Are you able to understand your marketing agency’s reports?

We are sometimes asked for a second opinion about marketing service providers’ reports and the results presented in them. That’s when we usually ask if the asking party understands what the report is saying and do they know what kind of business decisions they should make based on it. And then we say that neither do we.

Sometimes (often) a digital marketing report features vanity metrics that are completely useless for the business, such as reach or video views. These might be fun facts for the person in charge of marketing, but they don’t tell anything, for instance, about channel-specific cost per conversion or conversion rate (e.g. purchases in an online shop or forms sent) or what kind of changes take place, let’s say, in a 30-day period. When there is too much information, it is hard to see what is most important to your business and make decisions based on that.

Unfortunately, we also often see that wrong things, such as arriving to a landing page, are measured as conversions.

Also, reports don’t always take into account the fact that the recipient is a human and that, in addition to the marketing manager, the report is often examined by the CEO or financial director, too.

The CEO doesn’t need to know the CTR

When reporting is done with the recipient in mind, the report does not contain useless information and the meaningful data is presented in an easy-to-understand way. The financial director might appreciate exact numbers concerning things like the budget, but the CEO may be more interested in long-term trends, latest developments and future steps. If the CEO or financial director gets a report stating the campaign’s click-through rate, how are they supposed to make business decisions based on that?

In its most basic form, a report can, for example, include the average cost per conversion, conversion rate, trends for a 30-day period and suggestions for next steps. It is even better if this is done in a visual and easy-to-understand way.

A more comprehensive report for the marketing manager?

A marketing manager might like to get a more comprehensive report than what the CEO needs. Interesting indicators in addition to the CTR could be, for instance, the quality of the online traffic or the channel-specific cost per conversion, so that it is possible to make decisions about which channels to cut and which to invest in as well as to evaluate purchase potential.

The marketing manager, too, will appreciate recipient-oriented reporting.

You as a marketing manager do not need to know all the cryptic three-letter acronyms. You are most likely in charge of coordinating a complex set of responsibilities while also doing your best to shepherd service providers which leaves you with no time to spend half an hour on trying to decipher an Excel sheet containing all the possible figures, abbreviations and numbers.

Tell your service provider about your wishes and let them know what kind of reports would benefit you most when making business decisions. Some people prefer simple graphs, while others want to see all the figures. Also, ask when and how often you will get a report.

Reporting serves no purpose if the report is not comprehensible.

An indicator for results, efficiency or bragging?

We at Aboad talk about result metrics, when we mean, for example, conversion rates. A conversion might be a sent form or a purchase made in an online store. A performance report and click percentage, in turn, tell about efficiency, and they are used to evaluate potential. We refer click rates and reach as vanity metrics.

As a decision-maker, you need to understand what kind of indicators are valuable for you in terms of making decisions. Evaluating future potential is important when planning the course of action for the next financial year. Remember to ask who in your organization should be in charge of which indicators.

Do you understand what the figures mean?

There is a better way – creating the report using visual dashboards. With dashboards, it is simple for our clients and us to examine trends, for instance, over one week or the ongoing quarter, which makes predicting future tendencies easier. We leave out useless figures and concentrate mainly on key figures that are relevant to your business. Finding important information in 15 seconds by eyeing the report will save you time and spare your nerves, as you don’t need to try and interpret a ten-page Excel document with a dictionary. You will make more confident business decisions when the data is presented in a visual form and you can easily see even long-term trends.

Thanks to near-real-time reporting, the person in charge may examine the report when it is most convenient for them. In addition, you can look at the report only for this week or quarter. This means that the dashboards that are updated in real time also increase transparency.

Because we want to constantly improve the marketing industry, we are happy to answer any questions that might arise from a report you have received.


Chief Executive Officer

Juha on se, jolle soitetaan, kun on aika luoda asiakaslähtöistä ja modernia digitaalista markkinointia. Markkinoinnin konseptointi, digitaalinen markkinointi ja mittaus kuuluvat tämän herran erityisosaamiseen.