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How to Create a Digital Marketing Report: Education Edition




Let’s face it: Creating a report can be intimidating.

When it comes to digital marketing, there are mountains of data available. Pair this with our limited time and the need for an all-in-one report that accurately represents results, creating a report you feel proud of and confident in can be more difficult than it seems. From working with an array of education clients, we have learned some tricks we use when we report, which can help you format your results as well. The primary components of an effective education marketing report are:

  1. Re-Stating Goals and Metrics
  2. Measuring Performance Against Those Metrics
  3. Using Qualitative Session Data to Explain Successes and Failures
  4. Connecting Different Digital Marketing Efforts Together
  5. Tracking What Happens After the Application


Understand and State the Goal of Each Platform

As an education marketer, you understand that there is a lot that happens from the time a potential student first hears about your program to the moment they sit in your classroom. Whether a campaign is meant to drive ad views to increase awareness, drive engagement with your landing pages and program information, or invite a previous website visitor back to finish their partially completed application, all campaigns have a purpose. By understanding what the goal of each platform and the specific campaign is, you can ensure that you are not reporting a branding campaign on Facebook as ineffective because it resulted in many impressions and few applications.

Common key performance indicators (KPIs) for different campaign goals include:

  • Awareness Campaigns
    • Reach
    • Website Visits
    • Likes, Comments, Shares
    • Bounce Rate
  • Engagement Campaigns
    • Likes, Comments, Shares
    • Bounce Rate
    • Average Sessions Duration & Pages per Session
    • Micro-Conversions (Calls, Contact Forms, Newsletter Subscriptions, etc.)
  • Conversion Campaigns
    • Micro-Conversions (Calls, Contact Forms, Newsletter Subscriptions, etc.)
    • Macro-Conversions (Applications, Registrations, etc.)


Start at the End

When building a digital marketing report, the easiest place to start is at the end. Through the use of Excel, Google Sheets, or Google Data Studio, you can pull in and present the data related to the assigned KPI’s for awareness, engagement and conversion campaigns. If you have direct goals, cost efficiencies or conversion rates in mind, this will give you a quick reflection of how you are progressing towards your targets. If this is your first time executing a digital marketing report, this dashboard will help you compare different platforms, time periods and campaigns to set goals for the future.

To view and work with the data in Google Analytics, you can use many of the built-in reports such as the “Campaign” report and “Source/Medium” report to visualize the results.

Alternatively, when focusing on individual platforms or tactics, you can build your own custom reports to view and churn the data in real-time.

Trace the Students Steps

After performance KPI’s have been measured, the next critical step is to analyze how your traffic interacts with your website. Through using heat mapping technology such as HotJar, CrazyEgg and ClickTale you can understand how users interact with your landing pages. This engagement includes aspects such as where on the page a user’s mouse moves, how much they scroll and where they click. Using different layers of heatmaps that segment your audiences for a landing page, you can identify trends and differences in how segmented student groups interact with your website. This qualitative information is critical in understanding the quantitative results of your KPIs.

When a student submits a contact form or application, what information do you wish you could know about their website visit? One area most marketers are keen to understand is which pages did the user visit in their session before they decided to convert. By using the “Behavior Flow” report in Google Analytics and segmenting users who pass through your thank you or confirmation page, you can map out which pages are the ones who influence a user to become your student.

Follow the Path to Conversion

Now that you have reported on the KPI’s of individual campaigns and platforms and understand why they did or did not achieve their targets due to in-session factors, it is time to analyze how your different campaigns and traffic sources interact. If your goal is to raise awareness, digging into in-platform brand lift metrics and overall growth in the size of remarketing lists will give you an indication of how your top-of-funnel tactics are working together to increase brand presence. Using reports such as Google Analytics “Top Conversion Paths” (below) and “Assisted Conversions”, you can break down the different channels that play into a user’s path to becoming a student.

This portion of reporting is critical because it will give you an indication of whether or not your KPIs are the right choice to evaluate a source or campaign. Say, for example, you launch Instagram campaigns with the intention of generating brand awareness. However, when you look in the conversion path reports, you notice that your Instagram campaigns are often the last click in a user’s path to registration. While you may be evaluating the campaign with brand awareness metrics, this is an indication that your campaigns may be effective in areas you had not originally thought.


Carry It Through to Enrollment

So your digital marketing campaign generated applications and registrations, that means they are working right?

Often times with education clients, we see the tracking stop with what can be tracked in advertising platforms and Google Analytics. However, getting feedback from the enrollment department is critical. Certain audiences are more reliable when it comes to attendance after application. For example, do you know of the top of your head what the average drop off ratio after an application is? More importantly, are you tracking the difference in this number depending on where, who, and from what campaign the application came from? Without this information, measuring a true return-on-investment will not be possible.


Bringing It All Together

There you have it! Five steps to put together a holistic and consistent reporting method. While reporting on solely targets and performance may be faster to execute, taking the time to analyze session data, connect marketing efforts and track post-conversion behavior will supply you with the information to invest in tactics that will give you a higher return-on-investment.

Looking for help reporting? Our education marketing team would love to talk data. Give us a call at (604) 677-0742 today!