By Brenna Lofquist, Marketing Coordinator for Heinz Marketing
I think I can speak for a handful of marketers, when I say that reporting is one of their least favorite tasks. It normally requires you to gather information from multiple sources, which can often be quite the tedious task. While there are some platforms out there that can bring it all together for you, not everyone has access through their organization.
Reporting can encompass content attribution, social media channel stats, email performance, etc. While there are many factors and pieces that go into reporting on your marketing efforts and ensuring performance is up to par, there are a few somewhat simple things you can put into place to make it easier on yourself.
Set Up a Dashboard
Some marketers might be able to use an existing platform to create a custom dashboard or reports, however, a simple excel spreadsheet will work too. You just want a central location to display all the necessary data you are about to gather. Make sure to only include the KPIs that matter, whether you are sharing this with a client or C-level executive, you don’t want to waste your time gathering data that won’t be utilized.
Everyone has their own way of organizing such information but separating different channel types via tabs within the excel sheet works well. Especially as the data gathered across each channel will likely vary. Typically, one tab for social media channels, one for email performance and so on. Your data will stay clean and easy to follow for someone who might not be as close to the project details as you are.
Implementing UTM tags is an easy way track which of your channels are pushing people to certain content. You also don’t need a robust platform to track this, you can easily see all this information and data in your Google Analytics account.
You should create a naming structure for adding UTM tags so that everyone in your organization understands the hierarchy and follows the same process when creating tags. Some organizations like to assign codes or identifiers instead of the actual name of the piece of content. This helps to shorten the URL so you don’t have a long string (not that it matters that much, I guess that’s my personal opinion).
The typical UTM parameters are:
Depending on the purpose of the parameters you are setting up, you most likely do not need to include every parameter. There are also a bunch of free resources online where you can download a UTM generator, or even create one yourself. This helps to shorten the process a bit so you don’t have to type everything out each time. Google has a similar feature available as well as LeadFerry.
If you do choose to go the route of using codes to identify pieces of content, it’s helpful to have a content library that is accessible by everyone so they can refer to the content mentioned in the tag.
For example, if you send out a bi-weekly or monthly newsletter to your database, you can make the campaign name something simple such as “newsl”. As previously mentioned, I like to abbreviate where I can, but it’s up to you and what makes sense for your organization. The key is to stick to a consistent structure.
Rinse and Repeat
Come up with a process and system that works for you and for the audience you are sharing the data with. If you can easily duplicate the process, you will make it easier for yourself in the long run. You should be able to create a system and dashboard that works across multiple audiences, making some minor tweaks when necessary. Here’s an example of a simple dashboard to track paid social:
If you are a marketer that has access to a robust platform that allows you to report on marketing activities more easily, then some of this may not apply to you. However, you are most likely still using Google Analytics to track certain activities or not using a consistent naming structure for your UTM parameters. In some cases, these platforms still require some upfront work to ensure all possible data can be collected so, it doesn’t hurt to make sure you have completed all steps.
If you are interested in going more in-depth about marketing performance management, join us for The Modern Marketer’s Workshop: Marketing Performance Management – Know the Past, Direct the Future. A fully online, interactive workshop with our very own Brian Hansford and Matt Heinz. We have extended our Summer Special of $295 until 9/1, don’t miss out!