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Blog / How To Get Your Data Ready For An Efficient Dashboard

How To Get Your Data Ready For An Efficient Dashboard

One of modern marketer's biggest challenges is converting the vast amounts of marketing data they hold into actionable insights.

Marketing dashboards offer a solution to this challenge by providing a quick and easy way to monitor, analyze, and make decisions from your marketing data.

But for data dashboards to be optimally effective, the data that is used to power them needs to be consistent, timely, and accurate.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of effectively preparing your data for use in a marketing dashboard, and highlight how the use of data integration platforms can help make this process easier for marketers and data analysts.  

Do you need a data dashboard or a report?

Before we get started looking at dashboard best practices, it’s important to first consider whether you need a marketing dashboard or a marketing report. 

Both formats can help you make better sense of your marketing data, and provide valuable analytics insights. But they have different benefits, drawbacks, and use cases. 

Data dashboards are ideal if you’re looking for real-time visibility into campaign performance through a dynamic and easy-to-use interface. They enable you to monitor performance metrics quickly and easily across campaigns and are great for helping you quickly spot and respond to emerging trends or performance issues. 

Marketing reports take more of a retrospective view, compiling data over a set period of time in a static format. Unlike the real-time nature of data dashboards, reports are typically generated at fixed periods such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly. One of the benefits of static reports is that they allow for more in-depth analysis and can uncover broader patterns to inform longer-term planning and business reporting. But they don’t have that real-time capability

In reality, most marketing teams use both data dashboards and reports as part of their analysis, taking advantage of real-time insights in dashboards for ongoing optimizations, and using the detailed analysis of reports to make more strategic business decisions. 

 

Planning and structuring your data dashboard

If you've decided to create a marketing dashboard to help with your real-time marketing analysis needs, it’s important to take the time to plan and structure it correctly. 

A well-designed data dashboard can drive informed decisions, but common missteps can undermine the value of your dashboard making it more challenging to gain the insights you need. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key steps that go into planning and structuring your dashboard: 

Defining objectives

The first step in data dashboard design is being clear about what you want to achieve. 

Whether you’re looking to track the real-time performance of each of your channels, monitor eCommerce sales by category, or identify trends in engagement — your objectives will guide every other decision you make. 

Having clarity on what you want to measure and monitor will ensure that your dashboard remains focused and relevant to your needs.

Identifying key metrics and data

Once you’ve set the objectives for your data dashboard, the next logical step is to determine which metrics you’ll need to measure and visualize.

One key tip is to prioritize only the most critical information to avoid your dashboards becoming overcrowded and cluttered. When it comes to data dashboard design, less is often more. 

By only bringing through the most crucial information, you can prevent information overload and keep the users of your dashboard focused on the metrics that really matter.

Choosing appropriate visualizations

Once you’ve decided which metrics you’re going to include in your data dashboard, it’s time to think about how you might most effectively visualize them. 

Choosing the right visualizations is important for ensuring your insights are communicated effectively. Simple, clear charts and graphs often work best, enabling quick analysis and reducing the risk of misinterpretation.

 

Designing with the audience in mind

It’s also important to consider who will use your dashboard, as this will influence your design decisions.

For example, busy C-suite stakeholders will likely need an ‘at a glance’ overview, allowing them to quickly grasp the big picture without getting bogged down in details. 

On the other hand, if your data dashboard is for a team managing day-to-day optimizations, including options to filter data or drill down for more detailed insights is likely to give them the flexibility they need to make more informed decisions. 

Dashboard design best practices

Once the planning and structuring phase of your dashboard is complete, it's time to shift focus towards design. 

Making sure you adhere to dashboard design best practices can significantly enhance the usability of your dashboard and improve the value of insights that users can gain from it. 

Simplicity and clarity

One of the hallmarks of an effective dashboard is its ability to clearly and concisely present data that’s easy to understand and take insights from.

Taking a minimalist approach to dashboard design not only makes your data dashboard more aesthetically pleasing but also makes it easier for users to quickly find the information they need without feeling overwhelmed.

Interactive elements

Depending on the needs of your audience, interactive features such as drill-downs and filters can allow users to engage with the dashboard and gain a deeper level of insight. 

Adding interactive elements is an important data visualization technique, empowering users to tailor the dashboard to their specific needs and enabling them to uncover the precise insights they need for marketing optimizations. 

Optimize for mobile

Designing data dashboards that are optimized for mobile devices ensures that stakeholders can view and analyze your essential data visualizations anytime, anywhere. 

This is particularly important if your business needs to rely on timely insights to make quick, informed decisions, and team members might not always have access to a desktop computer. 

Regular updates and evolution

Even if you’ve put a lot of time into planning and designing a data dashboard that meets all the best practices, you shouldn’t consider it finished once published. 

Making regular updates based on user feedback and evolving business needs is essential for maintaining the dashboard's relevance and effectiveness. 

You might consider putting a structured process in place to gather feedback from users so you can make adjustments to keep the dashboard aligned with changing business needs. 

How to effectively prepare data for your marketing dashboard

If you’re unfamiliar with the marketing analytics maturity scale, it’s a useful framework to assess the data maturity of your business. 

What we tend to find is that a lot of businesses fall within the second stage of the model, “We need more dashboards,” where they are taking all the proper steps in setting up reports and working with data dashboard tools but without a robust approach to data governance or data integration. 

Making sure you have the right approach to data integration is crucial for ensuring your data visualization dashboard provides accurate, relevant, and reliable insights - and it helps you avoid the risks associated with poor-quality data making it through to your dashboard.

Some data dashboard tools provide you with the option of directly integrating with each of your marketing data sources, bringing your data in directly. 

On the face of things, this might seem like a handy solution. However, this approach often falls short in terms of data quality and consistency. Without a centralized platform to consolidate and standardize the data from your different marketing sources, you risk incorporating inconsistent, inaccurate, or incomplete data into your decision-making processes.

This is where data integration platforms become essential. 

 

Data integration platforms specialize in extracting, transforming, and standardizing data from multiple different sources so that you can have complete confidence in data quality and consistency. 

By using an established data integration platform, you can have the peace of mind that your data dashboard is powered by the most accurate and relevant data possible, improving the value of insights and data trustworthiness. 

Let's take a deeper look at how using data integration platforms to power your marketing dashboards can improve the quality of insights

Freshness

One of the key benefits of data visualization is its ability to deliver real-time insights into marketing campaign performance.

With this in mind, the value of a dashboard significantly depends on the freshness of its data. 

Leading data integration solutions can fetch data as frequently as every 15 minutes, and load it directly into your data dashboard. 

This helps ensure that your data visualizations always reflect the latest data, enabling teams to make decisions based on what happened today rather than what happened last week or last month. 

Quality

Before data makes its way into your data dashboard, it's important that you take the right steps to ensure its accuracy and quality. 

This is something that data integration platforms excel at by cleansing data, removing duplicates, correcting formatting errors, and ensuring everything is standardized. This helps eliminate errors that could undermine data quality.

Leading data integration platforms also have advanced features such as anomaly detection, which proactively flags any metrics that seem unusual or don't fit expected trends. This allows any anomalies to be investigated quickly, before they skew dashboard insights.

Consistency

If your data dashboard is going to be easy for users to understand and make channel comparisons from, the way metrics are presented must be consistent. 

It wouldn’t be easy to compare the CPA between Meta and Google Ads, for example, if one was presented in USD, and the other in GBP. 

Data integration platforms help ensure consistency in data formats through data transformation and enrichments, making sure only consistent data makes its way to your dashboard for user-friendly analysis and insight. 

Scalability

The modern world of marketing moves quickly. In a year's time, it's likely that you’re going to be running marketing activity across new channels, or even in new markets. 

As your business evolves, so do your data needs.

Leading data integration platforms provide the flexibility to connect to a wide range of different data sources and enrich and enhance data so your business can have it exactly the way that's needed to power your data dashboards. 

Working with a data integration platform ensures that the data feeding your marketing dashboards can smoothly scale with the evolution of your business. 

Adverity: Helping you prepare your data for effective visualization

A well-designed marketing dashboard can be invaluable for turning your marketing data into real-time actionable insights. 

But the process can’t be rushed. 

Creating an effective data dashboard requires careful planning, a thorough understanding of your audience, and adherence to best design and data preparation practices.

When it comes to preparing data for your data dashboard, it’s important to choose the right data integration platform. 

Adverity is a leading data integration solution, with a library of more than 600 data connectors for all of your marketing sources, impressive data transformation capabilities, and the ability to fetch data as often as every 15 minutes, so your dashboard is powered by the freshest data possible. 

Ready to find out more? Book a demo today.

 

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