “a ROAS (return-on-ad-spend)-driven approach. Focused on cost-per-conversion, average conversion value, value/cost and conversion rate.”

Using this approach allows his team to focus on what is working well, alongside what isn’t.

Focusing on revenue where possible, is an effective way of showing your bosses and clients that you genuinely care about their success and business growth.

Daisy Foster, CEO at Digitool, revealed the framework they use to calculate marketing ROI for clients.

“We first work out the average ROI. This allows the customer to have a glance at whether their marketing is working. All we need to know from the customer is their average job value and their average conversion rate,” says Daisy.

Using the following formula, Daisy works out an average ROI:

  • (Conversion Rate / 100) * No of new leads = No of sales.
  • No of sales * Average Job Value = Average amount of work booked in.
  • The average amount of work booked in. / Total Ad Spend * 100 = ROI

Daisy added, “the second part of our digital marketing report allows customers to work out an exact ROI. Thanks to the help of Ruler Analytics, our customers can listen back to every call and read every email to assign an exact job value. We know the amount of work booked in, so this allows the report to calculate an exact ROI.”

The exact amount of work booked in / Total Ad Spend * 100 = ROI

Daisy says that “customers like this reporting method as there is an option for a glance, and if they want, they can dig deeper to listen back to calls. Work out exactly what they’re getting from our marketing efforts.”

Important Note
If you have any questions, we offer live demos of our product to show you how to assign sales revenue back to your most valuable marketing channels.

Want more information from our experts on this topic? Make sure you head over to Part 2: Measuring KPIs That Matter – The Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report

 

Turning Data into Actionable Insight

Note: We go into this topic in more detail in “Part 3: Turning Data into Actionable Insight – The Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report”. 

“There is nothing more frustrating to a client than seeing observations in a report with no corresponding hypothesis as to why something is happening and, where relevant, suggested actions to respond,” says Duncan Heath, Strategy Director at Fresh Egg.

You can have all the data in the world, but it’s useless if you’re unable to make decisions that have a measurable impact on your business.

Data is not information.

As marketers, it’s our responsibility to transform data into actionable insight.

For Nick Handley, Head of Performance Marketing at Fluid Digital, his reporting is built on the mentality of “answer the question before it is asked”.

He says that this “leads to detailed and thorough reporting.”

We previously discussed how turning data into actionable insight is a challenge for many marketers.

But, turning data into information doesn’t need to be so hard.

In the next two points, we discuss ways on how you can manage your data to make better decisions.

 

Context is Key

You might be thinking, “yeah, that’s easier said than done”.

Although, that is pretty much all there is to it.

Jo Seward, Digital Marketing Manager at Run2 Digital, doesn’t “present clients with pages of numbers and no insight.”

“We take the time to explain the data, what this means for their business and how we will adapt our strategy accordingly,” says Jo.

Context makes your data a lot more interesting.

It helps you tell a story about your data.

Both Victoria Spall, Account Director at Browser Media, and Dan Pilay, Head Of CampaignHero, say that your reports should be used to tell a story.

Victoria explained that “presenting the most important data clearly and concisely is crucial. It is important that you’re able to tell a story and identify opportunities without confusing the reader.”

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Victoria Spall - www.ruleranalytics.com

Sharing the same belief that reports should tell a story, Dan also said that, “we’re in marketing, it’s our role to create a narrative based on context and make the conclusions easy to follow.”

So, to provide context, you need to use your data to tell a story.

A technique we like to use when putting together reports is the 5Ws.

Yes, the same 5Ws we got taught in primary school.

Who, What, Where, When and Why

This simple, but effective method, is a great way to structure your data and help tell a story.

  • WHO: Explain WHO will benefit. WHO is affected. Whether it’s your client or stakeholders.
  • WHAT: Discuss WHAT has happened. And WHAT this means for the reader. For example, Mindy Gofton, Head of Marketing Strategy & Innovation at I-COM, said that “if we’ve been running content and PR, we would explain what campaign has impacted brand searches or traffic to the services being promoted.”
  • WHERE: Reveal WHERE your event is taking place. WHERE your readers should go and learn more.
  • WHEN: Point out WHEN it happened (time of day, month or year). WHEN the latest update was.
  • WHY: Clarify WHY this event happened. WHY should your readers care. For Kherrin Wade, Strategy Director at Adido, “the main point of our reporting is not so much delivering KPIs and how performance has fared but rather “why” things have developed the way that they have and how to make the most of learnings moving forward.”

For example, Michael Ferrari, Owner at Pen Cap Online Marketing, recently performed a big content pruning project for a client and used the Ws to help turn his data into actionable insights.

“We made sure to note in our reports the date we made the changes, the pages/parts of the site it would impact, and then show the difference in traffic, conversions and revenue from the date of implementation moving forward,” says Michael.

He continued, “In this case, we saw a major boost in impressions and sessions for our targeted pages (thanks to less cannibalization). This led to those pages driving in more revenue through additional conversions. Without showing this detail, which can easily be done with a standard table, it would have been impossible to show the client how all the hard work paid off.”

The 5Ws, in our opinion, is the best method to capture important perspectives and make it relevant to your audience.

If that doesn’t work for you, then perhaps you could propose a possible explanation for some phenomenon, trend or event?

“Try and look at every aspect that could be influencing change. Explore whether it’s part of a trend, educate the client on the true reason for it happening, and how they might turn that to their advantage,” says Nick Craig, Managing Director at Mackerel Media Ltd.

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Nick Craig - www.ruleranalytics.com

Nick explained, “the best way to summarise this would be that we tell the client what they don’t know. There’s no value in telling a client something they can easily get from their Analytics account. But, there is value in helping them understand that the in-store activity they ran in France last month correlated with an uplift in average ecomm basket values from male customers over the age of 45. Or, that if they shifted their delivery cut-off windows by 48 hours, they could capture +27% incremental revenue in the south-east of England for a time-limited campaign.”

Another option is to “provide valuable insights into some wider factors that can influence results,” says Colin Harrison, Director at Nivo Digital.

Colin listed some examples, which we have shared below:

  • Website downtime, after all, what’s the point of driving Paid Ads to a landing page that doesn’t appear?
  • Whether the website is secured through an SSL certificate
  • When the domain is set to expire
  • What level of security they have implemented on their website
  • Website user testing insights

The techniques we’ve shared above are there to help open the flood gates.

Use these techniques successfully, and before you know it, you’re applying valuable insight and making important decisions to scale revenue growth.

To sum up, Kier Humphreys, Head of Customer Experience at Sagittarius, recommends that you shouldn’t “leave wiggle room.”

“Explain what the numbers mean. That’s where you earn your money, not just in providing the numbers. Secondly, discuss how these metrics impact the business (or client’s) key objectives. Everything has to be linked back to its impact on the wider business as different readers will have different requirements from the campaign/activity you are undertaking,” says Kier.

 

Presenting Your Valuable Information

Hopefully, you feel a bit more confident about turning your data into actionable information.

So, what’s the best way to present your findings?

Ash Winder believes that “a picture’s worth a thousand words.”

It is estimated that 65% of the population are visual learners.

digital marketing report - somly - www.ruleranalytics
Source: Xomly – Why are Visual Aids so Important is Sales?

Ash recommends, “dropping data-centric tables for graphs and charts where applicable.”

“This makes important information easy to digest for key stakeholders and can be a more effective method of communicating your point,” he added.

Using charts and graphics are a great way to help your readers follow and understand your data research.

That said, you must ensure that you include a mixture of graphs and commentary so that you can get your point across.

For example:

Jack Giddens, Head of Biddable at Katte & Co, says that “alongside the data, we provide a written PDF document outlining the why’s. This usually contains a mixture of written text accompanied by graphs and charts so that they can easily visualise the data.”

 

Producing A Simple Campaign Analysis and Summary

Note: We go into this topic in more detail in “Part 4: Producing a Campaign Analysis- The Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report”.

 

Know Your Audience

At its core, marketing is a form of communication.

You and your team, at the most basic level, are communicators.

This principle should also apply to your reporting.

Before you complete analysis of your performance, you need to think about who your audience is.

You may not realise this, but your reports are more valuable than you think.

They are used to inform so many different decisions across your business.

John Warner, Senior SEO, Content & Marketing at Click Consult, says that marketers “often forget that reports are shared among stakeholders, many of whom will be unfamiliar with the work you are doing.”

He added, “for that reason, reports should communicate your progress and its impact on top-level KPIs in a manner understandable to someone that may have no idea what digital marketing is.”

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - John Warner - www.ruleranalytics.com

If you’re reporting to a mixed audience, then you should create reports tailored to each persona.

“Whilst the hands-on marketing team may want to understand how bounce rate is fluctuating week-on-week, the board likely wants high-level indicators (sales and revenue for example) on a monthly or quarterly basis,” says Beckie Brown, Head of Paid Media at Etch.

In our experience, you end up making more work for yourself if you try and send the same report to a business that has numerous departments and stakeholders.

If you haven’t got enough time to create unique reports, then you could always support your audience with a glossary of terms.

Maria Christoforidou, Inbound Strategist at Fifth Ring, says that they, “make sure to include a short glossary for clients to help them understand terms like CPM, impressions vs reach, etc.”

 

Avoid Information Overload

“The main idea of a report is to be read and provide valuable insights. The more complex the data, the less likely the report is to be read and understood,” says Paul Morris, Managing Director at Superb Digital.

We’ve already discussed the importance of turning data into valuable insights.

But as marketers, we can be guilty of including too much information as a means of distinguishing our services and providing value.

According to Alexandra Ingram, Director of Paid Media at Trafiki eCommerce Marketing, “most clients, in our experience, don’t want to be overwhelmed by information overload.”

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Alexandra Ingram - www.ruleranalytics.com

In this survey by Vermilion, they asked 100 investment management delegates what percentage of their reports they believed were read by clients.

The result?

A third of the audience felt that only between 25% and 50% of their reports were being read by clients.

So, all that information you’re adding into your report is potentially wasted.

For Aliesha Christopher, Marketing Data Analyst at PushON, “it’s important that reports are tailored to individual clients’ needs and that there is a fine balance between too much information and not enough within data.”

Sometimes the mind tricks us into thinking that the more volume we include, the more insight our readers will receive.

That’s not true.

Just think about how busy you are, and how you struggle for reporting time.

Now flip the switch.

Think about how busy your clients and stakeholders are and how long it’s going to take them to read your report.

“You are not short of data when it comes to creating a digital marketing report. Pages and pages of data “blurb” can look impressive in its volume, but from our experience, the more you add, the less attention you receive. And, really it’s not what the data says that matters, it’s what it all means,” says Chris Price, Founder at Ark Advance.

 

Compare Your Results

Date comparisons are a crucial element of digital marketing reports.

“What is helpful, is having a comparison with the previous year and month to track progress,” says Hardeep Matharoo, Head of Digital at Best Response Media.

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Hardeep Matharoo - www.ruleranalytics.com

Adding date comparisons to your report can help you demonstrate the success of your marketing activities.

And, it can reveal where you need to invest more resources.

Most companies typically measure their performance month-on-month.

Ted Parry, Director at Amore Digital, and Marty Rogers, Senior SEO Executive at Paramount Digital, both compare their data month-on-month.

“Our SEO reports contain commentary which provides clients with an overview of the month’s work and what we’re looking to do next month,” says Marty.

Ted explained that his “data is compared month to month” so that he can “have a close eye on performance.”

Another option is to compare your performance year-on-year.

This is particularly useful if your goal is to drive website growth.

Paul Baguley, MD at Internet Sales Drive said, “we measure Google Analytics data including traffic, pages and engagement. This is compared year on year.”

There’s no rule of thumb on how often you should report.

Although, if you report too often, then you won’t have time to digest your data and provide meaningful feedback.

In most cases, monthly, quarterly and annual reporting work just fine.

Just remember to provide actionable insights alongside your comparison.

For example:

Victoria Foster, Senior Account Manager at Hit Search, said that all of their reports “include detail on how areas are doing compared to the previous month and year.”

“This overview allows clients to quickly see how well a campaign is doing, whether it be focused on sessions, page views, enquiries or revenue,” says Victoria F.

It also helps if you provide information into what tasks you’ve performed over the month to truly demonstrate your value.

“We detail all of the tasks that we have completed over the month, and how much time each of them has taken, as well as a reason why we’ve done that task,” says Charlotte Falon, Account Manager at Embryo Digital.

Want more information from our experts on this topic? Make sure to come back for ‘The Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report – Part 4: Producing A Simple Campaign Analysis and Summary.

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Digital Marketing Reporting Tools

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of a digital marketing report, you’re going to need some tools to help you extract and present your data.

To give you a headstart, we asked our respondents the following question:

“What tools do you use to create your marketing reports?”

Let’s take a look at the tools they’re using:

 

Agency Analytics

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Agency Analytics - www.ruleranalytics.com

AgencyAnalytics is an all-in-one marketing dashboard and SEO tool designed for agencies. Include SEO integrations like rank tracking, backlink monitoring and website audits.

 

BigQuery

BigQuery is a powerful database run by Google. It’s serverless, so you can focus on analysing data to find meaningful insights using SQL.

 

CampaignHero

With the CampaignHero app, you can manage your Google, Microsoft and Facebook Ads with no cost straight from your phone.

 

Funnel.io

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Funnel - www.ruleranalytics.com

Funnel.io allows you to gather all your advertising metrics in one place. An ideal solution to provide a fast and clear overview of your marketing performance.

 

Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio turns your data into informative dashboards and reports that are visual and easy to read. Integrantes with your entire Google reporting suite.

 

Google Sheets

Google Sheets has a clean interface, it’s easy to collaborate with people and it integrates with other Google products. Ideal if you don’t have a huge budget to create fancy reports.

 

Kenshoo

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Kenshoo - www.ruleranalytics.com

Kenshoo is a platform designed for companies that want marketing insights, planning and activation at scale.

 

Klipfolio

Klipfolio is a cloud-based BI solution that lets users create powerful real-time business dashboards for your peers and/or clients.

 

NinjaCat

NinjaCat is an all-in-one reporting solution for digital marketing agencies. The software can integrate with Google, Bing, Facebook and Call Tracking allowing you to monitor your performance in one interface.

 

Octoboard

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Octoboard - www.ruleranalytics.com

Octoboard is a client reporting platform for both marketing agencies and busy marketeers. It has over 50 integrations with Social Media, SEO, PPC and Web Analytics.

 

RavenTools

With RavenTools, you can create beautiful, interactive reports in mere seconds and Integrate 20+ data sources, including Google Analytics and Google Search Console

 

Report Garden

ReportGarden allows you to automate the most time-consuming tasks such as data dashboards, SEO Keyword tracking and PPC account health monitoring.

 

Ruler Analytics

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Report - Ruler Analytics - www.ruleranalytics.com

Ruler Analytics is a multi-touch, visitor-level analytics and call tracking software that provides you with a full picture of your customer journey. It integrates with your CRM so that you can report on actual revenue as opposed to goals. You can book a demo if you want to find out more.

 

SuperMetrics

Supermetrics user-friendly data analytics tools anyone can use. Simple to use and very flexible.

 

WhataGraph

Use WhataGraph to create visual reports and understand the data behind your website performance and digital marketing campaigns.

 

Digital Marketing Templates

Marketing report templates have a host of benefits.

They save you a ton of time and can help you make better-informed decisions on your strategy.

Most of our respondents either use Google Data Studio or Google Sheets to build insightful and powerful digital marketing reports.

So, here are some of our top picks to help you get started.

Note: We’ve added a mixture of templates so that there is something for everyone.

 

Google Data Studio Templates

Below is our handpicked list of Google Studio Templates which can help make your numbers easier to understand.

 

Performance Dashboard by Aro Digital 

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report - Aro Digital Google Data Studio Template - www.ruleranalytics.com

Developed by Aro Digital

High powered and practical report that covers Google ads, analytics, Facebook and Search Console. Segment your data by specific channel, location and demographics.

Get the template

 

Non-Profit Website Report by Whole Whale 

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report - Whole Whale Google Data Studio Template - www.ruleranalytics.com

Developed by Whole Whale

Suitable for anyone, not just exclusively for non-profit organisations. Connect your data sources, including Google Analytics and Ads. Customise your dashboard to meet your company needs.

Get the template

 

Content Marketing Report by Marketlytics

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report - Marketlyics Google Data Studio Template - www.ruleranalytics.com

Developed by Marketlytics

This 7-page report allows you to display all important metrics and marketing KPIs in an easy-to-understand dashboard.

Get the template

 

Paid Channel Mix Report by Supermetrics

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report - Supermetrics Google Data Studio Template - www.ruleranalytics.com

Developed by Supermetrics

This dashboard makes it easy to compare the performance of all your paid marketing campaigns. Gain top-level data from your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and Bing ads.

Get the template

 

SEO Dashboard by Geoff Kenyon

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report - Geoff Kenyon Google Data Studio Template - www.ruleranalytics.com

Developed by Geoff Kenyon

Detailed SEO dashboard allows you to track the relevant SEO KPIs and identify potential opportunities.

Get the template

If you couldn’t find one for you – don’t worry!

You can find over 50+ Google templates here.

 

Google Sheet Report Templates 

Sheets For Marketers have compiled a list of 100+ google sheet reporting templates created by some of the best minds in the digital marketing space.

Here’s the link: 100+ Google Sheet Templates

We’ve added a few honorable mentions below.

Marketing KPIs by Sheetgo

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report - Sheetgo Google Sheet Template - www.ruleranalytics.com

Developed by Sheetgo

Pull all your KPIs in one place for better decision making and reporting.

Get the template

 

SEO Analytics Dashboard by Joseph Kelly

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report - Joseph Kelly Google Sheet Template - www.ruleranalytics.com

Developed by Joseph Kelly

Custom analytics dashboard that gives you a quick overview of what’s going on with your traffic so that you can highlight opportunities.

Get the template

 

Traffic Dashboard Reporting Template by Supermetrics

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report - Supermetrics Google Sheet Template - www.ruleranalytics.com

Developed by Supermetrics

Analyse key metrics, traffic volume for different segments, user numbers by medium and month.

Get the template

 

PPC Dashboard by Opteo

Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report - Opteo Google Sheet Template - www.ruleranalytics.com

Developed by Opteo

Get an overview of your PPC performance and uncover important insights which you can use to get more out of your campaigns.

Get the template

 

Final Thoughts

Phew…

We had a lot to go through, but hopefully, we’ve given you enough information so that you can go and create high-powered digital marketing reports that will impress your bosses, clients and colleagues.

Don’t forget that this blog belongs to a four-part series.

So, make sure that you come back for “Part 2: Fundamentals of a Digital Marketing Report – Measuring Marketing KPIs That Matter” for more valuable insights.

Book a demo Ruler Analytics

Written by

Digital Marketing Manager at Ruler Analytics with a background in SEO, analytics, content marketing and paid social. I help people (like me) close the loop between marketing-generated leads and revenue.