Jeff Keleher

Marketing teams have a lot of moving pieces to keep track of, with different channels, campaigns, audiences and key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor.

How can your average marketer hope to stay on top of it all?

That’s where marketing dashboards come into play. These platforms provide real-time analytics and insights into your marketing activities, so you can get a complete view of your marketing performance and recognize where changes need to be made.

What is a marketing dashboard?

Think of a marketing dashboard as your command center for tracking the performance of your different marketing campaigns and strategies. These platforms provide an overview of the KPIs and marketing metrics attached to various marketing activities.

Marketing dashboards offer visual representations of key marketing metrics and give marketers — and more importantly, their managers — a quick overview of the status of your marketing campaigns. Marketing analytics and KPIs can cover a lot of ground, from tracking marketing spend across different regions to monitoring conversion rates and sales revenue.

Source: Datorama

In many cases, you’ll likely find that you need a dedicated marketing dashboard for specific aspects of your marketing strategy including: search engine optimization (SEO), social media, email marketing, etc.

Generalized digital marketing dashboards offer a high-level view of your marketing efforts, which is useful in and of itself, but they may not drill down as far into each pillar of your marketing campaign as a more specialized solution will.

The good news is many leading marketing tools, like Google Analytics and Salesforce, allow you to build your own marketing dashboards for different uses. You just need to know how to use the available customization options to create the best dashboard for a particular application.

Why are marketing dashboards important?

Every marketer feels the pressure to deliver results, whether success measured in conversion rates, engagement metrics or good old-fashioned sales revenue. Analytics dashboards give marketing teams the insights they need to demonstrate ROI to their key decision-makers.

Want to show company leaders your marketing efforts are paying off? The visual charts and diagrams included in these platforms are a great way to show off your marketing wins.

But let’s say the prognosis isn’t so good, and your marketing efforts are failing to hit your quarterly goals. Embedded analytics tools allow you to better understand why your strategies aren’t performing at a high level and where they’re failing to connect with your target audience and customer base.

It’s impossible to right the ship if you don’t know why you’ve gone off course in the first place. Marketing dashboards provide the insights and analysis to point you back in the right direction.

Real-time analytics are important, providing marketing teams with performance updates regularly. You can respond dynamically to shifting audience, market or industry trends to continually keep your marketing strategies on point.

All in all, these dashboards are a great way to condense your marketing analytics and data into a visually appealing format that’s easily digestible for marketing executives and other important stakeholders and decision-makers.

What types of marketing dashboards should be used?

As we noted, there are tons of different marketing dashboards to choose from, and many of these platforms focus on specific components to your marketing strategy.

Whatever type of campaign you’re running, there’s a marketing dashboard out there that will give you more insight into those marketing activities.

Here are some of the most important options to consider:

1. SEO marketing dashboard

Every marketer wants to see their site ranking at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for their most highly coveted keywords. And with the top 3 positions accounting for 75% of all Google search clicks, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of SEO tools to move your way up those SERPs and grab that precious real estate.

SEO is a complicated mix of on-page, off-page and technical factors that directly impact your site’s search ranking — and, by extension, your ability to attract more organic traffic. It’s a lot of ground to cover, and often the KPIs you need to track can range from basic website traffic to competitor keyword search performance.

Every marketing team needs a dedicated dashboard to monitor their SEO campaign performance so stakeholders can swiftly adjust strategies that aren’t working and continually refine and improve their marketing efforts.

What platform should you use for your SEO marketing performance dashboard needs?

Google Analytics is an obvious choice:

  • It’s free.
  • It’s customizable.
  • It’s easy to integrate with other platforms.
  • It’s user-friendly.
  • It’s supported by Google itself.
  • It’s the industry standard.

Really, it would be strange if a digital marketing team wasn’t using Google Analytics in some capacity to measure and better understand website performance. Of course, even if you’re already using Google Analytics, there are always ways to get more out of the platform.

There are plenty of marketing teams that use Google Analytics to capture SEO and site performance from a high level, but never really dig deeper into more granular metrics and trends. Take advantage of the platform’s custom reporting capabilities to track high-value commercial landing pages, monitor specific ad or email campaigns, break down website conversions by audience type and much more.

Using the collection of built-in widgets and dashboard templates, you can tailor your analytics dashboard to zero in on the marketing KPIs that matter most to you.

This example, courtesy of Moz, highlights a custom dashboard built to track conversions from month to month. It’s easy for marketing executives to spot important trends like spikes in conversion rates without having to wade through a bunch of statistical data.

Source: Moz

2. Email marketing dashboard

Email is one of the most important marketing channels, providing an average return on investment of $42 for every $1 spent. To see that kind of ROI — or, ideally, surpass industry averages — businesses need to closely monitor every aspect of their email marketing campaigns and make adjustments whenever necessary.

Even the slightest misstep — a generic subject line, for instance — can turn away an email newsletter subscriber and lose a potential sales lead, so brands need to carefully analyze their email marketing campaigns to understand which strategies are working.

Major email marketing metrics to track include:

  • Open rate.
  • Click-through rate.
  • Conversion rate.
  • Bounce rate.
  • Unsubscribe rate.
  • Email sharing or forwarding rate.
  • Email list growth rate.
  • Overall ROI.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s also a good idea to segment mobile metrics from other formats to account for user experience and interface factors that might affect email marketing performance.

A good email marketing dashboard brings all of that data together and packages it in a way that’s easy to understand and digest. More importantly, it should allow marketing teams to slice and dice data so they can focus on the marketing KPIs that matter most to them.

For instance, if you’re running an email campaign as part of a broader content marketing strategy, you could track which types of content resonate the most with your audience.

Google Analytics has plenty of widgets, marketing dashboard templates and customization tools to help you drill into specific performance metrics. Here’s an example, showing the number of sessions produced by different landing pages and pieces of content attached in email newsletters:

Source: Campaign Monitor

With that kind of versatility, Google Analytics can function as both an email marketing and content marketing dashboard, along with its many other applications.

3. Social media marketing dashboard

Maintaining a strong social media presence is important for B2B and B2C companies alike. If you can’t see how your brand’s performing across different social media platforms, you may not be building the level of engagement you think you are. Given how quickly things move in the social media world, brands need to stay on top of their social media analytics 24/7.

A dedicated social media marketing dashboard can help monitor trends and developments in real time and provide actionable insights that can be immediately applied to your strategy.

This intelligence can empower you to be more responsive, switch your social media approach on the fly and keep evolving along with your target audience. Social media marketing dashboards give you the information needed to make it all happen.

Marketing teams can find all the relevant social media marketing metrics they’re looking for in one easy to understand interface.

You can track key performance indicators like:

  • Followers.
  • Likes.
  • Reach.
  • Impressions.
  • Average engagement rate.
  • Audience growth rate.
  • Top ranking posts.
  • Social share of voice.

There are plenty of good options to choose from — once again, Google Analytics has tools to help visualize social media analytics — but one of the best dedicated platforms out there is Sprout Social. You can break down your social media marketing metrics by channel and segment different KPIs to capture a better view of your brand’s performance.

Source: Sprout Social

With so many customization options to explore, marketers can monitor their social media presence from any vantage point they like, whether it’s a high-level overview or an in-depth analysis of a particular segment of your audience and followers.

Data needs to guide every marketing decision you make, but for anyone who doesn’t have a degree in statistics, wading through all of that information to find actionable insights can seem insurmountable. Digital marketing dashboards use intuitive visual aids to simplify and analytics displays that bring the most relevant and useful marketing data to the surface. If you can make the most out of these platforms, you’ll never have to resort to guesswork when managing your marketing campaigns.