Graphics reveal data. It is a reasonably new invention (compared to say complex mathematical equations) as it was only in the late 1750 to 1800 that the first graphs were invented and referred to as ‘linear arithmetic’. The art and science of data visualization has grown in leaps and bounds since then and is a vital part of informed decision making today in both the business and scientific world. To manage your digital marketing campaigns with insight, it is crucial to understand the basics and the benefits of data visualization.
What is Data Visualization?
Data visualization is the visual representation of large volumes of data in an easy to understand format and presents data and the concepts they represent in a universal manner. It is usually presented in a graphical manner, however, modern development in data visualization presents unlimited opportunities for presentation.
What are Data Visualization Tools?
The most basic data visualization tool is a graph or chart, and they come in many forms. If the data points are easy to track it can be drawn by hand, but with digitization today most visualizations are done by computer. Below are some examples of simple charts.
Today, we have much more complex visualizations available with software that will generate dashboards displaying the critical charts in one, with the ability to switch between e.g. areas, groups, etc. Below are examples of Network Analysis, Streamgraph and a dashboard.
In today’s world of Big Data, data visualization tools are essential to analyze huge amounts of data and to enable us to make data-driven decisions.
Sonia Bell, a digital marketing specialist at various sites highlights some benefits of visualization:
How Does Data Visualization Improve Decision Making?
Performance measures is the process of developing indicators using metrics for driving processes towards the business goals. They:
Visualization of the Performance Measures allows decision makers to spot outliers – thus it will reveal patterns, conditions and correlations for different aspects of the business. The old adage ‘a picture can speak a thousand words’ is especially true in business decision making – visualization will highlight issues and reveal patterns much quicker than any other format of presentation. It helps business make sense of their data:
How can we use Data Visualization in Digital Marketing?
Industry reports (such as Digital Future in Focus Report 2015) cannot determine your company’s strategy, but it can inform on broader trends in consumption and digital marketing and should be considered when determining your content marketing strategy.
The five most important charts are as follows:
2. Platform Penetration and Engagement
3. Accessing Content Categories
4. What’s Selling, What’s Not
5. Browsing and buying
The mobile gap has closed considerably in the last four years, in that more than 60% of sales now gets generated via mobile.
But let us look at what visualizations you should be employing in managing your digital marketing:
You must track your website’s important metrics, for example:
There are many tools available to help you track your analytics:
Data visualization helps you tell a story. A few people may be able to look at masses of data and find the information or trends they need to find; most people benefit from a picture.
David McCandless said in his TED talk: "By visualizing information, we turn it into a landscape that you can explore with your eyes, a sort of information map. And when you're lost in information, an information map is kind of useful."