By Jonno Weiss of You & Co

Month after month, we would be spending a few hours pulling together a digital marketing report to send to our clients or stakeholders.  Jumping between the likes of Google Analytics, Call Dynamics, and HubSpot, not to mention Facebook or AdWords, and the list didn’t stop there.  It would take almost a whole week just to get our reports out the door for all our clients.  Tedious, right?

It couldn’t go on like this. No matter the size of your team, spending all that time on reporting is not what anyone wants to be doing.  Of course the reports are vital – they give us the data we need to make recommendations, to shape our strategy for the coming months. They uncover areas we can improve, and from a business point of view, they support us when proving our worth to clients or those higher up the food chain.

We use automation every day in our marketing efforts, so why was this one so much more difficult to crack? The issue wasn’t so much finding the tools to pull the data we wanted.  It was presenting the data in a client friendly way.  

How did we solve it? By using an automated dashboard that updates in real time. Meaning both our clients and internal team can access the data whenever they want.  We went with Geckoboard, but there are a whole stack of similar tools. It just depends on what you’re after.  

So how do you decide? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when choosing the marketing dashboard for you.  


Which platforms do you need it to support?

It feels like every week we adopt a new platform to give us even greater insights. The biggest thing when selecting a dashboard is seeing which native integrations they already have. A key one is Google Analytics and Google Sheets, which can be used as a workaround for pretty much anything that doesn’t integrate with the dashboard.  For example, Call Dynamics has real time reporting that feeds straight into Analytics, so that lets you add it into your dashboard. Avoiding having to manually update data through something such as a CSV file is a big one to look out for.  The more simple it is to set up, the more you’ll enjoy using it.


Which metrics are most important for the business?

This would vary depending on what type of campaigns you run, as well as what sort of business you are. An eCommerce site for example would probably get straight to the point in reporting sales, checkout completion rates and all that dollar centric data.  For some, your social media results and amplification might be all you need to use it for. If you’re a bit unsure of what then take this as an opportunity to figure out the most useful data for your business. Don’t just think about the data you need to see, think about the data that stakeholders or clients would want, and more importantly, why they would benefit from seeing it.


Can I make it look pretty?

How is the data presented? Do you find it easy to read and analyse? I don’t just mean can you put some pretty colours in the background and some funky little animations (although that certainly is a bonus), but rather, everyone who is seeing should get what they need without feeling confused or overwhelmed. Personally, looking at a spreadsheet filled with 100×100 cells of data is not going to be the most effective way for me to be digesting data, and I’m certain I’m not alone.  Find a marketing analytics dashboard that presents data in a way you like to see it. If you’re willing to put the extra effort in, finding a dashboard that supports CSS goes a long way if you do want to make it branded and, dare I say it, pretty.

Having all our data in one place has made a massive difference for our team and clients.  Everyone can access the data whenever they want, and the it’s all updated in real time so there’s no need for anyone to spend hours pulling it together.  Build it once, then use all that extra time taking the data and turning it into new opportunities.  

This is a guest post by Jonno Weiss – a data-driven marketer for inbound specialists You & Co. They use Call Dynamics for all their clients as it enables them to get smarter with their conversion tracking and helps close the loop with their digital marketing efforts.