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What to Include in a Marketing Report: A Quick Guide for Agencies

By Team Swydo
26 October 2023

As an online marketing agency, you set up marketing campaigns all the time. But even though it’s business as usual for you, your client likely has questions about progress and results. Here’s the way to answer these: regularly create a marketing report to share highlights and actionable key performance indicators. Client reporting can be a powerful way to foster the agency/client relationship. If you go beyond a marketing analytics dashboard and properly explain all marketing performance data in a marketing report, you’ll create trust. You can also use it as a foundation for discussing concrete steps to optimize your strategy and campaigns. But what to include in a marketing report?

Marketing Reports: Why Do You Need Them?

Creating effective marketing reports is a must for online marketing agencies. Through marketing reporting, you can help clients understand the results of your marketing campaigns and assess the impact of their investments. Whether they have an in-house marketing team or not, it’s important to explain the choices you’ve made and the results you’ve achieved. Why? We’ve listed two important reasons!

1. Bridge the Information Gap

When outsourcing their marketing strategy to you, a client puts a crucial part of their business in your hands. They trust that you pick the right marketing channels and implement effective marketing activities to reach their target audience. There is an information gap, though. As an online marketing agency, you have a firm grasp of elements such as campaign performance, traffic metrics, Google Analytics, social media, KPIs, and ROI. Your client doesn’t, so you should explain your actions and decisions to them.

There are multiple ways to do this. Some agencies create the occasional social media marketing report. Others draft weekly marketing reports, monthly marketing reports, or quarterly (digital) marketing reports. No matter the frequency you opt for, it’s essential to create reports and bridge the information gap between client and agency.

2. Justify your Marketing Efforts

Your client has made a marketing budget available to you and pays you for your efforts. If you want to build a lasting relationship, you can’t just send an invoice at the end of each month. Your client should have insight into how you’ve spent their money.

Although you can simply share a KPI dashboard, you will want to take it one step further. By creating a marketing report, you can provide an in-depth explanation of how you add value and sit down with your client to optimize your campaigns, keeping their goals and your campaign’s results aligned.

Communicating your Main Insights: What to Include in a Marketing Report

Once you’ve generated data, how to communicate the main insights and takeaways in a clear, concise way?

You can find plenty of marketing report templates on the internet. But if you create monthly reports using these, your client sure won’t be impressed. A marketing report should be highly relevant to them, addressing their situation, goals, and results. So, you should go beyond a generic marketing report template and tailor your reporting process to the individual client. Only then, it’s useful to create marketing reports in the first place.

That said, you need to lay a solid foundation. There are several elements you should always include in a marketing report. To set you in the right direction, let’s discuss seven crucial aspects of solid marketing reports.

1. KPIs

KPIs only tell you something about marketing performance if you consider them in the context of predetermined goals. It’s also crucial to compare them on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, so you can check if you’re making progress.

Examples of KPIs include impressions, conversions, and CTRs. We recommend that you include 6 to 9 KPIs at the top of your report (the same ones you display on your marketing analytics dashboard) to provide an at-a-glance overview of the status quo.

2. Explanation

KPIs are just numbers unless you explain what they mean. Reporting KPIs is an art in itself: you should do it in such a way that your client understands the story behind the metrics (Tip: read what should be included in a KPI report.)

If you clearly explain KPIs, you can also use them to optimize your marketing strategy. How to increase next month’s revenue based on this month’s results? What actions might improve your digital marketing campaigns? The answers to questions like these start with a good explanation of KPIs.

3. Visualizations

The human brain isn’t great at processing rows of numbers, so use data visualization tools to give your client a clear picture of what KPIs entail.

Carefully consider where to use bar graphs, column charts, line charts, donut charts, or tables. Keep in mind your goal is to clarify KPIs and explain the details to your client in a visually appealing way. Automated reporting tools usually provide several options, so you can effectively convey your message.

4. Glossary

Always include a glossary to explain what’s what. Make sure your client knows what each abbreviation stands for, and never leave them wondering about any marketing jargon you’ve used (although your rule of thumb should be to use as little jargon as you can).

5. Data sources

You usually use different data sources. If that’s the case, differentiate between them in your marketing report.

If, for example, you’re running a marketing campaign for an e-commerce site, you’ll want to show the funnel a customer went through. Are they a new or returning customer? Did they place a repeat order? Your report should provide the answers to questions like these.

6. Chronology

Make sure you organize your marketing report in a logical way. For example, start with how people ended up on the client’s website. Then, describe what caught their attention and what kept them there. Finally, discuss customer retention: what has made them return to the website later? After describing the customer journey, you can include points for improvement and a glossary.

If you use a good reporting tool to create a marketing report, it will allow you to build the report in the way you prefer.

7. Clear lay-out

Include the client’s logo in their marketing report and use matching colors, so they’ll know you’ve tailored the document to them. Also, create an appealing front page. Although a book should never be judged by its cover, first impressions are important when reporting results back to clients. A clear, personalized lay-out shows clients you’ve put effort into the marketing report and care about your relationship with them.

Implementing a Solid Marketing Strategy: Quick Additional Tips

  • Make well-considered choices
    Don’t go overboard with the marketing metrics and data you share. Your client won’t see the forest for the trees. Select the marketing data that truly matters to a client’s industry and business.
  • Pick the right frequency
    Are you creating a weekly or monthly marketing report? Or does it make most sense to share results with your client each quarter? Determine a logical pace and adhere to it.

Want to Create each Client’s Digital Marketing Report With Ease and Efficiency?

If you’d like to create solid, highly relevant marketing reports, Swydo might be the right reporting tool for you. It’s easy to use, scalable, and dynamic.

Curious to see what Swydo can do for you? Request a demo or for the full experience sign up for a free 14-day trial and create your free marketing report in minutes!