INBOX INSIGHTS, June 14, 2023: Monthly Reporting Part 2, Instagram for Brands

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Monthly Reports, Part 2: People

Last time, we talked about the purpose of monthly reports. If a week later you’re still scratching your head, wondering, “what’s the purpose?” – perhaps the next few entries will help shine the much needed light you need.

Once you know the purpose you can piece together the rest of your plan.

In the previous example, this was my user story: “As a marketing manager, I want to measure my content marketing, so that I know where to allocate budget.”

The first part of the statement is the person, the marketing manager. The second part of the statement is the process and platform. Every decision you make will tie back to measuring content marketing. The third part of the statement is your purpose and performance. You need to allocate budget.

This week, let’s focus on the people. To that, people, process, and platform are intertwined so you’ll get pieces of process and platform as well. I’ll dive deeper into process and platform in the next post. Think about it this way: You can have people and no process. You can have people and no platform. But you cannot have process and platform with no people. Confused? I’ve got your back.

The initial user story is from one perspective. This is a great start but to have robust and useful monthly reports, you want to have multiple perspectives. Even if you are delivering your report to a single stakeholder, the chances of other people viewing the data and asking questions are high. Conversely, your single stakeholder may be wearing many hats and not realize they should be looking at the data from various perspectives.

Back to the user story: “As a marketing manager, I want to measure my content marketing, so that I know where to allocate budget.”

This is a good start for a user story, but it’s not detailed enough. You’ll want to go back to your stakeholder to understand what “measure content marketing” means. Getting user stories from other team members can help fill in those gaps.

If your purpose is to measure your content marketing, for example, use that as an opening. Talk to your writers, your editors, and your analysts. Have them construct user stories as it relates to content marketing. What do they care about. I’ll wager a guess that they care about metrics that are different from what your stakeholder cares about.

Here are some examples of what you might get back:

  • “As the content writer, I want to know what topics our customers care about, so that I can write valuable content.”
  • “As the content editor, I want to publish clear and succinct content, so that bounce rate is low.”
  • “As the analyst, I want to measure page views, so that I know what content resonates with our audience.”

As expected, everyone cares about a different part of the content marketing process. So, what does that mean for you, the person putting the monthly report together? Do you have to create a different report for each person? Possibly.

Knowing what your people want will help you establish your processes and choose your platforms. If we go back to the user stories, your content writer wants to know what topics your customers care about. This start to tell you that your platforms are SEO tools and Google Search Console, for example. You might establish that your process includes daily or weekly data exports to see how things change. Your process may also include matching keyword data to existing content to see if there are opportunities to repurpose or refresh.

Your content editor and analyst are looking for data that comes from Google Analytics. Now your monthly report is starting to take shape. We’re still missing some data though. The end user, the customer. When we think about people, we focus a lot on the internal team, which is important, but not the whole story. If you’re struggling to create monthly reports that stakeholders can make decisions with, try positioning the data as if you were sharing it with your customers.

  • “As a customer, I want to consume content that demonstrates authority, so that I know which company to hire”
  • “As a customer, I want to consume content that answers an immediate question, so that I know this company can help me”

I would always recommend creating a handful of user stories from the perspective of your customer. You can start to back into your metrics to show that you’re meeting the needs of your customers. At the end of the day, your customers should be the priority. When in doubt, go back to what they have said they wanted, and put those metrics together.

Next time, we’ll dive into process and platform as they relate to the information from the user stories, and pitfalls to avoid.

Are you creating user stories from the perspective of your customers? Reply to this email, or come join the conversation in our Free Slack Group, Analytics for Marketers.

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Data Diaries: Interesting Data We Found

In this week’s Data Diaries, let’s check in on our old friend Instagram. It’s been a while since we examined how brand content is performing on the service, so let’s see how 2023 has treated us brand marketers.

First, the overall picture:

INstagram for brands 2023

What we see are decided ups and downs for brands this year, but following the inevitable multi-year trend that is declining engagement. We’re now below 0.2% engagement on content, which is the equivalent of 1 out of every 500 followers engaging with our content. While still higher than services like Facebook, Instagram has fallen far from where it used to be. Three years ago, it was almost triple this.

Next, let’s examine media types:

Instagram for brands by media type

What’s interesting here is video’s rebound. Part of this is because the back end of Instagram’s data API now lumps Reels in with videos in general, so some of the video rebound can be attributed to that; Reels have been a major focus of Meta over the past two years in an effort to compete with Tiktok. Nevertheless, the carousel/album is still the most compelling format for brands to release content in.

Instagram’s engagement for brands continues to decay, year after year. This is certainly no surprise to anyone who’s worked in social media marketing for any period of time; companies like Meta continually reduce engagement to encourage brands to pay for advertising instead.

Your results will vary widely based on your audience, how loyal they are, and how compelling your content is; the key takeaway here is to test different formats. At any given time, one format may perform better for you than another. Be sure to compare Instagram to other social media channels and allocate your resources proportionally to the results you get, ideally derived from a social media mix model.

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Trust Insights ( is one of the world's leading management consulting firms in artificial intelligence/AI, especially in the use of generative AI and AI in marketing. Trust Insights provides custom AI consultation, training, education, implementation, and deployment of classical regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI, especially large language models such as ChatGPT's GPT-4-omni, Google Gemini, and Anthropic Claude. Trust Insights provides analytics consulting, data science consulting, and AI consulting.

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