Analytics Dashboards

by Phil Buckley on October 20, 2010

in Analytics

Post image for Analytics Dashboards

Last presentation of the day falls to the triple threat of Dean Shaw who does web analytics at SAS, Margaret Escobar who does web analytics at IBM, Bryan Stiens from Zencos and my old co-worker Norm Cloutier from McClatchy Interactive.

This one will be panel format with Jim Hazen from Capstrat acting as the moderator.

How do you decide what to measure?

Margaret: She likes a group in crisis that wants to measure stuff. Her team interviews them to try to figure out exactly what it is they’re trying to accomplish.

Dean: We start by looking at where the revenue is.

How do you decide what does on a dashboard?

Bryan: You want to look at things that can make a difference.

Norm: Look at things that you can see a trend in.

Is a dashboard really necessary?

Dean: They are a necessary evil.

Margaret: Great starting point, but it’s just a start.

Bryan: Dashboards can be overwhelming if theirs too much data, but people always want too much data, even if they’re not planning on taking action.

Dean: You need more than a dashboard, you need a compelling story to sell upstream.

Have you found a useful way to have dashboards drive action?

Norm: Nope <- honest

After a room of giggles, Norm goes on to say that when they added a couple paragraphs of analysis to their monthly reports, that drove more interest.

Dean: We try to win little battles that we can win more often.

How do you get buy in?

Dean: Highlight wins. You have to be prepared to fail AND take the bullet, even if it was someone else taking the risk, you have to be willing to take their bullet.

Norm: You can build credibility by showing people something they haven’t looked at before. You can’t always be negative.

Tips & Tricks

Bryan: Capture the audience’s attention right off the bat. Start simple with known quantities.

Margaret: When using a slide deck, put a simple question or statement at the top of each slide so that people looking at it later can understand what you were talking about.

Norm: Dual axis charts.

Jim: Don’t ever look at one metric in a vacuum.

What is your biggest pain point as an analyst?

Dean: Nobody listens to us, or they do and things go terribly wrong (giggles)

Norm: Time for analysis. Sometimes there’s just no there there, then you are left trying to justify spending those hours on work that produced nothing.

Bryan: Getting the planning and requirements right before getting started.

Final question from Jim (drumroll)

How do you try to measure engagement and awareness?

Dean: We don’t really try to. That’s those guys back there (points to Adam and Eric from Argyle Social).

Norm: Engagement isn’t a metric. You can’t measure it in any traditional way.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Norm Cloutier October 22, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Good synopsis, Phil. Need to point out one misquote….
“engagement isn’t a metric, it’s a characterization of a whole slew of other metrics.”


Phil Buckley October 25, 2010 at 9:37 am

@Norm, I can’t type fast enough to quote anyone. I just try to keep up with the general themes ;-) Thanks for the clarification.


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