3 Key Tips to Create an Effective Marketing Reporting Dashboard

Marketing KPI dashboard

Marketing campaigns are often chock full of data. So much so that it can often get to a point where you feel overwhelmed and confused about what to do with all those fancy numbers.


That is, instead of being able to make good use of that data to make sound decisions, the same data works against you to cause a case of analysis paralysis.


Enter marketing dashboards.


Simply put, a marketing dashboard is a data visualization tool that makes it easy to analyze key marketing metrics, crucial for tracking campaign performance.


They pull data from multiple sources and display them in a single location, giving both marketers and C-level executives a single source of truth, and the ability to drill down for deeper investigation.


Using dynamic visual aids like graphs, heat maps, and scatter plots, along with crisp text, dashboards neatly illustrate all the important marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that are pivotal to the campaign’s success.


An elegant compilation of all the pertinent data about your marketing efforts gives you an actionable bird’s-eye view of the effectiveness of your campaigns, allowing you to always keep the big picture in mind.


But building an effective marketing reporting dashboard is just as important as having one, otherwise, it would just be an added burden. Here are three tips to create a dashboard that makes your life easier:


Tip #1: Keep it Hyper-Focused


The very first thing that constitutes a useful digital marketing dashboard is its focus on specifics:


  • What is the target audience for the dashboard? Is it just the top-level executives or the entire marketing team? Different audience levels have different dashboards. A CEO needs a dashboard that summarizes performance metrics so they can make informed business decisions, while a dashboard for a social media marketer will consolidate all critical metrics from various social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for their day-to-day marketing activities.
  • What is the type of marketing campaign you want to track? Try to have different dashboards for different types of marketing channels, such as paid ads, social media, SEO, and so on.


Take the time to properly answer these couple of questions and you’re well on your way to build a highly useful KPI dashboard.


Also, what is the overarching goal for that dashboard? For instance, for a social media dashboard, the goal could be to garner 10,000 Twitter followers. Once you correctly determine your ultimate goal, you can move on to...

Tip #2: Track the Right Metrics


Metrics are the building blocks of your dashboard, and it can be difficult to pick the right metrics to track. A good metric is usually a direct measure of success and ideally shouldn’t have any caveats that are outside your control.


For example, if it’s a content marketing dashboard, crucial KPIs like average time on page, inbound links, and engagement rate may need tracking. You may also track other metrics like organic traffic and bounce rate.


Say the bounce rate of your blog is unusually high (over 70%), it may indicate that the content doesn’t match the target audience’s preference. In this case, an AI-powered personalized content recommendation solution like Alter can help you match your audience with their preferred content, consequently reducing the bounce rate and boosting engagement. 


Also, there’s a subtle yet important difference between marketing dashboards and reports. A report will help you make a single decision. A dashboard and its KPIs will define the decisions along the way, and result in those reports you create by showing the goals at-a-glance.

Tip #3: Create an Intuitive Layout


Once you’ve decided on the focus of your dashboard and the specific metrics you’re going to measure, how do you create a dashboard that’s actually quick and easy-to-use?


Just like a good story needs good illustrations, your data needs the right visuals too. Visuals allow you to consume the meat of the matter instantly without beating around the bush.


So, you must decide what kind of visuals would make sense for your particular use case of the dashboard. Choosing the wrong type of graph may confuse or even mislead the audience of your dashboard. This can lead to the wrong interpretation of the data, and disastrous results towards the end of the campaign.


Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when designing the layout of your dashboard:


  • The numbers are the focus, so don’t go overboard in terms of fonts or colors.
  • Understand where to use a bar chart, where to use a pie chart, and so on.
  • Keep the question being answered by each data point easily visible at the top.
  • Put the most pivotal KPIs in focus by creating larger and more conspicuous graphs for them.
  • Strive to organize your dashboard in a way such that all metrics are visible on a single screen.


Use the right visuals along with the right metrics and you’ll be amazed at how valuable your dashboard will turn out to be, guiding your marketing campaign to its eventual success.


Over to You


By structuring and visualizing key data, dashboards provide a quick view that quantifies the overall ROI of your marketing. They help in sharing data in an easy-to-understand format across teams or with clients and proving to your boss (or client) that the steps you’re taking are in the right direction.


With real-time marketing dashboards, reporting becomes faster and more accurate, enabling you to drive data-driven actions within your marketing team and optimize a campaign’s performance on the fly.


Finally, as a marketer, having relevant data at your fingertips in the form of an easy-to-use dashboard can be invaluable to well-founded decision making.


Track all your web analytics data from Google Analytics, your email marketing, your adwords data and way more into one automated marketing KPI dashboard.


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Tim Ferguson

Tim Ferguson is the Director of SEO at Right Mix Marketing, an SEO-focused link building services agency. His day-to-day role comprises writing & editing content for RMM blog, and helping clients with SEO, link building, guest posts and content marketing. When he's not working, he loves spending time reading all things psychology. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

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