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Expert Guide to Writing Impactful Marketing Report Commentary


The reporting function offered by marketing agencies and internal marketers is often neglected, overlooked or downright useless. It can range from 100% automated to an internal nightmare for everyone involved due to the complexity and length of the process and the resulting output. It can even get to the point where no report would be more valuable than providing an unused one, to preserve everyone’s valuable time and headspace. Of course, our stance is not to go and drop your marketing reporting function (although I’m sure some would celebrate), but instead, you take the time to educate yourself and your team members on what constitutes good reporting commentary.

The objectives of marketing reports and associated commentary are to:

  • Centralise all key marketing activity & data.
  • Highlight current & historical marketing performance.
  • Track against business and marketing goals.
  • Enable course correction for current marketing tactics and strategies.
  • Expose marketing opportunities.
  • Hold your marketing provider/s accountable.

Our philosophy is that data is only as good as the resulting insights and actions that take place. So, the question is, do your reports regularly drive meaningful outcomes? We believe that “less is more”, in that putting forward just a few key pieces of quality information that can be viably understood and actioned is better than trying to flex your marketer’s muscles and ultimately overwhelming the intended recipient of the report. So, trim the bloat, tone down the technical jargon and focus on ensuring that everything you include in your reporting commentary is specific, meaningful, achievable, valuable and considerate to sentiment. We expand on each of these, with clear examples for good and bad, in the sections below.

Key Definitions for Reporting Commentary

We have provided “do” and “avoid” example rules to ensure the reporting commentary is both straightforward to produce and high-quality for the recipient. The tables below outline examples across the various components that make up our result-oriented reporting commentary as follows:

  • Marketing Report: A marketing report can be generated for any period and is used to highlight the results/performance of marketing activity. It generally consists of a mix of data and data visualisation (graphs and charts). It will sometimes include benchmarks or flags for comparative movements (X% improvement vs the previous report period). Marketing reports can be generated using a variety of tools, or a combination, as well as entirely manually.
  • Marketing Report Commentary: Commentary refers to the consolidated or in-situ comments made on a report by an expert or key marketing stakeholder who can understand & contextualise the marketing data to generate insights, actions & recommendations. Generally, this goes hand in hand with the handover of a marketing report (or it should, at least if you want your reporting to be impactful). We even recommend going a step further and presenting commentary to the intended recipient.
  • Key Actions: Key actions taken, as well as key activity and focus areas for the respective reporting period just passed.
  • Insights: Results and insights generated from the data in the associated report.
  • Future Actions: Key, Planned Actions and Optional Recommendations resulting from the reporting results and insights. Generally associated with the next reporting period or outlined otherwise.

Good (and bad) Reporting Commentary Examples

There are crossovers between the examples, as they are ultimately related. All comments made should generally be considerate to all of these aspects where reasonably possible. The recipient of the report is assumed to be “a client”, although these items apply to any form of marketing reporting, internal or external, no matter the reporting period – be it monthly, quarterly, yearly or ad-hoc.


AspectDo (Specific)Avoid (Generic)
ExplanationCommentary should cover a level of detail and strictly avoid broad, sweeping statements. It’s essential to highlight precise metrics, strategies, or changes implemented/noticed during the reporting period.Avoid Generic comments, especially those merely restating service deliverables. These should be excluded or expanded on, as they offer little insight or value to the client, eventually leading the client to lose trust in reading the commentary.
Example 1 (Key Action) – Social Ads (good): “This month, we focused on optimising the spend for your [campaign name] ads by adjusting bids during peak performance hours”.
Why this is good: Whilst not a specific action, it demonstrates a specific focus, on a specific campaign and some additional context, providing clarity to the client that goes beyond restating our service deliverables.
 (bad): “We continued to optimise your ads.”
Why to avoid: It’s vague and does not add any information beyond what’s in our monthly service deliverables. At worst it looks like we are trying to make it look notable when it isn’t, and then it may give the client a feeling that we didn’t do much at all.
Example 1 (Key Action) – Social Ads (good): “Refreshed ads that clients had seen too many times, which is referred to as “ad fatigue”, measured by “frequency”. Ads that were over 2 were refreshed to ensure people don’t become frustrated with your ads and are now seeing something fresh”.
Why this is good: Refers to and explains Ad Frequency. This simple education makes the client feel like they are being treated like an adult without it being confusing whilst positioning you as the expert. It is specific enough without highlighting exactly which ads were refreshed (which could be overkill) because it provides some context for how the ads were chosen.
 (bad):  Monitored for ad fatigue to sustain audience interest.”
Why to avoid: It’s vague and does not add any information beyond what’s in our monthly service deliverables. Even though it provides a “why”, these are a standard part of optimisation if anyone were to research marketing management services. It does not explain “ad fatigue”, which would not be understood by most clients, nor do they have a nuanced understanding of how good or bad it may be based on the comment.


AspectDo (Meaningful)Avoid (non-contextual)
ExplanationCommentary should focus on actions, insights and recommendations that are directly relevant and impactful to the client’s engagement, goals and strategies. They should be able to be turned into meaningful information that can drive strategy adjustments or improvements.Commentary that is not directly related to the client’s goals & services or cannot be realistically tied to them should be avoided. This includes focusing on metrics or activities that do not contribute to the client’s objectives.
Example 1 (Key Action) – Google Ads(good): “We made minor copy adjustments to your [landing page] to improve alignment with your keywords and the searcher’s intent”.
Why this is good: It explains a relevant, impactful action taken and then ties it back to a Google Ads engagement with the mention of keywords.
(bad): “We made changes to the copy on your website”.
Why to avoid: Without context, it is impossible to know whether this action was taken to improve marketing or simply for the sake of it. Even if this is assumed, it’s important to provide the “why” context so as not to raise unnecessary questions from the client.
Example 2 (Future Action) – SEO(good): “We recommend increasing the quality of the monthly backlink we provide each month to improve the ranking for [target page] at a faster rate. We will explain this to you further in your monthly call as well as outline the increased cost for your approval”.
Why this is good: Even though it talks about a technical item (I.e. backlinks), it offers to explain further in the next call. It also explains it as simply as possible and provides a clear tie to the value the client can expect (I.e. faster ranking).
(bad): “Enhance the backlink profile through targeted outreach.”

Why to avoid: Not only is it generic, but it also uses technical jargon in a way that doesn’t give a clear direction as to what exactly will happen. It also simply describes a standard deliverable if you boil it down, which is likely already happening.
Example 2 (Future Action) – SEO(good): “We will expand on the SEO performance metrics we report on in the next month, looking at including additional keywords and looking at per-page performance to understand opportunities for some quick wins. These changes will be discussed with you in our next call”.
Why this is good: This comment may be given where results may not be as expected and offers a solution to search for additional opportunities so the client feels like we are being proactive and not just telling them “to be patient”. This can then be a collaborative process.
(bad): “Establish a framework for monitoring SEO performance metrics for agile strategy adjustments”.
Why to avoid: It looks like it’s trying to sound important, but it wouldn’t pass the scrutiny of someone with more than a basic understanding of marketing. It merely looks like it’s trying to confuse the reader and distract them from a lack of knowledge or that we can’t come up with clear recommendations. SEO may be long-term and require patience, but it would be better to say nothing than reiterate nonsense each month to simply fill a section in the report.


AspectDo (Achievable)Avoid (Unrealistic)
ExplanationRecommendations and future actions proposed in the commentary should be realistic and attainable within the scope of the engagement and a reasonable timeframe. They should reflect an understanding of the client’s resources and constraints. When an action is listed, it is assumed that this will either happen or will be discussed with the clientRecommendations that are overly ambitious or not feasible within the scope of the engagement should be avoided. If important matters need to be raised outside of this, they should be positioned as such and clearly marked for “quoting and discussion” with the client. Revisit the engagement and service deliverables to understand what would be reasonable.
Example 1 (Future Action) – SEO (good): “To build page authority for [key service page], we plan to adjust our backlinking focus to this page instead of your homepage for 3 – 6 months”.
Why this is good: It proposes a specific and realistic action plan based on available resources.
 (bad): “We will triple the Page Authority on [key service page]”

Why to avoid: Without a clear, achievable plan, such targets can set unrealistic expectations. There are no guarantees in SEO. You can highlight a target you are aiming for, but the “how” is important.
Example 2 (Future Action) – SEO(good): “We don’t seem to be getting the traction we expect and considering it has been 6 months since your last major onsite/technical optimisation, we will provide a quote for a project to audit and address onsite/technical SEO issues.”   Why this is good: It provides background on why we are making this suggestion and is clear that it will be quoted separately.(bad): “Conduct comprehensive SEO audits to identify and address issues.” Why to avoid: Whilst it may be an important recommendation, it lacks context, and even though it sits outside of our service deliverables it may be assumed that we will do this if it’s not spelled out that it’s an additional project.


AspectDo (Valuable)Avoid (Value-less)
ExplanationEach piece of commentary should offer tangible insights or actions that contribute to the client’s marketing objectives. The focus should be on delivering information that the client can use to understand performance and make informed decisions to drive value from their marketing.Avoid filling reports with fluff or information that doesn’t offer clear insights or actionable steps towards achieving business goals. Ensuring marketing goals are in alignment with business goals is fundamental to providing value.
Example 1 (Insight) – Social Ads(good): “Refreshing creative assets for your ad campaign has sustained audience interest and increased engagement by 20%.”

Why this is good: It clearly ties an action taken in the previous reporting period to the direct value to the client.
(bad): “Your campaign needs to be continually monitored for performance opportunities.”
Why to avoid: It attempts to offer value with “performance opportunities”, but provides no clear link to the expected activity.


AspectDo (Confidence and Trust)Avoid (Overstating Negatives)
ExplanationFocus on positive movements, but only where they are factual. Commentary regarding challenges or areas for improvement should be carefully worded to maintain the client’s confidence in the services. Be truthful but also mindful of the language used to describe performance shifts.Using dramatic language to describe negative trends can unnecessarily alarm clients. It’s important to frame challenges in a way that acknowledges them while also emphasising solutions or strategies for improvement. It is a month-on-month report after all. Consider the perception of the client.
Example 1
(Insight) – Google Ads
(good): “Whilst we noticed a slight decrease in Paid traffic, our analysis suggests this may be due to seasonal trends and should be monitored in the coming months.”
Why this is good: It acknowledges a dip in performance without causing alarm and offers a constructive plan. It then offers a focus area for the subsequent reporting period.
(bad): “We experienced a massive drop in traffic this month.”
Why to avoid: Such phrasing could cause undue concern without offering context or solutions. Even if a solution was put forward, or some context was provided, the use of the word “massive” is subjective and ultimately unnecessary to explain the result.

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the ability to write insightful and impactful marketing report commentary stands as a critical skill for marketers and agencies alike. At Advantage Agency, our focus is on delivering concise, actionable insights that drive real business outcomes. By trimming the technical jargon and zeroing in on specific, meaningful, and achievable recommendations, you can transform your marketing reports from “wasting everyone’s time” into powerful tools for strategic decision-making. Remember, the ultimate goal of your commentary isn’t just to present data but to provide a clear pathway to improved performance and business growth. Embrace these principles, and watch as your reports become a cornerstone of your marketing success.