Three Must-Haves to Deliver Stronger Advertising Reports.

As you near the end of an advertising campaign, are you scrambling to make sense of mountains of data, striving to deliver a panoramic view for your stakeholders?

The problem is not necessarily the quantity of data or the number of data sets, it’s trying to get the data sets to speak the same language. The labor-intensive task of manipulating data so that it can be understood in an apples-to-apples environment evokes what can best be described as spreadsheet mania. Few relish this task, yet it’s what’s required to present clean numbers in a report.

But, let’s be honest, your stakeholders might not be able to make sense of just the numbers. They are likely relying on you to be the interpreter. Assume the role of trusted advisor and think of reporting as an opportunity to showcase your value. Be a storyteller, help connect the dots. In the end, it will positively impact your ability to retain, grow and land client accounts.

We hear every day how many teams spend their valuable time wading through a deluge of data in order to make informed decisions. Data is powerful, but can too much of a good thing be bad?

When it comes time to report back, are you feeling lost in all the data noise? Need a compass?

Use these three reporting must-haves as your “true north” to consistently deliver top-notch reporting:

  1. Focus on meaningful metrics for the channels you are running. Ignore all the rest.
  2. Choose data visualizations that enhance the story.
  3. Deliver meaningful insights and share impactful recommendations.

1. Focus on meaningful metrics.

Make the report relevant to the campaign objective. With all the data available to us, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the metrics that matter. Avoid the urge to load up a report with metrics, just because you can.

Know which advertising metrics are meaningful to the campaign you are running and ignore all the rest. Need a cheat sheet? We’ve got you.

Download Our Guide

It will guide you through strategy, channel, advertising metrics to monitor and KPIs and then bring home why these metrics matter. We are big fans of handy reference guides. Does your office still use paper? Print this baby out and pin it up!


2. Choose data visualizations that enhance the story.

When it comes to visualizing data, knowing the strength of different charts and graphs will help you quickly display data in a way that allows your stakeholders to “see” the trends. It’s up to you, to flesh out the data with insights and recommendations but the visualization is your best supporting actor. Make strategic decisions in how you display your data. Check out these before and after examples to get ideas on how you can make your data pop.

Advertising Reports - Comparison Between Vertical and Horizontal Bar Charts

Before: Vertical Bar Chart, After: Horizontal Bar Chart.

By making a visual shift from the x-axis to the y-axis, the labels are much easier to read because the y-axis affords you a larger character count. Because we are displaying keywords, and there can often be many to report on, presenting them in a horizontal bar chart makes them easier to read. Horizontal bar charts are best suited for data sets with 10-100 items in a list.

Advertising Reports - One vs Two Bar Charts

Before: Two separate bar charts, After: One bar chart comparing two metrics.

The after chart more clearly shows the relationship between the number of clicks and their associated cost. It’s more difficult to see that relationship with the first set of graphs.

With a glance, you can see that the Paid Social channel offers the lowest cost per click, it’s also clear that the advertiser has to pay more for a click on Paid Search. When choosing colors, we always select different shades of the same color because they are digestible for everyone – even a colorblind person.

Advertising Reports - Pie vs Donut Chart

Before: Pie chart, After: Donut chart.

Donut charts are similar to pie charts, but because donut charts are hollowed out, there is no central point to attract your attention. Instead, your eyes travel around the circumference and judge each piece according to its length. As a result, you can think of a donut chart as being a vertically stacked bar chart that has curled around on itself.


3. Spark the aha moment.

Insights and recommendations are what make an advertising report valuable to its stakeholders. Why? As humans we are hard-wired to interpret and retain information through narrative.

Data points begin to shape a picture, but the ability to connect the dots and find meaningful insights and actions are what bring the data narrative to life.

Remember, you are a marketer. You know how to tell dynamic and compelling stories that make people stop and listen. It’s easy to get so bogged down in data management that core marketing principles get tossed to the wind. Reporting is an opportunity to infotain. Capture and hold your stakeholders attention by conveying information in a dynamic and dare we say … entertaining … manner.

Show the metrics that matter, visualize data so that it tells a story and then prove your value with insights and recommendations for next steps. Need some inspiration?

Advertising Reports - Awareness Campaign Example
Awareness Campaign – Viewability/CPM by Device


  • Display and Video performance are trending above the 70% viewability KPI target, indicating the ads are in-view on quality inventory in front of the intended audience.
  • Mobile and tablet placements are yielding higher viewability and lower CPMs vs. desktop placements.


We recommend shifting budget from desktop placements into mobile and tablet placements to optimize performance going forward.

Advertising Reports - Engagement Campaign Example
Engagement Campaign – Spend/CPC by Channel


  • Paid Search and Paid Social drove the most efficient cost-per-click, which were well below the KPI target of $3.50 CPC.
  • Taking a deeper look at performance beyond CPC and CTR metrics, we see that 84% of Paid Search and Paid Social clicks resulted in website sessions of at least 25 seconds. Of those sessions, 43% went on to spend 1 minute or longer on the website. The average session duration for all site traffic is 38 seconds, so the sessions resulting from Paid Search and Paid Social were significantly longer.


Based on CPC efficiency and site-side metrics, consider allocating a larger portion of the budget to Paid Search and Paid Social for the next flight.

Advertising Reports - Conversion Campaign Example
Conversion Campaign – Conversion Rate by Weekday, Conversion by Age/Gender


  • When analyzing conversion data by weekday, 67% of all conversions to date occurred between Monday and Thursday.
  • Tuesdays are showing the highest conversion rate overall at 0.13%.
  • Breaking down conversion performance by age and gender shows that 88% of all conversions to date were from females. And, females ages 18 to 34 account for 80% of all conversions so far in the campaign.


To further optimize conversion performance, we recommend serving the highest volume of impressions between Monday and Thursday, and shifting a higher percentage of the remaining budget to targeting females ages 18-24 and 25-34.