Reporting, the most exciting digital marketing topic to discuss, no? As the Digital Reporting Manager at Digital Services, I am tasked with creating (with a lot of help of course) the reporting formats that you have come to know and love if you’re enrolled in one of our programs. It’s safe to say that I play a large part in all of your review meetings. How do I manage and cope with the stress of this responsibility you ask? It’s a great question that I don’t have an answer to, so if you have any tips I’d greatly appreciate them.
When I’m tasked with creating a new report format, I try to follow the below guidelines. Although everyone tells a story in a different way, these simple concepts can help produce reporting formats that work universally.
1.) The Right KPI’s
We have several different programs that focus on different elements of digital marketing, thus it is important to build out different report formats for each of our programs. We start with the important question of, “which metrics are these tactics influencing most?” and ensure we emphasize these metrics in the beginning of reports.
2.) Tell a Story
Good stories and storytellers provide context! Context is important to developing a full understanding of what is happening. To provide context in reporting, incorporate metrics that, although may not necessarily be a direct impact of your program and strategy, CAN help explain the bigger picture about what is happening.
3.) Avoid Red and Green (if possible)
1 in 10 people in the world are red/green color blind. Remember the prime time football game last year when one team decided to wear all green uniforms and the other decided to wear all red? It was a nightmare/headache for 10% of the population. Imagine building a report that 1 in 10 people might not be able to understand. Additionally for those 9 of 10 folks who are not color blind, red and green have pre-connotations associated with them. Green typically means “good” and red is typically associated with “bad,” which can be a huge hang up during reporting review. Try to use contrasting colors on the color wheel like blue and orange. Our team typically utilizes Blue/Green.
(Image Source: http://facweb.cs.depaul.edu/)
4.) No Pie Charts…EVER!
Ask anyone in the reporting world and they will probably tell you the same thing; pie charts are a bad practice. The purpose of chart visuals is to easily communicate results. However with pie charts, it is difficult for the human eye to detect portion sizes, and thus can be confusing in trying to understand results. Additionally, when adding in more attributes for comparison, the pie chart becomes even more difficult to comprehend and you lose the ability to label the visual because there is no space. Let’s take a look at an example. Would you be easily able to identify in ascending order parts 1-5? Difficult to do, right? Pie charts can be very deceiving so we try to stay away from them in our reporting.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)
5.) Feedback Welcome!
As I mentioned earlier, everyone tells a story in their own way. Based off this concept, typically a lot of feedback on how to format reports is generated! Keeping an open mind and welcoming feedback from everyone is the best way to build and further develop a reporting format that all involved parties can agree upon. Set up a system to have different departments review your reports to gather feedback on how your colleagues view reporting differently.
These 5 best practices can further enhance your current reporting, and save you a lot of time. Share your best tip in the comments below!Read More