I’ve been doing SEO (Digital Marketing) for clients for over 5 years and, without question, the most successful of them rely on data to help them run their online businesses. And I’ve noticed that people are always surprised when I tell hem what’s the most useful Digital Marketing report.
It’s not the usual monthly ranking or visits report at the end of the month. For business owners, these reports are generally useless. They’re prepared months after the fact. What they give you is a snapshot from a historical period that is usually long past. And they don’t have much connection to the real world for most business owners.
These reports are good for SEOs – they can look into the data and predict future trends. But monthly reports are not very useful to proactive business owners. Instead, they rely on another report. A daily report called The Flash.
The Flash Report
The best format for a business report is one that makes the data simple to grasp in a quick scan of the document, supports facts and claims with good reference notes and is presented in a simple, easy-to-understand format.
The Flash Report (personally I call this report ‘Live Performance Report’) is also a snapshot. Except it’s a daily snapshot. The Flash report is one page that contains all the critical information that a business owner needs to run his or her company. What kind of information you may ask? Well, that depends on your business.
Despite being only a one-pager the core numbers are always included in this report: new users, sessions, Facebook likes, Google Ads performance, revenue. Then there are the numbers that are specific for your business: red shoes sold to date, offline sales, support calls answered to name a few.
Knowing Your Numbers
You should always know your numbers. It’s just as important to know your numbers in business as it was when you were in elementary school. And let me be clear with you: these are the numbers you need to know every morning so you know what’s happening with your business. And if you can’t tell me what these numbers are right now, then consider this article a wake-up call.
Now Let’s talk about the actual report. The Flash report should be simple. No graphs or charts. No complex systems. Most of my clients have expensive “business intelligence” or ‘digital marketing’ software and their digital marketers and accountants can deliver very detailed reports. But as a business owner, you need a summary in an easily digestible format. On a daily basis. And this is exactly what the Flash report does.
Where To Start
The first thing I want you to think about is your benchmarks. How do you know if your revenue is good unless you compare it to what you had the same time last year? How do you know your website visits are good or bad if you don’t know what last year’s year-to-date visits were? I hope it’s clear.
The only report you need in Looker Studio (Google Data Studio)
So now that we know what The Flash report is let me show you my favourite SEO Flash report in my favourite visualisation tool Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio). I sincerely hope that you gonna take my Live Performance Looker Studio Dashboard (and use it as a template) and add the information that’s important to your business.
To make this report relevant to all my Digital Marketing peers I’ve included all channels – Organic Search, Social, Display, Paid Search etc. – but by all means, add your offline channels if you have brick and mortar stores.