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How To Build The Perfect Analytics Dashboard
Originally Published:  
August 4, 2022

How To Build The Perfect Analytics Dashboard

Analytics dashboards can be game-changers when they’re designed right. Quick access to information makes everyone’s lives easier and can help teams make faster, better-informed decisions.

Of course, the dashboard must be designed around your unique needs and filled with data that matters to you and your team(s). 

With that said, you don’t need to hire a professional designer to come and build a dashboard for your company. You can do it yourself and ensure it’s geared towards meeting all your requirements.

There are many things you need to keep in mind that will make this process easy and effective. But don't worry. We’ve got all the things you need to build a brilliant analytics dashboard without going gray out of frustration.

Let’s get right into it!

Step 1. Define your dashboard audience and objective

You can’t just jump into making an analytics dashboard and hope it will be good enough. You need to ask yourself a few questions to nail down your audience first — questions like:

Who uses your analytics dashboard?

There are many different roles in a company team. All of these roles use information differently.

So, it’s essential that you understand who will be using your dashboard and what kind of information they’ll be looking for. Here’s a quick look at who will possibly be your dashboard audience and the type of objectives they’ll typically have:

Senior management executives and CEOs

These team members use analytics dashboards to make strategic decisions. They use the data for actionable insights to make the right decisions in their respective roles. They’ll be focused on customers, revenue, and other elements like customer acquisition costs.

Marketing executives and CMOs

These team members track all the important marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to understand the performance of marketing efforts and the marketing ecosystem. Conversion rates and lead-related information will be important for marketing executives.

Finance executives and CFOs

Operational expenses and similar company spending information are highly important for these team members. They will need analytics information such as earnings, gross profit margins, net profit margins, etc.

Sales executives

All the high-level sales metrics matter to these team members. The popularity of products, high-level customers, sales revenue, and the number of sales will matter most to them.

Product managers

Your product managers will be most concerned with the success of their products. These employees must closely monitor acquisition, retention, engagement, and monetization.

Marketers

The marketers in your team will be most concerned about tracking funnel metrics like conversions, Return On Investment (ROI) on ad spending, customer journey maps, lead quality and quantity, and campaign performances.

What are their goals?

Once you understand who your dashboard’s audience is, you can move on to determining what their goals are and how you can cater to them. Your dashboard aims to make their lives easier, after all.

To make the dashboard useful, consider the questions your audience will typically ask, and try your best to answer them quickly and succinctly. This may take quite a bit of thinking and planning on your side, but your teams will thank you for the effort you put in.

What KPIs to measure?

Next, you need to consider the KPIs that will matter most to your audience. To get this right, you should speak with your teams and get their input. Otherwise, you could create a dashboard with no real use.

The KPIs you track in the dashboard will depend on your teams and their goals. For example, a sales team needs KPIs like sales growth, sales targets, and sales to date. eCommerce KPIs might include CTR, CAC and MER.

Are there any pain points for viewing these KPIs?

Since the whole point of your new dashboard is to make your teams’ lives easier, you should consider how they’re currently viewing the KPIs that matter to them.

What pain points will your dashboard be able to address and get rid of? Perhaps your team is using an Excel document, which can become big and unwieldy. Or maybe your team uses a CRM tool that isn’t designed for this purpose.

You should design an analytics dashboard that is convenient but also functional. Understanding pain points is part of that.

Does the dashboard tell a story?

A really good analytics dashboard will let analytics managers view and read it like a comprehensive story. Your dashboard should be filled with reports that give your audience a logical and clear picture of the current marketing situation. 

This can be difficult to achieve independently, so don’t hesitate to rope in your team's help during the dashboard creation. It should speak to them, after all. 

Step 2. Collect your useful data

Now that you understand the data your audience wants and needs, it’s time to gather said data. This step forms the foundation and backbone of your dashboard, and you should approach it carefully.

There are many different sources you should tap into so you can be assured the data is accurate and relevant. Work with your teams and get information from all your departments. You will have to connect the data from your departments, and working together will make this process smoother.

Step 3. Choose the right type of data visualization

Now that you have the information you need, it’s time to decide how you’ll present it to your teams. You have several options to choose from depending on your data.

For example, percentages are best shown in a pie chart, while dates can be effectively presented in a time series. Treemaps work very well for visualizing relationships or hierarchies. A column or bar chart could do wonders when comparing various values.

Tables are good for detailed information with different units of measure, and line charts can be great for displaying developments and identifying trends. 

These aren't the only types of visualizations, of course. Here's a list of possibilities:

  • Bar chart
  • Line chart
  • Multi-layer pie chart
  • Scatter plot
  • Funnel or pyramid chart
  • Radar triangle
  • Polar graph
  • Flowchart
  • Geographic map
  • Percentage bar
  • Radial wheel
  • Gantt chart
  • Venn diagram
  • Histogram
  • Mind map
  • Timeline

Step 4. Pay attention to color schemes

You may not realize it, but the color theory goes beyond painting pretty pictures and connecting with your target market. It can be quite useful when building the perfect analytics dashboard as well.

Your color themes will impact your teams, even when you don’t think they will. Color can highlight key points, draw someone's attention to a dataset outlier, or show trends between visualizations. Don't be afraid to harness its power. 

However, using too many colors can also be confusing for your teams. To ensure that your dashboard is easy to understand, select at most five colors and use only them throughout the entire dashboard.

Step 5. Provide a balanced mix of data-driven insights

It’s crucial that you have a balanced analytics dashboard, which means you should have accurate presentations of past, predictive, and real-time data.

With balanced insights, your team will have better-quality information to work with and make better decisions. Looking at past data lets you determine which campaigns and ideas worked and which ones didn’t bear much fruit. With predictive data, you can build smarter strategies and test out new approaches to previous efforts.

Step 6. Use pre-built templates

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at all the possibilities and requirements at your feet while you build an analytics dashboard, don’t despair. You can use many predefined dashboard templates to make your design process easier. 

Existing templates can also inspire you to make your dashboard better. Templates are meant to help you with layouts, charts, and styles and can save you a lot of time.

This template, Material Dashboard 2, for example, is attractive and features several third-party plugins to make it even better.

analytics dashboard templates

Source: Creative Tim

Step 7. Add interactive features in

Although a static analytics dashboard will serve its purpose fairly well, a bit of interactivity will make a good dashboard fantastic. Adding features such as chart zooms and drill-downs can make your dashboard a lot more powerful.

Interactive features can make changing data easier, simplifying using the dashboard. You can also add widgets that will add specific features your team might need.

Step 8. Ensure your analytics dashboard is mobile-friendly

Making your analytics dashboard mobile-friendly may seem like a hassle, but it’s very beneficial. If your dashboard is compatible with a mobile device, your team can access the information they need no matter where they are.

This will lead to faster decision-making, better decision-making, and better knowledge sharing. Your team shouldn’t be limited to their desktops when it comes to their access to the analytics you worked so hard to give them.

Step 9. Keep in mind: less is more

While you can throw as much information as you want into your analytics dashboard, it’s important not to go overboard. Simplicity is key, and the age-old saying "less is more" is still true.

Adding loads of metrics and charts to your dashboard can be tempting, but this can result in a cluttered and busy space that hinders your team and causes confusion.

As far as you can, provide your audience with a basic and simplistic picture of the data they want. Your team should be able to find what they need in roughly 20 seconds or less. If necessary, break your dashboard up into multiple pages, or make it possible to switch between charts and graphs.

Bonus: some great analytics dashboard examples

Need a few examples to get you inspired? We’ve got a handful for you here, and they should help you decide how your own dashboard should look and what data you should include. These are just a nudge in the right direction; the design of your ideal analytics dashboard is in your hands!

Social media dashboard from Triple Whale

Social media is a big deal in marketing, as 4.59 billion people currently use it. Of course, you can't make a splash on social media without keeping a watchful eye on your data. 

A good social media dashboard should easily track all the relevant and most important social media metrics. For example, Triple Whale's social media dashboard gives you access to Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram metrics laid out in an easy-to-understand and attractive manner.

Having all your different social media platforms’ information in one place will make tracking KPIs more convenient and effective. 

Here are a few of the metrics you’ll have on Triple Whale’s social media dashboard:

  • Shares and comments
  • Number of likes
  • Impressions on content
  • Popular posts
  • Amount of followers
  • Ad campaigns
triple whale social dashboard

SEO analytics dashboard

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies are usually long-term and require close monitoring. When even the smallest changes can have big results, it’s important that you have a dashboard with all the relevant insights.

Some of the KPIs you should add to an SEO analytics dashboard include (but are not limited to):

  • Top-performing keywords
  • Page visits by channel
  • Returning visits
  • Bounce rate
  • Organic visits
  • Page load times
SEO analytics dashboard

Source: Dashthis

eCommerce dashboard

eCommerce analytics are typically focused on sales or services delivered and should provide the audience with clear data on every stage of the sales process.

Some of the most important eCommerce KPIs you’ll need to have in your dashboard include:

  • Product conversion rates
  • Number of transactions
  • eCommerce trends
  • Product sales
  • Revenue generated
eCommerce analytics dashboard

Simplify your metrics with Triple Whale

Building an effective and practical analytics dashboard may sound like a daunting task at first, but once you dive right in, you’ll find it easier done than said! You may need some help from your team (in fact, your team’s input is recommended) and inspiration from templates, but once you’re done, you’ll reap great rewards!

Combine the power of a well-designed analytics dashboard and an ecomOS like Triple Whale, and you’ll be unstoppable. With Triple Whale, you’ll easily get insights into all the metrics you care about. Need centralized clarity into every customer purchase from a variety of customer touchpoints? Then this is the ecomOS you want—get it today!

About the Author

Colin Dougherty

Colin is Head of Content at Triple Whale. He enjoys long walks on the beach, tequila sunrises, and a quick dip in the ocean.


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