You’ve put a lot of effort into SEO and now it’s time to report on results. Which KPIs should be included in an SEO dashboard? Here, dozens of marketers share their thoughts.
Marketing | Feb 24
Elise Dopson on January 22, 2020 (last modified on January 21, 2020) • 11 minute read
Organizations with more than 5,000 employees typically have a 45-strong marketing team.
What do they both have in common? Both small and large marketing teams need to package and communicate performance on a regular basis to:
So, how do you create a marketing report that those people actually want to read?
We asked 19 marketers from a range of industries to share how they format their reports–some sharing screenshots of what their reports actually look like. This guide shares their answers.
*Editor’s note: Want a better way to create marketing reports your team wants to look at? Instead of fiddling around with Excel formulas and formatting, browse our range of dashboards. They’re all totally customizable for you to add your most important KPIs in one place:
The Capitol Tech Solutions team says their social media reports are formatted differently than our SEO reports, as Kevin Olson explains: “The first page of the report is an overview.”
“The overview breaks down performance by ad, ad group, key demographics, key events, and locations (if we are geo-targeting several different specific locations).”
“The pages following that one change based on what the client wants to see in the report.”
Hexe Data‘s Krzysztof Surowiecki says: “I share with my clients the report showing business efficiency broke down into key segments. Individual segments resulting from the type of business, but also the general ones like source/medium, age, etc.”
“What also may be interesting is to show trends in long-term reports and projected future trends. The thought behind this is that the client has a history rating, and prediction allows them to make decisions today in the context of the development of their business.”
Brendan Tully says: “At the start of 2019, [The Search Engine Shop] changed all our SEO and Adwords PPC reports to report conversions (calls, form inquiries and $$ through checkout) first and really make them the focus of the report.”
“At the same time, we moved many from monthly to weekly reporting. The focus on rankings and traffic is short-sighted for most businesses because what they actually want is conversions.”
“By focussing on conversions first we move the conversion from fairly meaningless “why don’t I rank higher for” so a much more commercially focussed conversion about leads, inquiries, sales and cost of acquisition,” Tully continues.
“Reporting weekly gives us a short enough time scale so we can adapt as necessary while also eliminating the day to day variance that’s typical with search traffic.”
In fact, Tully’s team isn’t using the standard timeline for reporting.
Over half of the companies we surveyed said they report on marketing performance monthly:
…Yet 64% of marketing teams say their bosses, clients, and stakeholders are more supportive when they receive performance reports on a weekly basis:
Similarly, Colby Hager’s team at Capstone Homebuyers adds: “One of the most important reports I share with my team is the conversion percentage related to search terms for pay per click (PPC) marketing.”
“This helps us understand which search terms tend to convert at a higher rate so we can properly allocate our budget on the right search phrases. It also informs us of any content updates needed on our website to reflect language being used in search terms that leads to higher rates of conversion.”
“One marketing report example that I share with my team and the client is the Google Ads report because we utilize Google Ads heavily,” says ClearPivot‘s Karoline Kujawa.
“You can pull up this report in Google Ads itself or an integrated marketing system; for example HubSpot or Databox. That is what we use.”
“HubSpot integrates with Google Ads to pull a nice, detailed report that also indicates the recent form conversions from each campaign. That is the best part about HubSpot reporting that regular Google Ads can’t account for.”
Kujawa adds: “My clients tend to really like this report a lot because it allows us to analyze which campaign is driving the most sales qualified leads. It also allows us to determine ROI feedback.”
Bryan Ng of Bryan Digital also creates reports for Google Ads campaigns because “knowing when the Google Ads are being clicked gives my outdoor sales team a better idea of when to visit customers.”
“Knowing what devices are being used to click is equally important too. For example, if a click is from a computer, I can safely derive that this person is at his office.”
Ahrefs is an SEO tool used by thousands of marketers.
Maik Klijn says the team at VPN-Check use Ahrefs’ main dashboard because it “is a perfect way to find out what your rankings are in Google and what marketing [tasks] you must do to get a good blog content.”
“Every Friday at 5:00 pm we post a marketing report that shows the number of leads generated that week,” writes Jeremy Cross of Team Building Boston.
“This report is meant to show our marketing and sales team members where we are at, without taking a lot of time or analysis. If the number is higher than average or expected then we investigate why and see if we can make further improvements.”
Cross continues: “We have a similar process for lower than expected weeks for leads. The report itself is automatically generated by Zapier and posted to Slack, so it doesn’t require any additional time or effort to prepare.”
Jon Blumenfeld says that Nexthink “has a very large number of resources on our website.”
“These resources are categorized in our CMS in a variety of ways such as lifecycle stage, job role, etc. but one of the most important facets is the type.”
“We desired to know if there were certain types of content that were performing better than others at the top of the funnel, and to do this we set up a custom dimension in Google Analytics to track the types of content we have on the website.”
“On top of this, we implemented a custom metric to measure form fills across the website and used this custom metric in conjunction with the built-in page views metric to create a calculated metric for conversion rate,” Blumenfeld adds.
“We discovered very quickly that certain resources had a much higher volume of form fills as well as a much higher conversion rate.”
William Avila says that “every month, [Rizen Inbound] take time to show our clients how well their content is performing – paying particular attention to topic clusters.”
“We take pride in building comprehensive guides for audiences to enjoy, and showing clients how their content is working together to grow their brand is so important. Content efforts should build leads and build higher customer conversion rates. Share that good news!”
According to Avinash Chandra, BrandLoom “always shares a report on organic search position with our client and this format is easy to understand and it summarizes very well all the relevant statistics related to the search result.”
Here’s what that looks like:
Marketing reports don’t have to be in the standard chart format we typically see.
“One example of a marketing report that we share with our clients is our results in the form of case studies,” Amy Hernandez of electrIQ marketing says.
“We find it most effective to put all our gathered information from a past project into a concise study that highlights that campaign’s goal, our approach and the results that came from our work.”
Ilia Markov reports that ChartMogul “organize the report around our marketing funnel — readers, (email) subscribers, free trials, paying customers.”
“At each, we have a metric (and a way to measure that — either through GA or our product) and include that in the report that gets shared on our Slack channel each month.”
“While simple in nature, we send this report to a client on a daily basis,” writes MashMetrics‘ Thomas Bosilevac.
Bosilevac continues: “Viewing yesterday, this week, and last week lets us see if our growth (or not!) is due to seasonality, part of a longer trend, or simply because we nailed a campaign! We can also view the conversion and total trend through the last year.)
It’s crucial to make sure that your marketing strategies generate more revenue than the budget you spend on them.
Our data shows that almost a third of marketers pull data from between six and 10 different sources to create their reports:
However, Greg Chapman of Empower Business Solutions has a unique approach to calculating return on investment: “When analyzing marketing campaigns, businesses often don’t include all costs associated with a sale.”
“In particular, internal costs both for marketing and different sales pipeline stages are neglected. This tool determines the total marketing cost per lead and total cost per sale in such a way that different campaigns can be compared and decisions made about their effectiveness.”
According to Dylan Zsigray, “nearly all of [Kiwi Creative‘s] clients use social media and track applicable data from each platform.”
“Within Databox, we create comprehensive Databoards for each platform so that clients can get relevant stats each month.”
“However, knowing that many executive leaders wish to have over-arching data for social media strategy, we also create an aggregate Databoard, where we add calculated metrics for similar stats from each platform.”
“For example, to track total engagements we add together likes, comments, shares, retweets, favorites, etc. from the respective platform. For those who wish to have high-level information to share, our aggregate Databoard provides this.”
“After testing a number of different analytics packages, we chose Databox because it is the only tool that allows us to combine data from Instagram with data from Google Analytics in one super easy-to-use and beautiful looking design that we can automatically send every week to our client and account team,” writes Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet Social Media.
“Clients want to see the reports and they want to see progress, but they may be interested in only two or three KPIs among the hundreds that we actually track.”
“In the example here, we’re showing monthly progress (last 30 days) of website impressions driven by an Instagram campaign, and we display a range of metrics about Instagram and how it impacts website visits.”
Yanor continues: “With this particular client, they were not using Instagram before so we wanted to highlight what a huge impact it was having on their web traffic and that Instagram generates offline search.”
“We do not know the exact reason for this but we suspect that people who do not want to leave Instagram at the moment, may return later and use a search to find what they saw during the campaign.”
“In this particular example, we were running a multi-image carousel showing before and after shots of various renovations concentrated in a geographic area. We were changing up the creative every week so that we would be hitting our targets with different visuals.”
“In the bottom left corner we like to track the top posts by engagement so that we are always focused on creating winning Instagram posts,” Yanor adds.
Nextiny also use Databox to create reports: “We include the typical metrics to make sure things are moving in the right direction, these include: video plays, play rate, engagement, CTR, etc,” says Gabriel Marguglio.
We also include “Total hours Watched” from website video views (Wistia) and Youtube video views. Total hours watched is a very important metric when thinking about brand affinity. Brand affinity grows with the amount of time that people spend engaging with your brand.”
Marguglio adds: “Another metric we like to include is the comparison between closing rates from leads to customers that haven’t watched video to the ones that made video part of their journey. This last metric shows the overall impact of video.”
“One marketing report we share with clients on a monthly basis is our organic SEO report,” says SyncShow‘s Cassie Simoniello.
“This report is a Databox widget that we built to showcase organic metrics from Google Analytics, SEMrush and Google Search Console.”
“Metrics we track within the organic report include organic sessions, top keywords by position, site audit score, domain rating and top organic landing pages by sessions.”
Simonello adds: “This widget gives us helpful insights into how our SEO efforts are playing out month-by-month. This report also touches on the most important aspects of SEO include on-site, off-site and technical.”
Hopefully, these marketing report examples prove that there’s more to reporting than confusing Excel formulas.
Whether you’re using a data visualization tool (like Databox) or creating your own from scratch, make sure your reports don’t flop by including your most important marketing metrics.
Here are some round-up posts to help you determine those, by channel:
Marketing | Feb 24
Marketing | Feb 19
Marketing | Feb 18