Reporting is painful without the right tools. Learn how to unlock insights, track performance, and make data-driven decisions with dashboard reporting.
We've come a long way from writing on stone tablets; however, some reporting methods haven't pushed the needle (or chisel) much farther than that.
In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about dashboard reporting, including the differences between it and static reporting, the 4 main dashboards you need for your business, and 8 rules you need to follow when creating them.
We'll also cover how to choose from all the dashboard reporting tools out there, how to create your own report, and how Madgicx makes this entire process easier.
We've got a lot to cover, so let's dive in and learn to take your reporting out of the stone age and into 2023.
What is dashboard reporting?
Dashboard reporting is a term that refers to analyzing various metrics and data with specialized reporting tools, known as dashboards. Dashboard reports are visual representations of the performance of whatever you're tracking: be it Facebook ad metrics, marketing channel performance, sales data, etc.
The dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of key performance indicators (KPIs) and allows you to track all the necessary information in one place.
What is the purpose of a dashboard?
Dashboard reporting is all about giving you a neat and organized look at the important stuff (KPIs and metrics) for whatever you're working on.
It's there to help you make smart choices, spot trends, and keep an eye on how things are going overall. In our case, we'll be focused on the marketing side of dashboard reporting, which will have to do with the performance of your marketing channels.
Benefits of dashboard reporting
Most of us know how vital reporting is, but it's always worth reiterating exactly why dashboard reporting specifically is beneficial for your organization.
- Make complex data easy. Dashboards take all those confusing numbers and turn them into simple visuals, like graphs and charts, so you can get what's going on without a headache.
- Keeps you in the loop. With dashboard reporting, you get updates in real-time or close to it, so you always know what's happening with your projects and can spot any problems fast.
- Show you the trends. By looking at data over time, you can find trends or patterns that might affect your plans or goals. Some dashboards even have the ability to generate summaries from these graphs for you.
- Help you stay on track. Dashboards let you see how your activities are doing compared to your targets so you know if you're on the right path to reaching your goals.
- Make it personal. You can customize your dashboard to show the most important info to you or your role, ensuring everyone has the details they need.
With all this info right in front of you, it's way easier to decide what to do with your resources, change up your plans, or fix any issues that may arise.
Dashboard reporting or static reporting?
You might be wondering what the difference is between a plain static report and dashboard reporting.
While the goal is the same for both options, you'll find there's a drastic difference in how they approach the problem.
Dashboard reporting is like an interactive playground for data. It's a live, customizable view of your data that lets you play with filters, zoom in on details, and see real-time updates. It's like having a digital control center for your info, where you can easily explore and understand what's happening.
On the other hand, static reporting is like a snapshot of your data at a specific moment in time. It's a simple, straightforward report, usually with tables, charts, or text. There's no interaction or live updates - you just get the data as it was when the report was created.
So, dashboard reporting is all about interactivity, customization, and real-time insights, while static reporting gives you a fixed, unchanging view of your data.
What is real-time dashboard reporting?
Real-time dashboard reporting is like having a sidekick who's constantly keeping an eye on your data and telling you what's happening right now.
It's an interactive way to view your data that gets updated as new info rolls in, so you're always in the loop with the freshest insights.
With real-time dashboards, you can play around with filters, focus on specific details, and see how things change over time. It's perfect for keeping tabs on fast-moving stuff, like sales data, Facebook ads metrics, or website traffic.
Types of dashboards
While you may think that having one giant dashboard with absolutely every metric under the sun would be helpful, having too many things going on at once can be overwhelming.
All in all, there are 4 main types of dashboards that you should have when running your internal data analysis: analytical, strategic, operational, and tactical.
An analytical marketing dashboard focuses on providing insights into historical data and trends, helping marketers understand the performance of their campaigns and make informed decisions for future strategies.
What should an analytical dashboard report include?
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
- Conversion Rate
- Website Bounce Rate
- Organic vs. Paid Traffic
A strategic marketing dashboard provides a high-level overview of the performance of long-term marketing strategies and goals. It helps stakeholders evaluate the overall effectiveness of marketing efforts and align their actions with broader business objectives.
What should a strategic dashboard report include?
- Market Share
- Brand Awareness
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
- Customer Retention Rate
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Revenue Growth Rate
An operational dashboard focuses on the day-to-day execution of marketing activities, providing insights into the efficiency and productivity of marketing teams and processes.
What should an operational dashboard report include?
- Number of sales
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
- Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate
- Task Completion Rate
- Project On-time Delivery
- Marketing Team Utilization
A tactical marketing dashboard is designed to help marketers monitor the effectiveness of specific marketing tactics and channels. It allows them to fine-tune their strategies in real-time, ensuring optimal results and efficient resource allocation.
What should a tactical dashboard report include?
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Cost per Click (CPC)
- Email Open Rate
- Email Click Rate
- Social Media Engagement Rate
- Landing Page Conversion Rate
Best practices for dashboard management
I'm sure you're ready to exit this page and get lost in the ocean of possibilities.
However, before you do that, make sure to grab a life preserver (aka this list of best practices) to ensure you don’t end up lost at sea.
- Define clear objectives: Start by establishing the goals of your marketing dashboard using the 4 types we listed above. Identify the key questions it should answer and the insights it should provide to support decision-making and strategy adjustments.
- Choose relevant KPIs. Select the most appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your marketing objectives. Focus on the metrics that truly matter and provide actionable insights for your team.
- Prioritize simplicity and clarity: Create a clean and straightforward dashboard layout that is easy to read and understand. Avoid cluttering the dashboard with too many metrics or visuals, as this may lead to confusion and hinder decision-making.
- Use effective data visualizations: Choose the right types of charts, graphs, or tables to communicate your data clearly. Ensure that visualizations are easy to interpret and clearly represent the underlying metrics.
- Customize for your audience. Tailor your dashboard to meet the needs of different users or stakeholders. This may involve creating separate views or sections focusing on specific marketing performance aspects relevant to their roles.
- Monitor data quality. Ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data displayed on your dashboard. Implement data validation and cleaning processes to minimize errors and maintain data integrity.
- Encourage user adoption: Train your team members and stakeholders on how to use and interpret the marketing dashboard effectively. Provide support and resources to help them become comfortable with the tool and incorporate it into their daily workflows.
How do you create a reporting dashboard?
Now the question we've all been waiting for: how do you go about actually creating a reporting dashboard?
There are a few steps to building the perfect report for your business.
- Collect the data you'll need for your dashboard. Different parts of the organization will likely need a completely different set of data, with some overlap, of course. Make sure to contact all your stakeholders and create a list of all the KPIs you need to track before you move on.
- Find the right marketing analytics tool for your needs. After you know what you need to track, you can then find the right tool that will do what you need. Aside from having the KPIs, it should also integrate natively with your current tech stack (CRM, point of sale system, ad platforms, etc.).
- Create, refine, and iterate. Chances are the very first dashboard you create will need to be tweaked. Make sure to check your marketing dashboard every now and then to make sure it's actually helping your org and not becoming another chore. Chat with your team and see what they think, and tweak KPIs or the design to improve it for everyone.
Dashboard reporting examples
What would a good how-to guide be without examples? For this next part, we’ll showcase some real-time dashboard examples from the Madgicx One-Click Report. With this tool, you can easily view data from Facebook, Shopify, and Google all in one place.
Each dashboard you’ll see comes ready to use and can easily be edited by dragging or dropping the metrics you need directly into the dashboard—no technical coding expertise needed!
The best part? You can get all the reports featured here (and more) starting at $29/month.
Now that you know what tool is best to use, it’s time to take a look at the dashboard reports experts use to track their performance 😉
Changing Metrics Over Time
The hardest part of cross-departmental reporting is making sure that everyone is on the same page—that’s where our first report comes in handy.
The goal of the Changing Metrics Over Time report is to gather the data for every stakeholder (media buyer, account manager, client, eCommerce store manager, marketing manager, etc.) into one place.
By having one single source of truth for all these roles, you can sit down together and make data-driven decisions about your marketing efforts.
Monthly Facebook Ad Report
Next up is the Monthly Facebook Ad Report dashboard. Here, we’re going to dive deep into every component of our Facebook ad data—from basic metrics like click-through rate and impressions to more advanced ones like ROAS and ROI.
This report is also useful for clients and stakeholders alike. This dashboard report would belong more to the tactical end of the spectrum we listed above.
Last (but certainly not least) is the Business Dashboard. The name of the Business Dashboard is true to its goal—This dashboard report evaluates the financial performance of your business by analyzing the effectiveness of your advertising expenses across Facebook and Google, revealing your real sales and expenses from Shopify, and ultimately determining your net profit.
While this report is a bit more complicated than the others, it covers some incredibly important metrics that even Facebook and Google don’t actively report without custom metric creation from the user.
- MER, or Marketing Efficiency Ratio, is a simple way to see how well your advertising is doing as a whole. It’s calculated as total sales from all campaigns divided by total cost. Higher MER means your ads are working better, and lower means you might want to rethink your strategy.
- Blended ROAS: While similar to MER, blended ROAS focuses on your campaign performance. It’s calculated as total campaign revenue divided by total campaign spend.
- Landed Costs: Landed costs are all the expenses you need to pay to get your products from your supplier to your warehouse or store. These costs include things like shipping fees, taxes, customs duties, and any other charges you might face when importing goods.
- Blended customer acquisition cost: This is the average cost of getting customers when you combine all your marketing efforts. It helps you understand how much you're spending to get people to buy from you.
- Blended new customer acquisition cost: Similar to the blended customer acquisition cost, this focuses specifically on the cost of acquiring new customers through your ads. It helps you figure out if you're spending your marketing budget effectively to attract new buyers.
- Average revenue per customer: This is the average amount of money each customer brings in. You can calculate it by dividing your total revenue by the number of customers. It's a useful number to know because it helps you see if you're making enough money from each customer to cover your costs and make a profit.
So there you have it, folks! We've taken a deep dive into the world of dashboard reporting, and it's clear to see why it's such a game-changer for businesses.
By keeping track of all your important metrics and KPIs in one centralized place, you'll have a clearer picture of your marketing efforts' success. This allows you to make data-driven decisions, optimize your campaigns, and ultimately boost your bottom line.
Remember, a well-designed dashboard is like having a trusty sidekick on your marketing journey, helping you navigate the twists and turns with ease. If you’re looking for the best place to get all the data you need at your fingertips, check out Madgicx’s dashboard during your 7-day free trial.
Track all your crucial KPIs in real time without spending hours compiling data. Madgicx's One-Click Report has dozens of report templates you can use to visualize your performance across channels (Meta, Google, TikTok, and Shopify) and make smarter business decisions infinitely faster.
Tory is a digital marketing specialist and the current Marketing Manager of Breadcrumbs.io. She's been featured in various high-profile marketing blogs like Hootsuite, AdEspresso, and Databox and holds certificates for both Google and Facebook Ads. In her spare time, she gardens and paints from her house in the Florida panhandle.