In this overview, you'll learn about communication through dashboards and data visualization—today's new "reporting".
- One of the best ways to get data in front of people is through reporting. Now we've been doing this for decades and decades and you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. It's that revenue report that finds its way to your desk every Monday morning. Or the quarterly financial documents, or the inventory status reports. In the world of digital marketing, maybe it's the monthly report that your agency sends you with row after row of click and impression data. You know, reports. And while these can be great for a lot of purposes, these snapshots in time have some very big limitations as well.
And in an age where business is moving fast there are a lot of reports that you either can't wait until Friday morning to receive or you need to dig in deeper than what's available in the static pages. This is where dashboarding and data visualization can help. We're in the midst of a pretty big shift from standard reports to automated interactive real-time dashboards and the tools and technology on the market today allow us to do some really amazing things. Of course, this applies across lots of different areas of the organization.
But for this course, we're going to focus in on some of the digital marketing applications. Now generally speaking, the idea behind dashboarding is that you connect your dashboard to all the different sources of data that it needs. You create the report once, the way you want it to look and then you share it with those who need to see it. Because these data connections are live, the report can then update itself. And because you have access to the back end data sets, you can embed controls that make it very interactive. For example, if you were looking at a sales dashboard and you noticed that you had a huge revenue spike on Tuesday of last week, rather than go ask an analyst to pull some more data for you to figure out why, you would be able to just click in on Tuesday and drill down into something like, say a sales by product report or you can figure out just what caused the spike.
You might also be able to click around and look at your various marketing campaigns to see if anything correlates. Compare against other similar times in the past and suddenly, you realize that you're doing active analysis rather than just reading a report. Dashboards can take a lot of forms and they can be built using lots of different technologies. They range from software as a service platforms, where people can log in and view and interact with the dashboards they have access to, to desktop applications and even client server solutions that can be used across large enterprises.
You can display them on mobile phones, tablets, desktops, kiosks or even on big LCD screens in the corporate lunchroom or in your building's front lobby. Companies like Klipfolio, Domo, Leftronic, Geckoboard and more provide software as a service offerings that come equipped with lots of prebuilt API based data connectors, as well as the ability to connect to standard data sources and they offer all kinds of different visualizations that go way beyond your average pie chart.
Moving more into the business intelligence, or BI platform space, there are solutions like Tableau, Qlikview, Spotfire, Birst, GoodData, Pentaho, MicroStrategy, and many, many more. They all offer different intergrations functionalities and points of difference. So, as with any other part of your technology stack, you should do a thorough vendor selection across all the offerings that make sense for you to evalulate. But at the end of the day, if you haven't made the move from static reporting to these exciting interactive dashboards and data visualization platforms, you're making it harder to make data driven decisions than it has to be and you're leaving some very real value on the table.
NOTE: While specific software and platforms aren't endorsed, you will see how tools like a customer relationship management system and web analytics work in a successful marketing mix.
- What is digital marketing?
- Understanding the marketing data being generated
- Reaching customers via digital channels like social, search, and display
- Working with digital experiences
- Selling online with ecommerce
- Going mobile
- Measuring and optimizing with testing and analytics
- Running and operating a business with technology
- Storing and extracting data
- Learning and predicting with data exploration and modeling