Analysts, we hear you. Getting people to care about the company’s digital performance is no easy task, notably when numbers are added into the mix. While duplicated efforts and misunderstandings among colleagues are an ever-present risk, you can manage and drive activities in a simpler, more streamlined way with clear and efficient analytics dashboards.
To facilitate decision-making among stakeholders – and to help them avoid a serious migraine – we invite you to read through these 9 surefire tips for making your analytics dashboards relevant and efficient.
1: Be clear and concise
No need to create a drawn-out dashboard – the more additional information you include, the less it will be consulted… Concentrate on identifying the key indicators and representing them clearly and concisely. Weed out parasitic information that might interfere with readability. What you present is important, but how you present it is truly key here. Ideally your analytics dashboard won’t exceed a page. If ever this is too short, think about organising your dashboard differently, with several tabs that each focus on a precise topic, for example.
2: Customise for each and every user
Individual, unique dashboards for each user is a utopian concept. But customised analytics dashboards are a reality – and a necessity. To ensure your analytics dashboard’s relevance and strong performance, identify the KPIs required for each of your dashboard recipients, and customise as much as possible. To do this, you must ask questions and truly understand their needs or their concerns, and then make suggestions about which key indicators to track. The dashboard must adapt to its recipient, and not vice-versa.
3: Resist the temptation to change
After it is created, your analytics dashboard is meant to be consulted daily in order to become a true must-have tool. So it’s essential to avoid deleting or adding new indicators every day. This would completely disrupt the dashboard’s stability, and would also muddle interpretation of its contents. It’s not forbidden to make an adjustment from time to time in the name of long-term reliability and accuracy. But remember that any change must be well-thought out and approved by all stakeholders before being implemented.
4: Make it enjoyable
Numbers alone are not too attractive, let’s be honest. This can make it tough for your colleagues to accept (and like) your analytics dashboards. But numbers have as much visual potential as mathematical sense, which is why you should opt for data visualisation. Bar charts, line graphs, precise KPIs, all enhanced with images or logos… there are many possibilities for making your analytics dashboards not only attractive, but also meaningful and impactful. But, beware of going overboard with visual customisation – it should be used in moderation to avoid making everything completely incomprehensible.
5: Enlighten your reader
It’s only recently that data analysis and interpretation have been adopted as part of a strategic approach, and these activities are mastered by a relative few. It’s therefore necessary to support your readers with simple yet meaningful comments, clear and precise definitions, or an adapted vocabulary. Digital analytics is a whole other world, and analysing cohorts, the long tail, or third-party cookies is not always child’s play for those who are not web analytics experts.
6: Always put things into perspective
Data interpretation means nothing if not studied in a specific context. For example, poor performance could be explained by bad weather conditions or a complex political situation. External events surely affect your activities and impact your analytics data. Don’t ever forget to place your dashboard’s data in context so that it is more easily understood. To provide this extra context, you can include notes, comments or a daily events log with your analytics dashboard.
7: Facilitate ease-of-use
This might sound like a basic, logical tip, but it deserves to be highlighted. The message, format, visuals, comments and context of your data… these can all help make your analytics dashboards immediately easy to use. Reading and interpreting an analytics dashboard should not require any special training – it should be natural and intuitive. Data holds a story, and the dashboard is the book that tells it – think data storytelling. Fine-tuned indicators, graphic representations, colours and comments must all be integrated coherently and logically.
8: Keep it up-to-date
A vital aspect of dashboards? They’re real-time. The most important analytics data is constantly updated so you can make smart decisions in the most efficient way. Your analytics dashboard should therefore be automated; try using Excel or a SaaS solution to streamline things, ensure fresh data, and avoid being asked for help every time updated data is needed.
9: Finally, make it useful!
The last word here is rather simple: Your dashboard must remain a major tool in driving and managing your actions. If it’s not fulfilling that role, check back through the above tips. When creating or adjusting your analytics dashboard, keep in mind that the essence of a dashboard is to be, above all, useful.
Need inspiration? Check out this video on our Dashboards application.
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