Improve Your Digital Marketing Dashboard in Four Steps

Posted by tina on April 12, 2017 Dashboards, Marketing Analytics, Marketing, Data Analytics

For many digital marketers, data collection isn’t the most taxing part of their role. Rather, it’s the attribution and proving ROI side of their role that’s often the leading challenge. The best way to overcome this challenge is to design a digital advertising dashboard that measures all your metrics and gives you the ability to prove the value your campaigns.

We’ve all been there: we created a Facebook campaign, ran a three month long PPC campaign and tested a few new keywords using Google’s Keyword Planner. We’ve amassed a mountain of data, and then asked, now what? As a digital marketer, you’ve spent a significant amount of time creating those campaigns, ad copy, etc. Fortunately, there is a system of record for your efforts: a digital marketing dashboard.

Creating a dashboard that tracks your digital marketing efforts doesn’t have to be difficult. Think of it as a story and think about what kind of story you want to tell through the data, visuals and numbers.

Naturally, your dashboard story starts at the beginning—with the metrics you want to track. From there, we’ll provide best practices on data aggregation, channel focus and dashboard design. 

Digital Marketing Metrics to Track

During our recent webinar, Rethinking Your Ad Spend: 5 Tips for Intelligence Digital Advertising, an attendee asked our panel the following question:

“My CEO has a short attention span, what are the top metrics I should show him to prove our need to increase our digital marketing spend?”

This is the exact moment you pull up your digital marketing dashboard and show your CEO all the metrics you’ve been tracking and the growth mode you’ve created. But, before you can show that dashboard, you’ll need to figure out your metrics.

According to Robert Pettee, co-Founder of Digital Mouth Advertising and our webinar panelist, he said that key metrics will vary based on your specific business vertical. But suggesting that digital marketers should start with measuring reach:

  • Number of impressions

  • How many people were reached

Second, if your campaign has a specific conversion event, then you’d want to track conversion, conversion sources and revenue if the conversion event can be tied to a dollar amount. Every metric that you track on your dashboard, whether it’s paid search or paid social, needs to point to an area of opportunity where you budget can be fluctuated. With these metrics in mind, the conversation around where to spend your next dollar, or even get a few more dollars, will be streamlined and prove clear ROI.

Aggregate Data Accordingly

With the growing demand for Self-Service Business Intelligence, this allows marketers to combine data from different sources and visualize metrics. With that, it’s tempting to throw all your data together and make it work. During our webinar Craig Vigor of Verdensa Consulting recommended that digital marketers pay attention to their data, and think critically about what should and should not be combined together.

Every ad platform and social network works differently and they each provide different options for what you can do and track (based on the platform). For example if an impression is delivered on Facebook is the same as an impression on Twitter, then it makes sense to combine these two data sources together. But, if they’re not defined in the same way, then it’s crucial to keep those two data sources separate.

You always want to make sure you’re presenting data in the correct way. Understanding how your data sources define impressions, views, clicks, etc. is an integral step in tracking metrics and building out your digital marketing dashboard.

Tackling Different Channels

It’s easy to get carried away and run multiple channels all at once. Without clearly defined metrics and a robust dashboard for measurement—that task will turn into a taxing challenge.

Instead, start with the lowest hanging fruit by understanding where your audience is and then branch out to different channels. For example, if you know that 90% of your audience is on LinkedIn, start there. Once you’ve got your program running on LinkedIn, then add Twitter, Facebook, etc (depending on your budget). It’s important not to spread yourself and your budget so thin that you don’t have the resources to test and iterate on your programs.

Building a Beautiful Dashboard

Much like running programs that target a specific audience, dashboards also have a target audience. Your target audience can range from your CMO, your marketing team to the Executive team. Keeping that in mind, it’s important to design a dashboard that’s optimized for storytelling and understanding. With that, certain colors and chart types are more informative and easily digestible than others.

“In terms of color, often times you want to make sure that you’re not presenting too many divergent, contrasting colors that will distract from the message,” said Craig during our webinar.

As for chart types, it depends on what type of information and metrics you’re trying to convey with your dashboard.


For a complete tutorial on how rethink your digital advertising from metrics to dashboards, watch our on-demand webinar: Rethinking Your Ad Spend: 5 Tips for Intelligence Digital Advertising.

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