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How to Set Up an Effective Marketing Analytics Dashboard in 4 Essential Steps

By Team Swydo
24 October 2023

A marketing analytics dashboard plays a vital role in client reporting. Besides providing actionable insights and data, it helps measure the impact of your campaigns, track KPIs, and make data-driven decisions. You can also use a marketing dashboard to share performance metrics with your clients  and explain your choices using hard-and-fast numbers.

To do that effectively, you should tailor each marketing analytics dashboard to a client’s specific goals. Share KPIs that resonate with them and provide actionable insights, so you’ll foster transparency, trust, and open communication. This approach allows you to maximize your impact on a client’s growth and success — not only because it helps you and your client stay on the same page, but also because a properly set up marketing dashboard makes it easy to identify optimization opportunities. Armed with a bird’s-eye-view, you can analyze data, spot areas for improvement, and adapt your strategy accordingly.

The Nuts And Bolts of a Digital Marketing Dashboard

On a digital marketing dashboard, you display key metrics that provide an overall picture of your marketing efforts. Depending on the client, you might want to share information about marketing campaigns, email marketing, or social media performance, among other things.

Before you dive into your client’s Google Analytics and other marketing data to create a(n) (web) analytics dashboard, it’s important to know the difference between a marketing KPI dashboard and a KPI report: a KPI dashboard provides a high-level overview of specific KPIs (ideally, 6 to 9) that are relevant to the client’s goals, while a KPI report explains what’s behind the numbers.

When reporting KPIs, you need both. Suppose you ran a Google Ads campaign, and the KPI dashboard displays 100 conversions. That’s great at-a-glance information, but how did those 100 customers convert? You can use the in-depth KPI report to show your client which campaigns and keywords generated the most leads, explaining how it all came together. (If you want to lay a solid foundation for KPI reports, read our blog post on what should be included in a KPI report.)

We won’t dive into the tech side of marketing analytics dashboards here, nor will we share marketing dashboard examples and marketing dashboard templates (be wary of the latter — there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter template you can download from the internet!). You will want to lay the groundwork first. So, let’s discuss how to set up a marketing performance dashboard that displays the right marketing data and context and helps you make data-driven decisions.

Lay the Groundwork: 4 Steps to Creating a Powerful Marketing Performance Dashboard

1. Set clear business and strategic goals

The best marketing dashboards provide insightful, relevant information that helps achieve your client’s objectives. So, it’s crucial to sit down with them and define their business and strategic goals. Based on these, you can determine your mix of marketing and branding activities, as well as the marketing channels and key performance indicators you’ll focus on.

2. Define your goals per channel

To create an effective digital marketing dashboard, you need to specify your goals. Consider the number of leads or sign ups you need per channel (PPC, SEO, social media, and email marketing). If you know what your marketing analytics should look like beforehand, you can create and optimize your action plan for each channel, include key marketing metrics in your dashboard, and determine whether your channels perform the way they should. This approach makes for actionable KPIs that will help you make decisions regarding next steps.

3. Make decisions based on SMART objectives

When setting goals, we recommend that you use a well known method called ‘the SMART formula.’ This means your goals should be specific (S), measurable (M), attainable (A), relevant (R), and timely (T).

Also, define your quantitative goals before considering your qualitative goals. It’s wise to add context to each goal so you’ll get actionable insights: if you know where you’re headed, you can identify what’s going well and which elements you need to improve.

Want to get in-depth information about creating a succinct, actionable business strategy? Read our blog post about goal setting for marketing.

4. Choose the right data visualization

Marketing dashboards contain lots of data (as they should). But the human brain isn’t great at processing rows of numbers and ratios. What to do? Well, two things tend to stick: visuals and stories. If you use data visualization to tell a comprehensible, engaging story to your client, it’s easier to keep them on board. How to go about it?

Choose a visualization method that helps convey the types of data you want to share. It’s important to take various aspects into account. For example, make sure your presentation of data isn’t visually misleading, use colors strategically (and include a legend to explain what each color represents), create clear pie charts (pies with 5 to 9 sections can be easily understood), and organize data in a coherent way.

Want to explore the options? Read our blog post ‘How to choose the most effective data visualization.’

Quick Tips for Setting Up Impactful Marketing Dashboards

  • List marketing data in order of significance. The most essential data should always be at the top of the dashboard.
  • Limit the data visualizations on your marketing performance dashboard. Pick 6 to 9 KPIs that matter to the client’s goals.
  • Once your marketing dashboard is up and running, don’t sit back and relax. It evolves as your marketing evolves. So, use it to continuously improve your client’s campaigns.

Need a Practical Tool to Set Up Your Marketing Analytics Dashboard?

Swydo is an easy to use, scalable, and dynamic marketing reporting tool. Curious to see what Swydo can do for you? Request a demo and create your free marketing report in minutes. Or, sign up for a free trial to explore more options.