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Digital Dashboard 101 - How Businesses Leverage It & How You Can Maximize Digital Dashboards

Do you feel like you're always playing catch-up when it comes to your business? You're not alone. It can be tough to track all of your progress and figure out where you need to make changes. Lucky for you, there's a solution: digital dashboards.

A digital dashboard is a tool that helps you visualize your business data in real-time. By tracking your progress over time, you can see which areas need improvement and which ones are doing well.

But if you try to build a digital dashboard without an overarching framework, you'll likely end up with a mess of disconnected data sets and no clear way to improve your business.

In this article, we'll explain what digital dashboards are, why they're important, and how they can help improve your business. We'll also give you a proven framework that, if followed correctly, virtually guarantees results!

This article covers:

  • What digital dashboards are;
  • How businesses benefit from them;
  • The 'Measure to Optimize' Flywheel;
  • Tips on how to make an effective digital dashboard;
  • Example of a 'good' and 'bad' digital dashboard.

Deciding on the right metrics to track? Use our 12 best marketing dashboard examples and templates as a starting point.

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What Is A Digital Dashboard?

A digital dashboard is a visual representation of your business data. It allows you to track your progress and identify areas that need improvement.

Digital dashboards are useful because they provide a clear overview of your business at a glance. This makes it easy to identify patterns and trends over time.

A digital dashboard can be anything from a simple Excel spreadsheet to a complex data visualization tool. The important thing is that it helps you track your progress and make informed decisions about your business.

While digital dashboards can be used to track any type of data, they are particularly well-suited for tracking digital marketing metrics, such as website traffic and conversion rates.

As businesses increasingly rely on digital channels to reach their customers, digital dashboards will become an essential tool for managing and optimizing digital marketing campaigns.

But, many marketing teams think a dashboard is simply about throwing a bunch of charts and graphs onto a screen. This random collection of data is known as "dashboard sprawl" and it's a surefire recipe for disaster.

The key to creating an effective digital dashboard is to follow a repeatable framework. We'll share a simple framework later in this article but first.

How Businesses Benefit From Digital Dashboards

There are many benefits of using digital dashboards for businesses. Some of the most notable benefits are improved communication, better decision-making, and increased efficiency.

1. Quick and easy access to key performance indicators (KPIs)

There are many reasons why businesses need quick access to KPIs all the time. One of the most important reasons is so that they can make timely and informed decisions.

If businesses are waiting until the end of the month to review their performance, it may be too late to take corrective action.

By having real-time access to data, businesses can identify and address issues as they arise. This helps them stay competitive and improve their bottom line.

2. Improved decision-making due to real-time data

Better decision-making is another key benefit of digital dashboards. By tracking key performance indicators, decision-makers can more easily see how their company is performing in real time. This allows them to make quicker and more informed decisions.

3. Easier sharing of data between departments and stakeholders

Digital dashboards improve communication because they make it easier to share data across departments and with other stakeholders. This allows everyone involved in the business to have a clear understanding of how the company is performing.

4. Improved business performance overall

Finally, digital dashboards increase efficiency by providing an overview of all the moving parts within a company. This helps businesses run more smoothly and prevents any one department from becoming overwhelmed.

Maximize Data Report With The 'Measure to Optimize' Flywheel

The 'Measure to Optimize' Flywheel helping maximize ROI

For you to leverage data in taking your business performance to the next level, you need a strategy. And one way to do this is to use what is called the 'measure to optimize' flywheel.

The 'measure to optimize' flywheel includes five simple steps:

  • Setting measurable goals
  • Measuring
  • Reporting
  • Extracting insights from analytics
  • Optimizing

1. Set Measurable Goals

There are a few reasons why it's important to set measurable goals before designing a digital dashboard.

First, having measurable goals helps ensure that the data being tracked is relevant to the business. Secondly, measuring progress against goals helps businesses make better decisions.

Finally, tracking progress against goals allows businesses to measure the effectiveness of their digital marketing campaigns.

What are goals and KPIs, and why should they be set before building a digital dashboard

Goals and KPIs are essential for any business, but they become even more important when you're building a digital dashboard. Goals give you something to strive for, and KPIs help you measure your progress toward those goals.

Without goals and KPIs, it's difficult to know whether or not your digital dashboard is successful.

Setting measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential for any business that wants to succeed. By setting specific, achievable goals, businesses can stay on track and make sure that they are making progress toward their overall objectives.

KPIs help to measure progress and identify areas of improvement.

Without KPIs, it would be difficult to know whether a business is meeting its goals or not. Additionally, setting goals and KPIs gives employees something to strive for and helps to keep everyone on the same page.

When everyone is working towards the same objectives, it can help to improve team morale and increase productivity. In short, setting measurable goals and KPIs is essential for any business that wants to achieve long-term success.

There are two main types of goals: operational goals and strategic goals. Operational goals are specific, measurable, and attainable targets that you set in order to improve your day-to-day operations.

Strategic goals are broader in scope and usually take longer to achieve. They're designed to help you reach your long-term objectives.

The difference between operational and strategic marketing goals

KPIs, or key performance indicators, are metrics that you use to track your progress toward your goals. They can be financial KPIs, such as revenue or profit margins, or non-financial KPIs, such as customer satisfaction or website traffic.

Choosing the right KPIs is essential for measuring your success and making sure that your digital dashboard is on track.

When setting goals and KPIs, it's important to involve all members of your team. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives. Once you've established your goals and KPIs, you can start building your digital dashboard.

By keeping these factors in mind from the start, you'll be well on your way to creating a successful dashboard that meets all of your business needs.

How to set effective goals and KPIs for your business

Setting goals and KPIs is an essential part of running a successful business. Not only do they give you a sense of direction, but they also help to measure progress and keep everyone on track.

However, setting effective goals and KPIs can be tricky. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Define your business objectives. What do you want to achieve? What are your long-term goals? Once you have a clear idea of your desired outcomes, you can start setting specific goals and KPIs.

2. Make sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This will help to ensure that your goals are realistic and attainable.

3. Communicate your goals and KPIs to all members of your team. Everyone should be aware of what needs to be done and how their individual efforts contribute to the overall success of the business.

4. Review and adjust your goals and KPIs on a regular basis. As your business grows and changes, so should your goals and KPIs. By periodically reassessing your objectives, you can ensure that they remain relevant and achievable.

By following these tips, you can set effective goals and KPIs that will help to take your business to the next level.

Common Goals & KPIs That Can Be Tracked On Digital Dashboards

For any organization, large or small, goal setting is a critical part of the planning process. Without goals, it is difficult to measure progress and determine whether or not you are on track to meet your objectives.

However, goals alone are not enough - you also need to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you track your progress. Fortunately, there are a variety of software applications that can help you do just that.

These applications, known as digital dashboards, can be customized to track whatever goals and KPIs you deem important. Common examples include financial metrics such as revenue and profit, operational metrics such as production levels and customer satisfaction, and even HR metrics such as employee retention and engagement.

By tracking these goals and KPIs on a digital dashboard, you can get a real-time view of your organization's performance and make course corrections as needed.

Interview Stakeholders and Use Their Insights to Create Effective Digital Dashboards

In any project, it is important to understand the needs and goals of all the stakeholders involved. One way to gather this information is through interviews.

By sitting down with each stakeholder and asking questions, you can get a clear sense of their individual concerns and how they fit into the larger picture. This information can then be used to make decisions that are in line with the project goals. Additionally, interviewing key stakeholders helps to build relationships and gain trust.

When stakeholders feel like they have been listened to and their input is valued, they are more likely to be supportive of the final product. Ultimately, taking the time to interview key stakeholders is an essential step in ensuring a successful project.

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In order to create an effective digital dashboard, you will need to analyze the data that you have gathered from your interviews. This data will allow you to identify patterns and trends. You will then be able to use these patterns and trends to create charts and graphs that will be displayed on your dashboard.

The goal is to make your dashboard easy to understand and use. By clearly displaying the information that you have gathered, you will be able to help your team make better decisions.

Why It's Important to Have Lagging and Leading KPIs

The difference between lagging and leading KPIs

It's important to have both leading and lagging KPIs on your digital dashboard.

Leading KPIs are indicators that show how the business is performing in the short term. They help businesses track their progress toward their goals. Lagging KPIs, on the other hand, show how the business has performed in the past. They're used to measure success over a longer period of time.

By tracking both leading and lagging KPIs, businesses can get a more complete picture of their performance. This allows them to make better decisions based on current trends and historical data.

Another benefit of leading KPIs is that we can more directly impact them.

For example, if our goal is to increase sales by 10% in the next quarter, we can track a leading KPI like website traffic to see if our marketing efforts are working. If website traffic is increasing, sales will likely increase as well.

Lagging KPIs are important because they provide context for leading KPIs.

For example, if we see that website traffic is increasing but sales are not, we can investigate further to see what the problem might be. Maybe our website isn't converting visitors into customers. Or perhaps our prices are too high.

Lagging KPIs help us understand these types of problems so that we can take action to fix them.

Measure

It is essential to measure your KPIs together with your set goals because you need to be able to track your progress and make sure you are on track to reach your goals. If your KPIs are not aligned with your goals, then you won't be able to tell if you are making progress or not.

There are a few different ways to measure your KPIs. The most common way is to use data from Google Analytics. However, you can also use other tools such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups.

Once you have collected your data, it is essential to organize it. This leads us to the next step, the step where digital dashboards are actually used.

Common KPIs to Measure

There are a variety of ways to measure KPIs, but some methods are more efficient than others. When it comes to digital dashboards, there are three main types of metrics that can be used: engagement, traffic, and conversions.

Engagement metrics track how users interact with your website or app. This includes things like pageviews, time on site, bounce rate, and social shares.

Traffic metrics track the number of visitors to your site or app. This includes data like unique visitors, page views, and referrals.

Conversion metrics track how many people take the desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase.

You can avoid any misunderstanding by preparing a strategic plan that includes the right metrics next to the KPIs you want to track.

Doing this will make it simpler to streamline reporting and make it easier for any stakeholder to gain insights into how well your marketing and advertising campaigns are performing.

Report

Businesses need to report their findings in order to make informed decisions. By compiling data and analyzing it, businesses can identify patterns and trends which will help them improve their operations.

Reports also help businesses track their progress and measure their success. In short, reports are an essential tool for any business.

Here are some key factors to consider when creating a data report:

  • The clarity and accuracy of the data presented
  • The inclusion of relevant context and explanation
  • The ease of navigation and use

With these in mind, it'll help to remember that digital dashboards are at their utmost effectiveness when they're simple, use reinforcing visuals, easy to follow, and are digestible or SUED.

What is SUED?

Simple

Digital dashboards need to be simple because people are overloaded with information as it is. If digital dashboards are too complex, people will not use them and they will not provide the desired results.

Complex digital dashboards will only further overload people and contribute to the already large amount of noise in the world.

Uses reinforcing visuals

Good visuals should reinforce the main points of the report without drawing too much attention away from the data itself. They should be direct and easy to understand, and they should highlight the most important information in order to help people make quick decisions.

Easy to follow

A digital dashboard should be designed in such a way that it is easy to follow. The layout should be simple and the colors should be clear and distinct. The most important information should be at the top so that it can be seen at a glance. And the fonts should be large enough to read easily.

Digestible

One of the challenges that data reporters face is making their reports digestible to the average reader. This can be done by ensuring that all of the data is summarized in a way that is easy to understand, and by using charts and graphs to illustrate the data points.

It's also important to avoid using too much technical jargon, which can often alienate readers.

How Effective and Poor Quality Digital Dashboards Look

But what do effective digital dashboards look like in comparison to poor-quality ones? For us to have a better vision, let's take a look at a few samples that show how bad data reports differ from ones that are made effectively.

Let's take a look at the dashboard below.

An example of bad dashboard design
Image Source: Sisense

At first glance, there seems to be nothing wrong with the report. It has a variety of visuals used and it contains a lot of data. But if you look closer, you'll notice that it's difficult to scan. This is because of (1) the colors used in the visuals and (2) how compressed most of the numbers are in the report—making it illegible.

Example of good marketing data visualization
Image Source: Improvado.io

Now let's examine this dashboard above. When you look at the dashboard, we see that just like the first example we used before, it also uses a white background. The difference is on the set of colors used that help focus the reader's attention to the numbers. Hence it's easy to scan.

But aside from the colors, (1) the manner of how the data was presented also helps make the information digestible to the reader. The (2) numbers in the graph were also given enough space so as not to create a visual clutter. Lastly, (3) the use of visual elements are not excessive and aren't distracting.

Extract Insights

When you have analytics, it's important to look at what happened and figure out what you can learn from it. This will help you make decisions in the future based on what you now know. Otherwise, you're just making decisions based on guesses, and that's not a very good way to run a business.

There are a few different ways to look at your analytics and extract insights from them. One way is to look at the raw data and try to find patterns yourself. This can be difficult, especially if you're not used to looking at data.

Another way is to use data visualization tools to help you see the patterns more easily. Lastly, is to use data mining algorithms to automatically find patterns for you.

Whichever method you choose, the important thing is that you actually do it. Don't just look at your analytics; study them and learn from them. Only then will they be truly useful to you.

Optimize

Now that you have set goals, measured your progress, and extracted insights from your data, it's time to optimize your business. This is where you use what you've learned to make changes that will improve your business performance.

Businesses can optimize their efforts by using analytics to help them understand what is and isn’t working. Analytics can help businesses track customer behavior, understand what products or services are most popular, and identify areas where they could make improvements.

In addition, businesses can use analytics to determine the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and measure the return on investment for their advertising dollars.

Final Thoughts

Digital dashboards are visual tools that help businesses track, monitor, and analyze their most important performance indicators in one place. By understanding how digital dashboards work and following the steps to maximize their potential, you can use them to make more informed decisions about your business. And when it comes time to creating effective data reports, keep the SUED acronym in mind.

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