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Real-time Business Dashboards

Author's avatar By Chris Soames 12 Sep, 2011
Essential Essential topic

Using the Geckoboard Business Dashboard for marketing

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Update - see Geckofuel

Since we published the post we have had some feedback that Geckoboard looks useful, but doesn't support social follower counts. Well it does, but by this separate additional (free) service Geockofuel. Geckoboard supports any custom data feeds in an XML format and offers many ways of then displaying that feed. The Geckofuel site has prebuilt some of these for additional services including Facebook and Twitter. You can see that you could also use this for your custom reporting.

Our commentary

We're seeing a new class of business or marketing dashboard now which are distinct from the web analytics systems like Google Analytics, Adobe/Omniture Site Catalyst and IBM Coremetrics.

These dashboards use the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces for automated data exchange) from different systems to integrate data from different systems. This makes it quicker to review what your marketing activities are delivered whether you are a company marketer looking at your own site, or a consultant or agency managing several sites.

Here I'll alert you to one service I've used that I'm familiar with, but  there are others from the likes of Dundas, Netsuite and Zoho to name but 3.

Geckoboard is a service from a UK-based startup I have used for 10 months now at First 10, for each client we work with we create a dashboard that we display constantly in our office and make available to clients.

Geckoboard allows you to pull in feeds from a variety of different services whether that is Google Analytics, your CRM, project management tool or sales system etc. It even has API's to allow you to plugin any custom data you may want to display. Its purpose is to give you a real-time health check of your business. It does this by how it displays the data & the restrictions it places on what data you can pull in. Due to the amount of data now available to people it is often to easy to get immersed and even lost in data that is not actionable.

To get an idead of the power of Geckoboard, these are some of the services we integrate through it's different APIs:

  • Web analytics - through Google Analytics API (Chartbeat and Mixpanel also supported)
  • Email marketing - MailChimp
  • CRM - Salesforce
  • Ecommerce - we used Magento often and sales figures are delivered through the Geckoboard API
  • Customer service - GetSatisfaction, Zendesk or Uservoice
  • Project management - Basecamp

Geckoboard allows you to monitor the important metrics & it will allow the right set of questions to be asked before then delving further into data. Perfect for agencies with lots of active clients or for people that maintain multiple websites.

Marketing implications

Giving you access to key metrics from anywhere & its ability to visualize data means GeckoBoard is a real time saver for businesses running multiple systems. The simplicity of the dashboard makes it something the entire business can make use of and in my opinion it should be shared with them. I find it quick to setup dashboards too - see this overview of GeckoBoard below:

Geckoboard status board: Introduction from Paul Joyce on Vimeo.

Do share any similar services you use and recommend to help other readers.

Author's avatar

By Chris Soames

Chris Soames is a Smart Insights blogger and consultant, he has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years with the last few years managing international web strategies for a leading travel brand. Now the Commercial Director at First 10, an Integrated marketing agency, he helps clients get clarity on their marketing strategy and create campaigns engineered to engage with their consumers to help drive sell-through. Most of all, Chris enjoys working with talented people who want to create great (& commercial) things not just tick boxes.

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