Stop Vomiting Stats: Make Regular Reporting Useful

1 comment

If you report on internet marketing tell me if the following scenario sounds familiar: you start putting together regular reports (e.g., weekly, monthly) and at first they start pretty small, pulling data on a few stats, and everything is pretty manageable. Then different people in the organization start receiving copies of these reports and were wondering if you could add their stat of choice, because they’re curious. That goes on for a few weeks or months and pretty soon what was a manageable report gets out of control and ends up taking up half (or more) of your time.

If just reading this scenario makes your cringe you already know what I’m talking about. Internet marketing reports can quickly get out of control because of all the stats available to report on. Here’s just a sampling of data you could pull out of Google Analytics:

  • Visitors
  • Unique Visitors
  • Bounce Rate
  • Time on Site
  • Organic Traffic
  • Direct Traffic
  • Referral Traffic
  • Paid Traffic
  • Mobile Visitors
  • Brand Traffic
  • Non-branded Traffic
  • Visit Duration
  • Conversions
  • Conversion Rate
  • You get the idea…

At the end of the day, there’s really only one number that matters: profit.

I don’t care if you’re a large B2B company focused on leads, an ecommerce site focused on product sales, or a nonprofit looking to raise money from donors and foundations, if you’re not making money from online marketing (or in general) you’re in trouble.

To make sure you aren’t just reporting on meaningless stats I would challenge you to pick 2 or 3 that really matter and focus on them like a laser. Maybe you know you have to convert visitors at a particular cost/conversion so that each transaction is profitable, or that 30,000 visitors/month means you are making sufficient revenue from on-site advertising to cover your PPC costs. It’s going to be different depending on your revenue model and particular organization goals, but make sure you tie whatever metrics you are tracking back to those goals, or really, what’s the point?

Now, don’t ignore all the information you can get out of Google Analytics (or other web tracking platforms), that’s all great data that should absolutely be pulled every so often to inform content decisions, site redesigns, or diagnose SEO issues, among others. For regular reports though, really focus on which stats you care about and trim your reports down from 50 pages to 20 or 10. Trust me, everyone involved will appreciate the brevity, and the strategic focus on key metrics aligned with top-level organizational objectives.

About the Author

Ben Leftwich is an Account Executive with Anvil Media, Inc., a leading search engine marketing company. Ben helps Anvil’s clients increase ROI through social media marketing, PPC management, and search engine optimization.

Add Your Comments

  • (will not be published)

One Comment

  1. Great points, it's so easy to over report in this industry. It can result in focusing on the wrong metrics and wasting time. Choose the most important factors that have an actual impact on conversions and sales.