Marketing analytics & reporting

What Is a Real Time Dashboard and Why Is It Useful?

A real-time dashboard is used to track, analyze, and report on data in real-time with the help of data visualizations. It is automatically updated and grants instant access to valuable data.

Whatagraph marketing reporting tool
Gintaras Baltusevičius

Apr 17 2020 2 min read

Whatagraph marketing reporting tool

Table of Contents

  • A Real-Time Dashboard – Why Is It Important?
  • How to Create a Great Real-Time Dashboard?
  • What Is a Real-Time Update?

The data visualizations used in the dashboard provide a combination of real-time and historic data that’s necessary for monitoring efficiency and recognizing emerging trends.

This dashboard generally contains time-sensitive data, such as sales numbers, operational data, and inventory-related figures.

Real-time dashboards may not be crucial for financial strategies monitoring key performance indicators over the long run, but they are important for marketing and sales teams that track hourly and daily performance metrics.

A Real-Time Dashboard – Why Is It Important?

The two main functions of dashboards are alerting and responding. A real-time dashboard allows you to see the most important numbers right in front of you.

This is useful for e-commerce businesses that need to know if the sales are at the level they want them to be. It can also tell if the website is responsive to users.

A real-time dashboard allows part suppliers to see if the ships and trains run on time and bring in raw material in bulk, or if the finished goods are carried to the market.

A well-created real-time dashboard shows if businesses are working as they should. It shows the flow of orders and how it compares to a month or year ago. If the dashboard indicates a problem, query support helps you to investigate if the problem is real or if it’s an opportunity.

How to Create a Great Real-Time Dashboard?

In the past, if we wanted to see real-time statistics we would refresh the dashboard over and over again to check for new updates.

Today, however, you can use a real-time dashboard software that will update visualizations automatically with the most current data available.

You can also use alternatives to real-time dashboards, such as the live reports offered by Whatagraph.

live reports example

Things to keep in mind when creating real-time dashboards include:

  • Audience - who is going to use your dashboard first? Dashboards depend on the audience, so if you’re creating one for executives, make sure you include a high-level overview of key performance indicators.
  • Story – make sure your audience understands what they see in the dashboard, so present your content as a meaningful story. Don’t just tell the facts, but make sure you present them clearly and understandably.
  • Action – the purpose of real-time dashboards is not just to present facts and figures, but to inform and act upon. After all, what people remember is your key actionable message.

What Is a Real-Time Update?

It is presenting data right after it has been collected or entered. There’s practically no delay between the time the information was created and the time it’s presented in your real-time dashboard.

Having access to real-time data doesn’t mean you have to look at it every minute, but have access to the critical information you or your team needs at any point to make smart decisions for your business.

Published on Apr 17 2020

Whatagraph marketing reporting tool


Gintaras Baltusevičius

Gintaras is an experienced marketing professional who is always eager to explore the most up-to-date issues in data marketing. Having worked as an SEO manager at several companies, he's a valuable addition to the Whatagraph writers' pool.