Push Custom Data in Your Dashboards With CSV Files

We recently released a very cool feature that lets our users push custom data using CSV files. This feature is currently in closed beta for some clients, but it’s expected to be opened to everyone in the following weeks.

Here’s a quick How-To guide to setup your custom data connection and work with it.

First off, how is structured a CSV file?

A CSV file is basically an Excel file that was exported in a Comma Separated Values format. Meaning you have only rows and columns. Plain data without any formatting. This format is typical among almost all tools that allow data exportation.

Here’s an example:

2013-10-31
ACME

Campaign,Impressions,Clicks,Cost,CTR
Halloween,1000,20,100,00,0.02
Fall2013,5000,75,200,00,0,0.15

Secondly, the data mapping

Go into the File Template Tab (if you have access to the data push API, of course) and create a new template. A template means that you won’t have to do this process each time you upload a CSV file. We’ll know that your CSV file matches this template.

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Choose your CSV file and upload it. You should see something like this:

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Now, let’s tell the tool a little more about the file structure. Specify the number of lines in the headers until the data. That includes the lines containing the columns names. Specify the lines in the footer, if any, the column separator and the file encoding. You can use default values.

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We are done with the file structure? Let’s move on. Click Next.

Define the metrics, dimensions, date and customer fields

To do this, select the columns and rows for each piece of information. See:

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Why do you have to define a Customer ID and a Date?

Because that’s what will tell us in which dashboard to put the data and in what period. Those are mandatory. You could create a single file for many customers and many dates. Using those fields, we can know where and when the data must fit. That applies even if your file is for a single client and for a single period of time.

Once done, click Save. Give a friendly name. There you go, the template for your CSV file is created!

Create the dashboard with a CSV data source

Now, let’s create a dashboard using this CSV file. In the data sources list, you’ll see the CSV file.

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To add a source, you’ll have to specify a Key. This will check the customer field you defined on your template to take the rights rows. In our example, we only have one client (ACME), but you could have a CSV file with dozens of clients. You would then filter the right data using this client key. The name is simply a friendly name.

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Add KPIs to your dashboard

Here’s the second to last step: Adding widgets using the data from your CSV file. Using the advanced editor you’ll be able to select metrics and dimensions as you would do with Google Analytics or Adwords.

Pushing the data

Finally, you have to push the data. Once your widgets are all created, uploading the CSV file will send the data to the widgets. Note that if you add a new widget, you’ll have to upload the data file again.

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There you go! You have a widget populated with data from a CSV file.

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Have any question or comments? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Stéphane has been working on business Web projects for more than 15 years. He has a computer science degree and a MBA specialized in e-commerce from Laval University in Quebec City. That also explains why his writing can sound weird: He is a French Canadian!

View his LinkedIn profile or email Stephane: stephane@dashthis.com



Category: Dashboards, Tutorials | Tags: , 6 comments »

     

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