5 of my favorite reports and dashboards

In this blog post, I will go over five of my favorite reports and dashboards. I will explain what important information they provide and, more importantly, what actions they enable you to take. In the end, I will tell you why those are my favorite ones.

Conversion funnel

A conversion funnel is a term used to describe an e-commerce user journey, usually from seeing an ad to a conversion, most often sale. Every major action the user takes is defined as a separate funnel step. The most frequently used steps are :
Ad -> landing page -> products page -> checkout -> sale (conversion) Another example is: landing page -> registration -> cart -> sale (you can see a screenshot of this funnel below)
As common sense tells us, the number of users at each step is declining, as there are people that abandon the process (churn), for some reason. This is why the report is looking like (and called) a funnel. There are many different forms of funnels. The one I mentioned above is the most simple form of a funnel. Next, I will analyze how it can help you make decisions and take action.

What important information does this report tell you?

There is a lot of valuable information that can be found in a properly designed (and calculated) conversion funnel:

  • it shows the rate of abandonment (churn) at each step of the user journey
  • It shows the effectiveness of the design/visuals/UX/UI of the particular step. If we are losing a lot of potential customers at the product page, maybe the pictures are not good or the product description is suboptimal
  • It shows where you should prioritize resources in order to decrease the churn. For example, if you have a large churn just before purchase, you must focus your efforts there.

What actions does this report help you take?

  • You know which step is most problematic so that you can focus your effort there to decrease the churn rate. This brings the highest ROI for your involvement.
  • You can implement A/B testing and iterate through different designs until you find the most effective one (with least churn)
  • You understand better what customers don’t like and adjust accordingly, in order to create the most effective (read profitable) user journey.

Marketing ROI report and attribution modeling

In this age of fierce competition for consumers’ attention, effective marketing is one of the prerequisites for being profitable and growing as a company. This is why it’s very important for you to see how your marketing efforts and investments are paying off. In order to do that, it is not just enough to compare your ad cost for the month and the revenue you get. This is totally inefficient. In order to get a REAL ROAS, you must see in detail which specific marketing efforts and investments in ads are paying off. Additionally, attribution modeling needs to be implemented in order to evaluate correctly and attribute clients to the correct marketing source they were acquired by. This is where Marketing ROI report and attribution modeling comes into the spotlight.
First, let’s examine a typical case of an e-commerce marketing strategy. The company invests in Facebook ads, Google Adwords, and youtube ads. The marketing people have defined different campaigns and ads within these channels. Users see and click on those ads, which lead to landing pages. After that the user might go to the products page, sales page, checkout and (hopefully) to a sale (conversion).
After we have outlined the typical digital marketing user journey, let’s see what are the relevant metrics here. First, you want to see how much money you are spending on ads. This sum could be broken into channels, campaigns and ads. Next, what is the click-through rate, how many people that saw the ad actually clicked on it and got on your landing page. Next come leads and sales numbers, leads-to-sales ratio, revenue, RPL, CPL, and finally – ROAS. You ultimately would want to see how effective your ads are – what ROI do they have. The most effective way to see all the aforementioned metrics is to use attribution modeling. I won’t go into details about that topic, as we have a wonderful article, which you can check here.

What important information does this report tell you?

Basically this report enables you to see all relevant marketing metrics and KPIs across all channels in one place.

  • Ad expenditure
  • CTR
  • How many landing page visitors each ad/campaign/channel brought
  • How many leads each ad/campaign/channel brought
  • How many sales each ad/campaign/channel brought
  • What revenue each ad/campaign/channel brought
  • ROAS
  • CPL
  • RPL

What actions does this report help you take?

  • Helps you make the decision of where to invest your marketing efforts (and money).

Mobile app usage statistics

Mobile apps popularity in an age where everyone spends a significant amount of time on a mobile device every day is no surprise to anyone. To grow the user base of an app, one must understand the behavior of its current users. This valuable knowledge would let the app owner know where to focus on effort and investment.

What important information does this report tell you?

  • timeline of how many downloads you have had
  • % of users that use the app above x minutes a day/x times a day/week
  • Age/gender of users
  • Most used feature by number of users
  • Active users by day
  • Scatterplot that shows correlation (or lack thereof) between two (or more) factors. For example – how revenue generated by a user correlates with total minutes spent on the app, from that user

… and many more

What actions does this report help you take?

With the insights and information, this report gives you, you can:

  • Target particular demographic more, if they are better adopting the app
  • Pivot app development around the most used features
  • See which factors are affecting your revenue and double-down on them

Sales dashboard

The job of an executive is to make decisions and take actions in order to make the business more profitable. In the past, this was usually directed by opinions or gut feeling. Now it is the data that drives business decisions and actions (or at least, should). Managers and executives rely on reports and dashboards to see the information they need to make those decisions. However, in the modern business world, companies usually use different systems for the different business aspects (eg. for sales, payment processing, HR, marketing, and others). This means multiple data streams, each of which results in a report/dashboard. Should a manager spend their time browsing between different tabs in order to make sense of their company’s data? No. For optimal decision-making, it’s important to have all your data at a glance. That’s why one of my favorite dashboards is the sales dashboard. There you can see not only the total revenue, profit and profit margin for your business but also revenue (or profit) by payment provider (eg. Stripe, PayPal, BrainTree), revenue by store (eg. Amazon, Shopify), how many clients you had, how many were first-, second- or third-time buyers, units sold and all other KPIs for your business. That way you focus your energy on your job – to make the best decisions.

What important information does this report tell you?

  • What are your profit and revenue
  • What is your profit margin (is it good or bad)
  • How many units you have sold
  • How much revenue (profit) you get from different payment processors (Stripe, PayPal)
  • How much revenue (profit) you get from different shops (eg. Amazon, Shopify)
  • How many customers you had
  • How many first-, second- or third-time buyers you had

What actions does this report help you take?

  • cut cost or optimize the products’ pricing (if the profit margin is small)
  • Invest in certain products (that are sold the most)
  • Increase inventory on certain days (when you sell the most)
  • Shift towards the store you sell the most (eg. Amazon)
  • Introduce a loyalty program or make your product better (to keep customers coming back)

Executive KPIs dashboard

Time is our most precious asset. This is especially true for managers and executives, who need to use it for thinking, reflecting and taking the most optimal decisions for the business. In order to do that, they need to have all the relevant information, in a timely manner. Without information, taking decisions is like walking blindfolded. In my opinion, there are two very important aspects of data presentation. First one is that Information should be presented in an easily digestible and comprehensible way. The second one is that there should be enough information from all the different aspects of the business – marketing, finance, sales, hr, etc. That way the executive would have a general overview of the whole business as the different aspects are always interconnected and influence one another. I like designing different dashboards for the different aspects – marketing, website analytics, sales, etc and then combining the most important charts in a master dashboard, where the executive would have a general overview of the whole business. Here is how I imagine such a dashboard (this is the first half of it):

Conclusion

These are (part of) my favorite dashboards. It’s not that I like them because of the style, design, or the charts; I like them because of the insight that they provide to the decision-makers to do their job the best way possible. In this era, everyone must make their decisions based on information derived from their data. Otherwise, it’s just another opinion. This is not optimal for your business. So, utilize your data and start making smarter (and better) decisions for your company now.

5 ways business intelligence can help your business during the pandemic

It’s the summer of 2020 and Covid-19 is definitely in every manager’s mind. Everyone from face masks producers, to travel agents are affected positively or negatively by the virus. It has had a tremendous impact on every economy everywhere. We rarely see something with such an impact on day-to-day life (and business). Except for a few sectors (esports, mask producers, e-commerce), the majority of companies took a hit from the virus. Of course, we expect things to get back to normal, sometime in the future, but until then, managers shouldn’t just stay passive. The proactive approach in such situations has proven to be of utmost importance in defining whether a company would stay afloat. Managers should aim at improving service for current customers, finding new ways to serve them, attract new customers by appealing value proposition, and also cut costs by re-optimizing the existing processes. The rifle one needs to hunt those is a BI system; the ammunition – data.
Let me now show you how exactly you can leverage your data so that you can counteract the Covid-19 force on your business.

1. Identify wht customers you los

1. Identify what customers you lost

Understanding customers’ needs is critical for every business. Using data, you can see whether you lost low-income customers, customers of your cheapest products, customers from a particular geographical location, customers having specific jobs, etc. The examples are countless. The value comes from knowing exactly which demographic you lost. Having that information, you’ll be able to provide a better value proposition for them, in order to get them back.

2. Identify new possibilities

Without trying to guess what your business is, there are plenty of new opportunities started by Covid-19. Our lives changed significantly – wearing masks, WFH, working out from home, social distancing to name the most important. In the grim economic outlook of Covid-19, such changes provide new opportunities for revenue and growth. Pivoting, so that you can serve some/any of the new needs of the customers most definitely would be very good for your business. How can business analytics help you? By measuring the impact of your new undertakings. By measuring whether your customers’ desire certain new feature/service/product. You might have a gut feeling that they want something, but unless you test it and have data to back your prediction, you can’t be sure. This, on other hand, would also prevent you from wasting precious resources on building new features solely based on opinion which might not be desirable by the customers.
In the dashboard below, for example, we can spot how most comments are coming from a particular state. This shows higher engagement from people there, which might mean unrealized insight.

3. Cut costs

The sour reality for most businesses after the spread of the virus is that they generate (in some cases significantly) lower revenue. In order to stop bleeding cash every week, it’s important to reduce costs where possible. In fact, this step is often easier to be done than finding new sources of revenue (but is worse in the long-term). Usually, most businesses, especially the ones with significantdigital exposure, rely on many external services for marketing, invoicing, payment processing, advertising, communication, and so on on a subscription basis. A BI system would help you identify which ones you don’t need so that you can cut costs by unsubscribing to those services or finding cheaper/free alternatives (until things get back to normal). Although we do not advise for furloughs, in case that’s necessary so that the business would be saved, a BI system would help you identify your least and most productive employees. Having attribution modeling and marketing ROI report would not only show you which channels and ads are bringing you the most clients but would also show you which aren’t performing well so that you can stop wasting money there.

4. Manage risk (be prepared)

Risk in business cannot be mitigated fully. However, it could be controlled and the company could be prepared for certain future negative scenarios. By using predictive analytics, a manager could plan for those scenarios in advance, so that when/if they happen, they are already prepared. We have enabled forecasting on time-series data on some of our clients so that they can plan in advance.
Here is what a revenue prediction chart looks like.

5. Make better decisions

This final fifth point is more general and would act as a conclusion to the article. In general, the purpose of a BI system is to be a tool that will facilitate better decision making from the management. Having such a system in place is generally good for the business as it makes it easier to spot trends, optimize processes, and increase revenue. However, in times of crisis, it is even more important to rely on your data because decisions are becoming vital and there is less room for errors. Here is an example of a mobile app usage statistics: