‘Impression share’, ‘metrics’, ‘key measurables’ – not words that necessarily excite us.
Notoriously dull, reporting is often something that we are all sometimes guilty of rushing or even ignoring altogether. But if it’s done right, it can save you a lot of time, freeing up you and your team to do what you do best.
So here is how the team at Advantec use reporting to reflect on our work, spark ideas for the future, learn what works… and more importantly, what doesn’t.
Metrics that matter to you
The first, but an often forgotten rule of reporting, is to not overcomplicate it. So if you’re building a new report don’t include statistics just because they look impressive, or bulk it out a bit.
You may be over the moon that your latest Google ad received over fifteen thousand impressions, but if you’re reporting about your SEO improvements, then this is not where that data belongs. Even if being frugal with your measurables means your report is just a few lines long, it’s all about using metrics that matter to you.
Try and keep your reports to a minimum too. If you receive an overwhelming amount in your inbox each day, chances are you’ll get into the habit of ignoring them.
Find creativity in data
Okay, please don’t roll your eyes. Reports can be really inspiring… or at least I think so.
Whether you receive them daily, monthly or yearly, they are great springboards to start conversations and think creatively about your future projects.
Every now and again, put a little bit of time aside to look at your report with a forward-thinking mindset. They’re not always just a way to reflect, knowing what you did well (and perhaps what you didn’t) can help you focus and shape work for the months ahead. After all, if you know what works, it’s much easier to plan your next project with confidence.
So print your reports off, get your team around the table, write all over them, annotate and scribble. See what happens.
Don’t be afraid to face the bad – even if it’s really, really bad
No one likes to face bad statistics. But sometimes, despite hard work and good ideas, the results we get aren’t always what we aimed for.
Whilst It’s never easy to face a report overflowing with bad news, the worst thing to do is just ignore it.
So rather than delete the email as soon as it arrives, face it head on and don’t be afraid to investigate the bad. Much like using reports for creative inspiration, take this opportunity to learn why you didn’t quite manage your goals this month. The answer will be buried somewhere in your data, it’s just a case of putting your detective cap on and finding the clues.
Facing disappointing reports can be really disheartening, so afterwards make sure to reward yourself with a huge mug of tea and loads of biscuits, happy in the knowledge that next time you’ll know what not to do.
Make it easy
There are now so many online softwares available that make reporting fun. Long gone are the days of excel spreadsheets with broken formulas, or plain, automated reports.
At Advantec we use Dashthis, which is not only incredible to look at, it also has all the integrations you could possibly need – making the whole process of setting up new reports so much easier.
If you haven’t quite found a system that works for you, it’s probably time to shop around. Try a few trials of different software and see if there is anything out there that might help you fall in love with reporting again.
Don’t be afraid to show off
One last point. It’s totally okay to be proud of your team – so share your reports. Depending on the software you use, sharing them can be as simple as automating an email, or providing a password to an online dashboard. Not only does this help people outside of your team understand your work, being in the loop can also make room for much better communication internally, or with the people and agencies, you might work with.