The Ultimate Guide to Quick Digital Marketing Dashboards [6 Examples]
January 23, 2019
by Eyal Katz
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” When Dickens wrote that now famous line, he might not have been thinking of eCommerce digital marketers.
Still, one can’t help but find that incredibly relevant to our predicament today. Digital marketers working for eCommerce companies are enjoying over 45% increases YoY in online shopping, but that doesn’t come without headaches.
Recent findings by Google indicate that 85% of online shoppers start a purchase on one device, and finish on another. That statistic alone might be enough to make any sanity-loving marketer throw their hands up in the air, but there is too much at stake to ignore the numbers. According to Smart Insights, multi-channel shoppers shop more often, and spend 3X more than single-channel shoppers.
So, if omnichannel marketing is critical, how does a busy digital marketer track which campaigns are functioning effectively, and which they should drop?
Just as omnichannel marketing is critical to an eCommerce store’s success, tracking the full customer lifecycle is critical to an eCommerce digital marketer’s success. While some marketing “teams” are a team of one, many execs need to manage data and insights from multiple stakeholders.
The solution: Stop trying to pull data from a flighty social media influencer, or nicely packaged analysis from a technical SEO nerd. It’s not your job to bring it all together into a cohesive report. The savvy and stress-free digital marketer will simply create a digital marketing dashboard.
The Problems Solved by a Digital Marketing Dashboard
Tracking the full customer lifecycle across all the various touchpoints, channels, and devices on and offline can be incredibly challenging.
There are more than 25 identified touchpoints in the customer lifecycle.
Many of those engage potential customers multiple times as they cycle back through as repeat customers. Ideally, those customers get locked in as brand loyalists, but even they will need attention from time to time to maintain retention rates.
For most eCommerce setups, tracking customer journeys across each and every channel requires using a myriad of tools, human resources, and large marketing budgets.
With so much granular data, it becomes almost impossible for marketing executives to get an overview of channels, KPIs, and marketing assets.
We’re trying to get away from these dark times
However, customer lifecycle tracking need not devolve into a messy process of squaring differing data points and analyses. Instead, simply tap into a dashboard which provides the critical information and insights you need to get the job done, while hiding everything else behind the scenes.
What Every Digital Marketing Dashboard Needs
Digital marketers shopping around for their digital marketing dashboard will want to assess each candidate across the following criteria:
Dashboard Must Haves:
- Advertising spend per channel
- TV ad spending may be trending downward, but how would you know where your company sits without detailed tracking of spending for each and every channel?
- Cost of acquisition per channel
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the godfather of all digital marketing terms and it’s crucial you track your CAC across every channel.
- Sales attributed to specific channels
- Want to know where to double down when promoting specific items? You’ll want to know which sales occurred where.
- Customer lifetime value per channel
- Everyone is accountable to quarterly sales goals. But if you’re in it to win it, you need to take a lifetime value (LTV) approach to customer lifecycle marketing.
- Conversion rates on all touchpoints of the customer journey
- You’ve got your CAC dialed in, you know which channels to leverage for specific items, and you have a good sense of different customer personas’ LTVs. You are ready to focus on conversion rates. After you’ve laid the foundation for success, you’re primed to start analyzing these metrics, finding opportunities for improvement, and taking action based on your data. Look at you now!
Nice to haves:
- Traffic increase per channel over time
- A handy line chart will suffice – you don’t need to see single digit information here.
- Revenue per cohort
- If you have been contemplating dropping (or, just reducing spend on) a channel, or certain product just isn’t moving, this metric provides a fantastic quick pulse check on where the money is coming in.
- Top performing landing pages/products
- Wouldn’t it be nice to have confirmation of what you suppose is your best performing page just jump right out at you?
- Average number of interactions per customer over time
- When you can dial this down by channel, you’ll be able to trace the precise steps of your customer’s journey.
- Number of return customers over time
- Considering a loyalty program? Pay attention to this metric first.
Digital Marketing Dashboard Tools:
Now, let’s jump into the specific tools. Because every marketing team has a different budget, we’ve broken this down, from freemium to $500+ per month models.
Here is a quick, less than 5-step run through of how to set up six different digital marketing dashboards.
On a Budget
There is nothing wrong with a lean operation, and there are several appropriate digital marketing dashboards that serve this budget well.
Google Analytics 360
For a comprehensive overview, check out Google Analytics’ (GA) breakdown here. The quick and dirty:
- Sign in to GA, and navigate to “Reports”
- Navigate Customization>Dashboards, and click “+New Dashboard”. The “Starter Dashboard” comes with default widgets, or you can start with a “Blank Canvas”
- Click “+Add Widget” to add any widgets you need. You can choose from: metric, timeline, geo-map, table, pie, and bar.
- GA has both standard and real-time widgets. While real-time widgets update continuously, standard widgets only update upon refreshing the dashboard.
- Edit widgets by mousing over the widget title and clicking the pencil icon.
- Tip: You can clone widgets similarly, so you needn’t re-create the wheel each time.
- Segment your analytics dashboard so you can compare and contrast different sessions or user groupings.
- Edit a segment by clicking on the segment label.
- Or, add a new segment by clicking “+Add segment.”
- Then, if you want to create advanced segments select “Conditions” under “Advanced” and unleash the full power of GA segments.
- Finally, play around with the “Customize Dashboard” option, which allows you to modify how widgets appear on your dashboard.
Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio is, in a way, the next step up from GA – here, you can pull in GA metrics as well as KPIs from other analytics tools using one of the many sources, called connectors, available. Best of all, like most Google tools, it’s free. To set up your Google Data Studio, follow these easy steps:
- Sign in and click on “+” for the “Blank” report template.
- Add as many data sources as you like using the “Create New Data Source” button.
- You’ll need to select the connector(s) you wish to connect.
- There are connectors that are “built and supported” by Data Studio and there are “Partner Connectors” that can connect to additional data sources like Facebook ads, Bing Ads, Adobe Analytics, Asana, and more.
- When you “Add to Report” this data source, feel free to rename it to something easy to identify and differentiate against other data sources.
- Build out the dashboard with scorecards, geo maps, line graphs, pie charts, tables, and more.
- For each element, you’ll need to assign a data source
- For each element, you’ll need to assign a data source
- You can even blend data by adding more than one data source to a report.
- Pretty up your dashboard using the “Layout and Theme” sidebar
- This is where you can color code, blow up font size, and more.
- This is where you can color code, blow up font size, and more.
Mixpanel delivers user behavior analytics. Cruise through these five setup steps below:
- Go to “Dashboard”.
- Select “Create a new dashboard” from the dropdown menu.
- “Add Saved Reports” to your dashboard.
While Mixpanel’s insistence on throwing code into the user interface may intimidate some digital marketers, there are simpler digital marketing dashboards.
Funnel improves marketing performance with 405 integrations. Organize your omnichannel funnel into a custom dashboard with the following quick (and repeatable) steps:
- Connect your data streams to Funnel.
- Hit “Custom” on the new dashboards tab.
- Create an “Overview” dashboard with widgets, such as “Value,” “Line Chart,” “Tables,” etc.
- Customize the metrics sourced by adding or editing components on the create window.
- Review a summary of all of your data from various funnel accounts and GA views on a single dashboard.
- Repeat steps 2 & 3 to segment as many times as you would like.
Looking for a video instead of a text walk-through? Check out Funnel Help Desk’s 4:28 walk-through.
For the technical digital marketers, these dashboards are going to deliver dataflows and analytics which allow for campaign personalization and enterprise-level reporting.
As you will see below, Segment is not actually a dashboard creation solution. However, if you’re a highly technical data geek you will appreciate Segment’s data warehousing capabilities.
Segment can aggregate all your data sources into one place, which makes the process of creating dashboards to run on top of this data pretty simple. Segment has an extensive Documentation directory; here’s a condensed version of the setup:
- Get data flowing from each of your sources into Segment’s “Warehouses.”
- Segment has sources and destinations. Sources send data to Segment and Destinations receive them.Not all sources are compatible with all destination types. You will be required to select a “Connection Mode” to connect a Source and a Destination. so read carefully.
- Set up custom event-based alerts to create dashboards or funnels.
- Tailor messaging to roll out multi-channel re-engagement campaigns using Segment and various partners, such as AdRoll, Customer.io, and more.
Unfortunately, you can’t currently delete or tweak Segment-generated tables on your dashboard. In essence, Segment is built to be more to function as a single data warehouse for all your data sources. You can the integrate data visualization software like Looker top create dashboards based on Segments aggregated data sources.
Microsoft’s Power BI is “a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights.”
Whew – that was a mouthful! Since their setup guide is equally verbose, we’ve condensed setup into five easy steps below:
- Connect your data to Power BI, then create a report.
- Microsoft suggests uploading data sources to One Drive.
- Then, in Power BI, select “My Workspaces”
- Select “Get Data” from sidebar and “Get” your files from One Drive or upload a spreadsheet.
- Publish your data to Power BI’s platform.
- Create new visualizations or build out entire dashboards. Note, reports will open in read only view. Select “Edit Report” to open the editor.
- Once in edit mode you can reveal the edit options by hovering over a data visualization. You can then add it to the dashboard by selecting to it to your dashboard.
- Share those dashboards with team members.
- View your teammates’ shared dashboards to glean more insights.
You can use the sample report provided in this link to go through the steps above on your own.
Note: Segment and Power BI aren’t the only solutions out there. Tableau, Periscope, and others exist, but they are less commonly used among marketing departments. To avoid muddying the waters, we left those out.
With mobile, offline, affiliates, email, video, OOH, and several other marketing channel buzzwords clouding the already murky landscape tracking the full customer journey is paramount to your success as a digital marketer. But, you don’t have to be staked out, eyes glued to a prospect’s every move, like some kind of consumer insights private investigator.
You likely already have several campaigns operating today. That is too much data for one person to analyze manually. Instead, simply connect those data streams to a single dashboard. Plug and play with the dashboard’s layout options until you’ve created a custom data visualization which best suits your preferences and needs.
Digital marketing dashboards are designed to simplify life for digital marketers. We highly recommend tapping into this single platform tool to enhance and streamline your omnichannel marketing.