By: Mike Dean

Reporting conversations should never begin mid-month or end of month when you share that first PDF or Excel file. Each and every reporting conversation should begin at the initial pitch with a solid needs assessment. When utilizing the DSP, we can use many different devices and ad types. While tactic selection is essential to the campaign process, finding out what will make the campaign a success in the advertiser’s eyes is the piece that will make the biggest difference. Ask a variety of questions to learn if your advertiser is running an Awareness, Traffic, or User Action campaign. Once we know the campaign goal, we can build a media plan and communicate the goal to the buyer. If the buyer does not know the goal at the onset of the campaign, then they are not going to be as successful in their execution of the campaign. The initial pitch is where we need to get everyone on the same page: Seller, Advertiser, and Buyer. Once the Seller and Buyer are able to identify which Campaign Goal and KPI they’re moving forward with, the Seller can map out the plan of attack to the Advertiser

Below are a few tips to follow to become a pro at reporting….

Identify Goals

I firmly believe that to begin a successful reporting conversation we need to start out at the very beginning. If we don’t start with a solid needs analysis, we might not figure out exactly which campaign goal is the best fit for the advertiser.  This is our opportunity to find out how your advertiser will measure success at the end of the campaign. Each campaign goal has different metrics that point to success and different buying methodologies. This makes it essential to learn about the campaign goal before the campaign starts. If we don’t know what the client wants to see at the end of the campaign, we could be optimizing and focusing on the wrong thing!

Present Media Plan

Once you’ve taken your client’s Needs Analysis back to your internal media team or Centro, you can work with them to put a media plan together to map out which tactics are going to help them achieve their campaign goals best. Make sure you understand the strategy of the media plan, so you can share that with your advertiser. If you think your client may need some materials to help understand how each tactic works, print out some of the One Sheeters from the Audience Extension Library to bring along as a leave behind.

Explain Success

When you’re meeting with your advertiser, walk through the campaign and the different tactics included in the plan. Touch on the type of targeting and what it accomplishes, but always explain how the media plan will help to reach the client’s audience and campaign goal. For instance, “We selected the contextual tactic targeting sports content because we are able to align your messaging with related content while still achieving scale.  This scale will allow us to collect data and make optimizations towards clicks and CTR without affecting delivery.” Also be sure to touch on how flexibility will help drive results, “We selected 4 tactics to reach your audience, we will monitor each tactic and optimize towards the ones working best. This means we will spend more on tactics driving clicks and spend less on tactics that are not giving us the site traffic we would like to see.” After walking through the media plan, touch on the frequency of the reporting meetings. Monthly reports are usually ideal as this allows the campaign to collect enough data to have obvious differences between the current report and the last report.  Lastly, explain what the reports will look like. For example, “During our monthly reporting meetings, we are going to talk about the number of clicks and the amount of view through traffic the campaign is driving to your website. Because site traffic is the goal of your campaign, I will show you how we have optimized the campaign to drive more clicks and users to your site.” It’s important that the advertiser and the campaign team are on the same page about the metrics being used illustrate success. You don’t want a situation where you are showing them numbers for one type of goal when they were expecting something else (ex. you are showing them clicks and click through rate, when they really wanted to track on-site actions). Once everyone is clear on the plan it’s time for launch.


Work closely with your team at the onset of the campaign to familiarize yourself with the strategy. It’s good to know up front whether or not the campaign is pacing on track so you can start to communicate to your client if there are tweaks or changes that need to be made to ensure we are on track to deliver in full. Delivering the budget and pacing on schedule is key to delivering a successful campaign. Without delivery we do not have data about the campaign, without data we are not able to make necessary adjustments. Think of it like a poll. The larger the amount of data or sample size, the better conclusions we can draw about the data. Delivery and time give us that important data that is used to make well informed optimizations.

Pulling Reports

Give yourself enough time to pull the report and meet with your team to understand what’s happening with the campaign. Look over the report, are certain tactics getting more impressions/budget and budget than others? Typically this is because those tactics are performing better – this is a good thing to highlight for your advertiser. Make sure you present the campaign data in way that is easy to digest and understand. You want to give them a snapshot of the current numbers, but you also want to illustrate how the campaign has performed over time (especially for longer term campaigns).  If you are in need of a reporting template, check out the resource library: Seller Toolkit: Reporting. There are different templates depending on the campaign goal/media plan. Feel free to adjust the template as needed to fit your specific need/campaign, but be sure to use the summary pieces and the chart builder to help recap the need for the campaign, how it has been performing over time, and what that means for the client (ie: more site traffic, increased awareness, or additional on-site user actions). This completed template should help tell the story of the campaign. Keep in mind not all reports will show a graph that is “up and to the right.” Campaigns will have down months, it is up to us as consultants to work through downward trending data and reverse it. Did we see a dip in performance because the creative changed? Was seasonality a factor? Did the offer change? Factors outside of the media plan play a large role in campaign performance. If we work with the advertiser to identify areas of improvement, we can loop in the buying team to ensure we are back on track for the following month. Always leave the reporting meeting with follow up items and a plan that both you and the advertiser will address.


Continue your monthly touch points and meetings with your to your client. Explain how the campaign is driving success over time and start the renewal conversation early. Keep in mind it is easy to cancel tactics or products, but it is hard to cancel results. The more you focus on the results the campaign is delivering for your client, the more likely they are to renew the campaign. Keep in mind, renewals do not always mean sticking with the same strategy. Make sure you stay up to date on changing audience targets and goals to you are always delivering the most value possible to your advertiser.

For additional tips, feel free to watch the Digital Campaigns: Reporting webinar.