KPIs & metrics

How to Build a KPI Dashboard in 4 Easy Steps

To build a good KPI dashboard, you will need to perform data visualizations providing context to the data from many sources. While this may seem like a drag (especially if you use a large number of marketing platforms), having access to a great reporting and visualization tool helps to get it done quickly.

Whatagraph marketing reporting tool
Mile Zivkovic

Dec 31 2020 7 min read

How to Build a KPI Dashboard in 4 Easy Steps

Table of Contents

  • What is a KPI dashboard?
  • Reasons why you need a KPI dashboard
  • How to choose the right KPIs?
  • How to build a KPI dashboard with Whatagraph?
  • Step 1: Create an account
  • Step 2: Connect your data sources
  • Step 3: Smart builder for first-time users
  • Step 4: Use KPI dashboard templates
  • Extra tips for creating KPI dashboards
  • Create your first KPI dashboard today

What is a KPI dashboard?

A KPI dashboard is a business intelligence tool for a quick analysis of key performance indicators. Ideally, all these KPIs are displayed in a single dashboard. However, such KPI dashboards can also be built for individual channels and campaigns.

KPI dashboards are used for on-the-spot analysis for situational awareness. They can indicate performance dips and peaks and point to actions that need to be taken. Marketing agencies use these KPI dashboards for everyday observation of their channel performance. The audience for these dashboards is company stakeholders who need to review the most important marketing metrics in a single place.

Example: Here, you can see a dashboard for Google Ads. The goals for the period are indicated on the left, while the primary KPIs - the conversion rate, cost per click (CPC) and the number of conversions - are at the top. It's also important to see trends over time, especially how CPC influences the number of conversions.

Google operational dashboard

Reasons why you need a KPI dashboard

If you’re not fully convinced, here are some reasons why a KPI dashboard will improve your reporting processes and delight your clients or managers.

They improve your data management processes. Building a KPI dashboard provides an opportunity to organize, filter out, visualize, report and analyze many data sets. The best KPI dashboards builders bring all the data points together and give you the tools to drill down all that chaotic data into an easy-to-understand format.

They let you have a better decision-making process. KPI dashboards are needed to make data-driven business decisions. Whether it's a decision on overall marketing strategy or everyday insights for channel performance - you need these dashboards to keep a close track of your business objectives.

They foster teamwork. Each team and individual in an agency will have their own KPIs. All KPI owners should have direct access to the performance information, bringing all teams together towards a common goal that can be tracked in one KPI report.

They let you do real-time analysis. Tracking KPIs in real-time will help make informed decisions quickly. Such a method will also help improve performance and ROI on the spot if needed. All decisions are made faster with real-time data on well-built KPI dashboards.

They let you see trends and opportunities. With real-time data, improved performance and teamwork, a KPI dashboard can also show trends and opportunities that were not utilized. For example, there may be keywords you haven't ranked on yet or paid media opportunities you have missed.

They allow you to do forecasting. Good marketers can forecast what is going to happen in the future based on the current marketing results. That way, businesses can make data-driven decisions faster.

How to choose the right KPIs?

Every key performance indicator must correlate with your objectives. Whether the revenue for an entire company, engagement for social media or the number of leads - align your KPIs to your business needs.

The high-level KPIs for business goals are:

  • Annual contract value (ACV) for B2B businesses;
  • The transaction value of B2C;
  • The customer churn rate for customer success teams;
  • Return on investment (ROI).

These strategic KPIs will always be necessary for marketing, sales department, customer services and the executive team. But the strategy is achieved through operations, and here are some operational KPIs that each team and channel owner can use in their KPI dashboards:

  • The number of leads;
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA);
  • Advertising spend;
  • The number of transactions;
  • Total and average revenue;
  • The number of sessions on-site;
  • The number of goal completions;
  • Number of transactions;
  • Average order value (AOV);
  • and other important metrics.

You can find more great advice on KPI tracking on our blog.

How to build a KPI dashboard with Whatagraph?

To build a KPI dashboard with Whatagraph, you will need to follow a few simple steps.

Step 1: Create an account

Select Try it Free at the top right corner. You will get a short registration form, giving you access to a full seven days of free trial to build your first KPI dashboards. Expect a call from Whatagraph's Partnership Development Executives to provide you with more detailed instructions on using the platform.

Registration form for Whatagraph

Step 2: Connect your data sources

To build a KPI dashboard for agencies, you will need up-to-date and accurate data from all your data sources. Software solutions like Whatagraph allow you to create an effective dashboard by connecting data sources directly to the platform. Select your desired channels from a list of 40+ options, connect to that channel's account while on Whatagraph, and you're all set.

Data source selection on Whatagraph

Remember that you can also import data via Google Sheets or request custom integrations via Whatagraph's public API.

Step 3: Smart builder for first-time users

KPI dashboard software can be notoriously tricky to implement and learn. That's why the Smart Builder by Whatagraph is an excellent place to start.

It's a 2-step process of selecting one or several data sources and the KPIs you want to measure. Then the platform generates a KPI dashboard within 1 minute.

Smart Builder by Whatagraph

While the choices of data sources are not as extensive as using a template (described below) or building a KPI dashboard from scratch, Smart Builder has the six most popular data channels and a good number of essential KPIs to start with.

Step 4: Use KPI dashboard templates

Another good way to build a KPI dashboard is to use a template. Not only will this give a good stepping stone to start with, but it will also speed up building all KPI dashboards, now and in the future. With Whatagraph, several KPI dashboard examples are the most popular among users.

Our dashboard templates let you choose from a wide number of visualizations for your marketing dashboards. For example, graphs, pie charts, bar charts, line charts, tables and other types of widgets. Think Excel, but many times better. You don’t have to struggle to find these on your own - they are available in our template library with each template.

PPC dashboard

Here we have a consolidated PPC dashboard from three different paid media sources: Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads and Google Ads. You can track changes in conversions, customer acquisition cost, budget spend, total costs, and many other marketing KPIs on a single screen. Here you also can see how goal progression is going - all in the same KPI dashboard.

Consolidated PPC dashboard by Whatagraph

SEO dashboard

The performance of the organic marketing channels is also crucial in most marketing strategies. With a strategic dashboard like this, you can track data from Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Ahrefs (or Semrush). With this data, you can see the changes in organic traffic over time, identify opportunities and track how many goal completions your organic marketing efforts are bringing. As with the PPC dashboard, the SEO dashboard also provides goal tracking for a given period. You can use it to make better decisions in your future SEO campaigns.

SEO dashboard by Whatagraph

Social media dashboard

Social media is one of the most popular marketing channels. Tracking each channel is crucial, but it's just as important to follow all consolidated social media channels on a strategic level. In this example, you can see data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. This KPI dashboard focuses on goal completions and target audience information, providing detailed information on changes in these areas.

Consolidated social media dashboard by Whatagraph

Ecommerce Dashboard

eCommerce is arguably the most complex dashboard to communicate performance. There are a lot of important KPIs to show the exact success or failure of eCommerce marketing. In this example, data is coming from Google Analytics and Shopify. With Whatagraph, it's also possible to plug in data directly from BigCommerce or WooCommerce. The dashboard shows goal completions, total revenue, revenue vs advertising costs, number of sessions, transactions and other business metrics.

eCommerce monitoring dashboard by Whatagraph

Extra tips for creating KPI dashboards

When creating dashboards, make sure to keep in mind these best dashboard building practices:

  • Keep it short and straightforward: show actual results and not vanity metrics;
  • Choose the design and background colors that are easy on the eye. Read this dashboard design guide for more information;
  • Accumulate as much historical data as possible to look for trends and opportunities;
  • Use your dashboard regularly and keep improving it for better results.

Your key performance indicator dashboard is meant to help you monitor everyday performance. Make it your primary tool for success!

Create your first KPI dashboard today

Wondering how to create an amazing KPI dashboard with all the most important metrics and looks great simultaneously? No need to wonder anymore, just sign up for your free trial of Whatagraph. Connect your data sources, use a dashboard template and your next KPI dashboard is done in 5 minutes!

Published on Dec 31 2020

Whatagraph marketing reporting tool


Mile Zivkovic

Mile is the head of content at Whatagraph in charge of all content and communications for Whatagraph’s marketing data platform. A marketing heavy with almost a decade of SaaS industry experience, Mile has managed multiple content marketing teams without losing an ounce of his writing passion. The author behind some of the most-read pieces on our blog.