Do your reports demonstrate real business value? More and more agencies these days have expressed to us a desire to start showing their clients more value-based metrics as opposed to feel-good metrics.
Value-Based vs. Feel-Good Metrics
What do we mean by “Value-based metrics” as opposed to “Feel-good metrics?” Well, feel-good metrics are the metrics that might look good on paper, but don’t necessarily demonstrate an increase in revenue for the business, such as seeing more likes on social media. Value-based metrics, on the other hand, are those bottom line metrics that demonstrate ROI such as conversions, sales, and..well..ROI. Of course, there are softer value-based metrics such as leads, which in some cases might be the only value-based metrics you have access to. Some clients, as we know, like to keep their revenue private, which makes it harder to compare and correlate data. This area can likely be improved by requesting to have access to as much data as possible upfront with clients, as part of your initial “performance tracking” conversation. It’s also worth mentioning that yes, sometimes agencies are hired for “awareness-only campaigns” and things like ROI were never meant to tracked.
How to Incorporate
So, how can we incorporate these concepts into our reports? By definition, it doesn’t seem possible to have too many value-based metrics in a report. However, it certainly seems like a possibility to overwhelm clients with too many feel-good metrics. We believe that the first report you send a client is important, as most first impressions are, and will have an impact on whether or not your client continues to engage with your reports. For this reason, we always recommend to our clients to include value-based metrics up front (on the first page). This ties in to the “report layering” we talked about in a previous article.
Once you have value-based metrics in your report, it’s then important to tie them back to your marketing efforts. In some cases, the source of the conversion is already implicit in the metric. We know that a Google Ad Conversion came from Google Ads. On the other hand, if you’re looking at a client’s overall revenue, and it’s impossible to track where each dollar came from with the current tracking set up, then it might be helpful to overlay some marketing data and see if there’s a correlation. Of course, correlation does not equal causation, but some correlations match so closely that they’re hard to ignore. If revenue goes up when form submissions go up, and revenue goes down when form submission go down, those metrics might be related enough in the client’s sales process that the value is implicit. If you can simply separate those leads by source, and show the client where each one came from, even better.
It should be clear, that this article is not saying that feel-good metrics shouldn’t be included in a report, as it’s certainly worth knowing if you’re acquiring things like more followers on social media. The key point here is that clients will likely put more stock in your reporting, and ultimately your marketing efforts, if you can focus on their most sought after value-based business metrics.