The fast pace of digital marketing often means exciting technical updates that can overshadow some of the fundamentals, like client reporting. It might sound like a bit of a dry topic, but reports help clients make the most of innovations and ideas by demonstrating how they’ve been applied.
With a combination of cold hard numbers, data visualisations, and expert insights, reports can make the difference between a good campaign and an outstanding campaign.
As an account manager here at Ambergreen, client reporting is an essential part of my role. I’ve learned a lot about how to present clients with the best information in the right way to really demonstrate the fruits of our hard work over the month.
So, with those objectives in mind, here are my top tips (with a cinematic twist) on how to create high-quality client reports:
Good Will Client Reporting
When considering the role of client reporting, I’m drawn to my memory of a maths practice paper designed to prepare us for our Standard Grade exams. The teacher wanted to help us identify the areas we needed to concentrate our revision on.
Our class was never likely to set pulses racing at M.I.T – at least, that’s what I thought. But, out of nowhere, one of my classmates, who was never one of the sharpest pencils on the desk, scored a highly improbable 98% on his mock exam.
Surely he was cheating? Or had he had a Will Hunting-esque moment? Maybe he was a quiet genius.
The biggest question, however, was how to transfer that success to the real exam?
Do you think he analysed his practice paper, picking out areas of strength and weakness, concentrating his study on those he was weakest in? Or did he bask in the glory for five minutes before heading out to play football and forget?
Let’s just say, he was never born to be an account manager…
It’s important to demonstrate where things haven’t worked as hoped just as much as where they have, delving into the data to uncover the reasons. Often it is only through great client reporting that issues can be caught and resolved early to get the strategy back on track.
A good account manager will provide a thorough report, interrogating all of the data and key metrics and, most importantly, help us answer the following questions:
- What worked?
- How can we improve upon it?
- What didn’t work?
- Why not?
- What are we doing about it?
By answering these five questions, you will not only convey the state of your efforts to your client but also determine what steps you need to take to perform better next time.
ABT (Always Be Testing)
Client reporting also provides an opportunity to demonstrate the results of testing. As a data-led agency, we believe that the best results can be gained when tactics and strategies are tested.
Whether it’s finding a new keyword, a new channel, or new target audiences to trial, testing will make sure that your campaigns are always evolving.
From the inception of the campaign, contingency should be made to have testing throughout. Keywords will change with trends over time, conversion rates can always be improved, and open rates can always be better.
Whether that’s an A/B split test, an exclusion test, or a simply ‘try-it-and-see’ test – reports are an essential way of communicating the results to clients, maintaining full transparency.
Supermetrics Really Is Super!
Just a short while ago it took almost as much time to collect the data needed to compile reports as it took to actually do the analysis.
With a labyrinth of data sources to work with, data had to be analysed in silos and then be brought together in one place.
However, with Supermetrics, Google’s proprietary tool, data collection can be automated from all of your sources. With intelligent use of variables and integrations, a Google Sheet can be populated with incredibly rich data – cross-referenced and integrated with other data sources.
Then there is Google’s new Data Labs, a cutting-edge data visualisation tool that pulls information from a wide range of sources including Google Analytics, Google Sheets, AdWords, and YouTube.
Combined with Supermetrics, Data Labs will allow us to create rich data visualisations which help to demonstrate the effectiveness of our SEO, Content, and Paid Media work.
These platforms mean that up-to-date information and insight can be generated at the touch of a button, so you always know how your campaign has gone and where it is likely to go.
After all, no client report is complete without giving insight into the future.
Get to the
Grosse Point e Blank
Of course, with so much data at your disposal, it’s easy to get carried away and simply provide reams of reporting to demonstrate a point.
You should, however, have metrics and KPIs agreed from the outset, and these should be at the heart of your client report. In order to effectively discern and communicate what you’ve achieved, you’ve got to get to the point and focus on only what is, could, or should be influencing the achievement of those KPIs.
That’s not to say that reports can’t also build knowledge, challenge beliefs, and highlight opportunities; reports are an excellent medium for all of these things. But reports should always refer back to the business objectives. Whether its brand awareness, traffic, sales, or a combination of the three, there is a good reason for digital marketing which should remain the focus.
Not sure if your business is getting the most out of your current agency? We’d love to invite you for a coffee and have a chat about your business needs and what key metrics you’d like to improve.
Get in touch today to arrange a call or meeting.