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11 April 2019

5 golden tips for designing great digital marketing dashboards

Today, marketers are facing the challenges of increased competition, new distribution channels, proliferation of media channels and changing customer preferences, all of this to make data more scattered and more difficult to convert into meaningful information that supports decisions on how to allocate your marketing budget – and most importantly to measure and report the return on the investments made. 

But it is possible to link information about customers needs, preferences, habits and behaviors across all channels to the performance of a business’s sales and marketing activities. It all comes down to making sure the right things are being measured and visualized. By defining and tracking your marketing KPIs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you as a marketer can act on the data to immediately improve marketing performance and this is exactly where digital marketing dashboarding comes into play.

“A dashboard is a representation of the most critical information needed to achieve one or more business objectives; consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance and communicated efficiently.”
– Stephan Few, data visualization expert

We talked to Ivan Sergeyssels and Elke Horrix of our sister companies Upthrust and HighMind, and asked them to bundle their UX/UI and technical know-how in  5 tips for the creation of great digital marketing dashboards to follow up on your marketing activities.

  1. Focus on your One Metric That Matters (OMTM)

Each industry has different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for business performance, and these demand different kind of metrics. Decide on the metrics that matter most to you by thinking what best reflect your business KPIs. For example, in telecommunications this may be: new subscribers, in retail: basket size, in financial services: number of products per customer and in energy: conversion rate. There is no magical number of KPIs to track. The most important principle marketers should keep in mind when deciding on what metrics need to be measured is: make sure information is linked with your business objectives and keep it simple. Less is more.

  1. Include comparison values & targets

Data in a dashboard is nothing without the inclusion of comparison periods and targets

For example, a dashboard showing the number of 20k content downloads this month doesn’t say much. If we include and display the target of 15k, we can say this month’s initiatives performed well. In the opposite case, if the dashboard shows there were 40k downloads in the previous period, the results of this month are underperforming and action should be taken.

A comparison of a metric to a previous period and/or target can sometimes tell the story better than absolute performance.

  1. Logical layout

Once you have decided on what to measure, think about how you want to display the information. A good rule of thumb is to use the inverted pyramid principle: visualize the most significant insights on the top of the dashboard, show trends in the middle and granular background information at the bottom. Try to start with a basic overview that all of the users understand, but make sure users requiring more can drill down into the details.

Use the inverted pyramid as a principle to visualize a logical layout

  1. Keep the UX/UI design clear and uncluttered

It’s not easy to transform raw data into a digital marketing dashboard that summarizes the most important information and that users understand. Here are a few tips to ensure the UX/UI design is user friendly:

  • Fit the visualization on a single screen
  • Design only helpful and relevant visualizations (e.g. an underperforming KPI should be clearly indicated) – but be aware to not use too much visualization elements, this could even create more workload for a user
  • Ensure users can orientate and navigate intuitively
  • Think about other devices when useful

  1. Tools

There is a wide variety of tools available in the market. The best tool that is suitable for your business depends on the specific needs your company may have.

According the Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms from Gartner, PowerBI, Tableau, Qlik and ThoughtSpot are recognized as the current market leaders. However, there are also less traditional players that could perfectly fit your needs, such as the cloud-based data analytics platform Klipfolio Geckoboard, which is quick and easy-to-set up. Let’s get in touch to find out what tool best resonates with your business objectives.

Not entirely sure how to proceed?

As The House of Marketing, part of the Quanteus Group, we can bring the necessary in-depth expertise by leveraging both the technical and business know-how of our different entities to offer you an end-to-end solution.

  • The House of Marketing puts its spike in data-driven marketing and is here to help you to distill the right insights from your data to drive your strategic marketing decisions;
  • HighMind designs and builds data-driven solutions that are the glue between your business goals and technical reality;
  • Upthrust’s UX/UI team is trained to design custom-build, understandable and appealing dashboards which deliver you the best possible experience to you and your team.

References: Sisense

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