Let's face facts, some clients won’t know what a KPI is. But, educating them on what they are with a KPI report is definitely worth your agency’s time. Once you explain how key performance indicators impact the overall success of your client’s business, they’ll better understand the value your agency is adding to their long-term success.
After all, if you’re not keeping an eye on historical data or spotting opportunities for your clients to make strategic tweaks, it could make or break your relationship with them going forward.
Here is everything you need to know to track your clients’ success in a KPI report.
This article covers:
What Is a KPI Report?
A KPI report (or KPI reporting) is a tool that outlines the measurement and analysis of the most important key performance indicators for your clients. They help your clients and their stakeholders reach business goals and identify strengths, weaknesses, and trends.
“KPIs keep us accountable,” adds David Krauter, SEO Strategist at Websites That Sell. “KPIs provide the client transparency into what work we deliver and most importantly, KPIs demonstrate that we are on track and achieving mutually agreed upon goals.”
Ultimately, KPI reports are a strategic tracking method that delivers a window into your clients’ most essential activities and results.
Why Are KPI Reports Important?
These reports visualize data in a way that helps your clients to understand the performance and health of their business so they can adjust any execution strategies to reach their goals.
For example, if your client is trying to increase their website traffic and you present them with a report that lists dates, times, and a bunch of numbers, the data is likely to go over their head. But if you present the information with a visual graph that shows the upward trend in visitors since launching your agency's SEO program, this will help them quickly and easily see how your agency is contributing to their growth.
The combination of narrative and visual elements activates both sides of the brain, delivering an experience that’s analytical and emotional at the same time. So, displaying KPI data through visuals and storytelling helps your clients comprehend and retain the information you’re giving them.
“Our clients are busy and don't understand marketing, so having key metrics that are related to business growth is ideal to make their lives easier while allowing them to make good decisions quickly.” - Lane Rizzardini, Co-Owner of Marion Relationship Marketing
Knowing and measuring the right KPIs helps you and your clients achieve results faster. Key performance indicators are used to demonstrate how well a business is performing against its business objectives for the month, quarterly rocks, and also measure its progress towards a larger 3-5 year plan.
After all, as the adage goes, you can’t improve what you aren’t measuring!
Understanding the Different Ways of Tracking KPIs
It’s important to understand the differences between commonly used KPI tracking terms such as reports, dashboards, objectives, metrics, and more. Otherwise, how will you know exactly what you’re reporting to your clients? Don’t worry. We’ll break it down for you:
KPI Dashboards vs. KPI Reports
KPI dashboards allow your clients to log in at any time and see the live metrics contributing to their overall KPIs. Check out this detailed guide on how to create automated KPI dashboards in minutes for your clients.
On the other hand, KPI reports take the information presented in the live KPI dashboard and go deeper into the data. The report, most often sent monthly, delivers detailed insights and analysis that your clients can act on and progress towards their goals. Plus, reports give your agency the opportunity to craft data summaries with details about what happened, why, and how you will be proactive in helping them reach their goals.
KPIs vs. Metrics
KPIs and metrics often get confused. But they are not the same thing.
KPIs measure progress towards a specific goal. They clearly articulate and provide insight into what a business needs to measure to achieve long-term objectives.
Metrics also track and provide data, but they are more measurements of overall business health or the overall health of a particular part of the business.
To put it simply, all KPIs are Metrics, but not all Metrics are KPIs.
Think of metrics as a small piece of a larger puzzle. Track metrics like page views or bounce rate. But is it a larger-picture KPI? No. It’s not a direct correlation to achieving a business objective.
Be sure to understand the different benefits of tracking KPIs vs. metrics and determine what will work best for your clients.
How Are KPIs Different From Business Objectives?
Another term that often gets confused with KPIs is objectives. Business objectives are the high-level goals that a client determines, sometimes with the help of their agency partners. They are often defined by the management team before they invest in a large project, for example. And they could state a tangible goal like decreasing losses by 10% or obtaining 20% more sales leads.
The advantage of setting KPIs at the early stages of a project outline is that it makes it far easier to report on results without going into tactical details that clients may not understand or care about.
“Most of our clients don't even know what KPIs are,” explains Krauter. “However once they understand what they are, how they work, and the power behind working towards KPIs, the client understands the full value we provide. In essence, KPIs help clients understand what we do and how our work provides value to them, without having to understand SEO.”
You may have seen the acronym OKR (Objectives and Key Results), which refers to a goal comprised of objectives and key results. Basically, they help increase focus, alignment, and commitment, while making it easier to track progress.
Discover the difference between OKRs vs. KPIs and if you should implement these powerful goal-setting systems for your agency and your clients.
What Are KPI Reports Used For?
We know that KPI reports are important, but what are they used for? Here are 5 ideas to help you get started:
1. Monitor Company Health
KPIs are like a scorecard for company health. Only measure what your clients think are the most important KPIs (they could be growth-related in terms of new customers, sales, etc.) that align with their larger business goals. This way, your agency focuses its energy on the changes that will move that KPI needle.
2. Measure Progress
Set targets at the beginning of each year and quarter while using KPIs weekly to measure your progress towards larger goals. After choosing the right KPIs, monitor how you’re stacking up against your client’s business strategies.
3. Analyze Patterns Over Time
By tracking KPIs consistently over time, see what is working and what is not. More easily identify patterns in the data, like an increase in social media followers around a quarterly sale. Or maybe you’re noticing a steady bounce rate on specific web pages due to low-quality content or page speed issues.
4. Make Adjustments and Stay on Track
Once you notice these patterns, make the necessary adjustments to keep your clients' goals on track. Sharing informed predictions about an increase in sales or when they could experience a slump shows the additional value your agency is bringing to the table.
“When you use KPIs to clearly demonstrate your client’s ROI from your efforts month over month, it increases your retention rate and keeps clients paying you month after month.” - Jacob Hicks, Owner of Magnyfi
5. Solve Problems or Tackle New Opportunities
If you’re noticing things like a dip in social media followers or an increase in bounce rates, provide helpful solutions that build trusting relationships with your clients.
When using KPIs it is easier for your agency to get ahead of these downward trends, or capitalize on upward trends, as these numbers aren't lost in the shuffle.
How Do You Measure KPIs?
Knowing how to measure a KPI is a matter of defining those specific goals with your clients. After all, your agency needs to understand what you’re measuring before figuring out how to measure it.
Web analytics is one of the most common tools for tracking KPIs, especially for an online business. Platforms like Google Analytics tracks an array of data from website performance to new subscribers to sales. But even the goliaths in tracking have their limitations.
For example, if one of your client’s KPIs is email open rate or call answer rates, those are not metrics that Google Analytics can track.
This is where KPI monitoring gets a bit more complex. Because KPIs span across the entirety of a business, there is rarely–if ever–a single marketing platform that captures them all. Let’s take this example of 7 random KPIs that a client may care about and a possible source for that data.
Combining all of those data points into a single KPI dashboard and report is difficult and time-consuming without the right reporting software.
It’s important to note that sometimes the metric that requires tracking can be intangible or open to interpretation. For example, it may be difficult to measure things like customer satisfaction, which could require more than one KPI. Just try not to get too carried away and complicate your report with too much data.
“KPIs are important to our agency because they give us common metrics that the client and us agree are valuable, allowing us to have beneficial conversations that move their business in the direction they want,” says Rizzardini. “We're not wasting time or resources moving metrics positively that the client doesn't understand.”
One of the most important ways of tracking metrics through KPIs is through the presentation. Your agency should be presenting complex data in a clear way by using things like visual charts, bar graphs, etc. This is especially important if you’re dealing with more than one KPI and want your reports to remain organized.
Which Key Performance Indicators Should You Use?
Wondering which KPIs to choose for your clients? You’ll want to have a conversation with them first to determine what results they want to see in terms of business growth, scaling sales, etc., but here are a few examples of KPIs to track:
Why It’s Important To Track
Conversion rate by marketing channel
An effective way of comparing and contrasting the performance of multiple advertising channels. This also tells you what channel is most effective for ROI.
Cost per lead
Provides a tangible dollar figure so you know how much money is appropriate to spend on acquiring new leads.
Users visiting your client’s website from a search engine’s organic results have a very specific intent. Provide them with a solution or answer to their question, and they’re more likely to convert.
Social media engagement
This provides you with insights into how well your content is resonating with customers. Use this info to optimize future posts or improve products/services.
Email open rate & click-through rate
Gives insight into how often people look forward to your emails and if they take action. Also provides info on the time/frequency to send them and even the content inside.
Helps identify potential patterns, close more deals in less time, and forecast future sales. Also helps businesses make informed decisions for investments and other growth opportunities.
Number of customers acquired
This provides insights into key aspects of your client’s business, including the success of the sales team, pricing strategy, or customer service. It also gives a deeper understanding of finances to help forecast and budget for future spending.
Landing page conversion rates
The sole purpose of landing pages is to convert visitors. This allows you to measure how effective/successful they are. The average landing page conversion rate falls around 2.35%.
Once you’ve figured out what KPIs are important to your clients, you’ll be able to decide what type of report will work best.
AgencyAnalytics has pre-made marketing report templates that include SEO, PPC, email marketing, and more that streamline your reporting process.
“AgencyAnalytics enables us to report our customers’ KPIs with accuracy, clarity, and not to mention beautiful UI & UX, and our clients love it.” - Bodie Czeladka, Creative & Managing Director at Dilate Digital
How To Create a KPI Report
Here are some simple steps to follow when creating KPI reports for your clients:
Create an Overview
This can be in the form of an outline document that sets the criteria of the report. It should answer things like objects/goals of this report, is it strategic or operational, when will it be distributed, etc.
Agency Tip: The overview section of your KPI report or dashboard is a great place to communicate the most important metrics and KPIs to your clients at a glance.
Define Their KPIs
Once you’ve established your clients’ overall objectives, you’ll have an idea of what KPIs and metrics you’ll need to include. The KPIs need to answer questions like, how well are sales performing against their goals?
Present Their KPIs
Choose the appropriate way to display the data so your clients can quickly understand the report. Use things like charts, graphs, tables, and more, but be sure to keep them relevant, focused, and in context.
Agency Tip: Present their KPIs in a logical order to keep the flow of information or the ‘story’ from getting disjointed.
Build a Prototype
Create a draft of your report, using ‘dummy’ data if there isn’t any available, and run it by your clients. Check with them to make sure you’re reporting exactly what they’re looking for. Ask for feedback right in the AgencyAnalytics platform and make any adjustments.
Refine and Release
Finalize the report and determine how often to distribute it. Just like anything in life, things sometimes need updating. Be sure to schedule regular reporting reviews and maintenance periods. This will help prevent your reports from going stale and keep information relevant and up to date.
Social Media KPI Report Example
The easiest way to report on social media KPIs is through insightful reports with AgencyAnalytics. For example, building a social media report shows clients trends in their audience demographics, follower growth, website traffic, and other KPIs.
You’ll want to keep your clients informed on the progress and results in a way that’s easy to digest. The Report Summary section is the perfect solution to communicate with your clients exactly what happened over the last month and whether or not you’re on track to meet their business goals.
The summary is where you discuss new marketing strategies, business objectives, and key results (OKRs), but it’s also just one part of the report.
Here are 5 key sections to include in your social media KPI report (although you can adjust the report template to include or exclude sections based on each client’s needs):
1. Google Analytics - Social breakdown
This section provides essential marketing metrics that drive real business results as opposed to vanity metrics like followers and likes.
This section should include Facebook Insights and Facebook Posts. It provides insights into the overall performance of your Facebook marketing initiatives, including a breakdown of your individual posts.
Provides an overview of the type of content that resonates with your client's target audience and what to improve going forward.
This section is dedicated to analytics of the overall account as well as individual post performance. It should include Instagram Insights such as total followers, follow growth over time, number of likes, comments, and posts over time.
If your client is focused on the B2B space, include the Insights page that presents the total number of followers and whether they’re organic or paid. Tracking the change in followers over time with the bar graph is an easy way to identify if your LinkedIn strategy is resonating with the audience or if it needs improvement.
SEO KPI Report Example
Just like the social media report, you'll want to start with the Report Summary section to keep clients informed about their SEO-related KPIs.
SEO reports give you real-time updates on backlinks, keyword rankings, website analytics, and more. Here's how you should organize your SEO KPI report:
1. Accurate Keyword Position Reporting
You'll want to track your client's keyword rankings across platforms like Google, Google Maps, and Bing. This shows them how your SEO efforts have improved their position in the SERPs over time. And, SEO rankings are updated every day for your agency to make decisions with the most up-to-date data.
2. Detailed Backlink Analytics
Next, you should track all of your link-building campaigns in your SEO report. Discover new and lost links and highlight the most important links using advanced Trust flow metrics. Show clients a high-level report that highlights their backlink profile with metrics for each specific link. With AgencyAnalytics, you get free access to Majestic backlinks, or you can choose to integrate Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush.
3. SEO Site Audit & Website Analytics
Identify common SEO issues including broken links, missing metadata, duplicate content, and more in this section. Easily prioritize the most urgent on-site issues and resolve them to give your clients a quick win for their organic search.
And don't forget to add traffic reports, goal completions, conversion rates, and everything else Google Analytics offers. Be sure to filter by organic traffic so clients see exactly how SEO is contributing to their business, including traffic, leads, and sales.
Help your clients succeed in search engines with up-to-date SEO reports that are easy to share and deliver immediate value.
PPC KPI Report Example
AgencyAnalytics PPC reports showcase your agency's full marketing impact. Our cross-channel PPC reporting tool streamlines your agency's reporting process by automatically pulling in all of your client data across multiple PPC networks like Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, and more.
1. Monitor All Your PPC Analytics in One Report
First, you'll want to provide intuitive visualizations for any metric of KPI to show client's your overall PPC performance. Note the different ways to display clicks, impressions, cost, and CPC below:
2. Include Your Markup in All PPC Reports
Don't forget to add a custom PPC margin. Many agencies charge PPC clients a percentage of total spend. Showing clients your agency's gross PPC cost can lead to unnecessary questions and confusion. AgencyAnalytics makes it easy to include your markup in all client-facing PPC cost reports.
3. Highlight the Value Your Agency Provides
Clearly display your client's ROAS to prove your agency's worth. This increases your customer retention while reducing churn. AgencyAnalytics PPC report templates include prominent ROI metrics plus a dedicated conversions section to clearly demonstrate the value of your agency's services.
Building a PPC KPI report compares historical performance and showcases improvement over time. This means you're impressing clients with steady gains, month over month.
KPI Reporting Best Practices & Common KPI Mistakes
Tracking KPIs doesn’t need to be complicated, and it shouldn’t be. You want to make sure you’re not overwhelming your clients with too much data while still including enough to keep them informed of their current marketing efforts.
Avoid these common mistakes when choosing what KPIs to track for your clients:
If you’re continuously measuring the same KPIs for your clients and not updating them, you may not be taking into account any changes in their customers' behaviors that could help their business grow. You should be checking in with your clients on a regular basis to ensure their KPIs are still attainable and on track.
Choosing KPIs That Are Too simple
Your agency should assess your client’s KPIs based on their overall goals. For example, are they measuring the number of customers they get each day because this KPI is related to a strategic goal? Or is it because it’s easy to track?
Using KPIs Out Of Context
As marketing experts, it's important to understand how KPIs relate to each other and to other business factors. For example, external pressures on PPC bids will influence paid ad costs and ROAS. If a key trendline for a KPI has changed, dig into why and help your client understand if this change is based on factors that are inside or outside of the client's or your agency's control.
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