How do you create meaningful dashboards?

How to use attribution efficacy and analytics to create dashboards and make informed management decisions.

Jerry Rackley proposes there are six questions to answer with your marketing analytics, and I have to say from my experience, that these are the questions I have always asked when working on a campaign.

  1. How does each marketing channel fractionally or incrementally contribute to the results marketing produces?
  2. If marketing gets an increased budget for campaigns or promotions, where is the best place to spend it?
  3. If marketing gets a decrease in budget for campaigns or promotion, where will cuts least affect the outcomes?
  4. How do differences in the key campaign variables— creative, devices, audiences, and tactics— produce different outcomes?
  5. How do these key campaign variables interact or work together to produce the outcomes?
  6. What is the optimal blend of tactics and media channels to achieve the best possible business result?

    Rackley, Jerry. Marketing Analytics Roadmap: Methods, Metrics, and Tools, Apress L. P., 2015.

At the end of every campaign is a set of data. If you’re lucky the data you get will give you some idea – conversion rates, cost per conversion etc. But how can we see what is really doing well?

You might get an idea by comparing the values you have for each element of your campaign:
Display collateral has the highest impressions, low cost, but low conversions.
Search has high clicks, high conversions, but high overall cost…

But what is the relationship between these figures? What do they mean in terms of your campaign goals? When you need to make campaign decisions quickly, do these figures help? In other words, how do we answer our six questions?

Let’s have a look at an example:

I get a load of data from my Digital Advertising Agency letting me know what a fantastic job they’ve been doing. What would be really useful is some kind of Efficacy value that can be given to each element…

Looking at the raw numbers will give you some idea of performance, but it would be wrong to assume low converting platforms with high impression levels are not worth continuing with, and that high converting platforms with low impressions are doing very well.

Here is my proposal for an equation we can apply to the data to answer all of these questions.

x = Efficacy value
I = Impressions per platform
CL = Clicks per platform
CP = Cost per platform
CV = Conversions per platform
CpC = Cost per conversion per platform
n = highest number of digits in Impressions totals expressed as an integer

The section in blue gives us a Brand Awareness Value and the section in green demonstrates our Conversion Value. In this simple version they balance each other out, and generally speaking this will be what you would be looking for in a campaign – high brand awareness with high conversion.

So now we have an efficacy value we can do a comparative analysis – but that only shows us what is the best, not if the best is any good. If we simply put the data into a circle chart – it looks like Google Search is amazingly and in fact is the only element doing any good.

To make the EV useable we then need to format it as an Exponent number to help make it more useful in answering our questions.

Positive numbers = good

Negative numbers = warning

The higher the number, the further up or down on the scale.

Any score +-4 is performing at the highest and lowest levels.

We can then create a dashboard using these values, which should enable us to quickly see what is working and how each channel compares to the others.

We can use two indicators to give us a very quick interpretation of our campaign elements performance.

  1. The colour on a RAG scale; using green for performing well (positive values), amber for those elements needing some attention (values between -1 and -3), and red for those performing badly (values -4 and lower).
  2. The percentage of a ring or circle filled in.

Now we have a visual representation of our campaign performance data that very quickly answers our six questions. We can easily see where our problems lie and which elements could do with tweaking or cutting. We can also see which elements are performing well in terms of both brand awareness and conversion.

Sam Copland

Sam has 20 years industry experience in both public and private sector marketing. Conducting research and analysis of business trends, consumer behaviour and emerging technologies has been a major part of Sam’s work. His current topics of research are:

  • Organisational approaches to technology adoption
  • The role of AI in creative marketing
  • Utopian structures in the digital realm and their effect on human behaviours
  • How organisations can integrate and leverage CRM systems to maximum effect
  • The role of a Sprint approach to project management in a learning environment  


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