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7 Best Practices for Digital Agency Reporting

Celeste Hill | April 29, 2021 | Digital Marketing, Measurement & Analytics

As experts in the digital marketing industry, it is our responsibility to translate and interpret raw data/metrics into analysis, strategy, and communication. 

In this post, we cover 7 best practices when developing a digital agency report for your client and explain how providing transparent, accurate, and actionable ongoing reports can strengthen the client-agency relationship.

1. There Should Be a Balance Between Web Performance and Goal Performance

When beginning a relationship, the agency and the client set the goals, objectives, and expectations. To hold accountability, those goals should be monitored to demonstrate success, which is the first step of a client reporting process. Without these indicators, it is difficult to track channel and website performance relative to your client’s business goals. 

Before presenting the report to a client, it is important to ask these questions:

  • Does this report help my client understand their KPI performance?
  • Does this report have a balance of full website data and specific goal metrics?
  • Does this report show a clear understanding of successes, improvements, and next steps?

After sharing a report, clients should not only have knowledge of how their website, campaigns, and goals performed but what the agency will be doing to improve for the following month.

Note: For new clients, set conservative targets and expectations. As the relationship progresses, feel free to update the benchmarks.

2. Performance Analytics Should Be Transparent and Descriptive

A report should be clear enough that any person in the client organization can understand it. If clients do not understand the data, they cannot act on it. All data points should have corresponding dates, sources, and labels. For example, if you pull a metric from Google Analytics for April 2021, then it should be labeled as so.

traffic by channel graph example

3. Visualizations Should Be Used to Highlight Important Analytical Data

Visualizing data through configurable charts and tables provides a quick and clear way to understand large amounts of data. This can be done through programs like Google Data Studio or a Google Slides/Powerpoint that uses graphs through Google Sheets/Excel. It is important to add visuals to presentations, as it helps clients follow along and adds additional clarity to your report.

Data Visualizations Report Screenshot

4. Do Not Include Unnecessary Data

When it comes to reporting, there is always the temptation to show as much data as possible. However, showing too much will create fatigue and can be distracting. Client reporting is about including the right data, making it easier for the client to facilitate impactful actionable decisions.

If your client wishes to see more data, Data Studio dashboards can be used for overarching data and can be accessed by them at any time. The reports should focus on specific changes and insights, rather than this data overload.

5. Historical Data Should Be Included Whenever Possible

Comparing previous date ranges offers insight into whether their goals or site performance has improved or worsened over time. Whenever possible, it is important to use historical data to back up analysis or highlight trends. For example, if a search query trends in the summer, you can propose a strategy to act on developing content and create ads for that period of time. Another example: If your goals increase year over year, you may be able to attribute that to the success of your work.

Historical Comparisons Graph

6. Every Report Should Include Clear Recommendations and Next Steps

Data is not the end goal, it is a tool. After presenting insights and metrics within a report, it is best practice to recommend the steps on how to improve or items that your client needs to act on. For example, if you are providing an SEO strategy and observe a relevant keyword is trending, you may conceive of a way to optimize or develop a page for that search term. The ability to regularly provide opportunities for improvement can set one agency apart from the others. Providing consistent and strategic forward-thinking is how an agency will nurture and create confidence in client relationships.

7. Reporting Schedules Should Be Ongoing and Consistent

A reporting schedule must be consistent. This can be quarterly, monthly, weekly, even in real-time. We recommend monthly reporting meetings, and if a client would prefer real-time data, this can be provided through Google Data Studio’s live client-facing view. Preparing reports regularly creates accountability, performance transparency, and rapport with the client; all important factors in an agency-client relationship.

Now Go Win Their Confidence

Client reporting is one of the most important and underrated aspects of a digital agency. Data and measurement will always be important in proving an agency’s worth. Having transparency with clients, however, will demonstrate a strong base for client communication, team collaboration, and retention. Client reporting should not be viewed as another boring monthly requirement but as an opportunity to demonstrate success and trust. Clients and agencies can sometimes be disjointed, but reporting is a way to bridge the gap.

Keep it transparent, informative, and consistent to be your client’s reporting hero.

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