Argos Dashboard

Helping The Daily Beast understand their content

The Daily Beast, like most online publishers, makes much of its revenue through ads, an increasing volume of which are sponsored content.

To report the quality and performance of their campaigns, salespeople at the Daily Beast gathered data from a handful of analytics platforms, manually compose charts in Excel, and sent PowerPoint decks to their clients.

Existing tools–like Parsely, Google Analytics and Chartbeat–weren’t doing the job. The Daily Beast required a tool that would allow the sales team to easily monitor sponsored content components and also allow the advertisers to quickly see a campaign’s status in real time.

Project Goals

  • Create a single tool to provide analytics to external advertisers as well as internal sales and marketing teams.
  • Generate automatic real-time reports for advertisers
  • Bring all analytics into a single dashboard
  • Make the dashboard accessible to all types of users, regardless of disabilities

Design

  • Responsive UI design
  • User testing
  • Branding
  • Accessibility optimization

Tech

  • MongoDB back-end
  • React front-end
  • API creation & integration

What We Did

We worked with a team of product managers at The Daily Beast to build a tool with the express purpose of measuring sponsored content. Naturally, this tool also drove sales, marketing, and editorial contributions. We named it Argos, after a hundred-eyed giant of Greek mythology.

Getting Data

Early iterations of Argos used the company’s existing third-party analytics tools to collect user data. Testing and iteration revealed that these APIs were too unreliable for our needs, requiring us to build workarounds in order to acquire the data we needed.

Ultimately, we built an Argos-specific data-gathering beacon. The extensibility, immediacy, and reliability of the API we developed far outweighed the complex code it required.

Designing the Interface

Argos users are marketing managers and advertisers who need to glean relevant information quickly and often. Early on, we hoped to reduce complexity by color-coding the data: engagement, acquisition, outbound, and overall metrics were each given different hues. However, after repeated testing, we found that these colors were more confusing than clarifying. Now, we challenge ourselves to include universal symbols and explanatory text with every use of color.

By reducing our reliance on color as an organizing device, we improved user comprehension and made the data consistently accessible to users with color blindness Matt Ström, Designer

By playing to the strength of the scoring formulas devised by The Daily Beast, we were able to display historical trends, global averages, local insights, and up-to-the-minute totals together in a very small space.

Our testing showed that short-term changes and the most recent data were sufficient to provide the users with everything they needed. In radically simplifying our diagrams, we made it easier to understand those details.

Response

“Planetary helped us turn a vague idea into a polished product that our sales team uses everyday. I can’t say enough good things about working with them.”
Charlie Serotoff, Head of Product at the Daily Beast

Conclusion

By partnering with our client’s product team, talking to users, and making incremental improvements every step of the way, we create a custom tool that served both advertisers and publishers better than any other tool.