By Tom Murray | Managing Director
While we are all making New Year’s Resolutions, can we all please adopt some for reporting dashboards in 2021? It’s time for everyone to make the jump and optimize their dashboards, and here are a few helpful things to think about to get you started. Most people don’t keep their resolutions, but I promise if you follow these 5, your analytics will take a massive step forward in 2021.
Resolution 1: Make all graphs understandable within 5 seconds
As the leader of our reporting and analytics team, this is one of my goals for every single chart that I make. Charts need to be understandable quickly, or else people will get discouraged from looking at them, or just spend too much time trying to figure out things.
Charts should be simple, with one or two axes, and clear readable labels and titles. Adding in too many lines/bars, or having axes that are wonky for the current view can make charts hard to read. Clients should be able to know exactly what a chart tells them just by looking at it, and we want to communicate that as quickly as possible.
Resolution 2: Move away from Excel to a stronger reporting tool
If you are still using excel for reports, your reports are going to be broken half of the time, very slow, and not in real time. Of course, there are ways to pull real-time data into excel with specific scripts and queries, but most don’t know how to do that, and many don’t have the computing power to even run them without crashing your computer. Make a vow to move your data into a warehouse and onto a visualization tool such as Tableau, Power BI, etc to gain more flexibility, as well as real-time insights into your business.
Resolution 3: Optimize the UX of your dashboards
Having reports built by people that don’t actually use the dashboards can make it tough to make usable dashboards that are truly optimized for the UX of the end user (a media buyer or client). Take great care in optimizing your dashboards - meaning nit picking button placements, filter placement, etc to make sure users don’t have to go out of their way to maneuver around the dashboard. The amount of time teams spend inside dashboards is quite high, so slight changes and improvements can save minutes per day, hours per week, and days per year of time.
Resolution 4: Pre-optimize dashboards with proper naming conventions
The data that is used to report on is only as good as the data that comes in. That data needs to be as clean as possible to ensure its accuracy, as well as being able to do flexible things with datasets. That starts with a naming convention that is aligned not just across one channel, but across all channels. By having proper naming, you can unlock so many more views and slices of the data that you’ve probably wished for, but always had to pull separate reports & aggregate them to actually get to. Take January to rename everything currently live, as well as the previous year, so you can start unlocking better insights.
Resolution 5: Think about dashboard layout for ease of use and organization
Often, people make one massive dashboard that has everything in it. This is great to a point, but has a lot of drawbacks. These dashboards tend to be slower, and with a million things on one page, it can create an issue of finding what you want quickly. Think about the ways to intelligently break out your dashboards, so you have specific tabs or sub-dashboards that are named properly to easily find what you are looking for. For example, an executive summary view of data across all channels shouldn’t have tables that also show your Facebook ad level performance; that should be reserved for a different dashboard. Splitting data into proper groupings helps organize a dashboard to make it easy for any user - beginner or expert - to find what they are looking for.
At Jump, we take great care in our dashboards, and follow these principles at all times. If you are looking for reporting help, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!