A Guide to Data Visualization for Marketers. Data is life. It’s a vital piece for your business growth. To make informed decisions, you need data. But what’s the use for data without compelling visuals? All the hard work that goes into gathering such data using different techniques will amount to nothing. You will merely be looking at some numbers — and that does not guarantee results.
Regardless of who your presentations are for, you’ve got to present your data in a compelling way that makes sense to your audience. Speaking of compelling data presentation, here are ways of using data visualization in your marketing.
How to engage your audience using data visualization:
Regardless of your level of expertise in marketing, you would likely deal with lots of data. With data visualization, you get to easily communicate such data with your audience. Data visualization is a technique that uses visual elements to tell a compelling story. This way, the data becomes easily accessible and more engaging.
As a marketer, data visualization can help you to:
- Create content like social media posts, reports, blog posts, ebooks, and presentations. It makes the content more engaging for users.
- Monitor outliers, patterns, and trends.
- Reinforce an opinion or argument.
- Make informed business decisions.
Moving on, here are effective ways of data visualization to help you engage and communicate with your audience more effectively.
1. Identify the primary goal
There is a lot of data available today, but translating this data into actionable insights seems to be an issue for most people. Before the beginning of any visualization, you’ve got to offer answers to questions like.
- What’s the primary goal for the visualization?
- Who is your target audience?
- What data points resonate with your audience?
As a general rule of thumb, your visuals should be focused on your primary goal. This way, the presentation will be less crowded, and you would be less likely to confuse your readers.
For instance, if you’re presenting a report of your company’s social media performance to the senior management team, you’ve got to avoid showing vanity metrics such as likes. Metrics, like leads generated, will be much more beneficial to them.
2. Use the Right Data Visualization Type
You have a good grasp of the story you would share with your audience. That’s good, but you’ve got to take it a step forward by using the right data visualization type. The right visual will help you communicate your idea more effectively.
If you are new, here are some data visualization types you should know.
- Charts: It helps marketers to compare and monitor relationships between data points (Likert scale, Pareto analysis chart, Bar Chart, Line Chart, etc.)
- Maps: Displays data points that are geographically located (Heat Map, Line Map, and Regional Map, etc.)
- Infographics: Offers a comprehensive overview of the topic.
- Diagrams: Helps in mapping out processes, connecting ideas, and identifying root causes of an issue.
Choosing the wrong visualization tool will likely confuse the reader and spread the wrong information across your audience. For instance, using maps and charts to present the same information may likely send mixed signals and confuse the reader.
3. Add context to the mix
The essence of great visuals is to spread a message across to your target audience, and context helps you do that. Adding context to your data visuals pretty much helps in strengthening your narrative and offering meaning to the overall data presentation.
Furthermore, context brings more clarity to your visuals and also helps your reader to gain a better understanding of the subject. Simple things like inserting a legend, and labeling the axes will go a long way in bringing more clarity to your visuals.
Here are simple tips to help you add context to your visuals.
- Label your axes.
- Add a title.
- Use the right colors.
- Highlight vital points using annotations.
- Show a graph legend or color keys.
4. Use bold fonts and colors
Fonts and colors are elements of good designs. When used strategically, it could help you categorize information, emphasize points, distinguish between data points, and illustrate progression.
Continuous data can be shown using a single color while contrasting colors are the best fit for making comparisons. If you want to highlight a data point, you can use a bold color to do that.
As a general rule of thumb, you should limit the number of your font types in one visualization to just three. Anything above three will pretty much cause distractions.
5. Eliminate clutter
If you’re thinking of beautifying your data visuals or making it appear fancier, perish such thoughts — it doesn’t always end well. Any design element that does not add value to your visuals will do you no good.
An ideal data visual should be curiosity-provoking and intriguing. It has to draw the audience into the mystery of your data. If extra designs and other fancy elements do not add any value, you are better off without them.
Therefore, eliminate the use of excessive colors, irrelevant icons, decorative fonts, and other aesthetic elements. They could be a source of distraction to your reader.
6. Do not distort your data
Always keep your facts right.
Your visuals should not distort data or falsely represent it.
All elements of your visualization should accurately represent your data. The charts, shapes, and colors should accurately showcase the data you are representing.
If you’re just getting started, here are easy ways of avoiding data distortion.
- Always keep your visualization simple and clean.
- The vertical axis should start at 0.
- Use labels to enhance the clarity of your visuals.
- Do not manipulate the x and y axes.
- Don’t violate the visualization conventions (lighter density should be highlighted with light colors, while higher density should be highlighted with dark shades).
Data visualization helps you get your message across to stakeholders without much fuss. It could also help you in creating high-converting ad campaigns.
And if your content marketing seems to be struggling, data visualization will help get the stats up and keep you in the game.
Now you understand how to use data visualization in your marketing, and how to create compelling visuals, how will you up your visualization game using good visuals?
Author’s bio for this guest post:
Sarah John has over 12 years of experience in the field of Digital Marketing and Data Analysis, currently working as a Digital marketing specialist in PPCexpo.
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