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Marketing Intelligence

Start Showing Off With Expert Client Reporting

by Chloe Dougherty , Digital Marketing Specialist 8 Min.
July 22, 2021

This might surprise you: The impact you achieve for your clients is not what’s most important when it comes to proving your value. It’s how you showcase your impact that really matters.

Client reporting tools and dashboards can be your secret weapon for effective client communication (and achieving results). To get it right, you need to tell a story with the most accurate and up-to-date analytics for agencies, like website trafficbounce rate, conversion rate, and more. 

This post will break down everything you need to create client reporting dashboards that keep your campaigns on track and draw attention to your value. 

Client reporting: Your ticket to improved results   

Not only can a strong client reporting process demonstrate your business impact, but it can help you take it even further.

After all, presenting campaign results with clear data and charts regularly, it’s easy to flag issues and pivot your strategy fast. For example, if your goal is to grow followers on Facebook, and you aren’t seeing a change, it’s the perfect opportunity to adjust your strategy.

HubSpot found that up to 23% of agencies fail to meet client goals and expectations – regular reporting is an effective way of addressing this issue.

The key is telling a story with data and using reporting to communicate strengths, opportunities, and your value. 

Client reporting supports a data-driven strategy as well as trust, transparency, and collaboration – all key ingredients for success (and happy clients). 

client reporting definition

The whole reporting process can be streamlined with tools that pull together only the most important information, clearly and concisely. So that your clients can instantly see the data that matters to them the most.

Depending on the scope of your work, your marketing reports might bring together information from one, two, or several platforms, such as data generated by pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine marketing (SEM) reporting tools.  

An effective client reporting solution is built around your clients’ needs and helps them move easily from the big picture to more granular details. 

Level up your insights with client dashboards  

If a client report is the expected standard, a client dashboard takes things to the next level, giving clients data to shape their strategy and identify strengths and weaknesses across a campaign.

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Agencies worldwide use dynamic reporting tools to increase the impact of their campaigns. A dashboard draws together data and translates it into visual representations, using graphics and graphs to illustrate growth trends. 

You might even include digital scorecards to create industry benchmarks against which to analyze your relative success.

digital scorecard image

For most agencies, a ‘white label’ customizable tool is essential, as it allows you to build a custom dashboard for each client, with their unique marketing goals, branding, and communication preferences.

Why client dashboards really matters

The digital world is packed with agencies clamoring for business.

Statista reports that nearly $356 billion was spent on digital advertising in 2020, and predicts that to grow rapidly to an incredible $460 billion by 2024.

In such a lucrative industry, competition is fierce. Clients want to be sure that every dollar they spend with you is worthwhile. Robust reporting is key in demonstrating that you’re delivering on their investment and maintaining a strong agency-client relationship.

On your side of the table, effective reporting and dashboard tools automate time-consuming tasks, bringing SEO reporting, PPC reporting, and more under one roof. This frees up your time to focus on building campaigns that grow your clients’ businesses and deliver what they’re after.

#clientreporting builds trust and transparency. Communicating in a straightforward way makes your campaign successes crystal-clear to your clients. Tweet this

Here are just some of the ways client reporting tools can enhance your work:

  • Save time and money – You can focus only on the most important metrics, and deal with different clients, accounts, and digital disciplines simultaneously.
  • Improve transparency and accountability – With detailed custom reports and accessible analytics dashboards, successes of every size are accounted for. Forbes explains that greater transparency is one of the best ways for your agency to build trust with your clients. Equally, clearly defined goals and metrics make your results easy to measure, presenting a clear forward direction for you and your client to take together.
  • Impress with deep customizationPersonalization is increasingly becoming the hallmark of an excellent client experience. By providing clients with a tool designed just for them, you’ll lay the foundation for a loyal, long-lasting relationship.

Finding the right metrics to report on

Ease of use and flexibility are key here. Clients should be able to monitor different metrics depending on their needs. You can include any number of metrics specific to your project and client’s goals and milestones. That’s especially true if you have a more precise focus, such as on SEO reporting, social media, or PPC.

Your client dashboard might include the following types of information:

1. Keyword data

Search engine optimization (SEO) metrics such as overall sessions, organic traffic, click-through rate (CTR), keyword rankings, and bounce rate are important to understanding how your client’s website will rank on Google. Similarweb supplies the data needed to benchmark your client’s SEO performance against their industry and find opportunities for improvement. 

seo-dashboard-examples

2. Social media metrics

Social media performance can be monitored by looking at data on existing and new followers, page impressions, and high-performing posts. It’s key that brands understand their overall traffic share and analyze the performance of different social media channels in order to create a targeted approach to improving their campaign performance.

social media metrics

3. PPC reporting

Brands should keep a close eye on their pay-per-click (PPC) spend in relation to the amount of traffic generated. This will determine their ROI and help to make clear if they are missing out on paid search opportunities within their industry. Monitoring trending keywords makes it possible for clients to strategically bid on terms that will give them a competitive advantage.

ppc reporting example

4 fundamentals to impress 

Let’s get practical.

What are the actual features and functions needed for an actionable (and impressive) client reporting dashboard. Remember, you want to highlight successes and serve up data to help level up your clients’ strategies.

The most impactful client dashboards are:

  • Customized
    Focus on the key reporting metrics clients care about. There’s no need to bore clients with information that isn’t relevant to their business. Bottom line: highlight what matters.
  • Simple
    Truly, nothing is worse than confusing data. A clean and clear design that presents the most crucial insights in an easily digestible way is as important as your positive results. 
  • Interactive
    An interactive dashboard allows clients to see what they want, whether it’s data from the last week or last month, so make sure your dashboard is interactive and customizable. 
  • Visual
    Well over 80% of the information absorbed by our brains is visual. Beyond making sure the results stick with your clients, visuals can more effectively show growth than numbers. Just remember to choose them carefully. For example, a line graph may be better for showing traffic growth, but a pie chart can illustrate demographic breakdowns more clearly.

client reporting fundamentals

Go time! Preparing your client dashboard

Good client reporting is about cutting the fluff and cutting to the chase.

Here are the key steps you need to take:

  • Gather the right research – When onboarding a new client, you’ll find out what short and long-term goals they have, and whether these are tied to this specific project or timeline. Find out who their target audience is and what they are hoping to achieve.
  • Agree on metrics and KPIs – Before you can start any work, you and your client will need to decide on the direction to head in, and the markers you’ll use to gauge success.
    Break these down into straightforward metrics that you can measure, such as conversion rate and cost-per-click for a PPC campaign, or impressions and engagement rate for a social media campaign. Agreeing to these in advance is essential to keep you on the same page as the project progresses.
  • Set expectations in advance Mapping the frequency with which you’ll provide updates to your client in advance will help you organize yourself and set expectations. You also want to scope out the level of detail your client’s business is after. That way you can design your reports accordingly.
  • Break down the results Your report should include a monthly summary that explains the key results, and whether or not you’re on track to achieve your client’s goals. Remember that they might not be marketers , so it’s important to give them a clear overview of recent accomplishments and where you are in relation to your overall schedule. Explain why certain metrics are up or down, and reflect on any differences you’ve noted between platforms.

Saving time with automation

Reporting takes time and depending on the size of your project, you could have hundreds of metrics to measure.

By automating the process, you avoid having to create a new report every time your client wants an update. Not only that, but your reports will always look neat and consistent, and there’ll be much less opportunity for human error to skew results.

If you want to take things even further, automated reporting for clients can collect all your metrics in real time and present them on a live dashboard. Via a secure viewing link, your client can monitor their KPIs on their own time.

Either way, automation is here to do much of the heavy lifting, letting you focus on providing the deeper insights and strategic tweaks needed to take your clients’ campaigns further.

Finding real-time client reporting data

Very few digital marketing agencies produce client reports without a specialist tool.

That’s not to say it can’t be done, but Microsoft Excel isn’t built to deal with such rapidly changing data metrics. Not to mention the time you’d then spend analyzing the data, before pulling out key findings and designing the report or dashboard itself.

similarweb pro

By using a tool, your reporting is brought into one place, making it easy to track your marketing activities across numerous platforms and data sources. Pulling together your search engine tools, Google Analytics, Facebook ads, website metrics and more saves you time, and makes for clearer reports for your clients.

As your agency grows and scales up, working across numerous campaigns at one time, manual reporting becomes all but impossible.

To be most effective, you need a tool with:

  • Highly accurate data, so you can be sure your client’s strategy is steered by precise findings
  • In-depth historic data, ideally with up to 28 days of results for better tracking
  • Keyword research and referral tools, as well as the ability to analyze traffic and market share
  • Extensive integrations to access all the data you need, when you need it

Showing off your agency’s success

Client reporting and dashboards allow your agency to present results in a dynamic, engaging, and easy-to-understand format.

The transparency they provide helps you build trust with your clients, increasing loyalty and strengthening your relationship. By taking advantage of automation you can focus on identifying opportunities to improve your campaigns, helping your clients achieve success after success.

Further reading: Build Competitive Analysis Reports Your Management Can Rely On

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