When I was on the client-side and receiving reports, there were many times I had no idea what was being presented or if the work was actually producing the results I expected. Reports are only helpful if they’re easy to interpret.
Be sure to tailor communication to the level of the client. It’s easy to forget that as the agency, you’re the subject-matter expert. The client may not be as well informed. Avoid using acronyms or other jargon that the client may not recognize. If an acronym is industry standard, provide the full name in the first mention, along with the acronym in parentheses to help the client become more familiar with the term. Say “click-through rate (CTR)” before switching to just “CTR.” Do this for the first few reports you give the client.
Explain the results.
In addition to minimizing jargon, provide a brief explanation for the metrics provided. Space may be limited, so including an appendix or separate document that explains the metrics simply is never a bad idea. This will help the client better understand the results and how they relate to the three key questions above.
When you have determined the format and content of the report, remember to maintain integrity. Present what’s in the data truthfully, rather than just finding increases that make it look like the work is successful. If numbers are down, don’t be afraid to report them as down. Simply provide explain why and recommend a plan of action to get things moving back in the right direction again.
Go the extra mile.
The last thing to consider is the delivery. While it’s easy to just email the report and move on to the next task, it’s not always the best method. Consider the purpose of the report. Will an email and a brief note adequately explain everything? If it won’t, schedule a meeting with the client over the phone or in person. Be sure to send the report in advance, so the client can be prepared with questions.