3 Reasons Your Reports May Be Worthless

Just sent out your monthly report full of detailed and exciting statistics?

  • Organic traffic is up 40% from last month
  • 9,040 Goal completions were tracked on the site
  • The Facebook page now has 30,876 followers, and engagement is increasing

It looks impressive.

But you’re left with one small but important thought running through your head.

SO WHAT.

Data and analytics are the backbone of any marketing campaign, and there are many, many sophisticated tools that gather, analyse and spit out various reports.

You follow what the experts say, you get the latest reporting tool and spend hours in your analytics account analysing traffic, conversions, engagement, landing pages etc; the list goes on.

But despite your efforts and hard-work, you can’t communicate your success in your reports. Here are the 3 reasons why your weekly, monthly, quarterly or even annual report may be worthless.

1)  YOU DON’T HAVE A ROAD MAP

Taking a chapter out of the Agile Project Management handbook, everything should start with a vision and a roadmap for how you plan on taking your company from A to B.

Your data will only become meaningful when it starts being relevant to your vision and the specific objectives you have mapped along the way.

Therefore it’s vital to pull insight from each and every piece of data you present, by narrating it in the context that surrounds it, and attaching it to that KPI or goal. It’s often far too easy to get so caught up in Big Data you forget to look at what actually is going to provide value to your company / client, and consequently lose sight of the KPI’s you set at the beginning of any campaign.

Getting your road map on paper and putting it somewhere visual encourages you to keep it top of mind when writing your reports.

2)  YOU’RE MISSING A SUMMARY

All the data in the world won’t make sense if you can’t summarise how it relates to your objectives and KPI’s discussed above.

Start your report with a short and sweet recap of the following:

  1. What KPI’s did you set at the beginning of the campaign
  2. What tasks / activities have been completed to achieve these
  3. How is that going to affect company performance
  4. What data can back this up
  5. What’s next

If you mentally check off each point, you’ll have a much better chance of not including ‘worthless’ data in your reports.

3) YOU FORGET YOU’RE MARKETING

Hubspot created a great little visual on the basics of Inbound Marketing:

Each stage is as important as the next and should be reported on through a variety of metrics (blog shares, landing page views, email open rates).

Yet we so often get so consumed with delivering value to our target audiences in the Attract and Convert stages, we forget your end goals is a paying, loyal customer. It’s a balancing act, and while reporting on the value you have created for your audience is crucial, so is reporting on how you have leveraged or plan to leverage this value into brand awareness, leads and sales.

AN EXAMPLE

You notice your social channels are lacking engagement and interaction.

After carefully planned research into the types of content your audience are consuming, along with the tone, language and format they respond to, you start creating targeted blog posts to be heavily promoted via social.

And in the first month you report that the Facebook page has had a 115% increase in engagement.

You are over the moon happy and fist pumping in your chair.

You can back this up with data you’ve pulled from Facebook analytics and include a report on the big increase in social traffic to your site.

So what’s next? You do the smart thing and take whats working and use it again and again until it no longer proves effective. This pattern increases your shares, likes and comments month on month.

And it’s great.

WRONG.

If you don’t go one step further and ask yourself how is this going to affect company performance, you might miss that this amazing increase in interaction may have little to no effect on your actual business results.

Don’t forget to check if the engagement is coming from users who are interested in your product / service and if the social traffic to your site converting well or at all.

THE BOTTOM LINE

By itself, data has no value to a business.

If you can’t pull an insight or recommendation from one piece of data and attach that to a KPI it might not be worth reporting.