How to get the most out of your marketing reports

What are marketing reports, how do you make them, and more importantly, how do you actually get the most out of the insights they give you?

What are marketing reports?

Marketing is so often seen as an outcome. It is the blog you create, the email you’ve sent out or the poster that is displayed proudly outside an arena.

But, just as there is a considerable amount of time put into formulating the how and why of that blog, email or poster, it is important to review your results and any insights which can drive your next effort.

A marketing report is the collection of data based around an activity, like an email campaign, with information about who the email was sent to, the number of opens etc.

For some, this can be described in the theory of Plan, Do, Check, Act, for others you could apply a classical marketing theory or SOSTAC 

Situation – where are we now?
Objectives – where do we want to be?
Strategy – how do we get there?
Tactics – how exactly do we get there?
Action – what is our plan?
Control – did we get there?

But what is clear is that the idea is reviewing the activity you’ve undertaken in a given period and using it as fuel for future iterations of that activity.

Examples of marketing reports

1. Email

Whatever the email platform you use, a standard list of information you can get on every email will look like the below:

  • Recipients (who you sent the email to)
  • Open rate (who opened the email – this can also be looked at by unique opens)
  • Click rate (who clicked a link in the email – this can also be looked at by unique clicks)
  • Spam reports (how many people complained to their ISP that your email was spam)
  • Unsubscribes (how many people chose to opt-out of your emails)

2. Website / Blog

Whether it’s Google Analytics and Search Console or HubSpot, any great blogging platform will give you rich insights into:

  • Source (how someone found your blog, i.e. organic search, social media etc.)
  • Views (total number of times the blog has been viewed)
  • Average bounce rate (how many people only viewed this on your site and then left)
  • Time per page view (the amount of time someone viewed your content page)
  • Exits per page view (how many people viewed this as the last page on your site and then left)
  • Entrances (the number of people who landed on this page first on your site)

3. Social Media

Social media metrics are fairly standard, but these are the ones you’ll want to make sure you’re tracking, whatever the platform:

  • Audience Growth Rate / Total Followers / Connections (this shows how many people you could reach with your posts)
  • Engagement Rate (the number of likes, shares, comments on posts)
  • Click-Through Rate / CTR (the number of clicks on the link in your posts)
  • Conversions (number of form submissions / purchases as a result of your posts)

4. PPC

While metrics may change based on the PPC platform, you’ll need to pay attention to:

  • Cost per click / CPC (how much you pay per click on your ad)
  • Total spend (how much you’ve spent to date)
  • Click Through Rate / CTR (the number of clicks on the link in your posts)
  • Impressions (how many people have been served / shown your ad)
  • Conversions (number of form submissions / purchases as a result of your ad)

Tips on using marketing data insights

1. Make use of automation. 

This means that if you can schedule a report from the platform, directly to your inbox, do it. It’s a time saver, and can make sure you have the right information at the right time, as opposed to digging through data to find out what you need to know.

2. Vanity metrics have limited purpose.

If you want to understand the size of your email list or your social followers, great.

But that’s all that is, it is a size of your universe, but remember not everyone wants to buy or engage with you at the same time.

3. Insights don’t magic themselves up. 

No, really. You need to become comfortable with reading these reports.

If your blog has a bounce rate of 90% but is the landing page for many visitors, that shows your content is ranking highly on Google, but you’re not giving anyone a compelling reason to read more content or submit a form.

That insight doesn’t come easily. You must invest in understanding what the data is in front of you and form hypotheses, test your presumptions, measure, then rinse and repeat.

4. Go beyond the surface.

Your campaign generated 60 downloads of your eBook in a month.

Fantastic. But that doesn’t keep the lights on. How many of those people progressed to a demo / consultation call? Of those, how many entered talks about pricing of service?

From those, how many agreed to work with you? Of those, how many had agreements with you to pay you the full contract term up front, how many over installments, how many deferred a period?

Data is your friend, don’t lose sight of that and how you must always use it to build a bigger picture (your pipeline) of how your campaigns impact the bottom line.

5. Set benchmarks.

Establish what you want to measure, then give it quarter or half year before you start making comparisons on past performance.

But then look beyond the data, see point 4. Was there an external issue that affected performance? Bank Holidays, fluctuating interest rates, a pandemic, poor weather?

6. Use the data. 

That’s right. Don’t collect it and let it catch dust. Put the data you get to use to adjust your bids, when you publish content, whether your social platform is actually right for you, and so on.

7. A/B. 

A/B testing is also known as variant testing. Put simply, if you have a landing page for a content offer, or an email, you can test simple things like the colour of a button or the subject line.

By testing you generate more data to inform whether that button is blue or green next time, or if your database wants to be addressed by their name in the subject line. Great stuff, eh?

Final thoughts

Marketing reports are much like ice cream. Sure, you can have vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or mint ice cream when it comes to the flavours, but what matters is the taste.

The ‘types of ice cream’ are the blog, social, and PPC reports, but what it all comes down to is the value and use of the data you generate (the taste of the ice cream and whether it was worth the money!).

Getting the most out of your marketing report isn’t rocket science, but by following those 7 tips you’ll eventually send your engagement, form submissions and ROI through the roof.