Data is critical in identifying emerging trends in marketing campaigns. But in the modern marketing world, data quantity is not a challenge.
The problem is to make sense of the available wealth of information, translate its insights, and quickly make data-driven decisions, regardless if you’re setting up marketing for your lawn care business or your SaaS business..
Data visualization is the center of this process. It illustrates complex datasets in a visual format like graphs, tables, and charts for easy interpretation. For this reason, mastering the art of data visualization can increase your demand as a marketer today and in the future.
This guide reveals valuable tips and powerful tools that help you use data to improve marketing campaigns. We will dive deep into:
- The critical importance of data visualization in marketing
- Tips for leveraging data visualization in your marketing strategies
- Top 5 data visualization tools for marketers
Understanding why marketers need data visualization
Data visualization is like a superpower for marketers who understand how to use it. Here’s why:
Provides deeper insights
Data visualization joins the dots between datasets to reveal trends and patterns. It assigns meaning and adds more context to information, helping you comprehend the data’s importance in the real world and understand how to apply it.
Rather than overwhelming marketers with information, data visualization combines the most valuable data bits in a way that makes sense for you and your audience.
It reveals hidden insights by visualizing variations between seemingly similar sets of data. Anscombe’s Quartet is a perfect example of how datasets may look the same until represented visually.
Improves marketers’ decision-making process
Since data visualization provides greater insights and enhances comprehension, it improves how you make marketing decisions. You won’t have to sift through plenty of data to identify insights (which could cause analysis paralysis).
Instead, you look into a simple visual representation that helps you make informed decisions faster. A tip with data visualization is to visually represent those business KPIs and metrics being monitored by the business first and foremost.
Data visualization helps engage the audience
Well-designed visuals can be attractive and engaging. Data visualization blended with data storytelling helps you draw your audience’s attention and engage them. It increases the value of the information you share and helps you communicate your message more effectively.
That’s why the most-read story in The Washington Post is a visualization-driven blog post that involves a coronavirus simulator.
Generally, data visualization is helpful for:
- Content marketing: You can leverage visuals like infographics to create compelling marketing messages.
- Presentations: Take advantage of data storytelling and visuals to communicate an engaging story and deep insights to your audience.
- Identifying patterns and trends in data sets: For instance, search query data can show the web content people are looking for.
- Performance reporting dashboards: Marketing dashboards use data visualization to present charts and reports that help you monitor key performance indicators.
- Comparing marketing channels: For example, you can visually compare the marketing results of Facebook advertising with Twitter marketing.
4 useful data visualization tips
Before incorporating data visualization into your marketing campaigns, you consider several essentials:
1. Use credible data
Remember, people can easily manipulate and misrepresent data for their own benefit. Ensure you only trust information from unbiased sources.
Understand the data and the source before preparing graphs to show your audience. Was the data gathered automatically by a machine or manually? What was the sample size?
2. Create a compelling story using data
Your data visualization efforts will only make an impact if you tackle a relevant and exciting subject your audience cares about.
However, keep one thing in mind: Even the most relevant information is hard to process if you overwhelm the audience with excess details. Additionally, your data can get scattered if you don’t know what story you want to communicate.
So, have a clear purpose for the data you want to visualize and identify the main subject you want to tackle. Use these questions to create a compelling story using data:
- What main points do you want to share with the audience?
- How can you grab attention to these critical points and create a compelling narrative?
- What elements don’t contribute to your story?
3. Define your audience
One thing you shouldn’t forget: a huge gap exists between you (the visualizer) and your audience (the viewer). You can easily understand what you want to visualize because you know the data quite well.
Before sharing your visualization-driven story, double-check it from your audience’s viewpoint. Put yourself in their shoes to identify the most appropriate way to close the interpretive gap.
To define your audience, ask yourself, are the people you’re targeting data scientists who will appreciate a deep dive into the details? Or are they super busy executives with limited online advertising experience? Your audience will determine the depth of your message.
4. Use the best visualization method and design
The visual elements are equally essential as the information you’re sharing. The whole point of representing data in a visual format is to make it easy to read and digest, as well as engage the audience.
So how do you achieve that?
Carefully choose the type of chart that best translates the data. Some charts are best for comparison and distribution, while others are great for visualizing composition and relationships between things. Choose wisely depending on what you want to visualize.
Next, highlight the most critical details in your chart to guide the viewer’s eyes. Remember to use color palettes consistent with your brand and attractive to the eye. Fonts should be brand-consistent, too, and easy to read.
Top 5 data visualization tools for marketers
Below is a list of tools for marketers to boost their data visualization effort. The list starts with the more advanced tools and moves towards the most beginner-friendly options as we progress.
- Using it is an excellent opportunity to learn coding basics. These skills will help you recreate as many charts as possible when necessary. You’ll also represent your data with personalized charts that best suit what you want to illustrate.
- Observable is rich in valuable resources from professionals worldwide to inspire your visualization project.
Here are the best features of Observable:
- Access to a vast community: The Observable community is enormous. You can gain a great deal of knowledge from the collective efforts of hundreds of thousands of active members. Use their previous work to inspire your visualization efforts.
- Advanced customization: Observable has limitless customization. The tool leverages coding libraries designed for data visualization such that you can build any form of interactive visual story.
- Observable fosters learning: You can click on other people’s projects to understand the steps they followed to complete a visualization project. As a result, you can learn new visualization techniques as a coding novice or a pro.
Tableau is a visualization intelligence tool that’s available in five versions: Public, mobile, online, server, and desktop versions. While it has a steep learning curve, you access robust features. Use it to manage marketing analytics and access predictive analytics tools that forecast future performance.
Here are the best features of Tableau:
- Powerful capabilities: Tableau is more than just a simple visualization tool. On top of visualization features, you can use it to access marketing predictions and historical reports.
- Rich in valuable visualization resources: You access plenty of training materials and templates to get you started with your visualization project.
- Highly flexible: Whatever marketers want to achieve in their data visualization efforts, they’ll be able to do it with Tableau. However, it may take a while to understand how it works if it’s your first time using the tool.
3. Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio is a free tool that’s powerful for creating marketing performance charts because of the following interesting features:
- Simple drag-and-drop user interface: Use Google Data Studio to create professional reports by selecting your preferred chart type and placing it within your dashboard. You can use this tool even if you have zero technical skills.
- Built explicitly for marketing reporting: You access a selection of templates, so you don’t start your visualization project from scratch. The tool also collects your marketing data from a central, shareable dashboard.
Flourish provides additional data visualizations that grab attention. It has a free account plan with the main features most marketers need. The free version allows you to use any chart type on the platform and export them to external websites. Flourish’s main features include:
- High-quality aesthetics: You gain access to plenty of ideas in the Flourish gallery to inspire your visualization project. Master using this tool to create compelling visuals.
- Chart variety: Flourish has dozens of chart options. No matter the message you want to communicate, the tool has something for everyone.
Datawrapper is a free visualization tool, although a premium version is available. If you are looking for the most intuitive tool to visualize your data, Datawrapper is your ideal choice. It’s a no-code visualization tool that offers various charts and maps. Anyone can use it to create better data graphics.
The Datawrapper Academy provides resources to identify the latest chart types and learn how to use them more effectively. On the other hand, Datawrapper River allows you to share your projects and see how other marketers use the tool.
Grow better with data visualization
Data is powerful if you understand what it’s telling you. It’s difficult to scan clear takeaways by looking at many stats and figures.
As a marketer, you need to represent the data logically in a way that’s easy to understand and apply the key takeaways effectively. And that’s where data visualization comes in.
Data visualization allows you to identify, analyze, and implement valuable insights quickly and effectively. So, experiment with the tools listed above to determine what suits your needs and works best for your goals.
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