End of year: How to write a marketing report
2020 is almost here. A chance to restart your strategy and think afresh. But first, end of year reporting.
Here’s how to write a marketing report that will impress your boss, and help you analyze your results ready for next year.
End of year reporting is one of those painful necessities of the job. You can’t plan for the next year unless you have a real understanding of what did (and didn't) go well over the last one.
To make life easier, I’ve created a simulated report to give you an idea of the visuals and insights you should include to make your report the best it can be. Download it above, or read on for end of year reporting tips and tricks on how to create your marketing report.
Consider your audience
What you include when you create your report, will change depending on who you’re reporting to. At a low level, metrics like bounce rate, engagement, and number of mentions may seem important. Afterall, you use them to understand how effective your campaign strategy is.
But upper levels of management don’t need those figures. They need the results. How did that engagement increase impact conversion rate? What does this all mean to the company’s return on investment?
At the highest level, your results need to lead to the company’s bottom line. For an effective marketing report, tie your social metrics to revenue. Compare key business impact metrics to social results to demonstrate exactly how social media directly impacts your company.
For some, overall brand mentions are important. For others, headline mentions are more valuable. Consider your audience and their expectations from your marketing report.
Explain your data visuals
A picture may paint a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean you should use visuals alone. To you, a graph may show some great results, or valuable peaks of engagement. But to someone that hasn’t worked with social media data before, it could mean very little.
Highlight what readers should focus on. And provide captions or explanations to help translate the graphs into comprehensible data.
Although visually appealing, some graphs don’t instantly tell the story. A couple of lines of explanation will help make it clear to all your readers.
Give valuable insights
Ok. Now people have seen a graph, and know there was a peak. And what that means. The next question will be: why?
That should be at the back of your mind throughout writing your end-of-year report.
- What caused that one post to get a higher than average engagement rate?
- Why did you suddenly see an increase in traffic to a specific landing page?
- How did you get that increase in organic search?
These are the questions you will be asked, so don’t just include data in your report. Include the insights that explain why everything happened. Not only will it save you time when it comes to follow up questions, it will help demonstrate the marketing strategy underlying your actions. And show people that when it works, it really works
There’s a peak in this graph. You can add value to your report by explaining why that peak happened.
Results don’t mean much when considered individually. 4,000 free trial requests in Q3 sounds good. But if your average was 2,000 in Q1 and Q2, it suddenly sounds a whole lot more impressive.
By providing average figures, benchmarks, and year-on-year analysis, it’s easier for readers to see the trends coming from all your hard work - whether you’re growing month on month or quarter on quarter.
Don’t forget competitive benchmarking. Some competitor analysis goes a long way. You can see if your blog posts are more popular than the competition, whose Twitter strategy is more effective, or whether your competitors are targeting an audience segment that you’re missing. Those 4,000 free trials sound even more impressive if you know your biggest competitor only brings in 500.
Understanding how your brand performs on social is good. How you perform on social compared to a competitor is so much better.
Turn those insights into actions
The last stage is to turn all you’ve gleaned from your report, and turn them into valuable action points for 2020.
Don’t just look at what worked, and plan to repeat. Dig deeper into exactly why your successful marketing campaigns were successful, and integrate those success points into your strategy.
Consider what didn’t work too. Plan how to avoid such issues in the future, proactively tackle the pain points your brand has faced. Even consider the issues facing your industry as a whole, so you can shape your next year’s digital marketing plan effectively.
The secret of a great end-of-year report is not to show how effective your plan was. But to show that you can repeat it time and again.
A few actionable insights at the end of the marketing report, changes it from an analysis into something valuable for your 2020 strategy.
Grab your free marketing report template now!
Stop putting it off. Get working on your end-of-year marketing report now. Even if you haven’t got all your 2019 data, you can start organizing exactly what visuals you want to include, and gathering some of those vital early year insights.
Even look back over 2018’s report for some year-on-year analysis.
Don’t forget, you can grab your simulated report below, or leave a comment on what you think is essential to include for the ultimate marketing report.