Do endless amounts of marketing data piled on your desk loom over you? Do you fear the danger of a world in which your marketing efforts get lost in the shadows? Are you a CMO who lies awake at night stricken by the threat of the competition? Well then, have no fear, Captain Dash is here!
Captain Dash collects all your online marketing data in the form of dashboards and widgets to give you quick insights into the effectiveness of your strategies. It also provides a way to compare yourself with and keep a leg up on the competition. So, will it help provide a boost to your marketing strategy? Read on to find out.
Get Your Superpowers
Upon opening the app you’re greeted with a fun animated video introduction, much like the opening to a Saturday morning cartoon, touting the tools that Captain Dash provides for managing thousands of media channels and thus “giving superpowers to the CMO.” I must admit, it’s probably the best introduction to an app I’ve ever seen and it immediately set it apart in my mind.
On a side note, the character of Captain Dash does seem quite “dashing” (pun intended) as you would expect from a marketing superhero. For some reason I don’t think of marketers as the mysterious Dark Knight type (he doesn’t have superpowers anyway). But I digress…
Following the video is a series of brief tutorial slides that would help me get up and running within minutes. I was beginning to feel empowered already and I hadn’t even done anything yet.
The app is split into four sections. The Cockpit shows your dashboards, Explorer is where you view more in depth data information, the Engine shows and helps you manage your sources, and Me is your account information. Different data sources are organized on dashboards. Each dashboard can have multiple data sources for information that is similar and for comparison.
You can also create multiple dashboards. For example, someone who works for two companies in two different sectors could keep the information and competitors for each separate by organizing them onto two different dashboards. To get started the plus button is your access to everything. Use it to add a dashboard or connect a new data source.
You can tap the captain dash logo in the upper left corner to get more tips on how to use the app.
Learning the Ropes
After creating your dashboards the next step is to connect data sources. You can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics, Foursquare and Atlas. I was little surprised that platforms like Pinterest and Instagram weren’t included as they’ve gained a lot of interest from marketers in the last two years. Hopefully, the developers are looking to add more sources in the near future. Connecting a data source is pretty straightforward, but does take a little time to load once you’ve authorized the action (as long as 2 minutes).
Now you can decide which widgets to add for your various data sources. Each widget tracks a different statistic such as likes, reach, people talking about, views, etc. These are all arranged in a grid on your dashboard among graphic representations of your awesomeness like a superhero kissing the rescued damsel in distress and Captain Dash overlooking the city.
Tapping a widget brings up more details and allows you to star it for easier accessibility, change any settings, and explains the specifics of what the widget is tracking. From there you can tap the explore button to see a bigger graphic representation of each separate widget.
Drag and drop widgets to rearrange them any way you’d like.
While the Facebook stats seemed pretty detailed I found the Twitter stats to be lacking and sometimes deceiving. For instance, a bar graph showed that each month had the same number of mentions but tapping on each bar brought up different numbers for each month.
In the explorer tab swipe with one finger to view values and two fingers to go back in time and see more of your history.
Sizing Up the Competition
As I mentioned in the introduction, one of the most useful features of Captain Dash is the ability to compare yourself with the competition. When adding a data source you’re given the choice between public and private sources. Private sources are to look at your own information and public sources are to add other companies for comparison. For the sake of trying out the app I decided to add the Facebook page for the iconic brand Coca-Cola.
Unfortunately, Coca-Cola’s data availability was limited to just two categories – likes and people talking about. Whereas, my company’s Facebook page gave me information in seven different categories and my personal Twitter account had nine options. I’m guessing this is because I own the one page and not the other, so I don’t have access to as much information. However, this did make it a little harder to compare apples to apples.
To make sure it wasn’t just the Coca-Cola page, I then tried connecting to ESPN’s Facebook page, but unfortunately it was the same result. So, while this feature is touted by the makers of Captain Dash, it definitely needs more work to be really useful.
You can pin a specific widget exploration to your dashboard as a way of setting it apart and making it easy to see on its own.
Overcoming Data Dysfunction?
My favorite part of Captain Dash was the personality that its developers incorporated. From the animated introduction and Captain Dash character, to the inclusion of the phrase “one button to add them all” to describe the plus button as an ode to the Lord of the Rings, the app oozes wit and character.
As fun as that all is, right now it feels more like style over substance. Don’t get me wrong, it does a great job of giving an overview of your own personal and company stats. However, in order for Captain Dash to be really useful, there needs to be more sources to choose from and more competitor data available. Those two things prevented me from giving the app a higher rating.
But I will say this, reviewing this app brought to mind the age old question, “If you could have one superpower, which would you choose?” My choice would be the ability to fly, what about you?