Skip to

PPC reporting

Reporting KPIs: A Mini-Guide to Creating Effective KPI Dashboards and KPI Reports

By Team Swydo
14 November 2023

As an online marketing agency, you want to keep your clients in the loop when it comes to their campaigns. That’s why reporting KPIs is a returning task on your to-do list. By sharing crucial key performance indicators through client reporting, you’ll create trust: you can explain how you’ve spent their budget and discuss ways to optimize campaigns moving forward.

If you consistently track and analyze data from various marketing channels — such as social media, PPC, and email — you can identify your most effective efforts and the biggest bottlenecks. These insights help you make data-driven decisions to optimize your marketing campaigns and strategy: you can double down on what works and adjust where necessary. That way, you’ll maximize your client’s ROI. And if you’re transparent about the results, it’s easier to keep them on board. All these aspects make KPI dashboards and KPI reports important tools for online marketing agencies.

The Two Crucial Components of KPI Reporting: A KPI Dashboard and a KPI Report

There are two crucial components to KPI reporting: the KPI dashboard and the KPI report. Both are key to effectively track and communicate performance data. So, let’s discuss what these components entail and why they’re essential to achieving your client’s objectives.

What Is a KPI Dashboard?

From performance data to historical data: if you’ve set up a campaign, you need a bird’s-eye view of all relevant information. A KPI dashboard provides a concise picture of all important metrics. Data visualization is key: if you use charts and colors to create an at-a-glance overview, your client will get an instant summary of a campaign’s main KPIs and results.

KPI dashboards don’t provide an in-depth analysis and are therefore quick to ‘digest.’ Most online marketing agencies use them to keep meticulous track of KPIs. Daily updates are not uncommon, as constant insights help you stay on track.

If set up correctly, KPI dashboards also allow you to engage clients and make data-driven decisions. But no dashboard is useful without the right context and clear goals. You can only interpret outcomes if you consider them within the client’s specific situation and benchmark them against the client’s objectives.

What Is a KPI Report?

It’s crucial to monitor KPIs and provide regular insight into campaigns using KPI dashboards. But clients also require a detailed analysis of each key performance indicator you’ve included in the overview. Without an in-depth explanation of relevant data points, it’s difficult to elaborate on trends and foster long-term progress.

Enter the KPI report, where you can elaborate on choices and results. Before you start drafting one, though, it’s important to know what should be included in a KPI report. We’ve established that when it comes to KPI reporting, metrics don’t mean anything in themselves. A KPI report is the right outlet for analyzing carefully selected key performance indicators and putting them in the right context. For example, you can’t tell if 1,500 new leads in a month is a great or disappointing result unless you’re familiar with the client’s business objectives and explain essential external factors (such as seasonal peaks and troughs or market developments).

Why Do You Need Both to Achieve Your Client’s Business Objectives?

In summary, dashboards and reports are KPI reporting tools that help you track progress and optimize performance. Make sure to strike the right balance between creating a quick visualized overview (KPI dashboard) and a detailed analysis (KPI report) — you’ll want to do the first much more often than the latter.

Before we dive into the mini-guide to KPI reporting, let’s list the benefits to clarify why you should spend precious time on it:

  • You can demonstrate the impact of your marketing efforts on your client’s business by sharing ROI (return on investment) numbers
  • You’ll make better (data-driven) decisions
  • The client will find it easier to interpret complex data points
  • You can adjust your actions fast if results are not as expected
  • You’ll strengthen the agency/client relationship by providing transparency and accountability

Getting Started with Effective KPI Reporting

Pick useful key performance indicators

Good KPIs are more than just metrics. They align with preset goals and provide actionable insights. They show you whether you’re on track or not, allowing you to optimize your strategy and maximize the effectiveness of your campaign.

Before you pull up a bunch of KPI report examples to copy and paste the most important metrics, remember this: the term ‘important’ means something different to each client. Again, context is key. Depending on your strategy and campaigns, relevant KPIs may include website traffic, conversion rates, click-through rates, or return on investment (ROI).

Whichever KPIs you decide to track and share, make sure each key performance indicator has an owner who can take action if it’s underperforming. As an online marketing agency, you want to get specific results, so you should use KPIs to optimize your campaign’s performance.

Visualize Your KPIs and Engage in Storytelling

If you fill a dashboard with rows of numbers or cram a report with statistics, clients will have a hard time understanding progress and results. Data visualization and storytelling are crucial when conveying your message.

We mentioned the use of well-chosen colors and comprehensible charts when creating KPI dashboards. With KPI reports, you’ll want to take it one step further. Make sure to list all relevant data points and share them in the form of a story. Dry analytical reports are much more difficult to get through, so talk to your client about numbers in the context of their ultimate goal and the journey toward it.

Provide a Clear Explanation of All KPI Data Points

We understand the desire to impress clients with KPIs. But when it comes to creating KPI dashboards, less is more. The human brain can only process so much at once, so make sure clients can focus by sharing 6 to 9 highly relevant KPIs.

When preparing a KPI report, elaborate on all KPI data points you’ve displayed on the dashboard. Use the report to analyze performance and explain results, referring to the client’s business objectives.

Try and avoid marketing jargon where possible. If you have to use a certain term, never assume a client is familiar with it. If necessary, include a glossary so they can easily look up any marketing lingo.

Keep an Eye on Your Client’s Goals and Be Flexible

The market constantly changes, and so does your client’s business. That means you’ll have to keep a close eye on the KPIs you’ve decided to track. You should be ready to refine or redefine them at any time.

What if your client’s competitors suddenly double down on their marketing efforts? What if consumers change their purchasing behavior based on unexpected market developments? In such cases, you might want to adjust your goals, strategy, and KPIs. This requires a sharp eye for trends and a good dose of adaptability. Make sure you’re flexible enough to keep moving toward your client’s (changing) objectives!

Ready to Set Up a Successful KPI Reporting Strategy? Opt for Swydo!

To consistently create KPI dashboards and KPI reports, you’ll want to use automated reporting tools. If you manually complete all the associated tasks, KPI reporting will be (more than) a full-time job — especially since it involves an ongoing cycle that requires you to constantly review goals, analyze results, and implement improvements.

Want to work with an easy-to-use, dynamic, and scalable reporting tool that facilitates the process? Give Swydo a try! Request a demo and create your free marketing report in minutes.For the full experience, sign up for a free 14-day trial.