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

Sales Insight from Google Analytics Service Providers

Google Analytics’ Service Providers listing can give you insight into who is visiting your website each month.

I was showing one of my client’s their web statistics for the month via Google Analytics and discovered that there was some useful information that I hadn’t been sharing before. When I showed them the Visitors section I drilled down through Network Properties to show them the Service Providers. While Google may have intended this to show Internet Service Providers (ISPs), if a company has a T1 or other type of prosumer connection to the Internet, the name of the business will display instead of the ISP. What that means is that the client now has a view of some of the businesses visiting their site and how often.

For those with an active sales pipeline, information like this can be invaluable. Who better to sell to than those who have already been visiting your site? In the case of the client who helped me discover this, they found out someone at a major corporation had been viewing their web site regularly. Now, it could be anyone at that company and it could be for any number of reasons, but what it does indicate is that your web site has something they keep coming back for. When we reviewed the history of that company, they had visited almost every month for the past year. I’ve since started emailing out this page specifically as part of my monthly hosting report.

Too Much Information?

Depending on the amount of traffic your web site has, you may need to use the filter at the bottom of the listings (not pictured). You can either include or exclude words by using the “containing” or “excluding” drop-down, respectively. Use ‘pipes’ instead of spaces or commas to search or exclude multiple terms. For example, to exclude the most popular ISPs, you would write something like this:

verizon|comcast|road runner|embarq|sprint|bellsouth

Advanced Filter

For a more advanced Service Providers search, try the Advanced Filter. Click “Advanced Filter” next to the search box, which brings up the dimension “Service Provider” with the condition “Containing” and a blank value. That much is the same, so here is the ‘advanced’ part. If you want to contain one or more values (remember to use the pipes) and exclude others, add a second dimension for “Service Provider” and choose excluding and your search value.

But wait, there’s more. As you may have noticed, you can also add a metric for Visits, Pages/Visit, Avg. Time on Site, % New Visits, Bounce Rate, and Goals. When used together with Service Provider, you can seek and sort the visitors by number of visits, number of pages, and so on. This is a potentially very powerful sales tool and one that should not be overlooked in your web analytics.

IP Exclusion

If you want to exclude your own business or your webmaster’s business from Google Analytics, which can sometimes skew your data, use the IP exclusion feature. To do this, click on the “Edit” button for your site on the main profile page. On the “Profile Settings” page, scroll down the page until you see the box named “Filters Applied to Profile” (below goals). Click on the “Add Filter” link, and you’ll be taken to the “Create New Filter” page. Once there, put in the IP address(es) you want excluded and then click “Save Changes”. This will keep your business from being counted in Google Analytics. If you’re not sure what your IP address is, just Google, “What is my IP?”