There are two kinds of marketers in this world: those who light up when they hear words like, “analytics,” “metrics,” and “data”... and those who don’t. At First Page, we're the light up kind of marketers. Keeping tabs on marketing numbers is vital to any brand’s success. Luckily, there are products and service providers (like us!) that can help you collect, manage and analyze business metrics, then craft and implement data-based marketing solutions. Let’s look at how you can get started playing the numbers game with marketing dashboards and analytics software.
What is a Marketing Dashboard?
Just like the dashboard in your vehicle, a marketing dashboard collects all the information you need to know and provides it at-a-glance. Except, instead of mileage, speed and fuel level, your marketing dashboard tells you how well your brand is meeting your KPIs, how your ads are performing, which of your social posts get the most engagement, and so on. Marketing dashboards pull data based on your chosen metrics from many different platforms, and aggregate everything in an easy-to-read, visual format that lets you see how your marketing efforts measure up in real time. Instead of logging into 5 different websites, you login to one.
Why Do I Need a Marketing Dashboard?
Let’s go back to the car analogy. If you didn’t have a dashboard, how would you know how fast you’re traveling? When would you gas up? Would you know your car was overheating before you ended up stranded on the side of the road? Just like your vehicle, a marketing dashboard gives you key data so you can address issues before they become problems. Your dashboard will help you make better decisions, create effective strategies and avoid catastrophe. Here are some of the ways a marketing dashboard will become your most valuable tool:
AGILITY: When you have all your marketing data in one spot, updated in real time, you have the ability to adjust your campaigns and change messaging, platforms and media that don’t seem to be working. A dashboard allows you to check the status of your KPIs at-a-glance, which means you won’t need to wait to run weekly or monthly analytics to realize something isn’t working. You can access it whenever you want to see how your marketing growth plan is performing.
COST SAVINGS: Your monthly analytics report is your Old Reliable. It gets the job done, and gives a clear view of what worked and what didn’t. But by the time you see the numbers, whatever isn’t working has been in place for weeks — pulling down your bottom line. A marketing dashboard gives you the opportunity to adapt and tweak your campaigns, so you know your money is going where it counts… instead of into the marketing abyss.
TIME SAVINGS: Since time is money, this could also be looked at as cost savings, but it’s important to note just how much time your team could save by having a marketing dashboard in place. This company saved 15 hours a week with marketing analytics software, but depending on how much time your team currently spends on analytics, the savings are limitless. Instead of heavy lifting monthly reports with 10 tabs in a spreadsheet or 30 PowerPoint slides, the dashboard is setup once to feed in the most important KPIs and then all of the time is spent on analysis and tweaking your growth strategy.
BIRD’S EYE VIEW: It’s easy to get into the weeds when you’re talking numbers. Margins, statistics and percentages can make your head spin. If you feel that your current metrics and analytics reports make your eyes cross, a marketing dashboard may be the perfect solution. It gives you a big picture view of the data that can help you make quick, confident decisions about your marketing strategy.
What are the Best Marketing Dashboard Options?
It’s possible to create your own marketing dashboard, but considering the time you’ll invest in building it, it’s usually more cost-efficient (and stress-reducing) to shop it out. Some purveyors will build custom dashboards tailored to your specific needs, while others offer a la carte services so you can mix and match a package that works for you. Here are a few of our faves:
Here at First Page, we use Klipfolio, which offers custom visualizations, pre-built templates, and easy data-sharing. We recommend their platform, whether you’re just getting started with data aggregation, or you need a more sophisticated measuring tool.
If numbers are your jam, datapine is your plan. datapine offers a wide range of business intelligence services, included in-depth marketing dashboards that put the data you need at your fingertips. This product is not for the faint-of-heart (at least not when it comes to data). But if you want innovative, robust and technology-based information, datapine is your go-to.
Get creative with databox, which gives you options to use pre-made templates, or build your own dashboard with all the features you need. With over 70 one-click integrations, you can connect all your metrics platforms and get started analyzing your data in a flash.
When utilizing marketing analytics software, it's important to take a team approach. Singular does just that, by designing dashboards that unify teams and connect cultures and systems. If you have a large marketing staff, Singular has the expertise to help you build a united force.
If your head is in the Cloud, Domo may be the right pick for you. DOMO utilizes an open cloud platform to create custom dashboards for any business, any industry, all with up-to-the-minute data displayed in real time. If you're looking for fast data, DOMO is your super speedy solution.
You may find that it's more cost effective to purchase a ready-made solution to your data aggregation needs, but if you're the do-it-yourself type, there are plenty of templates and information available to help you custom create your own marketing dashboard. We recommend this guide from Hubspot, which offers a wealth of resources for building your own data aggregator.
How Do I Get Started with Marketing Analytics Software and a Marketing Dashboard?
It may sound overwhelming, especially if you’re not a numbers person, but launching your marketing efforts to the next level is actually pretty simple. Here, we’ve laid out the steps you need to take to start aggregating your data in a way that benefits your business:
Set Your KPIs: Before you can know what data you’ll need in your dashboard, you have to firm up your key performance indicators (KPIs). Make sure your KPIs are easy to understand, easy to repeat, easy to act on and easy to measure. Avoid being too granular with your data — you want a big picture perspective so you can make better strategic decisions. At First Page, each of our channel experts have high-level KPIs that they own, and then we have supporting metrics that we track to show the health of a channel. And example of our SEO KPIs are: Grow traffic from organic search and Grow revenue from organic search. An example of our support SEO metrics are: Total backlinks and Total Rich Snippets.
Select Your Provider: Whether you select one of the recommended dashboard providers above, or want to tackle it yourself, you'll need to be clear about exactly what data you need, and how you want it to be delivered. All of the platforms linked above offer free trials or demos, so take them for a test drive and see which provides you with the user experience and services you need. It's important you evaluate marketing dashboard software that will feed in all of the data points you use, ie: look for ones that might feed-in marketing automation software like HubSpot.
Corral Your Team: Whether your marketing department is a one-man/woman show, or you have an org chart that goes on for days, you’ll need to make sure everyone is on board with the dashboard. Poll your team members to find out what kind of data would help them do their job better. Make sure everyone is trained on reading, interpreting and making changes based on the dashboard, and that everyone knows what the numbers indicate, why they matter, and how they support your KPIs.
Embrace Change: Just as the data is always evolving, so too will your analytics needs. Don’t be afraid to test out different dashboards until you find the right mix for the metrics you want. And remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution out there, so look for a marketing analytics software provider that’s adaptable and flexible.
What Types of Data do Dashboards Measure?
There are a multitude of dashboards available to track your metrics, and most of the time, you can pick and choose the ones that work best for your brand. Here are some of the most popular and effective dashboards:
Inbound Marketing Dashboard
Content Marketing Dashboard
Lead Generation Dashboard
Social Media Dashboard
Remember that dashboards can be customized to your needs, so if you don’t see the data you need on the list, there’s likely a solution that can be tailored to your business and your brand. At First Page, each of our inbound marketing clients get a custom Klipfolio dashboard to measure results and growth. We've perfected our marketing dashboard, so we offer the best view of what we're doing and how it's driving ROI for your brand. We can help you make data-based decisions and design campaigns that support your KPIs. Check out our blog on creating data-driven content, and contact us to find out what to do with all those numbers.