Measureful recently surveyed 75 digital marketers across several organizations and found that 45 percent of marketers spend at least five hours exporting and formatting reports monthly. Twenty-one percent said they spend more than ten hours monthly on client reporting.
How much time do you spend building custom marketing reports? Analytics reports can be extremely time consuming because they must be accurate, look great, tell a story and positively reflect your brand. However, spending hours pulling and formatting data takes valuable time away from executing marketing campaigns. Is there a way for digital marketers to save time while generating accurate reports that make clients happy?
Below I’ll share my top four tips for more efficient and effective digital marketing reports:
1. Stay Focused on Goals
Structure reports around marketing initiatives and long-term goals. Start each section by showing clients what actions you took and how the actions relate back to marketing goals. For example, under the heading “PPC,” you could say, “We tested 15 new keywords in Pay Per Click advertising against our goal to increase paid traffic to the website by 2 percent. Present the current results in a quick one-to-two sentence summary and then dive into costs, clicks and conversions on a more granular level for each ad group or keyword. As you are culling through data and building a report, ask yourself, “Is this relevant to the client’s goals?” If the answer is no, leave that information out.
2. Make Reports Work for Your Clients
Ask your clients what they want to see in reports. A great way to do this is to include a few key questions during your initial kick-off call. Ask clients which metrics they want to see and how they use reports internally. If a client is re-formatting your reports to present data to internal stakeholders, then you may discover opportunities to add value and save your client some time. Ask clients what they liked or disliked about reporting from their previous marketing providers? Find out who the decision-maker is at the client’s company and include metrics that address the decision-maker’s needs. Always start reports with an executive summary. If someone is looking at a report for the first time, he or she should be able to jump right in.
3. Time Reports Wisely
Set reasonable expectations for when you’ll deliver reports. If you have a small traffic sample or inconclusive data, then do not rush into full reporting. While building a data sample or waiting for long-term initiatives like SEO to kick in, you may want to provide shorter updates of highlights and leading indicators for the first few weeks or months of a campaign. When working with several clients, stagger reporting dates to avoid a serious time crunch. If a client’s traffic tends to spike midweek, be sure your reporting schedule incorporates that spike into the latest results. Ensure that clients have enough time to view a report before you discuss it together. Sending reports a day in advance will lead to a more fruitful discussion.
4. Take Smart Short Cuts
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel each time you create a report. Save time by building branded templates in PowerPoint or Word and reuse them across clients. You can create custom weekly or monthly reports in Google Analytics, which allow you to simply grab your data and go. Take advantage of the clean and simple design of your analytics dashboard. Grab screen shots of data highlights from your dashboard and drop the images directly into reports. Finally, investigate how new reporting solutions like Measureful can save you even more time. I recommend signing up for a free 30 day trial to give Measureful a test run during your next reporting cycle.
What are your tips for creating effective and efficient digital marketing reports? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!