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Blog / How To Create An Effective Marketing Dashboard

How To Create An Effective Marketing Dashboard

The landscape of digital marketing is complex and fast-paced, with marketers often having to optimize performance around a number of different performance metrics and KPIs. 

With many businesses managing more than 10 different marketing channels, trying to effectively optimize cross-channel activity to KPIs can be an overwhelming task. This is especially true if the marketing team isn't able to access the data and insights needed to make fast, effective marketing decisions. 

This is where marketing dashboards become invaluable. 

A well-designed marketing analytics dashboard can make the lives of marketing teams easier, simplify analysis, and help improve the speed and accuracy of marketing optimizations. 

However, without an effective design aligned with users' needs, marketing dashboards can lead to confusion, lack of adoption, or even flawed decision-making.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the key areas you’ll want to consider when you’re looking to create an effective dashboard to help improve marketing optimizations. 

Identify the right audience and objectives

One of the most important first steps in creating an effective marketing dashboard is to agree who the dashboard is going to be used by and what their objectives are likely to be.

Different stakeholders within your business are likely to have different requirements.

For example, the Chief Marketing Officer is most likely going to want to see top-level information such as CPA by channel and sales volume over time. 

Identify your audience when creating a dashboard

Identify your audience when creating a dashboard.
 

On the other end of the spectrum, a Paid Social Media Manager is likely to want to see more granular metrics in a marketing dashboard, such as engagement rate by post, or average video view time to help give them the insight to make effective optimizations. 

It’s important not to make assumptions about what different stakeholders need. The most effective dashboards are created after discussions and consultations with end users to check their requirements before any dashboard design begins.

Agree key performance indicators (KPIs)

With the vast amount of performance data available to modern marketers, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or fail to see the woods for the trees when it comes to optimizations. 

The design of your digital marketing dashboards provides a great opportunity to overcome these challenges and focus attention on the metrics and KPIs that matter. 

When it comes to effective marketing dashboard design, the adage that “less is more” couldn’t be more true. 

Rather than including every possible metric in dashboards, it’s important to select only the most relevant KPIs that align with the business objectives of the target audience.

Not only will this help focus attention on the things that matter, but it also makes your dashboards more engaging and easier to understand, aiding in their adoption and use across the business.  

Choose the right data dashboard tool

When it comes to choosing a tool for creating dashboards, marketers are spoilt for choice. 

For example, CMO Club has an in-depth overview of 25 tools that are effective for creating marketing dashboards, each with its own pros and cons. 

Your choice of marketing dashboard software really depends on your own specific business needs — but it’s important to make sure that your chosen platform is easy enough to use by your end users, and can visually represent each of the target KPIs that you’ve identified as being important. 

It’s also worth investigating each platform's ability to integrate with your business data sources (or data integration platform), the likely costs, and the flexibility to adapt to your evolving business data needs in the future.

Integrate your data efficiently

Some marketing dashboard software providers promote their ability to connect directly to each of your different marketing sources. 

While this might be appropriate in some circumstances and may seem like a valuable and efficient feature of a platform, it can often be to the detriment of the quality and consistency of your cross-channel data. 

If your marketing dashboard software pulls in data directly without ensuring the standardization of data formats and the correct mapping of data, it can make the comparison of metrics across different channels more difficult than it needs to be. 

Integrate your data efficiently

Integrate your data efficiently.
 

For example, you might be comparing costs in USD to costs in GBP, or performance measured by CPA on one channel against ROAS on another. 

For your marketing dashboards to be accurate and optimally effective, it’s important that all the disparate data from each of your marketing sources is centralized and standardized before it’s loaded into your dashboard. 

This ensures that marketing teams can accurately compare apples to apples within your dashboard visualizations. 

Data integration platforms can connect to all your different data sources and ensure your data is consistent and accurate before it is loaded into your data dashboard for analysis. 

One of the additional benefits of leading platforms like Adverity is that they can fetch data as often as every 15 minutes, enabling marketers to access near real-time data in marketing dashboards for the freshest insights possible. 

 

Design for clarity and ease of understanding

One of the key objectives in the design of your marketing dashboard should be to make it as easy as possible to understand, and for stakeholders to easily access the insights they need.

Minimalistic design is a really important part of this, making sure that your charts, tables, and visuals aren’t overcrowded and that your dashboard itself doesn’t include too much information that could cause a sense of overwhelm.

Another key part of designing for clarity is structuring your marketing dashboard with a logical flow, moving from generic ‘top level’ data at the top of the page to more granular data the further down you go. Pay attention to structuring data logically from left to right so it has the right narrative, for example placing impressions and clicks before sales and revenue in a table. 

It’s also important to use visuals wisely. As a general rule, any visual you produce should be easy for users to understand at first glance and should contain no more than 3-4 metrics. 

Some marketing dashboard software providers offer a variety of eye-catching visualizations, which can be tempting to use — but make sure they don’t distract from the key messages you’re trying to get across. 

On the other side of things, try to avoid overusing the same chart type within the same marketing dashboard. If you do have to reuse a particular format, consider breaking it up on the page with different visualizations in between. 

Enable customization

One of the main benefits of using an interactive dashboard over a static marketing report, is that users can customize their view and drill down into data they want to investigate further. 

Allowing users to tailor the marketing dashboard to their specific needs can improve engagement and help unlock more valuable insights. 

Designing your marketing dashboard to allow comparisons of channels and date ranges, and accommodating deep dives into top-level metrics can empower each stakeholder to explore the data from their own unique perspective.  

Building these types of flexible controls and custom views into your dashboard takes more upfront effort, but it can pay off through more actionable insights, and higher adoption and interest from users. 

Use context and narrative

Even in the most expertly designed marketing analytics dashboard, data alone only tells part of the story. Including the right context and commentary is crucial for enhancing understanding and improving decision-making from your marketing dashboard. 

For example, a chart on your dashboard may show that website sales have dropped recently. But without context around seasonal trends, marketing budgets, or results from last year, it's hard to fully understand the significance of this drop in performance. 

Using text boxes within your dashboards to provide relevant background and including year-on-year comparisons can help put the data into perspective for users and aid in decision-making. 

data-storytelling-blog-hero
Data storytelling is a powerful tool.
 

 

Encourage regular feedback and continuous improvement

In the fast-paced world of marketing, the only constant is change. Your business needs and the state of the market are likely to be different in the future than they are right now. 

To keep your marketing dashboard delivering optimal value for your marketing team, it’s important to regularly assess its relevance and suitability. 

Making small but consistent updates based on internal feedback can help to keep your dashboard aligned with current business needs. 

An effective dashboard starts with accurate real-time data

A well-designed marketing analytics dashboard can be a game-changer for your marketing team, empowering them to make faster, more effective optimization decisions.

However, a dashboard is only as effective as the data that powers it. 

Without a foundation of accurate, timely, high-quality data, your marketing dashboards aren’t going to be optimally effective, and may even lead to incorrect optimization decisions being made. 

Data integration platforms can help ensure the quality of data for your marketing dashboards, consolidating and standardizing the data from each of your different marketing sources before it’s loaded into your dashboard solution.

Adverity is a leading data integration platform, with a library of more than 600 data connectors, powerful data enrichment capabilities, and the ability to fetch marketing data as frequently as every 15 minutes — ensuring your marketing dashboards are working from the latest data. 

 

Find out more by booking a demo today.  

 

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