The key to creating an effective marketing report is to strategically connect the dots between business, value, and data. In other words: show exactly how much value is being generated from a particular marketing campaign, in terms of revenue, conversions, or engagement.
Here are three easy steps to do this:
1. Establish a KPI framework
From the very get-go, pick three to five KPIs to display on your dashboard that are simple to explain and understand. If you can’t explain each of these KPIs with a short title, they’re already too complex for others in the organization.
Most reporting software let you drag-and-drop widgets to display KPIs in various ways. For instance, on Adriel’s customizable marketing dashboard, you can create widgets for single KPIs or compare them against one period to another to visualize trends.
In addition, you’ll also be able to pit one KPI against another (e.g. ad spend against link clicks) and visualize relationships between KPIs in any graph type on Adriel.
2. Create data stories
Once you’ve decided on the KPIs, add a few sentences at the top of the dashboard describing key insights with the metric name, numbers, and percent changes in brackets. These are called data stories.
[YouTube Ads] garnered [#link clicks] leading to [#signups] for the waitlist.
[Ad spend] fell by [% change] this month due to [reason].
[%] of users returned to our website this month. Our goal was [%].
You can use this same format for every report you create and just fill in the brackets or change up the metrics according to your marketing goals.
Data stories add a great deal of context to bare-bone metrics, allowing executives to grasp the important details in one glance and make data-driven decisions.
Different executives and teams will be reading these data stories so they should be straight-to-the-point and self-explanatory. Anticipate their questions and include short and concise methodology descriptions when necessary.
On Adriel’s dashboard, you can simply drag and drop a “Notepad” widget to write data stories.
3. Organize your data intuitively
You should structure your executive dashboards the way you write stories—with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Divide your dashboard into three levels: top, middle, and bottom.
At the top, include:
Your brand / client’s visuals (name, logo, taglines)
An overview of KPIs for the month or compared with a specific time period
The middle section should analyze these KPIs in more detail:
Performance trends visualized in different types of graphs
Relationships between one KPI and another
Causes and effects
Finally, wrap up the dashboard with granular data:
Details of ad campaigns
Ad creative insights (e.g. ad copy, photos, videos)
Analysis of creative intelligence (e.g. keywords, colors, emojis)
See how all of this strategy works in real-life with marketing report examples