Dashboards are very convenient tools for tracking business metrics, KPIs and other important data points relevant to your company. In a recent blog post, we identified ten different types of data analysis and dashboarding tools that are used in digital marketing. If you read this article, you probably noticed that there are A LOT to choose from. But how do you know which one is right for you and your business? What are your objectives and who is involved in the analysis process? What do you want the user interface to look like? So many questions!
So before you “jump the gun” and start using just any dashboard tool, be sure you’ve identified what suits you and your company best. In this blog we will go through four important phases of building a dashboard.
1. Align your performance metrics with business objectives
Which metrics are relevant and suitable to your business? Whether that may be Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Goal Completion Rate (GCR), aligning these metrics with your business’ objectives will make your analysis much more meaningful for you and your company as a whole. In addition to these metrics, customer experience is also an important indicator for every digital marketer. As Bruce Temkin (managing partner of the Temkin Group) puts it, for customer experience metrics to really have value, they must be continuously “integrated into the rhythm of the business.” In other words, start thinking about what is important to you and your business in terms of online performance.
2. Refining requirements
Now that you’ve got your metrics and KPIs in place based on your business objectives, it’s time to define these on a more sophisticated level. Defining proper metrics will help you to avoid letting data or your dashboarding tools drive the process, and in turn, give priority to your business objectives.
How should you define your metrics?
Do not choose “vanity metrics”, but rather aim for “actionable metrics” that serve your company well. In other words, don’t just monitor certain metrics because they are popular among other digital analysts. According to Juice Analytics, your metrics should lie somewhere between actionable, widely interpreted, accessible and transparent.
What is meant with these dimensions?
- Actionable:This is probably the most important dimension. These are metrics that tie in with specific and repeatable tasks you can improve upon within your organisation.
- Widely interpreted: This means your metrics are recognisable by other people in the organisation. It’s important that not only your team but also higher-level employees have a good grasp of the metrics you use. According to a recent report carried out by Geckoboard, over 50% of employees say that more company info and data being shared had a significant positive impact on their productivity and performance.
- Accessible: You’ll need a good (trusted) data source. The metrics should also be easily accessible for your employees so that they can grab information when they need it.
- Transparent: Don’t use really complicated metrics. This goes hand-in-hand with using metrics that are widely interpreted.
3. Selecting a suitable platform
Choosing the right platform is another important factor to consider when building your dashboard. There are a few of things you should keep in mind when selecting a platform including the data you’re collecting, access requirements and how the dashboard itself is set up.
Let’s start with the data. There are a couple of things you’ll need to ask yourself in regards to the data you are collecting: What kind of data are you collecting? For example, a loyalty metric such as NPS is calculated completely different from customer acquisition costs (CAC). Is this a large volume of data? Should the transmission of this data be confidential? When and where can the data be accessed?
Then you need to consider who will have access and how it will be set up. How many users will have access? And which levels of access will they be provided with – in other words how do you want to define the analytical capacity? Do you want to limit access to colleagues only or share with external contacts as well?
And lastly, there is the dashboard itself. With this you should consider how you want to organise data in your dashboard. Do you require just one dashboard or multiple? How should the data be organised on the dashboard? How thoroughly do you want to analyse each metric?
4. Building the user interface
The last step of the process is the construction of your dashboard(s). After careful consideration, you should have a good idea of which metrics you want to incorporate in your dashboard. But don’t be discouraged when you find that the first dashboard you build isn’t always the final product. It is very common for marketers to build multiple dashboards before they achieve the result they’re looking for.
For a powerful and effective dashboard interface, the focus should lie on keeping it intuitive. Think about it. The dashboard has no real value if it isn’t used or understood by you or your colleagues, right?
Our brains process visualisations and pictures as one chunk of information, which means that we can understand and gain insights from visual data much faster than if, for example, we are presented with a series of numbers or text. The beauty of dashboards is that you can visualise lots of different data sets on one or two screens. But don’t overflow your dashboard with too many different metrics as this can be very overwhelming. Instead, limit your tracking to the most important metrics and keep charts consistent in all levels of your dashboards.
And remember, the best dashboard is one that is intelligible, predictive, accommodating and of course, easy-on-the-eyes!