Building a Superior Ad Agency Dashboard: 6 Considerations

Data Standardization Worksheet

This worksheet begins with the standardization of your performance data. We’ll walk you through how to combine these mismatched data sets in a step-by-step process so that every metric is speaking the same, common language. With all of your data standardized, it’s easier to locate the strengths of each platform and hone in on ways to optimize campaign performance.

Download Free Guide

"That very first interaction sold me. With my data organized in an intelligent way, I could see very clearly what action I needed to take, and it didn’t take me drilling deep into reports to find it."

Ceci Dadisman, Director of Marketing, FlashHouse

"Thanks to Lumenad, it's made collaboration with my team faster and more effective, and it's reduced the number of hours I need to spend on different platforms to get the data I need."

Zak Kozuchowski, Founder, Rooted Solutions

"Normally, when my boss asks me how much we’ve spent in ads this month, I start to sweat a little bit. This morning I was able to on-the-fly pull up my dashboard and quickly give him the number he needed. It was super awesome."

Rob Kirkpatrick, Marketing Director, BombBomb

"The Lumenad software is allowing us to scale our business. We are on a growth trajectory, and we are confident to onboard new business because of Lumenad."

Alissa Menke, Owner & Chief Digital Strategist, Cohort Digital

"I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single strategy or goal where you don’t need a multi-touch experience. We want to be in all the places that our customer could be. Lumenad helps us organize and standardize that data so we can evaluate it."

Julia Filo, Associate Director, Digital Marketing Mission Media

"Holy S@%* this is awesome!” (upon logging into Lumenad for the first time.)"

Steven London, co-founder, FlashHouse

"Lumenad allows me to be platform agnostic. By moving between DSPs I can drive the best performance possible for my clients, and the data flows seamlessly into Lumenad without interruption."

Michael Jung, VP of Product Management and Technology, Precision Reach

"By using Lumenad, our team spent 50-70% less time on reporting, we were able to use that time to further enrich the campaigns and drive performance for our clients."

Ryan Rodgers, President, Embee Media

Why do you need an ad agency dashboard?

What is an ad agency dashboard and why is it so essential? Ad agencies, especially digital ad agencies, have a lot of challenges today. It’s not the marketing environment of yesterday — which didn’t have the complexity of the digital landscape. Major challenges to advertising agencies today include:

  1. Large volumes of advertising campaign data are spread across multiple walled data gardens. Google, Facebook Ads, Trade Desk, LinkedIn, Twitter; all these accounts are not interconnected. Because of this, advertisers often need to check multiple platforms for information.
  2. Agencies need to scale quickly. Many agencies have to take on more and more clients while still operating with a lean budget, but they can’t do so unless they have the right tools to work efficiently. Without the ability to scale, an agency can quickly grow beyond its capabilities.
  3. Organizations often find that their data is inefficient and inaccurate. Agencies will need to consolidate their information and may take way too much time pulling reports, sanitizing the data, and trying to make the data speak the same language.

Having the right tools to create an ad agency dashboard can make a huge difference.

An ad agency dashboard automatically pulls information in from multiple sources. It consolidates this data and creates reports that are accurate and efficient. The advertising agency doesn’t have to put work hours into trying to create reports from the data they have. And because of this, the agency can dedicate further efforts into revenue-generating activities and taking care of their clientele.

Despite this, a lot of agencies haven’t invested enough into developing their advertising dashboards. They don’t realize how much time is spent managing their advertising — or, if they do, they don’t realize there’s technology out there that can help. Companies need to regularly audit their technology to determine whether their technology is still effective for them. With that in mind, here are six considerations your agency should think about now.

1. Know your dashboard meaning

Let’s take a look at the dashboard meaning, first. What exactly is a dashboard?

A dashboard is a single, consolidated system of reporting data. Many companies use a dashboard as a service; a cloud-powered dashboard that gives them information that they need. You might have an ERP dashboard that tells you information about your enterprise planning and a CRM dashboard that tells you real-time information about your customers. Servers will have dashboards regarding performance and resources.

When it comes to advertising, an ad agency dashboard is supposed to tell you everything about your ad campaigns. That includes your ad spending, your traffic, your clicks, your revenue generated, and more. Your dashboard should consolidate all your ad campaigns, among many channels, so it can simplify a multi-channel advertising campaign.

But getting this type of dashboard is complicated. Some companies try to create their own in Excel or Google Sheets, but this is cumbersome and inefficient to maintain.

2. Gain a broader understanding of digital marketing reporting

Digital marketing reporting is more complicated than traditional marketing reporting for a variety of reasons. The digital marketing KPI dashboard is going to be inherently more complex.

First, there’s more information collected through digital marketing. There are very few limitations of digital marketing. Digital marketing can track a lot of aspects of the customer and their behavior. In the digital world, most people’s behaviors, interests, and skills are laid bare. Through cookies, it’s possible that you can see almost everything that a customer has displayed interest in during their internet career — and that information can be mined.

Second, many digital marketers don’t have clear goals or strategies at the outset. There are awareness campaigns, conversion campaigns, and more. If your KPIs aren’t properly aligned with the strategy that you’re developing, your strategy is ultimately going to be aimless and ineffective.

Third, a lot of platforms aren’t designed with consolidation in mind. You might be able to go to Facebook and see a lot of information through the Facebook Ads Manager. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to connect that information to your LinkedIn, website, or email information. This makes it much harder to track your campaigns as a whole.

Organizations have to start with their business goals and then align their KPIs to those strategies. They also need to invest in the right technology to streamline their digital marketing reporting.

3. Strengthen your agency analytics with the right tools

To make ad agency analytics useful, it’s important to align your goals, develop your KPIs, and more. But you also probably need a digital ad agency dashboard — a dashboard tool that allows you to create new agency analytics views which can be customized for each client’s campaigns.

Too often, an agency grows organically. An agency can start with just a few clients and start to develop speed. Its software and its processes and analytics grow organically. It may not have a real digital ad agency dashboard or agency analytics. Instead, it will develop things as it goes. It will use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, all separately.

And over time, this becomes more and more unwieldy. Advertising agencies find their marketers checking multiple dashboards a day, failing to properly consolidate information, and unable to make decisions in real time. This is when an agency really needs to audit its systems and its processes to determine the best tools.

Agencies can be hesitant to change up their analytics solutions because it is a large process. But that doesn’t mean that they should put it off. An agency can be far more effective with an agency analytics dashboard. A marketer who could handle 12 clients before may be able to handle 40 clients with the right dashboard solution.

An ad agency dashboard distills information to what’s most important and give an agency actionable information. A marketer will be able to make decisions faster and with better data, consequently performing better for their clients even if they are taking a fraction of the time they used to.

4. Gather marketing dashboards examples

One of the most important things to understand about marketing reporting dashboards is that data doesn’t lie and computers don’t make mistakes.

When a marketer has to enter information into their spreadsheets, they can easily make mistakes. These mistakes could cause them to make dramatic changes to their advertising campaign that they shouldn’t. Likewise, when a marketer has to parse information that is sparse or incomplete, their internal biases or assumptions can “lie” to them.

Take a look at one of the most popular marketing reporting dashboards, Google Analytics. Google Analytics collects an extraordinary amount of data, so it’s one of the best marketing dashboards examples. A marketer might “feel” like their traffic has gone up or down, but Google Analytics will tell them exactly how much traffic they have had.

Google Analytics collects data on a very granular level. You can dig down to when people are visiting, what pages they’re visiting, and information about who they are. Are they likely to be male or female? What age group? What interests? Google collects information about users through cookies and can report this information to you.

When there’s more information and fewer assumptions, marketers are able to better drill down to the campaigns that are going to be successful.

In the past, demographic information was collected en masse. You advertised on a radio station and you knew that their listeners were mostly 20 to 44-year-old men. But now, you don’t really know who is visiting your site unless you can look at your analytics.

5. Get to know marketing reporting software options

While Google Analytics reporting tools are useful, marketing departments often have more complex programs with additional metrics that need to be tracked. Depending on what your marketing KPIs are and the analysis you require, you may need marketing reporting software.

Marketing reporting software can help develop your strategies in the right direction. The better your data is, the more accurate your decision-making will be.

One of the most valuable aspects of marketing reporting software is that you can track your buyer across their journey. At the start, they become aware of your brand. They interact with your paid ads and social media. They start to explore your websites, chat with you, or call you. Finally, they commit.

Marketing reporting software lets you view these buyer transformations in real-time through a consolidated system that includes all marketing channels. Google Analytics can only get you so far; it can only tell you information from your website. And while you can track your buyer funnel through the analytics service, you aren’t going to see information from your email, live chat, or paid advertising channels.

Many companies are going to need a marketing reporting software solution to continue to grow.

6. Choose the best agency reporting software

Agency reporting software is specifically designed for advertising agencies. And it’s important to understand the difference.

There are open source ad agency dashboard tools for the visualizing and tracking the performance of digital ads. But some of these tools are targeted toward agencies and other tools are targeted toward businesses.

Within agency reporting software, there’s a category called Advertising Intelligence. Advertising Intelligence empowers agencies to break data silos, transforms data into standardized metrics, organizes metrics to align with business goals, and helps to apply insights through effective reporting and campaign optimization.

And, of course, this software can be used for businesses as well.

Agencies need more robust solutions — otherwise, they aren’t able to manage clients effectively and they aren’t able to scale. With Advertising Intelligence, a significant amount of advertising can be automated and streamlined — so advertisers can do what they do best, concentrate on advertising.