6 minute read
As marketers, we see tables upon tables of data all the time. While the information is there, the way it’s presented is often more important to help us (and our higher ups) process it and make decisions.
Be it from your CRM, Google Ads, or your website analytics, in digital marketing there’s a constant flood of information that needs to be organized, analyzed, and presented to really be usable. While some bigger companies have whole divisions that are responsible for data analytics, more often than not, the marketers at SMBs are doubling as analysts.
In order to help you while wearing your analyst hat (which may not always be the most comfortable one in your closet), we’ve put together a list of our top three tools that help your sort through your massive amounts of data generate visualizations that can help you and your team see what’s working and what isn’t at a glance.
Here are our top picks for tools to help marketers in creating impactful dashboards and graphics for team meetings, board meetings, or sales decks.
Tableau is the big name in the game of data visualization, so it’s probably no surprise that we put them as our #1. It’s super versatile and it can easily import data from tons of sources–CSVs, Ad Accounts, Salesforce, and more. Tableau is an incredibly powerful tool, but it’s also very intuitive, so the learning curve is not as steep as you might think for some of its basic functions.
“Storytelling with data is a vital skill an analyst must develop in order to allow the user to generate insights and trends from the dashboard. Tableau is like a book with empty pages waiting for you to write the story. It allows for simple and elegant designs while also allowing for creative and unique visualizations. Tableau is easy, intuitive, and will make you the data wiz on the team.”
Director of Data and Analytics at Optily
There are also premade Marketing Dashboards that are already set up to pull in the data that marketers typically need. Of course, you can always go in and customize these to suit your needs or put together an entirely fresh one yourself. But if you’re just starting out, these out-of-the-box ready templates are a great way to get your feet wet.
✅ What we love:
- High graphic quality
- Easy-to-use (you don’t need to know code to get started)
- Amazing overall performance and speed
- Simple to sync to data sources
- Ready-made templates
- On-demand webinars and an amazing support community
- There’s a free version for you to practice on (but everything will be public)
❌ What could be better:
- It’s a bit pricey and the pricing plans are fairly rigid ($70/per user per month)
- While there is a free version, you probably won’t want your company data public
- There’s a lack of advanced IT support form Tableau
- Many dashboards can be built out without advanced coding, but not all. When some SQL queries do need to be set up, there is little support from the Tableau IT team in this regard
- It’s not a complete Business Intelligence tool
- You do need to invest time to truly master all the functionality and get the most out of Tableau
Whatagraph is a new player on the scene, but this startup is already making a big splash. Purpose-built for marketing data, this visualization tool is incredibly powerful for cross-channel metrics.
Social media marketers swear by this software. They especially love the elegant interface that enables them to easily build out cross-channel dashboards.
When it comes to data visualization, the whole point is to make data presentable and easy on the eyes. This is where Whatagraph truly excels. Users simply can’t get over how nice the reports are to look at–they seem more like infographics than dashboards!
"Having used Data Studio, Supermetrics, Powerpoint, countless excel sheets and custom reports with the Facebook Marketing API over the last number of years, I have to say Whatagraph has been by far the shortest learning curve. We created our first live report in less than 10 minutes, and were able to share it with the client via a URL that allows them to select their prefered date range and check in on performance at any time throughout the month. Less time building reports, less time communicating by email, a win for all."
Head of Customer Success at Optily
That being said, there are some limitations on the integration ecosystem. It’s still relatively early days for these guys, so they’re likely going to be releasing more app integrations for things like Zapier, Salesforce, and HubSpot Marketing Hub.
✅ What we love:
- Standout visuals
- Seamless integration with the major data sources
- Automated report delivery
- Pre-made templates
- Simple drag-and-drop interface
- Easy collaboration
- Amazing customer service
- They’re still in the early stages, so they really take feedback to heart and make improvements to their software
❌ What could be better:
- Price is a bit steep–on par with Tableau (starting at $279/month for 5 users)
- Currently no Zapier integration
- Data sources are limited
- Backend UI is a bit cumbersome for customized reports
3. Google Data Studio
Sure, we’ve all worked with Google Analytics, but seeing as we have, we’re also familiar with its limitations. Data Studio is Google’s advanced option and a more reliable tool for marketers to pull reports and generate visuals.
Data Studio is more of a bare-bones visualization and reporting tool. If you’re only dealing with a couple of main data sources and don’t need constant real-time updates across tons of ad platforms, CRM software, and sales data, then this could be a good fit for you. It’s free after all!
“There is an abundance of data sources for every marketer to leverage but the biggest challenge is managing them all. Tools such as Data Studio have simplified the process for data use. I can connect data sources within a couple of clicks, build a personalised dashboard within 2-3 minutes using pre-defined templates, and start using data to support every decision without the burden of ‘number crunching.’”
Marketing and Customer Director at Optily
Data blending is not Data Studio’s strong suit, so depending on how extensive your needs are, you may be better off investing in a more robust solution like Tableau. And a big drawback is that you need to use Supermetrics in order to have your Facebook and Instagram data sync automatically with Data Studio. There are some workarounds, but they make the process a lot more manual and cumbersome.
✅ What we love:
- It’s free
- You really can’t beat completely free, especially if you’re strapped for marketing budget already
- Drag-and-drop dashboard creation
- Instant syncing with other Google products
- Tons of widget options for hyper-personalization of dashboards
- Made-for-you dashboard templates and tutorials
❌ What could be better:
- There’s no automated report building
- If you make a change to the root file, you need to manually refresh the whole thing
- No Facebook data reporting
- Blending data is a bit cumbersome
- Only 4 sources can be blended at a time and each additional one makes everything a lot slower
- Branding capabilities could be a bit more robust for visualization tool
Just want to see what ads are working?
Don’t really need all these bells and whistles and just want to see your ad performance data in one place? We’ve got you covered.
Optily’s dashboard pulls in all your campaign data from across the Google and Facebook platforms to show you how everything stacks up. You can pop like campaigns into OptiGroups to get all your traffic campaigns optimizing against one another, or just check out all your campaigns in our new Cross-Channel Dashboard.
We make it simple for you to see what ads are working best and let you move budgets around to maximize impact with just one click.
Try it free for 2 weeks!