When you pay for a service, you absolutely need to know the value of it. That’s why reporting is so important. Depending on your needs, reporting can be done over different timescales, can be campaign-based or time-based, and can be pulled for paid or organic media.

We know reporting is one of those things where everyone wants the juicy data and helpful outcomes, but no one really wants to crack on and get it done! We’re bringing you a bit of our insider know-how on how to add value to reporting, what’s downright annoying, and how to make it a bit easier.

Adding value

Executive summary – By listing all the big, important stats at the beginning of the report, anyone who takes a glance can see what’s going on without going into the finer details. The finer details will definitely be useful to those at the coalface of social, but not everyone needs the ins-and-outs! Reports should be laid out in a methodological way with the important parts at the start.

Represent the data – Reports are often shared across organisations, so they must be understood and useful to a wider range of people. As different people understand data differently, it can be useful to display it in a couple of different ways. Some love numbers, but for the ones that don’t, a diagram or simple bar graph can show month-on-month data or platform data comparisons at a glance.

Interpreting results – Showing the stats is all well and good. But what do all the numbers show? What does it mean? And how should this inform the activity going forward? Reports should show what you, see, know and learn, so that it can have a positive impact on future work, perhaps how to translate the insights into an actionable content strategy. Making honest observations, celebrating successes and highlighting learnings will help you understand what has impacted results. You can use these learnings to optimise ads in the next campaign or the consecutive months to ensure better results.

Top performing content – It’ll give you a great visual idea of what’s working and what’s not. This should be drawn out depending on your goal. For example, if you want to drive clicks, pick the posts that have driven the highest click-through rate per platform – posts with the best engagement rates just won’t help!

Audience – If your social strategy is engagement-based then it might be a good place to have a detailed look at your audience. A list of your top influencers or accounts that interact with your content tells you if you’re driving towards your goals! LinkedIn’s paid platform can provide the demographics of the people that engaged with your content by company, location, etc.

Brand mentions – If engagement is your game, your brand mentions can be used as a great way to track your reach and brand awareness.

How to report – Decide if it’s best to approach it by campaign or by month. This’ll depend on the marketing calendar and methods. Reporting by campaigns can enable you to compare the results for the same campaign year-on-year, for example, a Christmas campaign.

What are the annoyances when reporting on social media?

Data collection – The main step for any report. It’s a long process and there’s no cookie-cutter approach across platforms that allows you to quickly and efficiently get all the relevant data. Come on – it’s 2018!

Making observations – Of course, there’s got to be a purpose to every single report. What has happened? Why? And most importantly, how does this change or affect the next steps? Making observations is crucial for any useful report but sometimes these can be a bit repetitive. The key to this is understand and talk about why, then make tailored recommendations each month or for each campaign.

Campaigns or months – How do you know what the best method is for reporting? It depends on whether your work is campaign-based, or if you work with a more always-on method. Reporting on a monthly basis can become tricky if paid campaigns run from the 2nd or 3rd weeks of the month through to the first or second week of the next month. You’ll easily be able to see which makes the most sense for you. So, based on your ways-of-working, pick your method and stick to it.

Metric mess – It’s fab to have so many platforms to use, but the same metric can sometimes mean a different thing per channel. For example, engagements on Facebook include video views, whereas they don’t on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you’re comparing platforms, you need to make sure that the metrics you’re using are consistent!

Making it easier

Using templates – Creating a template to work from can sometimes take a bit of time to set-up, but it’s the best way to boost efficiency and streamline a process that needs to be repeated. If you report in Excel or PowerPoint, create a document that you can duplicate and work from each time reporting comes around. One of our favourite ad platforms is Facebook Ads Manager for Excel, because you can set up your own templates to use for each report and download directly into Excel.

Time is everything – Reporting is timely and, unfortunately, there’s no getting around it! Start out by allocating yourself enough time, considering that you’ll need to collect data, to understand it and to interpret valuable insights.

Excel wizardry – This application is your best friend. Use it to its full potential by setting up formulas to calculate sums such as percentages for click-through rates, engagement rates and averages, and learn to use pivot tables! You’ll make observations quicker when you aren’t wasting time messing around with the data. Excel allows you to easily create those graphs, which automatically change when the data changes.

So there you have our views, moans and tips about social media reporting! Get in touch or find out more about what we do with social media reporting.

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