November 24, 2021

4 Must-Have Elements for Your Digital Marketing Dashboard

Dashboards have become synonymous with tracking and evaluating performance of digital marketing campaigns. For the savvy marketer, these dashboards are a way to see, usually in real-time, top campaign metrics, costs, and overall performance. This data is critical to making smart, quick marketing decisions, especially as digital marketing spending outstrips traditional and competition in the digital space only increases. Whether you are a digital dashboard novice or a seasoned veteran looking to take your dashboards from good to great, check out four must-have top digital marketing dashboard elements from our own Data Team Lead Jordan Dickey. 


Goals When Creating a Dashboard

The amount of data one could pull into a digital marketing dashboard can feel infinite. There is no shortage of information flowing from CRMs, CMS systems, web lead capture forms, email sign ups, digital campaigns, etc. So before creating a dashboard it is important to understand what goal(s) you and your marketing have for the information that you would gather, analyze, and make decisions from. Our team has identified two primary goals for digital marketing dashboards that we see time and time again amongst our digital partners and ones that we believe are pretty universal for all industries

Informing Stakeholders

Dashboards have a primary goal of informing stakeholders about what is happening with digital campaigns and the dollars that are being spent to run them. Digital marketing campaigns usually have a broad range of stakeholders that need this critical information to understand campaign performance. These stakeholders can range from those actually in the marketing department, to C-suite folks, board members, and other departments that are impacted directly by digital marketing efforts (such as sales, call centers, and enrollment/admissions offices). Having a quick, always-updating places where these disparate yet important audiences can get critical information on digital marketing campaigns is key to having the information to make quick and smart marketing decisions. 

Identify Areas of Opportunity

Dashboards can be a key element in helping marketing departments know where to efficiently and effectively put their dollars and efforts to capitalize on opportunity. Dashboards are based on real data – data that tells the story of what your customers want and what they are engaging with the most in terms of your brand. Sometimes, these areas may surprise your team. That is the beauty of the digital dashboard – data doesn’t lie and it gives a direct look at what is and isn’t working for your team. In looking at ways to expand your market presence, own a digital marketing channel or message, or enter into new territory for your business, digital dashboards can give you the information you need to capitalize on new areas of opportunity. In the case of great dashboards, they may even be able to help your team predict where to invest resources to get the best return and results. 


Four Must-Have Digital Dashboard Elements

As we have mentioned previously, dashboards can get overwhelming and unruly due to the sheer amounts of data and variety of datasets that can be pulled into them. Open APIs from digital marketing platforms, integrations with CRMs, and other first-party data can give you great insights to your digital marketing campaigns, but only if they are arranged, analyzed, and organized in a useful way. Here are the four must-have digital dashboard elements our team has identified to create a successful digital dashboard. 

  • Clean data set
      • This is self-explanatory. As the saying goes around Statwax, “garbage in, garbage out”. If your data sets are full of muddy data that isn’t consistent in what information is being looked at, where it came in from, or what goal it was trying to accomplish you can expect to get usable data to make decisions. It might seem painful, but it is critical to ensure that your data is clean before you start creating or using any dashboards. In the end, bad data equals useless dashboards.
  • Filters 
      • Drill-down capabilities are some of the most powerful tools in a dashboard. The ability to see results based on a certain time frame, campaign name, geography, or demographic can yield powerful insights that can lead your expanding or stopping a digital marketing effort. While “all up” dashboards are useful to tell a large story, having filter capabilities are where we find some of the best insights in terms of expanding audiences, platforms, and building new strategies.  
  • Visualizations 
      • Having data visualizations is key, especially when you take into account our earlier discussion on one of the primary goals of dashboards – informing stakeholders. When looking at all the types of stakeholders that could be a part of a digital marketing campaign, it is important to think about how each will best absorb and understand the data you want to share. That is where visualizations come in. Taking large datasets and sharing insights not only in percentages, but pie charts, bar graphs, and line graphs can help you get the point of the data across to a variety of people. To create the best visualizations, our team recommends:
        • Keep it simple – Too many chargers and graphs can be as overwhelming as tables of data. Showcase the top areas of data you want to and complement those with the ability to have more detailed analysis, data sorting, and views if the stakeholder wants. 
        • Emphasis on KPIs – Make sure that visualizations aren’t just for the sake of having graphs. Each graph or chart should be used to emphasize a point that is important to stakeholders. The best way to accomplish this is to have visualizations focused on key performance indicators (KPIs). Having visualizations that are paired with numbers to tell a strong story of meeting, working towards, or challenges in achieving KPIs can be helpful to ensure dashboards are useful and understood. 
        • Don’t eliminate numbers – As mentioned, visualizations can help tell a data story for those that don’t respond as well to straight tables of numbers. However, that doesn’t mean that numerical data tables should be eliminated completely. Pairing the two together – data tables and data visualizations – will help you tell a complete story that should be apparent to a variety of stakeholders. 
  • Context 
    • A dashboard is nothing without the story behind it – context is everything. Data can be open to interpretation, no matter the level of understanding that the reader has about the digital marketing efforts the data is from. Providing context, especially in the form of written insights, can help explain metrics that might seem off, why certain optimizations in campaigns or budgets were made, or any trend lines that have emerged. This can serve as talking points with those that are using the dashboard on areas that might need testing, improvement, or can be invested more in for good return. 


How Statwax Dashboards are Different

Here at Statwax, we take the above mentioned elements and data goals and turn them into usable, informative dashboards for each of our clients. We believe that having dashboards – once data is determined to be clean and we understand the goals of its creation – are critical to having successful digital marketing campaigns. Here are a few ways that our digital marketing dashboards are a little different than ones you may have seen or created before.

  • Customized to fit the client’s needs
      • No two digital dashboards we make are the same, as we take individual client goals, campaigns, and metrics into mind when they are created. Our team’s goal is to understand all of these elements before creating anything that tells a data story. This means that our team can customize what data sources pull in, how many and what type of visualizations are present, and how many pages of information are displayed. Our team works with our client partners to produce the best dashboard based on permissions and integrations we can have with platforms and client systems, as well as the number and type of digital campaigns that are running. 
  • Integrates with CRM data 
      • We understand that your business doesn’t stop after the first conversion so why should your dashboard? Our goal is to provide a dashboard that truly takes all data sources to provide a holistic data story of your digital marketing campaigns. We know that it usually takes several, diverse digital touchpoints for a customer to make a purchase, especially in business focused on lead generation and customer acquisition. In those instances, seeing a complete customer journey can be key to finding the right customers at the right time with the right message. Our team has also worked hard to get to intricately know some of the most used CRMs (think Salesforce, Hubspot, Slate, Marketo, etc.) so our onboarding period with this should be less about knowing the CRM and more about understanding how you have used it. We will also work with you if it happens that you can’t give us full access to your CRM or you are still setting up a CRM – there is always a data story to tell!
  • Regular innovation and improvement 
    • Our dashboards are not set it and forget it – they go through a process of regular updates, improvements, and innovation. The process includes collaborative feedback with clients to understand what they need to see and how, making dashboard views for certain high value meetings and stakeholders, as well as our Data Innovation team working to take the data and find new ways to use it, including for predictive modeling and forecasting. 


In our humble opinion dashboards are a mission critical to any digital marketing efforts. Gathering data and having it organized in an easy to follow way that tells an accurate data story and helps you not only know how efforts are performing but also how they might go in the future can help elevate any business. Connect with us to learn more about dashboards!

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