Insight in your online performance; which online dashboard to use?
Many companies are interested in creating online dashboards. With these dashboards the performance of websites and important KPIs can be obtained with just one quick look. Online dashboards are real-time updated, so important marketing decisions can be made right away.
It is possible to create your own dashboard(s) in Google Analytics. However, in addition to Google Analytics there are numerous other dashboard tools to use. We - at Maxlead - use the Klipfolio dashboard tool for several clients. In this article I will describe the pros and cons of both the Google Analytics dashboard and the Klipfolio dashboard. This info provides you with a good support to decide which tool suits your company best.
Online dashboard KPIs for blogposts
I've created two similar dashboards for the blogpost section of our website (http://www.maxlead.nl/blog/) to give insight in the dashboard visuals. In both dashboards I incorporated our most important KPIs such as:
Most popular blogposts (pageviews, exit rate, time on page)
- Social interactions
- Origin of visitors
- Goal completions
- New versus returning visitors
- Average session duration
Google Analytics dashboard Klipfolio dashboard
[click to enlarge image] [click to enlarge image]
How do these tools work?
In the table below we've mentioned which possibilities both dashboards do, or do not, offer:
(✔ tick = more advanced options available/easy to use, x cross= less advanced options available/difficult to use/implement)
Google Analytics dashboard
|x Creating a dashboard and add widgets||✔ Creating a tab and add klips|
|The Google Analytics Dashboard is easy to use. Before you create the dashboard you can choose between a blank canvas and a starter dashboard that you can import from a gallery. For this article I created a dashboard from a blank canvas. The first step is to select a widget; you can choose between 6 standard or 4 real-time widgets.||In Klipfolio you can add a specific tab. From here you have the option to select a klip (same as widget in GA). For the first time you want to start with building a new klip. Klipfolio gives you - at this moment - 15 different component options and also the possibility to build a klip from scratch. You can also copy an existing klip and adjust it.|
|x Kind of data||✔ Kind of data|
|Only data available in Google Analytics can be added.||After selecting a klip you need to add a data source. First of all you need to select what kind of data source you want to set up; you can upload a file (from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox) or import data from Google Analytics, AdWords, Facebook and many other (analytics) platforms.|
|✔ Adding data||x Adding data|
|When a widget is selected a few fields will appear where you can select your metric(s) and dimensions, you can also add a filter to your data.||For this dashboard I used Google Analytics data. After the authentication of Google Analytics you can configure the Google Analytics data from a simple or a more advanced query setup, depending on the data you want to collect. Some form of API knowledge is needed, especially for the advanced query setup.|
|x Adjusting the widgets||✔ Adjusting the klips|
|Some of the widgets give you the opportunity to select some options to adjust the widget to your needs (like maximum rows in a table, maximum slices per pie, maximum bars, horizontal or vertical axis etc.).||When a data source is added to a klip, the fun part starts. Now you can select your data from the data source (dimensions and metrics) and adjust the klip to your special needs. Most people can build the basic klips. However, for the more advanced klips and options an Excel savvy person or developer is needed!|
|x Adjusting layout||✔ Adjusting layout|
|When created multiple widgets you can drag and drop each widget to the place where you want it. In Google Analytics a maximum of 12 widgets per dashboard can be added. You cannot adjust the size of the widgets.||On each tab you can add as many klips as you want. Per klip you can select a size (small, medium, large or customized), drag and drop the klip to the place where you want it to be and make changes to the layout structure. You can even select colors that fit with the company color scheme.|
|x Sharing options||✔ Sharing options|
|The dashboard can be shared, sent by email or exported to PDF.||The dashboard can be shared, send by email or exported to PDF or Image format. Additionally the dashboard can be made accessible for other users, which you can give either view or admin rights. You can even select which (group of) users can view which klip.|
|✔ Comparison||x Comparison|
|Just like all the other reports in Google Analytics you can select a date range or you can compare different periods. You can also view the data for different segments.||Most of the time Klipfolio dashboards are set up so this week or month is compared to the previous week or month. Before creating the Klipfolio dashboard you should decide which period you want to show and if you want to compare data. So once the dashboard is created you cannot adjust it easily. For the Excel savvy persons or developers there is the possibility to create a filter, so that different periods can be selected or compared. In our example we incorporated a select period filter; with this filter data can be displayed and compared on a daily, weekly or monthly level.|
To give you a quick overview of the pros and cons per tool you can download the Pros and cons dashboarding tools.pdf.
Decision making time!
At this point you have gathered some knowledge about the setup of the dashboards and the pros and cons of each tool. If you do not have a clear idea yet how you want to setup the weekly or monthly evaluation of your online performance, I advice you to create a Google Analytics dashboard first. This dashboard is less time consuming and easier to adjust.
Once you have a clear format to use you can consider a Klipfolio dashboard. You can extend the dashboard with external and/or target data, so that you gather a wider understanding of your online performance. This dashboard provides you with more options regarding the lay-out and visualization of the data. There are multiple indicators available to attract your attention to underperforming or excelling KPIs. This way a more comprehensive understanding can be obtained and it allows you to make quick marketing descissions.
Are you interested in creating your own online dashboard and need help? Please feel free to contact us: email@example.com.
Helene has developed a strong analytical insight whilst working for several market research companies such as USP Marketing Consultancy and MetrixLab. Helene enjoys being a critical sounding board for clients and uses her analytical abilities to create useful and specific marketing recommendations with which websites can be optimized.