A client once told me, “I don’t need to be bothered with digital media reports.”
For digital media professionals, this statement stops the music, and we refrain from asking the obvious question out loud: “If you don’t care about the results, why did you even bother to invest money in this campaign?”
Of course this client cared about results. But further discussion revealed that they were intimidated by reporting—it was “Greek” to them, a “waste of time.” Another client didn’t see the value of digital reporting for an awareness campaign with no clear-cut ROI, such as product sales.
Reporting has rapidly become indispensable in digital marketing. It’s now used not only after a campaign has run, but also as an integral part of the entire process. Today, businesses can benefit greatly from partnering with an agency that differentiates itself from others by providing expertise in reporting.
Whether you’re looking for a new agency, want more out of your current agency or utilize an in-house digital media team, there are several best practices that should be consistently present in reporting.
Ability to increase understanding
A strong media team will find out what excites, intimidates and eludes you (the client) about reporting. They will help define what you consider valuable in a report and demonstrate additional potential benefits. They will also translate Greek into English—and always schedule a time to review a report with you. As the client, you have the responsibility to ask for an explanation of terminology or data that isn’t clear. The more you understand, the more you’ll appreciate the role of reporting as an integral part of marketing.
Once you start discussing objectives for a campaign, the media team should begin structuring the report to be of greatest value. The report should reflect what is important to you and what fits with the campaign. Frequency of reporting is also important—how often do you need to assess progress? Lastly, the report should present data in client-driven context, including comparisons of previous activity, current activity and future projections—as well as outside influences that impact results.
Interpreting the metrics
You should never receive a report before the media team defines the benchmarks based on your industry’s standards. If, for example, you’re a law firm partner, you’re probably wired to interpret performance measurement under 80 percent as unacceptable. Your agency should be ready to explain why your Facebook ad’s 2 percent CTR is outstanding.
An agency must be eager to earn your trust by gathering, quantifying and interpreting results honestly and in your best interest. Transparency also means that reports will include the results that fell short of expectations as well as those that performed well.
An agency should use reporting throughout the entire campaign journey and continually leverage it as the only tool indicating when a tactic needs to be adjusted, left alone or reintroduced midstream.
Media reporting is an agency’s best friend. And when done correctly, it will become that for your team as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin’s expertise in digital media for national and local nonprofits and corporations, public health programs, and higher education spans more than a decade. She delivers top results by leveraging SEO, analytics, and search and display marketing tools to build awareness and action across the most innovative and widely used online platforms. Erin joined the AB&C team from Temple University, where she was the associate director of digital marketing. Erin has a master’s in women’s studies and sociology as well as a bachelor’s in political science and history from SUNY Albany.