In the latest edition of our podcast, we talk about the importance of focusing on your business objectives, and using data to inform your decisions, but marketing data is everywhere these days and whilst it allows deep insight into the workings of your marketing campaigns, with this plethora of data comes the issue of information overload. It is often difficult to see the wood for the trees.
In my view there are two key issues:
- Data Overload – there are so many metrics available, how do you focus on the important ones?
- Data fragmentation – each platform will have its own set of analytics making it difficult to see a joined-up view of all metrics.
As a result, it can be tempting to simply pick the east to access datasets like traffic to your site, or number of shares on your social media, but often these will not be the right metrics to inform your real business decisions. To avoid this we need a way of organising and filtering the data to give you the information you need.
It is this that I explore in this post; looking at how a marketing dashboard can go a long way turning your data into actionable and valuable information.
Seeing the Wood, Clearing the Trees
The first thing that a dashboard will do is to allow you to pick out the key analytics, and display them in an easy to read format.
Most people will be aware of Google Analytics. Whilst being a fantastic platform for getting an insight into how people are interacting with your website Google’s data is not that easy to read. The sheer variety of statistics available makes getting a clear picture of you marketing’s effectiveness challenging.
For example, Google Analytics will tell you how many visitors you are getting, and where they are coming from. However, having your website visitor numbers broken down by source and charted month by month, makes it much easier to see what’s going on.
Furthermore, by pulling data into a dashboard, you isolate it from all the other metrics making it much easier to read.
And you are not just limited to charts. You can display data in many different formats, for example, tables, maps, and my favourite; the gauge.
Say for instance you are running a pay per click campaign. You could set up a gauge showing how much each conversion (enquiry for example) is costing you in advertising. Making it very easy to see if you are on target and that your advertising is being cost effective.
Bringing it all together
The other issue is the wide variety of platforms and the fact they all have their own analytics systems. Whilst you can see some external data in Google Analytics, this is limited to the number of visits to your site. Whilst key data, I believe you need to be “joined-up”. To achieve this you are going to need stats from the other platforms and having to switch from Google, to LinkedIn to Facebook to Twitter…. to get the information can become tiresome.
Here again, dashboards are great as they allow you to use the APIs supplied by the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook to bring their data into a central dashboard. What’s more, the dashboard systems usually have connections set up with the main platforms. So usually all you need to access the data is your login to the relevant platform.
Another great use of gauges is to monitor activity on social media platforms. Say for example you have a target of posting 5 tweets a week or 2 LinkedIn posts per month. You can set up a gauge to monitor the number of posts on a platform in a given period. That way it is possible to check, at a glance, whether you are on target.
Data at your fingertips
Metrics and analysis are incredibly valuable. But remembering what you looked at last time, and how you access the data, means that reviewing marketing metrics often gets forgotten. Usually reviewed only when you have time, or when there is an issue. Dashboards let you to pull out the data you need to inform your decisions, and to present it in an accessible and easy to find format, it will also make it much easier to look at the same dataset over time, allowing you to spot and act on trends that may appear, rather than randomly looking around in Google analytics, unsure if you are looking at the same dataset that you reviewed previously.
There is a bit of work to do in setting up a dashboard. But once done, the data is easily available whenever you need it. It will also be in exactly the same format as last time you looked.
The system we use – Klipfolio also allows you to permanently display your dashboards on big wall screens, so the data is there for you without even having to go and look for it.
If you would like to explore the power of dashboards, we would love to hear from you. So please feel free to get in touch