Marketing Pacing Dashboard

What is Marketing Pacing Dashboard?

Marketing pacing dashboard or report is when a marketing manager compares their monthly or campaign budget to what they have spent and they see how much is left. By using a pacing calculation, they can determine if they need to increase marketing spend or decrease it to make sure they are within budget. This is increasingly important as marketing tools set budgets based on the daily. It is even more difficult to do when you are pacing against your campaigns or multiple campaigns within an account. When you are managing one or two budgets, doing so by calculator or excel is easy, however, if you are a marketing agency managing multiple clients and multiple campaigns in multiple marketing platforms, this becomes a daily job of some poor marketing analyst. However, with marketing intelligence company such as StrategicDB you can automate the calculations where the decisions can be provided to you.

Important questions to ask prior to starting your pacing dashboard

A Datorama data scientist is often asked what calculations are used when developing a marketing pacing dashboard. To answer the question, we must first ask a few questions which all start on how you want to track spend against your budget. Most often asked questions for marketing pacing:

  • Are you tracking marketing budgets based on a calendar month?
  • Are there specific timeframes that the campaign(s) are running?
  • Do you need to exclude holidays or weekends from pacing, because it would skew results?
  • Is yesterdays spend important to your calculation or is average daily spend to date a good enough metric?

The truth behind yesterday’s spend on marketing pacing report

Why do marketers use yesterdays spend as a key component to calculating your pacing? The reason is if you have paused a campaign or if spend increase as marketing channels such as Google Ads is ramping up, it will give you an indication of what to expect today and going forward. While a useful metric to display, it is advised against using it for estimation of daily average spend. This is especially true for products or services which have seasonality throughout the week. For example, if you are a medical software company running google search ads, you may have very little impressions and therefore cost during weekends. Or perhaps you are a museum which is closed on Monday, making your Tuesday’s yesterday’s spend being a fraction of what it would normally be while the museum is open. Therefore, we recommend you use the average spend in the last 7 days as your estimate of daily spend when calculating your pacing document.

What time frame do you use?

Most marketing teams work on either a fiscal year, a monthly budget or a campaign duration. For example, if you running special campaigns during the  holidays, your pacing dashboard for those campaigns will be different compared to running on-going campaigns throughout the year, such as branded keyword campaigns (if we are talking Google Ads).  Therefore, your starting point is to establish the maximum days in your campaign and having a running calculation of maximum date minus today when looking at how many days left in the campaign.

What calculations/metrics?

  1. Add Data Streams: To start building you marketing pacing dashboard, a marketing cloud intelligence agency typically begins with brining in sources of marketing spend. These includes channels such as Facebook, Google Ads, TikTok, etc… As well as connecting your budgets, while you can put your goals directly into Datorama we advise our clients to keep those budget in Google Sheets or link to Excel as budget tend to change and this way the dashboard can be automated once you update the budget in your google sheet.
  2. Calculation: The second part of your marketing packing built in Datorama is to create the following custom calculations:
    1. Available Budget: Budget – Marketing Spend
      1. % of Available Budget Left = Marketing Spend/Budget
      1. Days Left in Budget = Max Date on Budget – Yesterday’s Date
      1. Daily Recommended Spend = (Budget – Spend)/ # of Days Left on Budget
      1. Avg. 7 Days = Last 7 Days/7
      1. Project Spend = (Cost +Avg. 7 Days) * Days left on Budget

What widgets to use for marketing pacing?

Datorama marketing data scientist tend to use a simple table or a heat table. You can use goals or other widgets, but a simple table would do the work. Ideally you would have a conditional format for the daily recommended spend. If positive then you can have it in green or red for negative, we typically put a buffer of 1-2% to indicate no issues.

We typically advise on top of the table to have a bar graph identifying spend per day so you can see if the trend is increasing or decrease on a daily, or if there are odd spikes on certain days. This visualization is often helpful in quickly identifying problems and ensuring spend is consistent throughout your campaign.

How often should you update your pacing dashboard?

Once a Marketing Cloud Intelligence engineer builds your pacing document, you should only update it when:

  • New campaigns are created.
  • Budgets change.

As a marketer we recommend you start your day by checking the pacing document to see if any campaigns/channels should be updated in the system. Alternatively, you can set-up alerts in Datorama to notify you by email when the spend inside a campaign/channel should be updated if it gets to a certain threshold. You should also set-up alerts if the spend is higher or lower by a certain percentage to the day before in order to identify any spikes in spend which sometimes occur.

How to read a Marketing Pacing Report?

Understanding your marketing pacing dashboard is key to success in managing your marketing budget. Start by verifying that the budget and cost are correct when you first build your dashboard or receive it from a Datorama Data Engineer. After verification, see how many days left on a budget and what percentage of the budget was already spent. Followed by identifying if you need to increase or decrease the spend. Prior to adjusting the spend, look at yesterday’s spend to understand if it is still spending, if there was so odd activity. Looking at a bar graph is helpful as well, as it can help identify any issues throughout the campaign’s date range. Finally, adjust as needed in the platforms and keep an eye out for alerts or dashboard to ensure you are hitting your spend.

Cost of building a marketing pacing dashboard in marketing cloud intelligence

The cost to build a pacing report in Datorama is relative to a few variables. How many budgets you are tracking, with how many channels and is it tracked by campaign, time-frame or both. For example, the cost of a simple pacing dashboard in marketing intelligence cloud with budget tracking on an account level with a few channels will probably cost $500-$1,500 to implement a marketing cloud intelligence engineer. However, if you are tracking by campaign level which is across multiple channels, that could cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 to implement. For marketing agencies that are running multiple accounts, broken by different time frames, with multiple channels the cost is typically in upward of $5,000. While the price may seem like a high price-tag, keep in mind that this will save your marketing team a lot of time to focus on what matter which is optimizing for campaign performance, developing content, and catering to your clients.

How to build a marketing pacing report with Datorama?

To start building your marketing pacing dashboard you can start by connecting your sources, followed by creating customized metrics, visualizing in a table format, formatting conditional formatting and scheduling alerts. Alternatively, you can hire a Datorama Agency that specializes in marketing dashboards, such as StrategicDB.

About StrategicDB

StrategicDB is a Datorama Marketing Cloud Intelligence Company which specializes in marketing analytics. We have data scientists, Datorama engineers and marketers who understand data, how to tell the story and what KPIs matter to CMOs and marketing specialists alike. We have worked with big agencies and small marketing agencies as well as Fortune 500 companies and small start-ups to build marketing pacing reports, executive dashboards, fix a failed Datorama implementation, clean the number of rows in order to save on Marketing Cloud Intelligence’s cost. We work on a project or hourly rate on both small and large projects, so do contact us if you need any help at all no matter how small or large, we will be happy to help!