Marketing Reporting: Everything you should know about Reports, Strategy and KPIs

Marketing Reporting

Table of Contents

What Marketing Reports Offer

Marketing Reports with Specific Goals

Frequency, Audience, and Data - Aligning Reports to Their Purposes

Key Components of an Effective Marketing Report

Marketing Reports - Best Practices

Choosing The Right KPIs For Reports

Try Narrative BI as Your Marketing Reporting Platform

Marketing reports are an important part of not only better understanding customer behavior and emerging market trends, but also gauging the success of marketing efforts, increasing returns on marketing investments, aligning team members with current goals objectives and progress, and helping inform decisions in management, marketing and even operations.

Marketing reports can vary widely—while general marketing reports might look at a holistic picture of the total of an organization's marketing efforts, teams also may rely on more specific marketing reports, such as pay per click advertising reports, SEO marketing reports, ecommerce marketing reports, campaign marketing reports, email marketing reports and more.

Which success metrics are included in a report, how frequently a report is created and shared, and the intended audience of a report can all depend on the goals of a marketing report. It can be important to determine, based on the purpose of the report, how frequent it may be. When creating reports, it’s often important to consider the audience, the purpose of the report, and the frequency of the report when determining appropriate KPIs.

In order to better understand marketing reports, it can be important to understand what they have to offer, key components in an effective marketing report, some simple best practices to adhere to when reporting, and some of the KPIs that might be appropriate for different types of reports–as well as how regularly reports are created, and key considerations when determining how to create a report.

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What Marketing Reports Offer

So what exactly do marketing reports offer? What is the objective of marketing reporting? How can they aid organizations in their goals? There are a few ways, the objective is almost always to provide valuable insights, and the benefits can be numerous. Marketing reports often make up an important component in a marketing strategy that prioritizes data driven decision making and deriving actionable insights.

Marketing reports can help organizations better understand how their marketing efforts pan out through careful analysis of trends over time—trends informed by success metrics, previously established with the organization's specific goals in mind. Here are some of the important functions of marketing reports:

  • Creating a comprehensive and holistic collection of marketing data: Marketing reports enable teams to pull together data from various sources, visualize, and analyze the compiled data. Reports enable teams to better demonstrate and measure how well campaigns are working, determine trends, and often gauge the impact of specific channels or efforts.
  • Gaining crucial insights about the market: customer behavior and preferences, marketing trends, and other crucial marketing data can often be derived from effective marketing reports. Reports can help organizations understand the popularity of a product after marketing efforts, or even understand target audiences better. This can help teams enhance their sales funnels, decide on future efforts, and optimize their customer interactions.
  • Informed operation: Marketing reports help organizations avoid making uninformed marketing business and management decisions. The insights gained from reports and the intraorganizational communication they often represent make them an important tool in aiding data driven decision making. They can help organizations better prioritize resources, focus on revenue, and build effective systems and strategies.
  • Meeting Established Operational Goals: Marketing reports can help teams operate with more data, better enabling them to meet their operational goals. This can apply to marketing teams, sales teams, and even ops teams. In fact, through marketing reports, organizations can take more communicative approaches to meeting operational goals, opting for interdepartmental communication.

The data itself in marketing reports can be an invaluable tool to organizations who seek to optimize and enhance their marketing effort, but that isn’t their only importance as a marketing and management tool. They also represent an important line of communication that enables marketing managers, leaders, and other relevant team members to remain well-informed about the performance and approach of the organization's marketing efforts.

Marketing Reports with Specific Goals

Marketing reports often are generated consistently with specific goals and objectives; while general marketing reports are a common type of marketing report, marketing reports can also take a much more narrow focus. 

For example, an organization might regularly generate and distribute timeline reports that are disengaged to align teams and update team members on the progress in certain initiatives - or marketing teams might generate regular campaign reports to keep track of a specific campaign they’re working on. Organizations also may use budget reports that look at the spending of different marketing efforts.

How Often to Make Reports

There are a range of frequencies at which reports can be generated, which can be an important factor informing the nature of different types of reports. Some common frequencies for marketing reports include:

  • Daily: Daily marketing reports can be used to align teams and provide brief progress updates to management. These reports can be especially effective when used to provide brief updates that focus on rapid changes. They might focus on day-to-day changes, emerging potential issues, and other pressing matters.
  • Weekly: Weekly marketing reports are helpful for keeping track of short-term progress, as well as keeping teams consistently aligned with organizational goals and priorities. They offer consistent insights into the performance of marketing efforts already underway and can focus on metrics that help teams steer marketing decisions.
  • Monthly: Monthly marketing reports are a highly effective way to consistently track marketing efforts, identify emerging trends, and gain important insights about performance. They can be an important tool for aligning management and teams and providing insights into how well marketing initiatives are working.
  • Quarterly: Quarterly marketing reports that focus on 3 month periods can be instrumental in demonstrating and tracking larger shifts in customer trends and marketing success over time. These can be helpful tools in updating marketing managers and executives on emerging long term trends, tracking the success of strategies over time, and gaining a big picture understanding of marketing efforts.
  • Annual: Annual reports can demonstrate clear long-term trends, and might focus on aggregate trends that help organizations better understand how the organization's marketing efforts have panned out over time or how long term customer trends emerge

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Frequency, Audience, and Data - Aligning Reports to Their Purposes

Marketing reports can be used for a wide range of specific purposes, but regardless of its intended specific purpose, marketing reports typically aim to offer useful information that’s relevant to the audience. In order to ensure that that data is useful and relevant, it’s important to align the type of report to its intended purpose.

Consider Frequency

The frequency of a report can both inform and be informed by the goals and data of marketing reporting. For example, a daily report might focus on immediate changes, and include metrics that track daily changes — website traffic, sales closed, or even newly arisen issues. In a daily report, it may make more sense to discuss immediate day-to-day changes and only long-term outlook as it pertains to daily operations. However, in a quarterly marketing report, it may be crucial to focus on the big picture and paint a picture of progress toward long-term goals over time.

Considering the Audience

Marketing reports might be used to update a COO about the performance of a new digital marketing strategy designed to foster growth on a monthly basis, but they can also be used to align operations and marketing teams on a weekly basis. In both cases, marketers may be generating reports toward the same goals, but the different audiences can make a significant difference. The intended audience can inform the style of language used on a report, what highlights are included, the data that’s focused on, and how regular reports are.

Considering the Data

What type of data might be included in marketing reports? The contents might vary a lot, and can depend on the intended audience, what type of report it is, and what the goals of the organization are at the moment. Success metrics and key performance indicators can be highly effective when they’re consistent, established early on, and tweaked if necessary.

But which ones should be included? Success metrics and KPIs should be relevant, helpful, and consistent.

For example, a weekly marketing report that specifically looks at pay per click advertising, or a PPC report, might include metrics such as cost per click, (CPC), number of clicks, conversions for the week, and the ROI of ads. However, a monthly general marketing report that looks across different marketing channels for a month might focus on metrics such as ROI per channel, leads generated, and sales closed.

Key Components of an Effective Marketing Report

Marketing reports can take various forms and approaches depending on their intended purpose - but there are some key components that are often used regardless of what type of marketing report it is.

Here’s some of the components of a marketing report that can be essential to include:

  • Summary of Findings/Executive Summary: Importantly, an effective marketing report often begins with all of the most important information, summarized, and clearly laid out. This ensures that not only is it clear what will be included in the report, but the audience won’t need to search hard for it. An important quality of an effective marketing report is that it’s actionable and clear. The introductory summary should offer the audience everything they need to know at a glance, in order to take action.
  • Additional Information/Background if Applicable: Depending on the audience and the purpose of the marketing report in question, it may be unnecessary, but it’s often helpful to include or reiterate background information, such as the goals that the metrics included are aimed at tracking, why certain metrics are included in the report, or other relevant information.
  • Key Performance Indicators and Success Metrics: Importantly, most marketing reports will include established success metrics and KPIs - the data from which the audience can derive actionable insights. These are often informed by the type of report or goal of the report. For example, a daily social media marketing report might include metrics such as engagement rate, impressions, visitors, or likes, while a monthly general marketing report can include a wide range of metrics, spanning from cost per click of individual pay per click channels to the ROI of various channels. Metrics included can vary quite a bit from marketing report to marketing report. Examples include:
  • Organic Engagement Metrics
  • Paid Engagement Metrics
  • Sales Metrics
  • ROI Metrics
  • Web Traffic Metrics
  • Various Channel Specific Metrics
  • SEO Metrics
  • Visualization Analysis and Insights: In marketing, analytics reporting can be crucial. An effective marketing report often contains not only raw data, but some sort of analysis of the data, whether that might be looking at how cost effective marketing actions are, identifying customer or market trends, or even isolating potential competitor trends.

Through accurate analysis, marketing reports can offer actionable insights and help relevant audiences better understand the report. It can also be helpful to visualize data. For example, by charting out conversion rates, a marketing campaign report may be able to better paint a picture of how well a particular campaign is working.

  • Goal Progress if Applicable: In many cases, marketing reports are generated and shared with the express intent of tracking certain marketing goals. In such cases, it can be important to include a section that covers the progress toward those goals, informed by the data that the report looks at. It can also be helpful to include goal progress even in other marketing reports regardless of their primary purpose.
  • Conclusion/Recommendations: An effective conclusion will often reiterate key points, review relevant information, and in many cases, offer recommendations or next steps. In some reports, there may not be applicable recommendations, but in many cases, it may make sense to offer conclusions or recommendations based on insights derived from the data in the report.

For example, a monthly pay-per-click report that shows a clear trend of increasing costs per click without corresponding returns may make a recommendation that the issue be addressed.

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Marketing Reports - Best Practices

In order to create effective marketing reports, it can be important to adhere to certain common best-practices. It can be crucial to ensure that marketing reports are consistent, efficiently generated, well-organized and easy to understand, and actionable. In order to do so, here are some important steps:

Generate and Share Reports Consistently

It’s essential to ensure that marketing reports are generated and disseminated as regularly and consistently as possible. Consider the most important goal in making any marketing report: being helpful. Just as it’s important to include relevant information and actionable insights, it’s essential that audiences can expect reports consistently. It can be helpful to create a schedule so that recipients will be informed ahead of time when they can expect reports.

Generate Reports Efficiently

In order to ensure that reporting is accurate and consistent, it can also be essential to make reporting sustainable and achievable. Creating efficient workflows for creating reports, whether through reporting solutions, or through the creation of templates, the utilization of software, and an internal standard operating procedure, it can be essential to find ways to streamline the process of reports in order to ensure that they’re consistent and high quality.

Organize Reports With Audiences In Mind

It’s often helpful to prioritize the most important information first and offer key takeaways as soon as possible. Offering the most relevant and important information first enables audiences to quickly find what they need, making the report more overall accessible.

Make Reports Easy To Understand

Just as it’s important that reports are well-organized, it’s also important that they’re accessible and easy to understand. There are a few ways to do this, starting with ensuring that formatting is clear and legible. It’s also important to organize the data itself, both for driving actionable insights, and creating visualization when possible and applicable.

Choosing The Right KPIs For Reports

It’s important to consider what KPIs or success metrics one uses when creating marketing reports. The audience and goals of a report can influence what metrics might be important to include. Here are some examples of a few different types of reports and corresponding KPIs which may be appropriate:

Social Media Marketing Report

A social media report is an important part of tracking social media marketing efforts. Social media marketing reports can be used to derive a general overview of social media marketing efforts across different platforms over time.

Here are some KPIs that might be particularly relevant in a social media marketing report:

  • Number of likes
  • Number of new followers
  • Reach of organic posts
  • Other engagement, such as comments and direct messages

Advertising Marketing Report

Advertising marketing reports are often another important way to track online efforts. These, however, may focus even more on cost-effectiveness, as advertising generally represents a monetary investment.

Some KPIs that can be particularly relevant and useful include:

  • Return on ad revenue
  • Conversion rates
  • Total ad spend
  • Ad revenue
  • Impressions

Specific advertising report types may include distinct metrics. For example, PPC or pay per click advertising marketing reports may include the following metrics:

  • Click through rate
  • Impression share
  • Cost per click
  • Number of clicks

And, display advertising marketing reports might include the following metrics:

  • Reach
  • Conversion rates
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Number of clicks

Search Engine Optimization Marketing Report

SEO reports will often look at the performance of the organization’s web site itself. This can be particularly important for ecommerce businesses and other organizations that rely heavily on traffic to their website.

These types of reports will often look at metrics specifically relevant to search engine performance, such as:

Email Marketing Reports

Email marketing is an important marketing channel, even as online users increasingly opt to communicate via alternative means.

Importantly, email marketing reports will look at similar metrics to other reports, but specific to email marketing, such as:

  • Clickthrough rates
  • Conversion rates
  • Open rates

Ecommerce Marketing Reports

Ecommerce marketing reports might look at an organization’s e-commerce efforts, whether or not the organization is primarily an ecommerce business.

These reports may look at a specific campaign or long-term trends, but metrics will generally be those which are relevant to ecommerce, such as:

  • Cost per acquisition
  • Click through rates
  • Website traffic
  • Total sales
  • Conversion rates

General Marketing Reports

General marketing reports often look at the total of all marketing efforts; this will often include all marketing channels, and anything else relevant to marketing.

General marketing reports are often aimed at providing a comprehensive look at an organization's marketing efforts, and as such, can include a range of relevant metrics, such as:

  • Ad spend
  • ROI per channel
  • Conversion rates
  • Total sales
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Cost per click
  • Organic search traffic
  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • etc.

Try Narrative BI as Your Marketing Reporting Platform

Narrative BI offers the capabilities and tools required to make reporting simple. For instance,  Narrative BI can be used to easily create automated reports for Google Analytics 4 (GA4) mobile app data - helping provide insights into key metrics such as user engagement, retention, and conversion.

Google Analytics 4 can be a valuable source of insights, especially when used with mobile apps, enabling teams to better understand their customers’ behavior, derive actionable insights that can help predict future trends, and more. In addition to Google Analytics 4, Narrative BI also offers the ability for organizations to easily generate automated reports from Facebook Ads, and Google Ads, and - in the near future - will offer Hubspot and Salesforce reporting as well.

Narrative BI makes it simple to create automated reports and integrate powerful data, enabling teams to approach reporting in a more efficient and sustainable manner. With powerful features like slack integrations, sharing reporting is easier than ever. To learn more and get started, be sure to sign up today!

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