We can build templates all we like, but the truth is, no two reports to any client, or for any company are the same. Reporting matters.

  • How do you justify your marketing expenses to managers and executives who are not involved in the day to day?
  • How do you prove those investments are working – or that you need to make an investment because you’re not beating out your competition?

Ultimately, what KPIs you report to your boss will depend on a number of factors, but today we’ll review some common KPIs and provide some detail to help you determine what you should be reporting.

What is a KPI?

Key Performance Indicators are the numbers you judge your marketing performance on. Pretty much any metric that you are tracking can be included, but I want to start off with a quick overview of what doesn’t qualify as a KPI and some examples of good KPIs.

Bounce Rate:

If someone comes to your website, contacts you for a request for service, and then leaves, it’s a bounce. But it’s also a conversion. There’s no value in reporting on this, and that’s why we don’t do it.

Keyword Ranking:

If your business depends on one keyword in organic search to bring in all your business, then you have way bigger problems then reporting to your boss. While keywords can be a great sign of progress or trouble, and are important to monitor from month to month, they aren’t a ‘key’ indicator. Keep track of them, but there’s no need to have them as part of your KPIs.

Domain Authority:

Again, this is something that is good to look at and monitor, but it doesn’t say anything about how your business is doing. I have clients with a DA of 20 who are growing fast, and I’ve dealt with websites that have an 89 DA but can’t bring in customers. This number is an indicator, but it’s not key.

Building Your KPI Report

I can’t stress enough how important it is to consider your business needs before setting out to report on KPIs. Ultimately your KPIs tie back to the action you want customers to take on your website – do you want them to download something? To fill out a form? To call your business and make an appointment or talk to sales? Whatever that action is, you want it to be the first thing on your KPI report. In general, your KPI report will include the following:

Traffic:

be it from organic, paid, social, referral, etc. Wherever you’re investing your resources needs to be reflected on the report. You want to show the growth of that channel, and how it’s comparing to other channels.

In this example, focusing on organic search, we’ve also included landing page analysis, which can help show your boss which content or areas of the website are performing well, and which may need more focus.

Organic traffic is a KPI you should report to your boss.

Conversions:

Typically defined as an on-site contact form or a download, a conversion is any interaction taking place on the website. Again, you want to reflect conversions from that channel, and compare to that channel historically as well as comparing to other channels.While total conversions from the channel is the most critical thing to report on, you may want to include assisted conversions and conversion rate for the channel, as well as that channel’s conversion share (what percentage of leads does that channel provide your business with?

Organic conversions as a KPI to report to your boss

Phone Calls:

 Particularly if you’re a business with salespeople or offering a local service (pizza, anyone?), you want to measure the growth of phone calls from your organic / paid / other marketing efforts.

Phone calls as a KPI to report to your boss

Revenue:

 Many businesses don’t have the ability to directly track revenue by channel, but if you’re in e-commerce you can easily measure the revenue generated by these channels. Another thing you can do with this is assign goal values in Google Analytics, and approximate conversion rates of leads to figure out revenue. I go deeper into that here.

Revenue as a KPI to report to your boss

These four are the major KPIs that give you 90% of the picture when it comes to your marketing efforts. Ultimately, every initiative you set out on is going to be about increasing the number of leads, getting your brand in front of more people and ultimately converting some of them into customers. By focusing on these four things, you’re able to tell your boss everything they need to know without confusing them. Everything boils down to these numbers!  

Not All Conversions Are Created Equal

Why not every conversion is the same

An important consideration to keep in mind is that not every conversion is the same. Above we have a conversion report with organic and total conversions for two products that Barry’sMadeUpCompany sells: ‘Core’ which is our base program, and ‘Enterprise’ which is much more advanced (and expensive!) Looking at this report we see our total conversions for both products is up, but Enterprise is down a bit on the organic side of things – and Enterprise is the product that pays the bills and really brings in the cash. It’s important to segment out your different conversions regardless of channels, and there are countless examples of this. How you implement this will vary based on your business, but some sort of segmentation is important to include, particularly if you deal in different areas.

You want to be able to reflect to your bosses and executives which areas of the business are succeeding, which are struggling, demonstrate which areas are solid and which need more love. Of course, if your business only offers one product or service, or has one goal with marketing, there’s no need to go this deep, but in most cases, you’ll want to be able to show performance of certain product lines or categories of products/services that you sell. This is one way of accomplishing this without having to go through a landing page report with your boss or having to go through every lead in Salesforce/Hubspot/whatever and segment them out for your boss.

KPIs Are Only The Beginning

Reporting is a fluid process that’s subject to change based on what you need to show – sometimes, less data is better. Sometimes, more data is critical to proving a point. But by starting with Traffic, Conversions, and Revenue, and segmenting those out based on channel and conversion type, you can easily prove value to your executives and managers without confusing them under a pile of data. Start with the basics and build from there – but remember to keep out the fluff at all costs. If you start reporting Domain Authority to your boss, I will find you and start correcting your reports for you. Happy reporting!