There is a famous quote that states: “Study the past if you would define the future.” This sentiment is particularly apropos when it comes to building a marketing strategy for 2023. Without understanding your successes and failures from 2022, you are building a blind strategy for the new year. Instead, the insights you gain from the past year should dictate your strategy and budget for the year ahead.
The best way to gain a big-picture look at the past year is to run an end-of-the-year marketing analysis. This analysis will help you pinpoint what went well, what went poorly, and what marketing efforts resulted in the greatest gains for your business. From here, you can create a data-driven strategy for the year ahead that utilizes your marketing budget wisely and effectively.
Learn how you can run your own end-of-the-year marketing analysis in this guide to creating marketing reports at the close of a year.
The Benefits of an End-of-the-Year Marketing Analysis
There are numerous reasons why putting together an end-of-the-year marketing report is worth your time. First and foremost, this report is a culmination of all the marketing efforts of the prior year. It is a summary that showcases where marketing assisted your business and where it was a waste of resources. You can think of your end-of-the-year marketing analysis as a collection and distillation of the previous year’s efforts.
An end-of-the-year marketing analysis answers important questions, such as:
- Our contact us page is seeing a huge uptick in traffic, but we aren’t getting any new leads. Why?
- One of our blogs is ranking on page one, while another is buried on page 20. What made one blog successful and another a failure?
- We spent more money on social media advertising this year. What impact did that have on our customer retention?
- We launched a new website in the middle of the year. What effect did that have on our traffic?
These are just a few examples of the questions an end-of-the-year marketing report can answer. Ultimately, what information you glean from your report will have a lot to do with how you structure your report and the goals you set in 2022. It will also be dependent on what actions you took throughout the year.
Ideally, once you build your end-of-the-year marketing analysis, you’ll walk away with a clearer picture of what digital marketing spending is earning you the best return.
What Is Included in an End-of-the-Year Marketing Report?
Before you put together an end-of-the-year marketing analysis, it can be helpful to understand what is usually included in these reports.
Annual reports will include data and insights capturing information from all the marketing channels you employed over the year. This can include search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click (PPC), display advertising, discovery advertising, video marketing, social media advertising, and email marketing efforts.
Theoretically, at the beginning of 2022, you set key goals and benchmarks to measure your success. At the end of the year, your final analysis will measure what efforts worked and which ones tanked. This information will not only help guide your strategy in the new year, but it will also indicate whether or not you need to increase or decrease your marketing budget.
Overall, you should structure your report around your business’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Your KPIs are a quantifiable measurement of your marketing efforts and help you understand the overall success or failure of objectives.
Practical Examples of KPIs You Might Include
The KPIs you include in your end-of-the-year marketing report will have a lot to do with your overall business goals. However, the following are some common marketing KPIs that many businesses choose to highlight in their final annual analysis.
Overall Website Performance
As you wrap up the year, it can be helpful to pull together data that showcases how your website performed overall. This is a big-picture KPI and can include details such as the total number of visitors, sessions, and conversions your website saw, as well as the bounce rate of your website and individual web pages.
This will help you gauge the health of your website, showcasing areas where your website is doing well and highlighting areas that might need attention in 2023. Keep in mind that most of these metrics only hold value when compared year-over-year. Be sure to include data from 2021 to understand whether or not your website is improving or declining.
Individual Channel Performance
Over the past year, you probably invested your digital marketing budget across numerous channels. At the end of the year, it can be helpful to break apart your successes and failures on a channel-by-channel basis.
This will help you understand which channels performed best overall, which drove the most revenue, and which ones are lagging.
You can break apart your channel report by looking at the channel with the best acquisition, the one with the lowest cost per acquisition, and the one with the highest return on marketing. Conversely, you can use this data to understand which channels perform the worst or are a huge budget drain with minimal ROI.
Customer engagement metrics can help showcase what content and strategies are leading to the highest increase in customer retention. You can use this data to pinpoint content that is underperforming and to understand where your efforts were a success.
For example, if your video content had a high rate of customer engagement throughout 2022, but your social media content had limited engagement, you might need to adjust your strategy in 2023 to either improve your social media content or refocus your efforts on the content that is matching your customer’s preferences.
Looking back at 2022, it is important to understand where you gained the most leads. Reporting on lead origination will help you realize which methods are not only providing you with leads but are providing you with leads that result in revenue.
Compare everything from in-person events to discovery advertising campaigns. Make sure to include not only the number of leads generated from each strategy but also how much revenue this resulted in and the total amount of money spent on each strategy.
Revenue and Growth Generated
Ultimately, the most important number to any business owner is the amount of revenue and growth generated by marketing efforts. Report in dollar amounts exactly what revenue was generated by your marketing efforts. If possible, attribute specific sales to each effort. Showcasing the exact ROI of your marketing efforts will help those in charge of creating the new year’s budget see a practical example of how their investment will result in profits.
Polishing Your Report
As you put together your end-of-the-year marketing analysis, taking the time to polish the report will help make the information more useful for all key stakeholders. Use the following tips to create a meaningful report that drives your 2023 marketing efforts.
Visualize Your Data
Rather than simply listing out large data sets, whenever possible, turn your data into visualizations. Graphs, charts, and maps can help convert numbers into a story. The good news is that most digital marketing reporting platforms, such as Google Analytics, include this style of reporting within the pre-set reports. Visualizations are particularly powerful when sharing your end-of-the-year marketing analysis with stakeholders across numerous internal and external roles.
Turn Data into Insights
As you report on key trends and share important data points in your end-of-the-year marketing analysis, make sure to add context around the data. Be ready to explain why something occurred and what that means for your business.
For example, if you are reporting on a spike in organic traffic in July, add context that explains why this happened and what the key takeaway is from that occurrence.
Reporting unexplained data without tying it to actual insights is fairly meaningless. Before building your report, dig deep and answer the tough questions.
Provide Benchmarks for Comparison
You had 250 leads in March. You had 350 new followers on Instagram in Q2. These data points standing solo lack the context to understand whether or not that is progress, diminishment, or stagnation.
Make sure to provide benchmarks that allow for comparison. For example, if you only had 100 leads in March 2021, the 250 leads in March 2022 will hold more value.
Year-over-year, month-over-month, and quarter-over-quarter can all help provide the context necessary to make data more meaningful. Keep in mind that you should also include any important deviations that might skew the data.
Include a Competitor Analysis
Your business does not stand solo. Instead, all of your marketing efforts are playing out alongside your competitors. For this reason, a quality end-of-the-year marketing analysis should also include competitor analysis. This will help showcase where you stand compared to others in the same space.
A competitor analysis also helps provide context to your marketing efforts for the year. In a highly competitive market, what might seem like a small amount of growth could actually be a monumental feat. This analysis will also help you understand your greatest areas of weakness, where existing threats exist, and the best area for opportunity. This should play a significant role in the design of your 2023 marketing strategy.
Analyze Your Year with J&L Marketing
Before you begin investing in your 2023 marketing campaigns, be sure to take the time to understand how your previous year went. By looking at where you earned the greatest number of profitable leads, you can optimize your marketing strategy for the year ahead.
At J&L Marketing, we assist small businesses, including HVAC companies, car dealerships, auto repair shops, and more, with designing custom marketing plans to outpace the competition. We will be happy to analyze your efforts from 2022 and make data-driven suggestions for the year ahead. Reach out today to learn more about how our team can help.