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Dashboards at Flite

We love data here at Flite. Last year the Cosmos team launched the Report Dashboard, which is an awesome tool that allows users to get a quick overview of their organization’s performance. Author and dashboard expert Stephen Few defines a dashboard as “a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance”. Flite Report Dashboard is packed with lots of insightful metrics and visualizations that can help our customers do things like determine if ads have been underperforming, track campaigns that are under-pacing, or show which videos are most engaging. The dashboard can also be customized to focus on the key metrics that are the most important to our customers.

During the design and development of the Report Dashboard we drew inspirations from many different sources. In addition to competitor products we looked at how non-Ad-Tech companies like FitBit, Strava, and New Relic designed their dashboards. We also pored over the endless number of dashboard and visualization demos on the web, drew from our past experiences and forays into reporting, and listened to our internal people as well as customers.

The team was determined to build an awesome dashboard. A few months and several gallons of coffee later, we released the first rev of Report Dashboard and the feedback quickly started rolling in. It was awesome hearing the positive feedback and it was even more interesting to get the stories behind how customers were actually using them.

So the team just built an awesome product, now what? At Flite, we iterate and iterate again. Report Dashboard is not “done”, there is still more to come, more work to do on it. If anything, this has only shown us that we took a small step down a correct but long path. I recently read an article by Andy Cotgreave – a visual analytics expert at Tableau – that discussed the reasons why “Dashboards that don’t evolve don’t get used”. It was somewhat reassuring to see that Report Dashboard had met most of the rigorous criteria he looks for in successful dashboards:

“Empower people to dive in and ask ad hoc questions on your dashboards”

Our dashboard allows users to “drill-in” by creating tabs so that they can see the details specific to their campaigns. The data is then presented in the context of the campaign and questions like “which Ads or Sites performed the best?” or “what is my current projected delivery going to be?”, can be answered at a glance.

“Provide access to data sources, not finished dashboards”

The Flite Report Studio is a tool that can be used to dive even deeper into the data. Although the data presented in the dashboard gives you a good general overview of things, there are definitely situations that require deeper analysis. I foresee having a robust metrics API to access the data with BI tools and integration with other systems soon.

“Change the data being collected as requirements change”

We understand that different users want to see different metrics and that is why the Report Dashboard is customizable. For example, you can choose to add Video and Clickthrough Widgets, or change charts to display Clickthrough Rates instead of Engagement Rates, or use bar graphs instead of line. In the future, we’ll be adding even more metrics and options such as viewablity rates to evolve with our customers’ changing needs.

Dashboards are a great tool that can help users work smarter by making better informed decisions, but they are only valuable if people continue to use them. In his article, Cotgreave points out the risk of creating a “dead-end dashboard”. No one wants a “dead-end dashboard”! This is probably why some managers roll their eyes when you pitch yet another dashboard to them. The dashboard looks bright and shiny for a few weeks and then gets brushed aside when it becomes dated and irrelevant. The Flite team is committed to doing things right and the Report Dashboard is no exception. I think there will be exciting things to come with Report Dashboard and hope to share them with you soon.