How to Build an Effective Marketing Dashboard: Tips and Best Practices
Executives in the digital age demand more from their marketing dashboard. But we believe you aren’t demanding enough.
A 30-second marketing dashboard should be the standard. That means in less than 30-seconds you know:
- What’s working.
- What’s broken.
- What needs your attention today.
- Some forecast of future performance.
A 30-second dashboard displays key metrics on your marketing strategy so clearly that it’s the only way you’ll begin your day. Avoid vanity metrics and focus on actionable key performance indicators.
Most importantly, we want to end the practice of using Excel spreadsheets as a replacement for a well designed marketing dashboard. Excel still has its place. But if you need to create a report more than twice, it should implemented into a real-time marketing dashboard.
In this post, we’ll show you some of the best marketing dashboard examples and templates that we use to gain quick actionable insights. We believe the most effective dashboards communicate maximum information with minimum content. We call those 30-second dashboards.
#1: The Pipeline Report Marketing Dashboard
The Pipeline Report is the centerpiece of every dashboard. It gives a quick and simple overview of the entire customer journey. This is broader than a deal pipeline or opportunity pipeline. Many businesses will have more than one pipeline. But they should have less than five.
The Pipeline Report tracks key metrics from first-touch to money in the bank. It should be broken into milestones and each milestone owner should be clearly identified. This gives a wholistic perspective on the path to revenue which includes more than just the marketing metrics.
CMO Marketing Dashboard Template
A marketing dashboard is an essential tool for Chief Marketing Officers. It allows them to track the performance of marketing campaigns and strategies. Then CMOs can optimize their marketing efforts to better align with their marketing strategy and marketing campaigns.
If you have to request a report, you’ve already failed. You should have real-time marketing dashboards that instantly deliver the marketing data you need to make decisions. Marketing executives shouldn’t be in the weeds.
So, focus on 30-second marketing dashboards. This gives you quick daily snapshot to gain insights that drive actions.
Email Marketing Dashboard
Email remains one of the most important cornerstones of marketing. Your email marketing dashboard should give you a 30-second snapshot essential marketing data that tells you what’s working, what’s broken, and what needs your attention.
The most important metrics that should be tracked on your email marketing dashboard include deliverability rate, open rate, click-through-rate, unsubscribes rate, and conversion rate. Tracking these marketing metrics gives you the needed insights to drive your marketing efforts.
Your marketing team has valuable customer feedback every time you send an email. You get a measurement of what is resonating with your customers and what is not. Then you can fine-tune your message by tracking your email campaign performance.
Unfortunately, we haven’t found a great dashboard to track our email campaigns. The dashboard templates we’ve seen pull you down into the weeds and fail to give a high-level view.
The closest we’ve found is in HubSpot’s email analysis tool. It’s a great high-level report, but it can’t be embedded into any of HubSpot’s marketing dashboards. In a quick glance, you can identify emails that are out-performing and those that are under-performing. This helps you refine your email campaigns.
Web Analytics Dashboard
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) holds more promise than many want to admit. Yes, in many ways it’s not ready for prime time. Universal Analytics has more useful reports than GA4. And let’s be honest… very few people want to log into any version of Google Analytics. So, stop making your marketing teams log into Google to see your marketing analytics.
We display our web analytics data inside HubSpot dashboards. Correct, HubSpot doesn’t display Google Analytics data. But HubSpot does allow you to embed Databox dashboards inside HubSpot dashboards so you can track your key marketing metrics in a single location.
Stop endlessly searching for answers in the Google Analytics dashboard. Start using Databox to display critical data. Go beyond website traffic and focus on your marketing objectives. Examples include performance of different marketing channels, digital advertising and ad spend, top landing pages, etc. Here’s an example of one of our favorite reports.
This is one of our standard marketing dashboard templates that we copy to client accounts. It tells us:
- How many users (not sessions) are seeing the content.
- How many users (not sessions) are engaging with the content.
- How many users (not sessions) are converting on the page.
- The conversions and user conversion rate by traffic source.
- Internal referring pages.
This marketing dashboard is based exclusively on data from Google Analytics 4. It’s more helpful than any report I see in GA4. It’s quicker to access and consume than GA4. It’s just better. But there’s a hitch.
Google Analytics 4 doesn’t willingly surrender these marketing metrics. You must first configure GA4. To do that, you start with a marketing strategy. We outline that in our article titled HubSpot & Google Analytics 4 (GA4): How to Integrate the Power of Both Analytics Tools for Marketers.
This allows you to leverage the best of two marketing platforms by using a marketing dashboard tool to display all your data in one location. This also allows your marketing teams to see all strategic marketing data in a single spot… and in real time.
Best Marketing Dashboard Software
It’s unlikely you’ll find everything you want in a single marketing platform. But as mentioned above, you want all of your marketing data displayed in a single location. It should be your unified source of truth.
Google offers Looker Studio for your analytics marketing dashboards. Yes, “Looker Studio” sounds creepy. It used to be called Data Studio. And in classic Google behavior, they’ll probably rename it again in a year or two.
The key is it’s one of the free marketing tools available to you. Since it’s made by Google, it integrates easily with Google products. And it has prebuilt marketing dashboard templates.
But if you want to integrate other data sources, you need to purchase third party integrations and that gets complicated quickly.
For HubSpot users, we recommend Databox. Like Looker Studio, it has pre-built marketing dashboard templates. Unlike Looker Studio, it’s not free. But here’s where it shines.
Databox has a large library of integrations that allow you to pull data from multiple sources to track multiple aspects of your marketing KPIs and marketing initiatives. It goes beyond tracking your digital marketing efforts. It pulls business intelligence from multiple channels including your financial software. Our favorite dashboard example is our Pipeline Report.
This marketing dashboard is an example of pulling data from multiple data silos. Some of the data in this dashboard is from GA4. Some of the data is from HubSpot. This lets us track marketing KPIs from first touch to “money in the bank.”
One tradeoff between HubSpot and Databox is the ability to make interactive dashboards. HubSpot is the clear leader for that. So, if you can track your key marketing activities in HubSpot, you should. Only use Databox, Looker Studio, or any other third-party tool when HubSpot can’t give you the answers you need.
HubSpot Marketing Dashboard Templates
HubSpot has many dashboard templates built in for quick reporting. You login, find the dashboard template you need, and create the report. It sounds good on the surface.
But if you don’t start with a dashboard strategy, you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed by data. So, proceed cautiously before blindly using a dashboard template. Focus on building 30-second dashboards that are useful.
30-Second Marketing Dashboards For Marketing Manager and Marketing Executives
We believe leadership should review marketing performance daily. That means their dashboard should be:
- Easily accessible.
- Provide real-time marketing data.
- Be digestible in 30-seconds or less.
A well designed marketing dashboard achieves this. But as Steve Jobs said, “simple is hard.” Just because you can report a detail of your digital marketing, it doesn’t mean you should. Focus on simplifying by starting with a structured marketing dashboard strategy.
Google Ads and Ad Campaigns Dashboard
Your ad campaigns should be viewable from a single dashboard. Don’t fall into the trap of picking the best paid media and focusing all of your attention there. Track marketing performance of your digital advertising as a system – not a single channel.
The reality is your ad spend across multiple platforms work in conjunction toward your marketing objectives. So, your marketing dashboards should give a combined view of your paid media marketing performance. Here’s a paid advertising marketing dashboard example.
This is one of our favorite digital marketing dashboards. In this example, we’re not running Facebook ads or LinkedIn ads. But if we were, we’d have an idea of the performance of the whole system. And this gives a visual display of how the four ad systems work together.
If you’re using HubSpot, you’ll need a digital marketing dashboard like this. First, HubSpot doesn’t integrate with Microsoft Ads. They’re working on it, but there’s no commitment for when it will be ready. Second, we find that HubSpot’s reporting doesn’t report all leads from Facebook social media campaigns. So, we create this marketing dashboard to track paid campaign performance.
Lead Generation Marketing Dashboard
There are a few things true about any lead generation effort:
- Some leads are complete crap.
- Some leads are valuable.
- The speed that you can sort the bad leads from the good leads increases your speed of success.
Ultimately, you want to track the traits of “good leads” and pursue more of those. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are leads your marketing team has nurtured and qualified and believes the sales team can close. So, the qualified leads are sent to sales. Once the sales team accepts the lead, it becomes a Sales Qualified Lead. And the sales team starts working the Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).
Track these through the sales process to see what closes. Your sales team will be happier with more sales qualified leads. They’ll be even happier when those leads close. The challenge with longer lead cycles is identifying the contributing factors. HubSpot has attribution reports that give you a better idea of the contributing assets that lead to customers. Here’s a dashboard example.
Start building Your Marketing Performance Dashboard
The most important thing is to get started. Don’t get overwhelmed by the notion of building all of your marketing dashboards.
Pick the most urgent question you want answered. Determine the marketing data needed to answer that question. And start building the marketing dashboard to answer that question.
Once you start, you’ll find it becomes easier. If you need help, please reach out and we’ll get you started.
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