Creating your agency health check dashboard

Published May 14 2024 Last updated May 17 2024 5 minute read
agency health
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  • Christopher Van Mossevelde
    Written by Christopher Van Mossevelde

    Head of Content at Funnel, Chris has 20+ years of experience in marketing and communications.

  • Julian Modiano
    Reviewed by Julian Modiano

    Co-founder and CEO at Acuto, a company that builds data and automation solutions tailored to agencies

Christopher Van Mossevelde Julian Modiano
Christopher Van Mossevelde Julian Modiano

Digital marketing is a fast-paced environment that changes frequently. To stay ahead, a marketing agency needs to effectively manage multiple campaigns across different clients and ad networks. One way to accomplish this is by creating an agency-wide health check dashboard. 

Julian Modiano is the CEO of Acuto, a company specializing in creating customized data and automation solutions for marketing agencies. In a recent discussion with Funnel, he explained the process of implementing a health check dashboard and why it is crucial for every marketing agency to have one.

Julian Modiano, founder and CEO of Acuto

Benefits of an agency dashboard

A well-implemented health check dashboard offers numerous benefits that can be valuable for any type of marketing agency. According to Julian, the biggest benefits are: 

  • Saving time by automating the monitoring and reporting processes
  • Increasing ROI by quickly identifying and correcting costly errors 
  • Enhancing business intelligence by providing a unified view of data 
  • Boosting client satisfaction by improving campaign performance 

In short, these dashboards provide “an overview of each client's operations, enabling agency teams to identify areas of concern and guide them in their strategic decisions,” said Julian.  

How do you create your agency dashboard? 

Acuto develops these comprehensive health check dashboards by helping agencies integrate all their clients’ channel data and other information. 

Quite simply, Acuto uses Funnel to connect multiple data sources to a single data warehouse. They can also create custom solutions to accurately pull budget data from multiple sheets into a single BigQuery table.

Yet, despite it being in the realm of possibility, many agencies still lack this capability. 

Understanding the need for an agency-wide dashboard

Many agencies still struggle with the challenge of data silos, according to Julian. 

“This is a significant issue as it is difficult for any agency to comprehensively understand performance across their clients' various channels without a unified view of all client data,” he said. 

As he points out, this lack of visibility can lead to inefficiencies, undetected errors, and missed opportunities for optimization.  

However, with the help of Acuto and data pulled from Funnel, agencies can realize their health check dashboard. This dashboard shows aggregated data from all sources taken from a single platform, solving the problem of data silos.

From here, this dashboard allows the agency to:

  • Have a holistic view of agency performance
  • Identify trends
  • Spot areas that require attention or fixing

The benefits of having one are hopefully clear, but what else does one need to do to create one?

Julian provided us with a high-level explanation of the process.

1. Consolidate all your client data 

Begin by integrating all of your clients’ data, campaigns and ad networks into a central data warehouse. 

As mentioned above, this step is crucial for breaking down silos and ensuring all your client data is normalized and accessible to everyone in your organization.

2. Set up your automated checks and alerts

Once all your data is consolidated in one central place, you must implement automated checks for common issues such as: 

  1. Overspending
  2. Low-quality scores
  3. Underperforming campaigns.

The above are just some examples. It’s important here to define what metrics and KPIs are crucial for your specific agency and set up alerts for when these metrics fall outside acceptable ranges.

3. Create custom views and segmentations for various agency roles 

To make the dashboard useful for your teams, it’s essential to create views allowing for data segmentation and exploration. 

Your dashboard must cater to the different roles and needs within your organization. Within most agencies, there will be different slices and dices of the same data set for:  

  • Account managers
  • Clients 
  • Teams
  • Industry verticals 

This customization enables teams to quickly identify issues and opportunities at granular and more detailed levels.

4. Choose an interactive dashboard solution

Closely linked to step three is choosing the right sort of dashboard tool to support drill-downs and filtering. 

Again, this is critical as it will allow teams to easily navigate through data and focus on specific areas of interest. 

With that said data exploration and investigation will help teams find the answers to or causes of higher-level problems or issues that need to be fixed.  

Key components to include in your agency dashboard

Acuto’s CEO then described this holistic approach to agency dashboard design in more detail and provided concrete examples in each case. 

Top-level metrics overview 

Include top-level metrics in your dashboard, such as overall spend, conversions and ROAS, to give your managers a concise snapshot of overall agency performance. 

For example, Julian pointed out that an agency might have certain rules about ad copy. To ensure these rules are followed, one could look through the dashboard to see cases that aren’t enforced. This will also allow the manager to understand if it’s just an occasional issue or a systematic one that would indicate more training is required for the team on the agency's best practices. 

“Every agency is unique, so relying on out-of-the-box solutions or platform recommendations is often not possible,” said Julian. 

Drill-down capabilities

Ensure the dashboard allows your team to drill down into specific data points, from the overall agency level to individual client accounts, campaigns, and ad groups. 

According to Julian, it’s quite common for clients to be unhappy with a campaign's results. By using the dashboard's drill-down capabilities, an agency’s account managers can quickly find out which campaign was underperforming. From there, the team can analyze its targeting parameters and ad creatives and implement targeted optimizations to improve results. 

Error tracking and insights 

Incorporate a system for tracking errors and potential issues, along with insights on how to address them. This could range from overspending alerts to recommendations for ad optimization. 

“Imagine a scenario where an overspending alert is triggered for a client's campaign,” said Julian. “When taking a closer look, the team can discover that the campaign's budget allocation is skewed towards less profitable ad sets, resulting in inefficient spend distribution.” 

With this insight, managers can reallocate budget resources to high-performing ad sets, which in turn maximizes ROI and campaign effectiveness. 

Custom alerts and notifications 

Set up customizable alerts to notify team members of critical issues or successes, ensuring timely responses to challenges and opportunities. 

Julian provided another concrete example of how this would work in practice: 

“If a custom alert notifies the team of a sudden surge in traffic for a somewhat random keyword following the launch of a new ad campaign," he said. "For example, your team would promptly investigate and ensure no wasted spend on what was either a mistake or an unexpected outcome of a keyword strategy.”

Case example: Primal

Primal, one of Thailand's largest digital marketing agencies, faced a common problem that many other agencies also face. They could not obtain a comprehensive view of where their teams were struggling the most.

“This is because most agencies do not combine all of their data into a single data warehouse, making it difficult to get a complete picture,” said Julian. 

Although it is possible to examine recommendations on platforms such as Google or Facebook at the account level, according to Julian’s experience, it is very hard to determine if the team is facing recurring problems with a specific recommendation or not. 

“Many problems remain unnoticed for extended periods due to managers only catching occasional glimpses of them and addressing these as ad hoc instead of systemic,” said Julian.

With Funnel's help, Acuto implemented an automated health check dashboard for Primal to plan their tasks more efficiently and identify hidden errors to increase delivery speeds. This enabled account managers to make better data-driven decisions and improve performance. 

“The dashboard also offered a comprehensive view of the agency's operations, allowing managers to swiftly identify and prioritize errors based on prevalence. It even allowed for data segmentation by industry vertical, facilitating quick access to industry-specific metrics and benchmarks, such as the average Facebook Ads CPC in the fashion industry,” said Julian. 

That's a wrap

Acuto believes that by integrating data from every part of your agency, automating key processes, and providing actionable insights, most marketing agencies can solve hidden issues and unlock new opportunities for growth.

Julian suggests that the goal should not be just collecting data, but using it to make informed decisions and improve performance. Developing an agency-wide health check dashboard goes beyond just using technology; it requires creating a culture of continuous improvement and strategic insight.

In this complex world of digital advertising, where success depends on a delicate balance of strategy and insight, an effective dashboard can serve as a guiding light for your teams, helping them make better decisions with clarity.

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