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Few people consider reporting the most exciting part of running a marketing agency — but its importance is undeniable.
Even if you do have the foresight to make this mind-numbing work a top priority, the real challenge is choosing the right reports to look at. Sure, you can compare profits and expenses to gauge your company's performance. But how do you actually use that information?
In this article, we’ll show you the best reports for marketing agencies and how you can use them to improve your business. Let’s begin.
As its name suggests, a general marketing report provides an overview of your marketing performance. It typically presents information on key aspects of your marketing efforts (albeit not as in-depth as other reports).
These reports are helpful for executive leadership, key stakeholders, and other high-level personnel in need of a macro overview of company operations. The idea is to provide enough information to help executives understand where the company stands without delving into day-to-day expectations and performance standards.
Here are some of the things a general marketing report may contain:
Client churn data
A general marketing report may also contain more (or less) information depending on the company.
A general marketing report is a helpful tool for creating executive-level strategy for your company moving forward. From there, managers can determine project scope and break work into sprints or smaller tasks.
These reports won’t be enough on their own when it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of your marketing campaigns, but they’re an invaluable resource when defining a starting or refresh point.
A web analytics report tells you how users interact with your website. You’ll be able to see how many people are visiting your site, where they’re coming from, and other metrics like:
While web analytics reports help you measure traffic, you can also use them to understand your website’s performance. Some tools like Google Analytics also provide information like page load, server response, and domain lookup speed.
Web analytics reports are in every digital marketer’s arsenal. Content teams use them to identify blog posts and pages that perform well and, by extension, types of content that users typically like.
You can also use these reports to pinpoint issues with your website. For instance, if you know your content is good, but your website has a high bounce rate, viewers may have a bad UI experience.
Many marketers love web analytics reports because of their versatility. You can filter and analyze information in various ways to understand site performance internally and for clients.
Like web analytics reports, SEO reports tell a website’s story. But more specifically, they explain how websites perform in SERPs from both a paid and organic perspective.
That said, some overlap exists between SEO and web analytics reports. For example, both may include data on conversion rates, bounce rates, and page speed. However, there are site elements that SEO reports focus on, including:
Top traffic channels (organic, paid, referrals, etc.)
General site health
Average keyword positions/density
Page and domain rankings
Unlike other reports, an SEO report isn’t a report you look at every once in a while to recap your recent efforts. Instead, search engine specialists use it much more frequently in tasks like content planning and link-building campaigns.
SEO reports aren’t just for internal or client websites either. Many SEO experts also create and analyze reports for competitor sites so they can identify what their peers may be doing better. You can create reports for yourself or competitors using tools like Semrush or Google’s Search Console Insights.
The best thing about SEO reports is they benefit team members at every level. Content marketers can use SEO reports when researching content pieces. Web developers can also use them to assess indexing issues and ensure every page is fully optimized for SEO.
While an SEO report can contain some data on paid search, it primarily tracks a website’s organic performance. That’s why marketers use PPC reports to show results from paid campaigns. A PPC report will typically contain the following:
Cost per click (CPC)
Click-through rate (CTR)
A PPC report can also tell you how your ads have performed historically, how they fair against competitors, or how they stack up against predetermined benchmarks.
PPC reports are important reference points when tracking the performance of your paid ad campaigns. Use them to find out which types of ads are performing well and which locations most of your clicks are coming from. This way, you can test more effectively and tailor your ads to the right audiences.
An email campaign report tells you how your email marketing efforts are performing. More specifically, it shows you statistics like:
Click-through rate (CTR)
Email campaign reports help you gauge the success of campaigns on both a micro and macro level. They can help you identify optimal scheduling, CTA placements, headlines, email templates, and what demographics you should emphasize during the list-building stage.
Even better, you can cross-reference these metrics with other reports for increased clarity.
For instance, if many people subscribed to your blog through a weak-performing post, it may indicate that the specific CTA in that post is extremely powerful. Or, if you notice a steady increase in unsubscribe rates that coincides with a recent change in your content strategy, it could mean you’re headed in the wrong direction.
Social media reports provide a glimpse into how your social campaigns are doing beyond which channels are pulling in the most likes and comments. Here are some of the KPIs you’ll find in a social media report:
Most social media reporting tools integrate with Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, but some apps also connect with other popular platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and even TikTok.
Because social media reports consolidate most, if not all, of the key social media metrics in one place, they can save you a lot of time diving into your social media channels individually. This means you can easily compare your channels side by side without keeping track of their performance data in a sheet somewhere else.
Many social media reports include metrics like clicks to your website via social links and competitor analysis. They will also give information about what selected audiences are talking about if you set your apps to listen for specific keywords.
Unlike other reports on this list, a time and activity report isn’t specifically catered to marketing or ad agencies. However, it can be a crucial tool for helping agencies.
Companies use an array of different employee performance data, but most will use some semblance of the following:
Total tasks completed
Total time spent on tasks
Total hours worked
A tool like Hubstaff lets you create time and activity reports with these metrics. You can also:
Assess cash flow needs by gauging project spend on a per-task basis
Sort billable hours by client or project
Gauge productivity for freelancers and contractors with activity
Of course, this data can vary drastically based on one’s job description, so it’s also worth looking at industry-specific benchmarks. You’ll have a more accurate gauge of how active your team should be based on others in your industry.
This type of report works best when you look at the metrics as one cohesive whole. A time and activity report will provide insight into the how and why behind your employees’ output.
Suppose you have an employee who’s constantly clocking in hours and is active in several projects but isn’t finishing tasks. This could indicate ineffective collaboration between team members or difficulty prioritizing work.
Accessing the right reports at the right time is essential to avoid wasting time on the wrong tasks. The reports we discussed will cover everything you need to perform effectively as a marketing or ad agency.
To make the most out of reports, analyze them within the context of your unique team. Having reporting tools that show you relevant and detailed metrics will go a long way, but how you interpret them will have a lasting impact.
Use Hubstaff to track your team’s time and plan projects more effectively.