Mar 27, 2024

Marketing reporting: the ultimate guide for digital marketers, including dashboards, templates, tools & software

15-MINUTE READ | By Anna Shutko & Rosanna Campbell

Marketing Analytics

[ Updated Apr 12, 2024 ]

Marketing reporting isn’t just about proving the value of your marketing team. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

The whole purpose of reporting on your marketing efforts is to be able to make better data-driven decisions. Whether that’s the decision to double down on a specific marketing channel or to end an underperforming campaign early, marketing reporting should surface the insights you need to make decisions with data, not your gut. 

If you’re struggling to pull together reports that drive better decision-making, this guide is for you.

Skip ahead:

What is marketing reporting?

Marketing reporting is the process of collecting, visualizing, and sharing marketing data with your team, leadership, or clients, to help make informed decisions about marketing tactics and strategy.
Marketing reporting can help you:

  • Monitor the day-to-day impact of marketing tactics
  • Evaluate the performance of a specific marketing campaign
  • Make decisions about the mix of marketing channels you’re using
  • Optimize your marketing spend
  • Share your results with leaders or clients

Marketing reports can be presented as a dashboard you check daily, a presentation during your weekly Marketing team meeting, or a visualization of your annual performance during a yearly marketing strategy review.

What marketing KPIs should you report on?

You need to be selective about the metrics that you report on. It usually makes sense to start with the decisions you need to make—optimization, tactical, operational, or strategic— and work backward from the decision to decide which metrics will give you the information you need to make that decision.

Optimization KPIs

These are the small, ongoing decisions your marketing team needs to make about the best way to get the most out of each of your marketing tactics. For example, should we change the color of the CTA button on our landing page?

  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who navigate away from the website after viewing only one page.
  • Time on page: The average time spent by visitors on a particular web page
  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of users who click a specific link compared to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement
  • A/B test results: The results of A/B tests to check the impact of changes to your marketing tactics
  • Return on investment (ROI): The ratio of the net profit generated from your marketing efforts, when compared to the cost of those efforts, used to optimize budget allocation

Tactical KPIs

These help you improve the performance of individual channels and campaigns. For example, how should we pace our ad spend this week? Some tactical KPIs you can look at are:

  • Web traffic: Number of web visitors
  • Web conversion rate: Percentage of visitors who take a desired action
  • Social media engagement rates: Number of likes, shares, and comments on each social media channel
  • Email engagement rate: Number of email opens and click-throughs
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): The cost of acquiring a new lead through marketing channels

Operational KPIs

They ensure marketing activities run smoothly and efficiently. For example, what affects the sudden drop in trials? Typical operational KPIs are:

  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs): Number of leads that meet the required criteria to be passed on to Sales 
  • Sales qualified leads (SQLs): Leads that the sales team classes as a match for your ideal customer profile 
  • Brand visibility: How often your website is found during online searches

Strategic KPIs

They set the long-term direction of your marketing strategy, deciding on aspects like the marketing mix, budget allocation, positioning, and messaging. For example, How should we allocate the budget this year? For strategic decisions, you can track:

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): The total value of each new customer over time
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): How much it costs to acquire a new customer
  • Brand mentions/brand sentiment: KPIs that measure brand perception and awareness 
  • Customer retention rate: The percentage of customers retained over a specific period
A table showing marketing KPIs based on the types marketing decisions, including optimization, tactical, operational, strategic

4 steps to building an actionable marketing report

1. Start with the end in mind

If you want to use your reports to make marketing decisions, you need to define the purpose of the report before you start running the numbers. We recommend the Who, Why, What framework:

  • Who are the people who are going to use your report to make a decision? The general audience for your report should dictate the content of the report
  • Why are you building this report? What decision are you making?
  • What data will you need?

Which brings us to the next step…

2. Collect and integrate the right data

Many marketing teams find it hard to report on their data because it’s sitting in fragmented siloes—the email data is in the email platform, the web data in the web analytics tool, and so on. Unfortunately, if your marketing data is scattered across platforms, it may be difficult to make accurate decisions. 

If you want to create useful reports, you’ll need a way of collecting and integrating your marketing data so you can use it to surface insights and draw conclusions. 

For tactical and optimization decisions that don’t require a lot of data, you can integrate data directly into a spreadsheet tool or a data visualization tool. This way, you can analyze data and build reports autonomously and fast.

On the other hand, when it comes to strategic and operational decisions like budget forecasting and trend analysis, you’d need an architecture that supports big and centralized data, like a marketing data warehouse.

A word of caution: it’s very important that your data is accurate and consistent. You know the old expression, “Garbage in, garbage out?” That’s why you should have a marketing data governance policy in place to make sure your data is up to quality. 

For instance, let’s say you’re putting together a campaign report. If you’re calling the campaign Campaign_1 in one tool and Campaign_Q1_2024 in another tool, then you’re going to end up with confused, messy data. 

Pro tip: Implement standardized campaign naming. A good campaign name should indicate the goal, period, and target market. The most important thing is that you use the same campaign name everywhere. 

Read how to manage your naming convention and seven ways to transform your data with Supermetrics.

3. Focus on actionable insights

If your reports don’t help you make decisions, they’re really just a collection of numbers. To be useful, marketing reports need to offer insights and recommendations for the next actions. 

One model we recommend for creating actionable reports is the report-action flywheel: reporting → analysis → conclusion → hypothesis → action → reporting.

You create a report and then analyze your results. You start to see patterns—for instance, you notice that your PPC campaign is costing you a lot but doesn’t seem to be driving conversions. 

From this data, you form a hypothesis. Perhaps your PPC campaign isn’t working well because you’re targeting the wrong keywords. So you decide to take action—to do some keyword research and try out a new keyword set. Then you report on the results of the change. Your new report will let you make a decision about whether or not your new keywords are the right ones for your PPC campaign. 

Some key points about creating actionable reports: 

  • Make sure every report can be directly tied to an action step: What do we do next? How do we fix this?
  • Don’t bury the lede: Check that you can see what question the report is trying to answer by looking at one page
  • Provide data in context: For instance, if you’re reporting on monthly web performance, it would be helpful to be able to compare this month’s data to last month’s or perhaps the data on web performance in the same month last year
  • Keep the focus narrow: To make your reports actionable, you have to avoid overwhelming your audience with too much information. Ensure you include a general overview showing the overall picture, then drill down into more granular details

4. Visualize data to tell a story

Data visualization makes it easier to reach decisions by transforming a bunch of numbers into a compelling story that’s simple to understand. 

Here are some quick tips on how to use data visualizations to make your reports more actionable:

  • Choose the right chart for the data
  • Add some information so the audience can see what they’re looking at. For example, include a color key or a graph legend
  • Use different colors to highlight the most important points

Additional resources: If you need more tips, here’s a deep-dive guide to data visualization for marketers.

Different types of marketing reports (with templates)

There are many marketing reports, and you’ll probably want to share more than one during any marketing reporting meeting. Here are just a few examples of the different types of reports that you could consider. 

We’ve also included links to one of our done-for-you marketing reporting templates, so you don’t need to start from scratch every time.

Channel mix report

This report helps you evaluate your allocation of marketing resources across your different channels and understand the best possible mix of channels to maximize your return on investment (ROI). You should have:

  • A side-by-side comparison of the overall performance of each channel during a specific period 
  • Traffic volume, conversion rates, cost per acquisition, and/or return on ad spend for each channel 
  • Campaign performance per channel

Get the paid channel mix reporting template >>

Channel performance report

Single paid channel performance reports help you stay on top of your performance, monitor audience behavior on each channel, evaluate the types of content that perform best, and consider ROI. This type of report should include:

  • Cost
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Actions
  • Top campaigns

Other popular organic and paid channel reporting templates among our marketers are:

Email marketing report

An email marketing funnel dashboard helps evaluate the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts and make decisions about the next actions. You want to include:

  • Campaign performance metrics—open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, delivery rate
  • List performance metric—email list subscribers, list segmentation, subscriber engagement
  • Content analytics—A/B testing of email subject lines, content, or CTA buttons

Get Mailchimp overview template >>>

Website performance report 

It helps you evaluate your web strategy and identify opportunities to optimize your website for better conversion rates. You can track metrics such as:

  • Page load time metrics  
  • Performance metrics—including sessions, engaged sessions, engagement rates, and average session length
  • Total users and new users 
  • Device performance 

Get the Google Analytics 4 reporting template >>

Additional Resources: More marketing reporting templates for Looker Studio

Content marketing performance

If you’re a content manager, building an SEO/content analytics dashboard helps evaluate the impact of content on audience engagement, brand awareness, lead generation, and conversion rates. This report should include:

  • SEO performance metrics—keyword ranking, organic traffic, and backlinks
  • Web traffic—total visits, unique visitors, page views, time on page, bounce rate
  • Conversion metrics—form submissions, email sign-ups, downloads, and conversions
  • Distribution metrics—impressions and engagements, per channel
  • Top performing content

Get the SEO Semrush Analytics template >>

Campaign budget pacing report

Budget pacing is one of the most important discussions you’ll have with your clients or managers. With an automated budget tracker report, you can make sure your campaign stays within the given budget. This report tells you: 

  • Budget allocation—total budget for each campaign, breakdown by channel, planned budget distribution
  • Actual spend—total spend to date, daily/weekly spend breakdown 
  • Pacing metrics—percentage of budget spent (compared to total), pacing trend 
  • Campaign performance—performance metrics compared to campaign targets

Get the channel budget pacing template >>

Marketing reporting tools and software

Using the right marketing reporting software can make all the difference to the experience of putting your reports together. In general, you should look for tools that offer the following: 

  • Customization: Unless you’re only doing the most basic reporting, you’ll need tools that let you create customizable dashboards or choose to display only the metrics most relevant to your specific reports
  • Integration: Avoid siloes by making sure that your marketing reporting software can integrate with all the other marketing tools you use, such as Google Analytics, social media platforms, email marketing software, your CRM, and your advertising platforms
  • Automation: Make sure your reports stay up to date by choosing platforms that support automatic data collection and reporting
  • Security: To keep compliant, make sure you choose tools that meet rigorous marketing data privacy standards

However, you’ll probably want to use a few more tools to get a more comprehensive picture of your marketing results. Here are a few that we like.

SEO & PPC reporting tools

SEO and PPC reporting tools let you track, analyze, and report on the performance of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns.

  • Backlink Discovery Tool by Ubersuggest 
  • Answer the Public
  • Google Trends
  • SpyFu
  • RankTank
  • Ahrefs
  • SEO Site Checkup
  • SEMrush

Web analytics reporting tools

Web analytics reporting tools are used to track and analyze website traffic, user behavior, and engagement metrics, so you can see how your visitors interact with your website, understand audience demographics, and optimize your conversion rates and overall website performance.

  • Google Analytics
  • Da Vinci Tools
  • Hotjar

Marketing visualization & BI tools

Marketing visualization and business intelligence (BI) tools are there to help you visually represent and analyze your marketing data from various sources. They give you insights into campaign performance, customer behavior, and ROI with interactive dashboards, reporting features, and data visualizations. 

  • Google Data Studio (Looker Studio) 
  • Geckoboard

📖 Additional resources: Here’s a selection of marketing reporting templates for Looker Studio and 20+ reporting templates for Google Sheets.

Marketing data integration tools

Supermetrics! Well, we’d say that wouldn’t we? But honestly, Supermetrics was built with marketers in mind. We make it super simple to pull all your marketing data into a single location so that you can analyze and report on your marketing efforts without all the hassle.

Best practices for building insightful and actionable marketing reports

At Supermetrics, we’ve helped over 200,000 marketers with their data problems and reduced their reporting time by up to 50%. Here are a few of our top tips for creating better marketing reports

1. Stick to one point per page 

Each page of your report should have its own theme—the question you’re trying to answer. Don’t try and put all the data from each of your data sources onto the same page. Here’s an example of a well-organized marketing report structure: 

  • A summary page showing an overview of the information on the other pages 
  • Facebook Ads report 
  • Twitter/X Ads report 
  • GA4 report 

It should be immediately obvious what question each page in your report is answering by simply glancing at the page. 

2. Start with the general and then move toward the specific 

In terms of report structure, start with a general overview of all your data sources. Then dive into each specific data source to get into more granular detail. 

In the same way, organize each page to move from the general to the specific. For example, at the top of the page, show the top-level information: the date range, the client, and the channel, for instance. 

Then add a single scorecard number that shows the overall trend—for example, the number of web visitors, not broken down in any way. 

Next, begin to break down that number by a single dimension. For instance, take the date dimension and show a trend line for how the number of web visitors has changed over the past month. 

Now you might want to get into a more granular breakdown—showing the impact of individual campaigns, for example.

This way, the story the data is telling becomes easy to understand. You start with a single, general point—web traffic is up, for example. Then you get into the details of why and how web traffic is up. 

3. Make sure the whole team is familiar with basic data handling concepts 

If you’re working with marketing reports, you need to know the basics of data analytics—the fundamentals of how data is managed and structured. This will help you keep your data clean, communicate any reporting requirements more clearly, and understand exactly what your reports tell you. 

For instance, if you’re looking to learn more about Google Analytics data, our GA4 knowledge hub is a great place to start. 

4. Never copy/paste your data

This isn’t just because it’s tedious to spend time manually downloading CSV files and copying them into an Excel sheet. It’s also because it’s a great way to introduce manual errors, duplicate data, and slow down your reporting process. 

Instead, a tool like Supermetrics can be used to automate the data pipeline. Supermetrics can automatically extract your data and load it into your reporting software. You get automated reports that allow you to optimize marketing campaigns faster and get maximum return on your ad spend. 

Future trends in marketing reporting

So, what’s next for marketing reporting? Here are a few predictions from our team: 

1. The end of cookies will mean even more data to report on 

We all know that, with the new regulatory landscape for data privacy, the end of third-party cookies is nigh. But what will that mean for marketing reporting? We believe that the result will be an increasing demand for first-party data—data that you collect directly from your audience and customers, with their explicit permission. 

And that means even more data to report on. We’ll all still need to report on our existing marketing efforts, but we’ll now also need to produce reports showing first-party data. As a result of the increasing amount of data, we predict more and more businesses will start looking into a data warehouse, which makes it easier to handle large data sets. 

2. Marketing reporting will become more important

Marketers are coming under growing pressure to “do more with less.” If your company or clients are cutting costs, then investment in marketing reporting becomes especially justified. Reporting is the best way to identify opportunities to optimize costs, cancel underperforming campaigns, monitor budget pacing, and maximize marketing ROI. 

We believe that cost-focused marketers will increasingly embrace more advanced marketing measurement methods, such as marketing mix modeling (MMM), to gain a deeper understanding of marketing efficiency and effectiveness while still respecting privacy regulations.  

3. Predictive analytics will become standard in marketing reporting 

The predictive analytics market is growing at a 23.2% rate year over year. We predict that marketing reporting will soon be a combination of the usual descriptive data analytics with suggestions for next actions based on predictive analytics. For example, using predictive analytics in marketing reporting might help you optimize customer and audience segmentation, improve your customer targeting, or recommend how to optimize your content to increase conversion rates. 

Over to you 

As you can see, a lot goes into marketing reporting—but the basic rules for building actionable reports are actually fairly simple: 

  • Start with the end in mind: consider the decision you’re making, the data you’ll need to support that decision, and the target audience for your report
  • Move from the general to the specific: both in terms of report structure and page structure 
  • Great reports come from great data: meaning data that is clean, accurate, up-to-date, and integrated into a single source of truth

If you’re ready to level up your marketing reporting, why not grab a few of our free Supermetrics reporting templates? You’ll be building better, more actionable reports in no time!

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About the author

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Anna Shutko

Anna is a Marketer turned Data Consultant with 10+ years of experience in the field. Currently, she specializes in building data warehouses for our biggest clients to help them drive informed decision-making. She joined Supermetrics as team member #7 and has contributed to growing the business from a startup to a marketing analytics industry leader as a Product Marketing Manager and later Brand Strategist.

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Rosanna Campbell

Rosanna is a Freelance Content Writer who writes non-boring content for B2B SaaS clients like Lattice, Dock, and She lives in Spain with her husband, her son, and a beagle who eats her furniture.

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