Like that cake you tried from Pinterest was only as good as your eye for measuring ingredients, marketing campaigns are only as good as their measurable results. And tracking those results in a timely manner is critical. But how do you create a dashboard to track success that’s highlighting what you want—and not what you don’t—and is easy to understand quickly? Just mix the right stats in the right context with the right design. Here’s a quick recipe:
Start with the right ingredients - choosing your data.
Consider the purpose of the dashboard to inform what metrics you’ll include. If the purpose is to show online sales of a product as it relates to marketing spend, then your dashboard should show statistics on the product side such as visitors to the page, number who completed a purchase, where non-purchasers dropped off, any relevant stats collected about your purchasers (gender, age, time of day of purchase, form of payment, etc.), and progress against goals. And for marketing efforts, sprinkle impressions, traffic sources and conversions by source on top.
Make it look delicious at a glance - design for non-marketers to “get it.”
The purpose of a dashboard is to distill multiple sources of information from spreadsheets and other sources into a single tracking hub. To make sense of it all requires a dashboard template that takes those numbers and presents them visually in graphics such as line, bar or pie charts—just like carefully plated food at restaurant makes a meal more appealing. Once a designer builds the template, anyone with access to the data sources can fill in the numbers to update the report.
Don’t feed meat to a vegetarian - put data in the right context.
Take the long view. Not only do you want those looking at the dashboard to see what happened within the defined timeframe—say, the past month—you want them to easily see how that month compares to the past month or the same month the year prior. It’s only when we show trends over time that the data has any context.
And don’t forget to define the terms you’re using. An appendix page can list out a glossary so that anyone who views the document is clear on the meaning. If you’re providing a measure of impressions, for example, explain exactly what that means so that a non-marketing executive can understand. Spell it out as the number of people exposed to the product or service through advertising, including online, TV, direct mail, etc.