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Marketing Campaign Dashboards vs Marketing Reports: What’s the Difference?

CopyPress

Published: November 22, 2022

Your marketing campaigns are only as good as your reporting. Read that again. You can run a stellar marketing campaign your audience loves, but if you can’t figure out how it helps your brand goals, you’re missing a gigantic piece of the benefits. Today we’re looking at marketing campaign dashboards vs marketing reports to uncover which tool is right for your campaign reporting:

What Is a Marketing Campaign Dashboard?

A marketing campaign dashboard is a data visualization tool that brings together insights from all data sources for your brand’s ad campaigns. Marketing teams often use more than one marketing channel, or omnichannel marketing tactics, when launching their campaigns. This may be because campaigns that run on more than one channel see about a 287% higher purchase rate than those on just one channel.

Image from Omnisend showing omnichannel order rate, concept for marketing campaign dashboards.

Image via Omnisend

With multiple data streams for each campaign, you need a tool that lets you track all that information in one place. A marketing campaign dashboard does exactly that. It pulls data from each distinct platform and creates a comprehensive overview of the campaign. Instead of searching for data on each individual platform, your marketing team can go to one source and see everything they need.

Uses of a Marketing Campaign Dashboard

Marketing campaign dashboards are a helpful way of understanding what’s going on in your marketing department. They reflect up-to-date statistics about your business and display it in one place. With a dashboard, your team gets information about current campaigns at a glance by:

  • Viewing data easily: Dashboards collect live campaign data and present it in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Measuring KPIs: Creating a place where you track all your marketing KPIs lets you see how close your team is to meeting goals.
  • Drawing conclusions about marketing strategy: Using customizable filters, you can change how information displays on your dashboards to evaluate the best ways to carry out your marketing strategy.

Related reading: Digital Marketing Dashboards: What They Are and How To Use Them

What is a Marketing Report?

A marketing report summarizes specific data collection over a period. Marketing teams create reports that cover one specific element of data collection, such as the return on investment (ROI) of a campaign, or its impact on your brand goals. Marketing reports look at one metric as it spans multiple campaigns, content, or channels. These reports also include graphs, tables, and written sections that explain the findings in more detail. Often, your team can generate marketing reports from your campaign dashboards. Instead of creating tables, charts, and graphs yourself, you can explore the information directly from a dashboard into a report.

Uses of a Marketing Report

If your marketing department needs to communicate its campaign or strategy findings to management or another department, you’ll use a marketing report. These groups don’t need to see the real-time live data you get from a marketing campaign dashboard. Instead, they want to see a snapshot of the campaign frozen in time to learn what it says about the brand and the goals you’re trying to achieve.

These static documents allow you to include the exact information your audience is looking for. A great example of marketing reports is the “State of Marketing” documents companies release at the beginning or end of the year. At CopyPress, we’ve shared information about these documents in the past, like Credible Market Analytics’ Interactive Marketing Report in 2020.

Marketing Campaign Dashboards vs Marketing Reports

It’s easy to get marketing campaign dashboards and campaign reports confused. Both deal with marketing data connected to recent campaigns. But each one looks at and presents that data from different perspectives. Some fundamental differences when comparing marketing campaign dashboards to marketing reports include:

Timeliness

Campaign dashboards focus on data at the moment. Marketing reports focus on data from the past. Most marketing dashboards help your team get a live look at data as you’re collecting it. Campaign dashboards also let you go back and look at past data and compare that to the real-time metrics you’re collecting. In contrast, marketing reports freeze data in time. They show you a snapshot of campaign performance when it happened. The downside of using a report versus a campaign dashboard is that you have to create a new report for every snapshot you want to analyze.

Scope

The information you review on both dashboards and reports differs. Marketing campaign dashboards have a wide scope that lets you look at every designated metric for every campaign in one place. For example, if you’re running a social media marketing campaign, your dashboard shows metrics like total clicks, engagement, comments, and other relevant information.

In contrast, marketing reports focus on one of those metric areas across multiple campaigns or periods. Instead of looking at one marketing discipline, like social media marketing, your reports may look at engagement rates across campaigns for the last year. Reports help your team understand the change in campaign performance over time and what those changes mean for your brand.

Presentation Style

Marketing reports are in-depth singular documents. Depending on ‌your data or topic, each report could have a year’s worth of information or more inside. They also contain plenty of data visualizations, like charts and graphs, and paragraphs of copy to explain the data and any conclusions you drew from it.

Dashboards‌ run on your desktop or mobile screens. They serve as references for anytime you want to check in on your campaign performance. Dashboards have many filters and views to let you change how you see this data. Like reports, you can view charts, tables, and graphs to make the data easier to understand. But dashboards don’t draw any conclusions about the data. They simply present the metrics and facts in their raw, unexplored forms.

Distribution

Your internal marketing team is usually the only group that uses your campaign dashboard. It’s rare that anyone outside your department, even those who work for your company, needs to see the live data insights the dashboards bring. Marketing reports are for everyone. Not only do they help your team better understand correlations between time and data, but they help you prove points to people outside the department. You’re more likely to distribute marketing reports to management, the sales team, or even your target audience as content marketing materials or lead magnets.

Creating marketing reports as lead magnets is a great way to stay ahead of your competition, especially if a few of your direct competitors conduct unique industry research. To learn more about the content your competitors use to attract an audience, request your free content analysis report from CopyPress. This document shows how your content stacks up against your competitors and reveals areas where you can pull ahead in the eyes of your shared audience.

Which Tool Should Your Business Use?

The right tool for your team depends on the situation that you’re currently in. If you want insight into real-time information for more effective marketing performance management, a dashboard does exactly this. If your dashboard shows a campaign isn’t getting the response you want, you can jump in and tinker with some things.

For example, if a supervisor or a shareholder wants more information about your marketing department, it’s time to develop a report. While you could give them access to your marketing campaign dashboard, they might not know how to use it. Worse, if you give them unrestricted access, they might draw the wrong conclusions from raw data. Presenting a marketing report will allow you to chart a specific pathway.

Neither of these tools is more important than the other. We recommend that your marketing department uses both a marketing campaign dashboard and reporting tools when the situation calls for them. The more thorough and detailed you can be with your data tracking and reporting, the better.

Related reading: Choosing Marketing Dashboards for Performance Tracking

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