How a Dashboard, Cyfe, Gave us Back our Time

May 19, 2016

Data collection and its analysis is the backbone of any successful marketing strategy. Engagement rates, conversions, demographics all determine how, when, and where a campaign thrives.

Every time we’ve launched a new campaign we carefully and constantly monitor numbers, compare them, and adjust accordingly.  This is an exhausting process of logging into each and every one of the outlets we monitor, downloading data into excel, creating charts, and eventually creating reports.  Every marketer knows reports are our bread and butter, the thing that proves to our clients that we’re doing a good job. Some agencies have people dedicated to this, and some people love to pour themselves over the data and feel at home using Excel.  As a small boutique agency, we think we’d rather spend time on more creative pursuits, and coming up with killer campaigns for our clients.

In short, our bloodshot eyes from looking at Excel spreadsheets needed a solution, and after looking at many different options, we found the tool that gave us back our time. Cyfe is a dashboard creation online tool which scrapes data from social media, paid digital ads, Google Analytics and Adwords, accounting software, CRM’s, and much more, and displays it in a neat and organized graphic which you can then arrange in unlimited customized dashboards. It allows you to create different widgets and specify what type of data you’re looking for in many different ways. It is very affordable, at $19 a month, and it’s based in New England like us! Double win. Also, for those of you who want to get a little fancy, with this tool you can link up almost anything that would require data collection and analysis, by means of setting up a push API and even google docs integration.

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We have multiple dashboards for each of our clients and ourselves, complete with customized backgrounds and logos – a neat addition to the site’s features. However, as visual people, it has to be said, Cyfe leaves something to be desired. Although you can customize the dashboards to some extent, it doesn’t generate the clean and minimalistic reports that say, a tool like Sprout Social does, and our options and color palettes are limited. The design is neat, but it could stand for a more stylized look; so that we could create more visually stunning reports for our clients, right from Cyfe. As it is now we still have to create our own charts to adapt them to our presentations and reports.

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Besides the visual design aspect, it has other limitations. Finding the correct Bitly to track is no easy feat; Facebook events can’t be monitored; and widgets only allow for one set of insights at a time, making the user need a large number of widgets, instead of being able to tweak data types and ranges on the same one (by ways of for example, a pull-down menu). Oh,  and Instagram doesn’t completely link up, but that’s because nobody can successfully scrape past data, not even the old fashioned way, thanks Facebook (hopefully until now.)

In essence, no application can replace the work of a living human, but it can certainly make life easier. In our experience, Cyfe has freed up valuable time we can now use generating ideas instead of reports.