As 2020 draws to a close, here’s how to create an end-of-year marketing report that provides maximum impact
Here you’ll learn:
- Why you should create an annual marketing report
- Key benefits of EOY marketing reports
- What to include (and not to include) in this report
- Tips to create a comprehensive EOY marketing report
The last month of 2020 is here, and it’s time to recap: Did you reach your marketing goals? Did marketing ROI improve? How did the newest strategies, experiments or change-ups pan out? While you may think you’ve got a full picture of how the year’s efforts went, you could be lacking important insights.
That’s where the annual marketing report comes in. This report isn’t just a reflection of how well (or not-so well) your campaigns and initiatives performed against your goals. It can also become an important part of the goal-setting process for the year to come.
Benefits of an EOY marketing report
Reports, reports, reports. Over the course of the year, you’ve probably created dozens of them. But an end-of-year report is still key to getting a bird’s-eye view of your program.
That’s because an annual marketing report can serve as a highly efficient resource for your team — and the entire company. It can:
- Communicate performance statistics
- Showcase marketing achievements
- Pinpoint areas that may require more funding
- Highlight the most efficient marketing channels
- Review KPIs
- Provide valuable action points for next year
- Show other departments how marketing is performing
- Create a reference point for bosses, company executives, and stakeholders
Overall, the report shows how your team has been working toward reaching — and hopefully crushing — its goals. Meanwhile, it can also uncover or illuminate issues that may need closer attention in the coming year.
Annual marketing report 101: What to include
The details of the EOY marketing report will differ from business to business. For example, an e-commerce company may focus on SEO metrics while a SaaS provider might dive deep into retention achievements. But the key elements are likely to be similar for most companies, regardless of industry:
- Website performance — With your website being a cornerstone when it comes to marketing success, you need to show how you managed to optimize and improve performance. Google Analytics can give you the majority of information you need for this part of the report.
- Marketing channels — Which channels (social media, email marketing, SEO, etc.) saw the most progress or growth? Which ones are generating the best results, and which might need a revamped approach? This part can also help you get additional funding for certain channels next year.
- Paid search marketing — Is the current strategy paying off? How does its performance compare to years past? How did the lead generation and conversion change? What is the current cost per acquisition? The paid search platforms you use for your ads (be it Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.) each have analytics tools to help you gather the right figures.
- KPI comparison — Compare your marketing KPIs to last year’s, if that data is available. Comparison lists can be highly comprehensive when it comes to showing what’s working well and what needs extra attention.
- Key takeaways — A summary that highlights the year’s overall standout metrics or findings
- Recommendations — Include recommendations for next year’s marketing efforts and focus on weak points uncovered elsewhere in the report.
Annual marketing report: Best practices
A quick online search will bring about a variety of annual marketing report templates you can customize. This could help save you time when creating your first annual marketing report. Use the below best practices with your chosen template to ensure your report is thorough and digestible.
1. Create an executive summary
The majority of people who read your report probably don’t have a ton of time to spend digging into every finding. By providing a short summary, you can quickly communicate important points to executives and stakeholders without overwhelming them with all the nitty-gritty details.
The summary should list things like KPI improvements, successfully completed projects, met goals, and financial achievements. Include specific sales numbers and compare these figures to last year’s achievements, if you can.
2. Include insights
Raw numbers and metrics may be useful to your team, but other readers could find their eyes glazing over. That’s why it’s key to add insights and context to each number, if possible. Better yet, use a colorful chart to drive the point home in a more visual manner.
An annual report isn’t just a way to bring important figures together. It’s an opportunity for analysis — and that will only happen if your reader understands what they’re looking at.
3. Use tables, graphs, and visuals
Speaking of charts, it’s wise to try to include as many visual elements in your report as possible. These graphics can help pack maximum information without going into extensive explanations.
Plus, visuals can make complicated analytics more comprehensible. They also allow for quick scanning, which is vital for readers who are pressed for time.
4. Focus on your audience
Always keep the main audience of your marketing report in mind. If you’re presenting information to stakeholders, try to keep the focus off search ranking improvements and complex retargeting stats. These people usually want to see lead and sales growth, so that’s what you should give them. Show them how your efforts affect overall marketing ROI.
If the main audience of your marketing report is lower-level management, you can give extra focus to details such as engagement rates and bounce rates, along with how they changed over time.
5. Reference the competition
Besides comparing marketing achievements to previous benchmarks, it may also be helpful to run a short competitor analysis.
This benchmarking tactic can help you see where you stand with your marketing efforts at the end of the year, what may need improvements next year, and what others are doing that you may also want to experiment with in your own way.
6. Know what not to include
Just as important as what you include is what you leave out of your marketing report. In order to prevent marketing reporting problems, you probably want to avoid things like:
- Jargon — Getting too specific with marketing lingo can potentially alienate or confuse readers.
- Unimportant metrics — Avoid putting metrics that don’t contribute to key values and goals into your weekly reports.
- Irrelevant information — This can include vanity figures, quarterly achievements, highly specific details, and more.
Overall, you want to try to keep the report relevant to the company’s specific needs and goals for the year, rather than simply laying out every statistic you can get your hands on.
An annual marketing report is an efficient way to recap your efforts, gain valuable insights into your strategy, demonstrate achievements to the relevant parties, and help make plans for next year. Down the line, you can look back on these reports to see how far you’ve come.
For an end-of-year marketing report with maximum impact, keep it concise, visually appealing, and easy to digest.