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Blog / Building A Marketing Report: 7 Most Common Traps

Building A Marketing Report: 7 Most Common Traps

The benefits of becoming more data-driven in your marketing are widely documented. Businesses that put data at the heart of their decision-making consistently outperform their competition in terms of customer acquisition and retention.

So, how do you become more data-driven as a business? 

The first step is establishing a solid foundation of accurate, standardized, consolidated marketing data.

But you also need a way to take valuable insights from this data if you’re going to make fast, effective optimization decisions.

This is where marketing reports become important.  

A well-structured marketing report can be an invaluable tool for marketers. Yet, they’re often less effective and actionable than they could be, due to common mistakes being made in their design and setup. 

In this article, we’re going to outline some of the common traps that marketers fall into when building a marketing report and how to avoid them so you can create clear and actionable reports.

What is a marketing report?

A marketing report is a document or online dashboard that contains all the important data you need from each of your marketing channels to help you assess performance, understand what’s working, and identify areas for optimization. 

However, if data isn’t presented in the right way or isn’t easy to understand, it can lead to inefficient, erroneous, and inaccurate decision-making.

7 common mistakes to avoid when building a marketing report

Over the last decade, Adverity has partnered with hundreds of different clients, helping them to effectively integrate their marketing data and use it to its full potential.

When it comes to using consolidated data to build marketing reports, we’ve noticed a common pattern of oversights and mistakes that businesses tend to make, undermining the effectiveness of their analysis. 

Let’s take a look at these common issues in a bit more detail.

1) Not tailoring a marketing report to the needs of the audience

This one is a little ironic for marketing teams, as when it comes to their acquisition activity, they are often masters at segmentation, profile analysis, and communicating the right message to the right customers at the right time. 

But when it comes to internal marketing reporting, there can be a tendency to take a one-size-fits-all approach. 

tailor with garment - tailoring reports to your audience is keyTailoring reports to your end-user is essential.

The reality is that different stakeholders within your business are likely to need different marketing reports to best enable them to make decisions and achieve their business objectives.

For example, a Chief Marketing Officer might need to put together a monthly board presentation that illustrates a top-level view of marketing performance and key year-on-year highlights. 

Their needs from a marketing report are likely to differ significantly from those of people working in the paid search team, who need granular data to make day-to-day optimization decisions at a campaign, ad group, or even keyword level.  

If your marketing report doesn’t meet the end user’s needs, it can lead to various negative outcomes. 

You might find usage and engagement levels of your report drop off, or business time is wasted as stakeholders struggle to extract the insights they need. If your marketing report doesn’t include a dimension or metric that’s needed, the end user might go outside of your carefully consolidated dataset to retrieve it, undermining your data integration efforts. 

With this in mind, it's important to take your audience into account when you’re building any marketing report, and consider building a suite of different reports for different needs and use cases. 

It’s also recommended to put regular feedback loops in place so you’re able to adjust your reports to meet evolving business needs. 

2) Including too much data

Another common mistake businesses make with their marketing reports is overloading them with too much data. 

The key to building an effective marketing report is not the quantity of data presented but the quality and relevance of the data for actionable insights and decision-making. 


report overloaded with dataDisplaying too much data can create a visual overload.

If you include too much data in your marketing report, it can lead to analysis paralysis, causing confusion and slowing down the decision-making process. Ultimately, this will make your marketing team less agile in their optimizations. 

So, when you're building your marketing report, it’s important to focus on the most relevant and valuable data for your audience, making your reports concise and to the point.

3) Not focusing on the right KPIs

One of the biggest data analytics challenges facing modern marketing teams is the feeling of overwhelm by the amount of data they are expected to monitor and manage. 

The thoughtful construction of your marketing report gives you the opportunity to address this, making sure that only the most relevant data and KPIs are included for decision-making. 

One of the common mistakes made in marketing reports is focusing too much on vanity metrics, which include interesting but non-actionable information that can distract from more valuable KPIs.

For example, if demand capture is the goal of a social media campaign, measuring reach or the number of likes in your marketing report is unlikely to help you reach your overall objectives. 

4) Working from inaccurate or inconsistent data

Accurate, consistent data is the foundation of an effective marketing report.

Issues with the completeness, quality, reliability, or consistency of data can undermine the credibility of your reports and can even lead to incorrect optimization decisions being made.


puzzle with missing piece - incomplete dataIf data is incomplete, unreliable, inconsistent, or poor quality, it can lead to poor decision-making.

One of the biggest causes of this marketing report mistake is when the report owner attempts to pull in data from multiple sources rather than a single, centralized database. This can cause inconsistencies with currencies, date formats, and even how important marketing KPIs are calculated. 

The common solution to this issue is automated data integration

By automating data integration from your various marketing sources and standardizing it before it's used for reporting, you can ensure that you always work with accurate, consistent, and trustworthy data.

Data integration platforms like Adverity can help streamline this process by automating the extraction of data from hundreds of sources, transforming it to ensure data consistency, and loading it into a single source of truth that can be used to power your marketing reports. 

5) Not using automation

With automation being one of the top priorities for leading businesses, it’s surprising how many marketing reports are still compiled manually. 

Some elements of human touch will always be necessary in the creation of a marketing report. However, in an ideal situation, this should occur at the start of the process when deciding on the structure and key metrics to include, and then at the end of the process when adding relevant context and commentary.

However, automation is far more efficient and reliable than manual input for the important step of populating the relevant marketing data. 

man at laptop - manual reporting

Manual reporting is time-consuming and error-prone.

Manually populating marketing reports can be time-consuming, and it takes focus away from more valuable work that can help improve marketing performance. 

Reliance on manual updates for your marketing reports can also mean that it’s often only viable to update them at set intervals—for example, every week. This means stakeholders using the reports are unlikely to make decisions based on the freshest data possible. 

By automating the process of populating your marketing reports, your business can save time, have confidence in data quality, and work with near real-time data.

Integrated data platforms like Adverity can help you automate the process of populating your marketing reports and can load fresh, standardized data into all popular BI and reporting tools.

6) Not providing context 

Marketing can be complex, and performance metrics can be influenced by a number of variables outside of your control. 

If there are variables likely to impact the results and key metrics in your marketing report, it’s important to provide an overview to help prevent any incorrect assumptions or misinterpretation of your data. 

This could be as simple as annotating the report to explain that there was an issue with the website checkout process on a particular day, which is why the conversion rate is down and CPA is up. 

Or, for a top-level report where the end-user might be reporting on year-on-year figures, you might want to quickly caveat how conversion lag might influence the current year's metrics, making recent comparisons from the last 30 days look unfavorable against last year.

To help readers understand your marketing report, you might also consider using tooltips or a data dictionary to explain metrics and calculations and illustrate what they mean and how they’re calculated. 

It’s important not to go overboard with context and annotations, the last thing you want to do is include so much information that your report becomes overwhelming. It’s always good practice to be thoughtful in your report design and provide succinct overviews of variables that might impact your metrics. 

7) Reporting without visuals

One of the common mistakes that businesses make with marketing reports is presenting their data as a wall of text and numbers. 

While there’s a time and place for tabular data, creating marketing reports without visualizations can make them look unnecessarily daunting, reducing engagement and making it more difficult for users to identify key trends and insights.

Using clear and relevant visualizations can bring your data to life, make your reports easier to understand and act upon, and highlight important patterns, trends, and outliers better. This allows stakeholders to identify key takeaways more quickly. 

However, it's important not to add visuals for the sake of it. Too many visualizations or overly complex data visualizations can distract stakeholders and take attention away from key insights.

So, when you consider including visuals in your reports, follow our best practices to ensure they are clear and impactful.

Accurate, timely data is the foundation of successful marketing reporting

By avoiding these common pitfalls in marketing report building, you’ll be on the right path to creating an effective marketing report that improves the quality of insights and decision-making across your business. 

However, any marketing report needs to be underpinned by a foundation of timely, accurate data.

Integrated data platforms like Adverity are essential for ensuring the accuracy and consistency of the data used to power your marketing reports. 

Adverity has a market-leading library of more than 600 data connectors and can load data to any destination of your choosing. So, whatever platform you’re using to create your marketing reports, you can have peace of mind that it will be supported. 

With the ability to fetch data as frequently as every 15 minutes, Adverity enables you to power your marketing reports with near real-time insights.

By using our data integration platform to power their marketing analytics reports, Deutsche Bahn was able to reduce manual errors, improve marketing efficiency, and optimize their campaigns more effectively.

Ready to see how Adverity can help your business? 

Book a demo to find out more.


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