Social Media Dashboards

Are you still using a spreadsheet to collect your social media data? Me too. Here is how I’m trying to automate marketing analytics.

Every morning I manually calculate metrics like the number of Shopify orders, the number of Facebook likes, and the number of Twitter followers (to name a few). I started to wonder, “How can I view all of my social media stats in one place automatically?” I wondered if there was a program or web site that would provide me the information I was looking for automatically, something like a “social media dashboard”?

Sprout Social

Sprout Social

After hearing a lot of business marketing podcast guests talk about Sprout Social, I decided to check it out. It boasts, “Unlimited reporting & exporting across all of your accounts. Profile, group and roll-up reports for high or low level performance data,” in short, “Integrated analytics across all of your social properties.” While Sprout Social has the social media dashboard functionality I was looking for, at plans that start at $39 a month, I wondered if I could get that functionality elsewhere? Enter Ducksboard and Geckoboard.

Ducksboard Dashboard

Ducksboard

Ducksboards are “Real time Dashboards” to “Visually monitor all your metrics at a glance.” I tested it out by loading in Google Analytics for one site, a Facebook Page, my Trello account, and my Twitter account data. The process was relatively easy and while the displayed data was slightly different than the data I was manually collecting, it did a good job of showing me a real-time “snapshot” view of what was going on. One neat feature of Duckboard dashboards is their “TV mode” feature where the data is meant to be displayed on a flat panel in your office or waiting room. Starting at $16 a month, if all you want is social dashboarding, it’s a nice alternative to Sprout Social.

geckoboard

Geckoboard

Geckoboard is “Your Key Data, In One Place. Stop spending time checking services and start monitoring your business in real-time.” After using Ducksboard, Geckoboard seemed much more granular. It asked many more questions when setting up a “widget” than Ducksboard did. If you want to be more specific, use Geckoboard. Similarly, Geckoboard lets you control how big each widget is displayed, whereas Ducksboard did not. So if you’re anal retentive, use Geckoboard. As far as the dashboard view, I found Geckoboard less appealing and one of the widgets just didn’t work. Pricing is very similar to Ducksboard: it starts at $17 a month, making it a another dashboard alternative to Sprout Social.

Summary

One thing both Ducksboard and Geckoboard have in common is a public link to your dashboard so that you can share the information with someone without an account. This makes it easy to share with say, a client. I manage a lot of different client’s marketing campaigns as well as my own sites, so a single dashboard view wouldn’t necessarily work for me, but setting one up for each client might work. It could be a nice upsell that could potentially benefit the client, but like all information, the data is only as good as what you do with it. If you’re looking for a more detailed review, GetApp has a nice Geckoboard vs. Ducksboard review page.

Update

I just got an email from Matt at Geckoboard that shows how they can be used on a TV just like Duckboard:

Hey Erich,

It’s great to see that you’ve been adding some widgets to your Geckoboard. Now if you haven’t done so already, you should really think about getting your dashboard displayed on a big screen TV for all to see.

2 in 3 of our customers do this and they tell us that having Geckoboard up on their wall has meant that everyone has access to this important data. It also starts conversations about data – what they’re seeing and why that might be!

The screen is best placed where people regularly come together (we have one of our own above the water machine) and just focus on the metrics that really matter – you don’t need to display everything.

Since you’re just starting out, you might want to get creative and add in a few fun widgets – this encourages more people to stop and look at it and as they say, nothing draws a crowd like a crowd. If you’re stuck for how get your dashboard on to a screen, then consider the following options that we blogged about recently.

As ever, if you have any problems or questions then let me know.

Thanks,

Matt at Geckoboard

Job Interview – A Review

It started out with a verbal technical questionnaire about how I’d merge two data sets. They were mostly Access questions and I didn’t do too hot on these. They use Access to update customer lists using the ‘join’ functions (apparently).

Next, I was sat in front of a computer with sample data and asked to do something with it. This was similar to Jason’s rapid fire exercises except that he was sitting there watching everything I did and I had no example functions to copy.

Finally, there was the general discussion and question time. I discussed how I’d given presentations of data to mid-level executives and that I used Tufte’s principals. It turns out that he had gone to the very same presentation in Indianapolis that Jason had and had recently just published his first supergraphic. They also had been using Tufte’s sparklines program until they upgraded to 2010, which is what I was using. Yes, it’s different than 2007. That was fun, too.

I had no reactions greatly in either way from the guy. I’m not even sure if he’s the one making the decision. If I had to guess I’d say he’s leaning to the no side, but that’s on the transparent metrics like memorization of functions and experience presenting in front of a board of directors. If he measures my other qualities like equal height, same hair color, similar demeanor, and ability to show up on time I think I’m golden.

How to Find Your Top Keywords in the New Google Analytics

If you’re like me, you had trouble originally finding where the top keywords were in the new Google Analytics dashboard. It used to be under Traffic Sources > Keywords, but now it’s under Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic.

Google Analytics Organic Search Keywords report shows Site Usage with Keyword, Visits, Pages/Visit, Average Time on Site, % New Visits, and Bounce Rate as the default metrics. Most of the time its best to have high Visits and a low Bounce Rate, but not always.

When you’re reviewing your keywords, look for problems people are trying to solve, issues their having, or products their trying to find. If you’re not solving these problems, know the answer to these issues, or sell what they’re looking for, these are opportunities for you to grow.

Erich Stauffer is a search engine optimization (SEO) web design firm located just north of Indianapolis. We specialize in helping business owners create great content to make it easy for people looking to solve problems to find them as the answer.

What problems do you need solved?