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Use Cases
October 11, 2021
How to create and automate a digital marketing report?
A guide to setting up digital marketing reports and automating them for success

When your marketing team manages a myriad of social media platforms (from Facebook to TikTok), it is hard to keep an eye on the ROI of your marketing efforts.

Each platform comes with its own set of dashboards that provide marketing analytics. But the trends and insights from those dashboards are limited to each specific platform. 

Knowing how you performed on Google Ads tells you very little whether you should increase your Facebook advertising expenditures. 

So when the various stakeholders (from sales to the CMO) come knocking with questions about marketing results, you have to give them more than 20 spreadsheets of fractured highlights and overviews. 

In this article, we will dive deeper into how to build digital marketing reports that effectively communicate the digital marketing campaigns’ performance. 

Keep on reading to discover how to set up a digital marketing report, what exactly to include, and - finally - how to automate your reporting templates to save yourself time with every new report.

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Start by asking yourself: What is the goal of digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a catch-all term for four different pillars of digital advertising: 

  1. Social media marketing, that builds communities of brand followers on social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, etc.
  2. Pay-per-click (PPC) or performance advertising, that buys digital ads (PPC campaigns) from platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads (among others).
  3. Search Engine Optimization Marketing (SEO), that focuses on content marketing (blog posts, landing pages, etc.) and technical SEO (page speed optimization, user experience, ...) to drive organic traffic to your owned digital media assets.
  4. Website optimization, that is broken down into conversion rate optimization and user experience elevation. Both improve the overall effectiveness of your owned digital media like websites, eCommerce shops, affiliate blogs, etc.

The four pillars all have the same marketing goal: to convert a digital user into someone who loves your company or product. The love can be expressed as loyalty to your brand or in hard-earned cash exchanged for your great product or services.

But despite having the same goals, the four different approaches differ in their tools, methods, and criteria for success.

This is why your digital marketing report should be divided into four sections - each measuring the success of the four digital marketing approaches. 

What should a digital marketing report contain?

A digital marketing report is - in its essence - a summary of digital marketing performance. 

To evaluate the performance - or success - of your marketing team efforts, you need to track the right marketing metrics for each channel.

This is why these important metrics are called KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. They tell you if your digital marketing campaigns are performing according to standards.

Let’s look at the most crucial metrics for each digital advertising pillar.

Social media marketing KPIs

Social media marketing is all about the digital community of brand followers and advocates. The main metrics to track social media marketing performance are:

  • Number of new followers
  • Number of produced content (e.g. posts, tweets, …)
  • Engagement numbers (likes, comments, retweets, hearts, …)

Performance (PPC) marketing KPIs

Performance marketing is best evaluated by the performance of the ads:

  • Number of active digital campaigns
  • Number of impressions
  • Number of clicks
  • Click-through-rate (CTR)
  • CPM - cost per mille, aka the cost for a 1000 impressions
  • CPC - cost per click
  • ROAS - return on advertising spend

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketing KPIs

SEO marketing is best evaluated by the following metrics:

  • Number of unique organic visitors (also called organic traffic)
  • Average time on site (organic traffic)
  • Bounce rate from organic traffic
  • Keyword performance (for organic traffic)

Website optimization marketing KPIs

Website optimization can either be measured through UX or conversion rates experiments to see if a new version of the website performs better. Both need the following web analytics metrics:

  • Conversion rate from one step of the funnel to the next one
  • Average time on site per funnel step

To dive deeper into sales funnel optimization, check our guide to eCommerce analytics metrics.

Knowing which KPIs to use is not enough. You also have to structure your digital marketing report in such a way as to get the most insights out of your marketing analytics.

How should you structure a digital marketing report?

Setting and measuring the right marketing metrics is just the first step to a proper digital marketing report.

The next step is to structure the marketing data so it tells a story.

A digital marketing report should always have:

  1. An overview of the metrics for the entire reporting period.
  2. A breakdown of metrics by time - daily, weekly, monthly, and (optionally) quarterly aggregated metrics. For example, the number of clicks today, yesterday, this week, last week, this month, the previous month.
  3. A visualization/chart of the trends. Are the metrics going up or down?

It’s time to put the theory to the test.

Let’s get our hands dirty with a step-by-step guide on how to build an actual digital marketing report. 

How do you create a digital marketing report?

There are 4 steps to build your marketing report:

  1. Extract all the digital marketing data from your marketing tools and software.
  2. Transform it/clean it.
  3. Visualize it by creating a dashboard.
  4. (Optional) Automate the report end-to-end. 

Before we dive into the intricacies of each step, a tale of caution. 

You can build the digital marketing report by hand. Heck, the internet is filled with intern nightmare stories of how they had to go through a repetitive click-hell to collect data from Facebook Ads, Google Ads, … into Google Sheets, and then to manually produce daily digital marketing reports.

Or you could use software that is dedicated to making your life easier.

Here we will opt for the second door by showing you how easy it is to build a digital marketing report with Keboola. Why? Because:

  1. Keboola offers more than 250 integrations between (marketing) data sources and various destinations where you can send your data.
  2. Keboola takes care of the heavy lifting. When the data you need for your report changes (and that happens very often), Keboola takes care of adjusting the software to extract that data. You do not need to sweat about figuring out how your reports will be affected.
  3. Keboola is specialzied in end-to-end automations. Instead of building your digital marketing report from scratch every time, simply set it and forget it with Keboola.  
  4. Keboola offers a no-questions-asked, always-free tier, so you can play around and build your digital marketing dashboards with a couple of clicks. At no expense. 

The following steps will be illustrated with Keboola, but you can follow along manually if you prefer.

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Step 1: Extract data from marketing data sources

Every marketing platform and tool you use - from Google Analytics to Facebook Ads - offers the possibility of extracting data.

How?

  • Log into Keboola (make a free account if you have not already)
  • Navigate to Components > Directory and use the search bar to find the data source you want to extract. In the example below, we picked Facebook Ads (by clicking “Use This”). 
digital marketing report 1

A pop-up will appear offering you multiple options - from diving into the documentation on how to configure your account (link here, for ease) to connecting your Facebook Ads account. Pick “Use Blank”.

digital marketing report 2

You will land on the authorization window where a wizard will guide you through the steps needed to authorize Keboola with Facebook ads (aka, give Keboola permissions to extract advertising data on your behalf). It is as simple as typing the name of your ad account (this is for you to remember what you are extracting does not need to match) and logging into the ad account via Facebook login.

digital marketing report 3

Once connected, just select the ad account you want to extract data from (in the pic the ads account are omitted for security reasons).

digital marketing report 4

Once the authorization is configured, click the button “Run component” to start the actual data extraction.

Your data will appear under Storage > name-of-your-extractor-in-low-caps.

You can rinse-and-repeat the same exercise with a myriad of data sources, like PPC advertising platforms (Facebook ads, Google ads, Bing ads, Linkedin ads, etc.), social media data platforms (e.g. Instagram, Facebook Pages, Twitter, Snapchat), email campaigns (Sendinblue, Mailgun, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, and more), CRM and sales tools (Pipedrive, Hubspot, Intercom, …) and many, many more. 

Now we move to the next step, data cleaning.

Step 2: Clean your marketing data

Data cleaning is more of an art than science. 

You might want to look just at recent data and remove anything older than 1 month. Or remove certain campaigns from the report. Or - most likely - join multiple data sources into one. 

Keboola empowers you to transform your data whichever way you like. 


Simply go to Transformations > New transformation and pick the language of your choice to do the data cleaning (Snowflake SQL, Python, R, Oracle). (Not comfortable with programming languages? No worries, we show you how to clean your data with other tools later on.)

digital marketing report 5
digital marketing report 6

On the transformation page:

  1. Name your transformation something memorable (like “Join PPC data from Google and Facebook”). You can even add a description to make it more comprehensive.
  2. Select the input tables for your data cleaning.
  3. Select the output tables, where the data will go after cleaning.
  4. Write the code to do the cleaning.
digital marketing report 7
digital marketing report9

After thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the data, it is time to visualize it and construct a dashboard.

Step 3: Create a dashboard

Your data is safely saved under Storage > name-of-your-marketing-data-tables. 

To get it into a dashboard tool, simply go to Components > Directory > Data visualization and pick the business intelligence tool you use.

digital marketing report 9


You configure the data visualization software similarly to how we did in Step 1. Just follow along with the wizard to get the data into the dashboarding tool of your choice. 

Each BI tool is specific, so it is best if you just follow along with your tool’s best practices for cleaning the data (without coding) and building dashboards with the metrics we discussed above. 

Getting the cleaned data into the BI tool is not the last step, though.

Step 4: Automate 

Keboola is extremely powerful because it offers end-to-end automation.

With every component, job, and transformation, you find a button that says “automate”.

digital marketing report 10


Simply click on the button, to set-it-and-forget-it. That’s it. Let Keboola take care of the heavy lifting and save you valuable time.

Ready to try it yourself?


Check out what Keboola has to offer with its no-questions-asked, always-free tier, and start building marketing reports that will make your team efforts shine.

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