This blog post will cover the top 10 marketing reports that every business needs. Not carrying out reports is a dumb thing to do, on top of that they don’t have to be difficult to implement or maintain.
We’ll go over what the reports is, why the report is important, what you get out of doing the report i.e. the results, the disadvantages of not carrying out the report, the reporting software you can use to carry out a specific report and finally what we do at Canny.
Let’s get to it!
- What the report is
- What the report is important
- What you get out of doing the report – the results
- The disadvantages of not carrying out the report
- Reporting software
- Agency Discussion
And, we’ll highlight software that you can use for creating your marketing reports at the end or within each section/
The very first marketing report you should be carrying out is website traffic. Simply put, without traffic your website is effectively useless.
In the end, you have paid for your website, are paying for a domain name and hosting as well as any needed maintenance. So, why neglect traffic/potential traffic to your website.
Traffic is simply the number of people that come and visit and land on your website. Before getting into more detail on website traffic it’s worth pointing out one thing – you can carry out different reports that can contribute towards website traffic. We’ll discuss these soon enough.
Without further ado, you need to carry out website traffic reports so that you can actually see the traffic on your website.
You will see traffic in a nice visual chart when using reporting software for traffic. The visual chart will be a history of traffic and you’ll be able to see trends such as low and high traffic at specific times of the day, week, month and year.
Traffic is the top-level metric and is the overarching factor that contributes towards your website success.
So, what do you get out of reporting traffic on your website? Well, you’ll be able to create trends.
Once you have trends in place (data gathered over time), you can use this as a basis to start carrying out other tests concurrently, or not.
While collecting traffic data on your website, you’ll be able to see the traffic as a whole (the total number of visitors from all pages) and the number of people on specific pages.
If you don’t monitor traffic, nor have any traffic, you won’t be able to gather information on traffic sources, bounce rates, the exit pages of your website, the top pages of your website. What converts and what does not.
You won’t even be able to see the customer’s value per visit nor see who’s been referred to your website.
You simply need traffic.
You can track traffic in a number of ways – you can see people that visit your site during a specific timeline such as the previous day, the previous week or month. When tracking visitors on your website, each visitor will be classed as a unique visitor (even if the same visitor has already been on your site).
You can actually track non-unique visitors by assigning the user and ID or by creating a login for your website.
Every time a person that’s been assigned an ID visits your site, they’ll be classed as a non-unique visitor.
Now that we know a little more about traffic, the next step is to determine your traffic sources.
Website Traffic Sources
There are three main types of traffic sources. Direct, referral and search.
Traffic sources in simple terms what traffic sources are driving visitors to your website.
Direct traffic comes from visitors that directly enter your website’s URL into their address bar without completing a search first.
Direct traffic is either from users that know your website, people that happen to type the correct URL in their web address search bar or have been told what the URL is.
But, there’s a critical bit of information that you should know about regarding direct traffic. Dark social media.
Dark social media is the crutch of website traffic, it’s traffic that comes from social media platforms or email when people click on links that open up a webpage. These links do not contain any referral data so tracking software cannot track this data.
This data is not necessarily direct traffic because the user could have been sent the link (referral) and they copy and paste that link into their address bar.
Because this link has been directly copied, there is no other data attached to that URL (it’s just a URL).
Because the user has copied and pasted the URL into their address bar and searched for it, this falls in line with the characteristics of direct traffic.
Referral traffic is traffic that’s come from a “referred source”. This could be from social media platforms where the user has actually clicked on the shared link and not copied and pasted the URL.
It can also be from emails such as newsletters or promotional material.
It’s simply traffic that came from outside of a search engine.
Search traffic is traffic that’s actually come from search engines (Google for one). This is often known as organic traffic. However, (only if you haven’t paid to be on the list of search results, then it’ll be paid.
This is nice traffic to have as you can start to see what keywords are being utilised in your content and which ones aren’t.
From here you can learn what phrases people are typing into search engines to find your website, then you can start to rank higher for these searched terms by generating good content.
The reason you want to track where your traffic is coming from is so you can create the correct campaigns for your business – are people coming direct to your website or are they searching for your website?
If people are coming direct to your site who are really coming from other platforms (social or email) you may want to look into adding tracking parameters or tag URLs used in specific campaigns.
If people are coming from search engines you will want to focus on the keywords used in your content and make sure the content is good.
You don’t just want to generate content willy nilly.
If people are coming to your website via a referral, you will want to create social media campaigns or email campaigns.
If you do not track where your traffic is coming from, you simply won’t be able to generate the correct campaigns.
You could be focusing all your efforts on social media when really people are coming to your website from search engines.
Now that we know what website traffic is, it’s time to move onto the next step – interactions.
Interactions on your website are what your users are doing (your traffic). It’s all fine and dandy knowing you’ve got the traffic, but you need to know what it is they are doing.
People on your website will be doing different things on each page of your website. Remember before when we said you can gather traffic on a per-page basis, well – you can see what all these people are doing on your specific pages.
When a user lands on a webpage of yours, you want to find out specifically what they’re doing, what it is you can do to make the user do more of what they are doing and how you could influence their behaviour into carrying out other actions.
When tracking user interactions, you can see the amount of time a user spends on your webpage – from here you can get the average amount of time users spend on each page of your website.
You can even see where they click (hotspots) and where they don’t click (drop off points).
You want to know this information so you can either improve certain elements of your webpage or remove elements completely.
Let’s look at an example – say you have a call to action on your website, but no one’s using it.
You want to find out why.
To make this process easier something you can do is called a split test (A/B test). Now, this is really not as complicated as it sounds if this is fairly new to you. All it is, is two different variations of a specific element (the call to action) on your website.
For instance, you could have a call to action in your top bar that’s blue, you could also have the same call to action in the top bar but purple. You simply have two separate layouts, one for each.
With A/B testing, the variation a user sees is randomised (split down the middle – 50% of users could see one variation and the other 50% could see the other).
From here you’ll generally be able to see what colour call to action is performing better than the other.
To make things more difficult, they both may be performing the same. You will need to choose what you like best, or what your users prefer (questionnaire?).
Or both call to actions may not be performing at all. In this case, you’ll have to revise the design of your website and relocate the call to actions and carry out more tests.
With interaction reporting, you can effectively improve every aspect of your website’s design. Your users can influence how your website looks and works (UX).
So it’s important not to have a design just because you like it, but so your users (target audience) like it as well.
Now that we know what traffic is and what interactions are, the next step is to monitor your conversion rate.
Remember before when we discussed the A/B testing for the call to action? Well, the conversion rate is the rate at which you convert your visitors into potential customers/customers.
That call to action that was performing better than the other will be one of the key factors in increasing your conversion rate.
Simply put, the conversion rate is the percentage of users who take the desired action. This desired action will be your overall website’s goal.
So, what defines the conversion?
A conversion event can be many things – we have call to actions, but different call to actions can do many different things.
Some of these actions can be signing up to a newsletter, filling out a contact form, registering as a user, making a purchase or even downloading some trial software.
Before when we talked about the A/B testing (for testing different call to actions), you can utilise A/B testing for conversion rate improvement.
This is because conversions are completed through the use of call to actions. Again, the design and user experience (UX) need to be what the user expects, not just what you like.
Return Visitor Conversion Rate
You need to know what your returning visitor conversion rate is. This is because you need to know why they are returning, did they convert the very first time they visited your site or did they leave.
If your visitor didn’t convert the first time but convert the second time this means they could have been carrying out research and decided to choose your website over another.
It also means your website has the correct content and behaves as the visitor expects.
You want to retain these returning customers – you need to know what they are buying, what pages they are visiting.
One thing you can do is set up perks for returning customers – this could be benefits for returning such as a discount.
Things like this can increase customer loyalty.
Loyalty is an important factor that you shouldn’t ignore .
When people leave your website after landing on it is called the bounce rate. They simply “bounce” away instead of staying on your webpage to view it.
This means visitors are not reading the content on your website, clicking on call to actions, or converting into potential customers/customers.
There are a number of reasons why bounce rates happen.
These reasons can be poor design, a broken link, unreadable text, information that’s not relevant
Google even takes note that your website’s content is poor if users leave your webpage after a few seconds.
This means your website won’t rank for searched terms even if you have the keywords in your content.
So monitoring the bounce rate of your website is extremely important to the success of your website.
You can also A/B test to help improve the bounce rate of your website. Moving away from the call to action example we have previously looked at, let’s look at improving the copy of your website.
You can have a bit of copy that leads onto your call to action. The wording you use needs to have a positive impact on your users.
If it sends them to sleep or doesn’t resonate with them, they’ll simply move away from your website or move to a different page.
One other factor that can affect the bounce rate is the loading speed of your website.
If your website doesn’t load within a few seconds people will not use your website.
Parts of your web page may load and other parts may take a while – again, this will have a negative impact on the bounce rate of your website.
So, to reduce the bounce rate of your website you need to make sure you have good design, good user experience, good content and fast loading times.
A high bounce rate means you’ll have seriously reduced leads that have the potential to generate income for your business.
A point worth mentioning – who is actually visiting your website? The wrong people may be coming to your website.
You need to attract the correct visitors (your target market/audience). To do this you need to make sure you have the right keywords on your website.
If you don’t utilise the correct keywords, you’ll attract the wrong people.
Once you’ve got the correct keywords and you are attracting the correct visitors, you can then create landing pages and create engaging campaigns for your target audience.
You want your visitors to stay on your website and encourage them to come back if they keep revisiting, but not converting.
Exit pages are pages where people tend to leave your website. People can land on exit pages in one of two ways.
Either direct or by navigating to the exit page from another page.
If people are landing on your exit page and exiting straight away (increasing the bounce rate), you will need to investigate this and find out why.
You may have to revise the webpage content or add any necessary call to actions.
If people are navigating to the exit page then leaving, you’ll need to find out why they are going to that page and not staying on the site or converting.
You may not have the necessary call to actions or the design/functionality/content could be poor.
You may even have too many pages for the user to navigate through before they reach the necessary call to action.
You should only really have up to three pages for the user to navigate through before reaching their goal (your website’s goal).
For example, let’s say you’ve got an eCommerce website and the user lands on the homepage.
If you want your potential or returning customer to make a purchase of any featured items – you’d have these items in the hero section.
You’ll then give them the option to buy now taking the user straight to the cart to make their purchase or the option to find out more about the product.
Finding more about the product will only add one more step, then from there they can add their product to the cart and complete the cart process.
So, with this example there should be no more than two steps three steps to make a purchase – the user lands on the homepage – they need to click through to the single product page (if they want to find out more), then when on the single product page they can click add to cart and proceed to the checkout.
So the three steps are:
User lands on the homepage, sees a featured product and clicks through to the single featured product page
User adds the featured product to the cart and proceeds to the checkout
The user completes the checkout process
Now, the checkout process may have numerous steps.
The checkout process will generally have
- Sign in
To keep the user motivated during this process, it’s good to list out the number of steps and show them where they are during this process.
It’s also good practice to let the user skip the log in process or to create an account based on their billing/shipping details, it’s also good to let the user skip the shipping details if they are using their billing address.
If the user skips the sign in and shipping, they are left with three steps.
The checkout process generally has more steps than the steps required to reach a goal. So the combination of showing the user where they are using steps and the option to skip certain steps keeps the user motivated/engaged throughout the process.
I know myself I’ve skipped the login and the additional shipping details when making purchases online.
On top of these options, if the user has made a purchase before and are a returning customer – your returning customer won’t have to log in, nor will they need to fill out the billing and/or shipping details again.
This means they only have to complete two steps
There is more to an eCommerce site than what’s described here (we’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg). If you need an eCommerce site or your eCommerce site just isn’t performing, get in touch with us .
Just like knowing what your exit pages are, it’s important to know what your top pages are.
You need to know what your top pages are in order to continuously improve them and remove any areas that may be neglected.
Your top pages will also show what type of content your users engage with.
Other things that can contribute towards certain pages being top pages are the design/functionality.
This is because users like certain interactions whilst navigating through your website and besides having good content, it’s good to have additional features. This can be elements ranging from button animations to user experience improvements (how long it will take to read a specific blog post).
You need to know these things so you can analyse what your users like the best and continue to design/develop what they like.
You could also apply any logic that’s on your top pages to other pages. It could simply be that other pages of your website have been neglected or don’t have the user experience additions as your top pages have.
If you don’t know what your top pages are, you may end up focusing on pages that are actually not your top pages.
Now, if your top pages happen to be your blog posts your top pages will change frequently. This will mean you can see what content users find the most engaging – other posts could be more popular than others.
With blogging, it’s important not to just write about random subjects, or spontaneously come up with posts that engage your users.
You need a well considered content marketing strategy.
Your blog needs to incorporate the correct keywords for searched terms and you need to build up your keywords and backlinks overtime.
You can even incorporate link building and content into your reporting, as seen in the examples from our how to write an annual report post.
Customer’s Value Per Visit
The value per visit is how much each visit is worth.
You can do this by dividing the total number of visits by the value earned.
Let’s use an eCommerce example as we did before.
Let’s say you have a conversion rate of 4% (the average global eCommerce conversion rate is 4.31%). 4% to make it clearer.
Also, let’s say you make around £50 per purchase on average.
This means each visit is worth £2.
4 multiplied by 50 is £200 (for every 100 visitors). You are only working out the total from the percentage of conversions – you only have 4% (4 people) that net an income so you need to multiply this % based on the average purchase. The remaining 96% net you no income.
This means you have to divide the $200 by 100 visitors. You are left with £2 per visit.
If you had a 100% conversion rate you’d be swimming in it.
100 visitors multiplied by £50 is £5000. Divide £5000 by every 100 visitors, you are left with the full £50 per visit.
The next step is to work out the cost per conversion.
Cost per conversion
We need to know the cost per conversion because you may be spending money on your website (content, updates, advertising). But, if the value per visit isn’t making up the money spent your income could be countered by the amount spent meaning you could have an income of zero or even minus.
If we use the example from before, you have a conversion rate of 4% and make £50 on average for every purchase and you are left with a value per visit of £2.
If you are spending more than £50 per conversion and that conversion only makes a purchase of £50 you aren’t gaining anything.
However, if you have organic SEO – it won’t cost you anything to market your website.
This isn’t a point included in the 10 digital marketing reports every business needs, but the software we recommend for carrying out such reports.
There you go, that’s 10 digital marketing reports that you should be completing. But, you need software to complete these reports.
Here’s our recommended software for each digital marketing report that your business needs:
You can use Google Analytics for reporting website traffic and traffic sources, conversion rate, bounce rate, top pages, find out the number of visitors for the customer’s value per visit and cost per conversion, returning customers, exit pages and interactions (clicked links etc.).
HotJar is used to generate reports on how people use your website. You can see where users click on your webpage, where users stay the most and drop off points (exit pages).
You can go as far as recording how users navigate your site in real-time – you can see where they get stuck, make u-turns etc.
We have mentioned campaigns and customer loyalty – to help with this you can use CRM software such as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign and HubSpot.
MailChimp and Active Campaign are CRMs. They let you manage and talk to your customers with ease. An example is sending out automated emails to your customers.
In short, these let you:
- Manage clients
- Market your business
- Improve sales (lead generations)
Conclusion: 10 Digital Marketing Reports That Every Business Needs
That’s it for this blog post. The areas we have covered are:
- Website Traffic
- Website Traffic Sources
- Conversion Rate
- Return Visitor Conversion Rate
- Bounce Rate
- Exit Pages
- Top Pages
- Customer’s Value Per Visit
- Cost Per Conversion
There are actually more points that can be discussed, but that’s for another blog post – keep an eye out.