A Practical Guide to Creating Analytics Reports People Will Actually Want to Read

Angie Carson

The dreaded analytics report. Whether you’re reporting on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, analytics reports can feel overwhelming. It’s hard to know what information to include and ultimately how to condense it into an easy format for your stakeholders or C-suite to consume. 

Here’s how to elevate your analytics reports so they’re informative and easy to understand.

Ditch the jargon.

There are many terms specific to presenting data and analytics. Examples include marketing data terms (impressions, engagements), website metrics (sessions, events, conversions) and SEO analytics (organic traffic, search terms). 

Take the time to explain what terms mean, or use common language to explain it in place of using marketing jargon. Rather than presenting a graph titled “Traffic by Channel,” for example, try changing the title to “How did people get to our website?”.

Focus on data related to your goals.

You don’t need to include every single statistic or data point available in Google Analytics or Facebook Insights. That’s a surefire way to make your reports end up in the trash or go unopened.

Tailor your reports to focus on data that supports your goals. If your goal is to increase organic traffic to your website, focus on reporting metrics like organic traffic, search terms and top organic landing pages.

Standardize what you can.

Creating ongoing reports is tedious work, especially if you’re creating a lot of them. Standardize your reports and ways of tracking data so you’re more efficient when creating reports. 

To streamline our process, we’ve created spreadsheet templates that automatically create bar charts and graphs. All we have to do each month is input the appropriate metrics and then quickly copy and paste the charts into our reports. 

Be consistent.

People’s eyes tend to glaze over when reviewing an analytics report. If you’re delivering reports on a regular basis, be consistent about the order of your information and how you deliver it. If you want to show which blog posts are getting the most views, decide if you want to present that information as a table or a bullet list and then stick with it.

Consistency makes it easier for your stakeholders to review because they know what to expect each time they receive your reports.

Provide context.

A question I often get asked when presenting reports is “Is that a good or bad number?”

When you’re only looking at your own metrics, it’s hard to understand if that 45 percent bounce rate is a good thing or something to worry about. Provide context for numbers by comparing historical data or stating the industry average.

Pull out the insights.

How do you make sure that someone will actually open and read the report that you painstakingly lovingly create each week/month/quarter? Provide value by doing the hard work for them.

Go beyond numbers in a table or a colorful bar chart and tell a story with your report. How do these numbers help you reach your goal? What do the metrics tell you about your social campaign? Think of it as the TL;DR of your report — identify some of the big wins, any surprising statistics and areas for improvement. 

Interested in learning more about creating reports in Google Analytics specifically? Check out this blog post on How to Clean Up Landing Page Reports in Google Analytics.