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Data Visualization

Data Visualization Techniques Every Marketer Should Know

By Aarti Bhanushali
11 October 2023

Just like any great story, data storytelling is all about sharing a big, juicy message. And just like in any intriguing tale, you want to deliver that message in a way that makes people go, “Wait, what? 98% of users have tried the things they saw on Pinterest! And 70% of Americans secretly rearrange the dishwasher like dish-jenga experts?” Now, that’s the kind of data analysis that sticks.

When it comes to data visualization in marketing, it’s not just about crunching numbers, big data, or calculating statistical significance (although a bit of that helps). It’s about having that knack for the most engaging and usable insights amidst all that data noise. It’s like finding the hidden treasure in a sea of boring chests.

But here’s the kicker: being a data storyteller as a digital marketer is all tangled up with the skills of a top-notch communicator. Find your audience, aim your message, and execute smoothly. Easier said than done, so buckle up while we introduce you to the basics of telling a good story with data visualizations, explain which charts will help you convey your message the best, and when you’ve got that combo down, you’ll leave your clients saying, “Tell me more!”

Enhancing Client Trust with Transparent Reporting

Whether you work with a digital marketing agency or report to stakeholders in-house, you know that transparency is the key to building trust in client-agency relationships, and data visualization is the most powerful tool to achieve it.

A well-crafted marketing report ensures that information is presented in a truthful and transparent manner, allowing clients to grasp their performance metrics easily.

Ask yourself:

  • How Can I Make Data Digestible For Everyone: Not everyone who’d be reading your report is a number-crunching aficionado. You need to make sure the visuals you use resonate with your audience at all levels.
  • Is My Report Answering All Client Needs And Objectives?: Are you confident that you have covered every aspect of their requirements? Don’t be afraid to start from scratch again if the answer is no.
Data Visualization Types for Marketing Reports

Translating Complex Data into Client-Friendly Visuals

Data Scientist and Researcher Jeremy Howard says, “In most of the visualizations I see, people first decide on the result they’re looking for or the stories that they’re creating. And then they create a chart to show it. You would be much better off first creating the chart, finding out what the data says, and then creating your story.”

As time-strapped marketers, using the above approach in crafting a data-driven report is often simpler. Let’s walk you through the specific steps to tell compelling stories with your data as defined by Scott Berinato, Author of Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations.

Step 1: Understand the Three Elements of a Story

Before you can weave data into a story, you need to understand the core elements of storytelling: setup, conflict, and resolution. These elements are the backbone of every narrative, and data storytelling is no exception.

1. Setup: The setup is your data's initial state or reality. It’s the situation you’ve created for your story. It could be based on facts or even fictional scenarios.

2. Conflict: Conflict is the driving force of your story. It represents the change in the initial reality. Without conflict, your audience will lose interest.

3. Resolution: The resolution is the new reality arising from the conflict. It brings closure to your story and answers the client’s questions.

Step 2: Analyze Your Data

Now that you grasp the storytelling elements, it's time to analyze your data. Take a close look at your data and try to identify potential setups, conflicts, and resolutions within it.

Start by identifying key points in your data that stand out, like spikes or converging lines. For instance, your email open rate increased by 25% during the holiday period compared to the previous year, thanks to your successful A/B testing of subject lines three months before the season. You now have a thread to read that emphasizes your cause and effect.

Step 3: Identify the Stories Within Your Data

Once you’ve analyzed your data, start identifying the stories hidden within. Look for patterns, anomalies, or trends that can be transformed into narratives.

Imagine this: You’re analyzing your campaign data. You notice a significant rise in clickthrough rates and conversions across most regions, painting a picture of success. But there’s an exception – Japan. There, it’s like a 5-year bubble. Clicks and conversions remain stagnant, defying the trend.

This observation can form one story. Another story emerges when examining the data from where the market data is bifurcated.

By examining key metrics, you can uncover compelling stories in your Google Ads campaign data. For instance, a higher clickthrough rate (CTR) on the keyword “limited edition sneakers” may indicate strong interest in exclusive releases, while noticing peak performance on Fridays suggests a strategy for launching promotions. Addressing mobile bounce rates compared to desktop could prompt mobile optimization efforts. Geographical data can reveal location-specific opportunities, and A/B testing can unveil the power of ad copy with urgency.

Remember, each data-driven story offers valuable insights to refine campaigns and boost ROI.

Step 4: Create Visuals to Support Your Story

Visualization is crucial in data storytelling. It helps your audience understand and connect with the narrative. Create charts or graphs highlighting your identified setups, conflicts, and resolutions.

Client-Centric Reporting: Tailoring Visual Data for Maximum Impact

Step 5 in the above method is “Present Your Data Story.” When presenting your data story, ensure that you follow the sequence of setup, conflict, and resolution. Start by introducing the initial reality (setup), then bring in the conflict, and finally, reveal the resolution. How do you achieve this as a marketer? A concise, focused narrative is more effective.

Choosing the right chart for your presentation is like picking the right tool for a job – it’s all about getting your message across effectively. We use charts to weave data into compelling stories, explore options, spot trends, and ensure everything's on track.

But here’s the truth: using the wrong chart can muddle your message, while the right one can make decisions a breeze.

Here at Swydo, we’ve sorted our charts into five handy groups based on their data relationships and communication skills and what you want to convey to your audience. It’s worth mentioning that this grouping isn’t flawless, but it’s a trusty roadmap for picking the perfect chart based on your unique analysis and communication needs.

Showcasing Campaign Success in a Visual Format

Not all stakeholders are data experts. Your visual reports should be designed to cater to a wide audience, from C-suite executives to marketing teams or local business owners. Use simple and clear visuals that convey your message without requiring specialized knowledge. What would you like to show?

These data visualization techniques are crucial for presenting data effectively and helping your audience understand the information you're conveying.

1. Comparing Categories

  • Bar Charts: Think of it as your ad group analysis tool. This chart showcases categories (like ad groups or campaign types) on one side and key metrics (think CTR or conversion rates) on the other, giving you a bird’s-eye view of your performance.
  • Grouped Bar Charts: Just like segmenting your social media ad campaigns, this chart lets you group bars to compare different subcategories within your larger categories.
  • Stacked Bar Charts: Picture this as your PPC campaign summary. It illustrates the overall performance while breaking it down into individual elements, similar to dissecting the contributions of different ad campaigns.
  • Gauge Charts: Gauges are like setting specific email open rate targets. They offer a quick snapshot of a single metric within a predefined range, ideal for tracking against your campaign benchmarks.
Stacked Area Chart With Swydo

2. Change Over Time

  • Line Charts: Your SEO journey told in graphical form. Track the ups and downs of metrics like organic traffic or clickthrough rates over time, much like the fluctuations in your SEO rankings.
  • Stacked Line Charts: Like a line chart, but with segments representing different marketing channels, helping you visualize how each channel contributes to the overall trend. Similar to seeing how your social media, email, and PPC efforts shape your website traffic.
  • Heatmap: Heatmaps are your dynamic dashboards, perfect for monitoring time-based data, especially for your social media engagement patterns.
  • Area Charts: Visualize your content marketing’s impact with an area chart, highlighting the growth and magnitude of changes over time, much like the spread of your online presence.
  • Column Charts: Similar to the bar chart but tailored for plotting changes in SEO rankings or email campaign performance over time.
  • Stacked Column Charts: Visualize how different SEO keywords or email segments contribute to your overall performance over time, akin to understanding the driving forces behind your success.
Stacked Column Charts with Swydo

3. Part to Whole

  • Tree Map: Imagine this as your SEO site structure visualized. It’s perfect for illustrating how larger categories (like website sections) break down into smaller ones.
  • Pie Chart: Pie charts are your marketing budget divvying tool, showcasing the portions allocated to social media, PPC, SEO, and more. They’re also handy for displaying your email list segmentation proportions.
Pie Chart showing marketing campaign results

4. Exact Values and Key Performance Indicators

  • Numbers or KPIs: Display exact values directly, like showcasing your precise social media follower count or PPC click count.
  • Tables: Tables are your multidimensional data champions, perfect for presenting detailed campaign statistics, whether it’s social media engagement data or PPC ad performance.
  • InBar Labeling: Think of this as adding labels to your email open rate visual, ensuring your audience grasps the exact values behind each bar.
KPI Reporting
Table Chart Using Swydo

5. Geospatial

  • Geo Bubble Maps: When you're targeting specific regions in your PPC campaigns or analyzing social media engagement across different locations, a geo bubble map is your go-to. It visually represents data points' locations and values on a geographic map, just like plotting your target areas on a digital marketing map.
GeoSpatial Chart with Swydo

So, whether you’re presenting to your team or a room full of PPC experts, remember that the right chart is your trusty ally in making your data resonate.

Best Practices in Marketing Data Visualization

Keep It Simple

Cluttered visualizations can confuse rather than inform. Opt for simplicity in your charts and graphs, ensuring that your audience can quickly grasp the message you intend to convey.

Give Context

As the final step, you can use a tool to incorporate text into your reports, emphasizing the narrative and giving the reader a storyline to follow.

Text Widgets with Swydo

Use Different Colors Wisely

Color can enhance understanding but should be used judiciously. Ensure that your color choices align with your brand and don’t distract from the data itself.

Interactive Dashboards

Consider creating interactive dashboards that allow users to explore data on their own terms. This level of engagement can lead to deeper insights and more informed decisions.

Preparing Your Agency for the Future of Reporting

Future-proofing your agency means adopting new technologies and fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making. Training your team in data visualization and analysis ensures that your agency can tackle future challenges head-on. In conclusion, data visualization is more than just a tool—it’s a system that elevates agency reports to new heights with the power of report automation. By crafting compelling narratives, enhancing transparency, and harnessing the power of visuals, agencies can create a legacy of clear, engaging, and influential reporting. As the future of reporting continues to evolve, embracing data visualization is the key to enduring success and scaling.

Marketing Data Visualization with Swydo

Swydo provides a specialized solution for digital marketers who need to visualize their marketing data in a quick and simple way. Our platform streamlines the task of converting complex marketing metrics into clear and meaningful reports and dashboards, making it easy and efficient for marketers to understand and share their insights. Unlike Power BI and Tableau, which cater to a wider range of data analytics needs, Swydo focuses specifically on the requirements of digital marketers, ensuring a streamlined and user-friendly experience.

New Widget Settings to visualize your marketing data with Swydo

How to Create Engaging Client Reports with Swydo

Step 1: Connect Your Data Source

The first step to creating informative reports is connecting your Marketing data source. Don’t worry; it’s a breeze. If you’re new to Swydo, start by signing up for a free trial account. Once you’re in, connect your account swiftly.

Step 2: Choose from Pre-built Templates

With your data source seamlessly connected, it’s time to choose a pre-built template from our extensive gallery. This choice is essential as it defines the structure and style of your report. The best part? Your selected template will automatically populate your report with your data, saving you time and effort. Alternatively, if you prefer a more personalized touch, create your own custom report tailored to your unique data requirements.

Widget Settings Google Ads

Step 3: Tailor Your Report with Swydo’s Customization Features

Swydo empowers you with robust customization options to make your report truly yours. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Modify or create new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to align with your reporting goals.
  • Select data visualization charts that effectively convey your campaign’s performance.
  • Add explanatory text using the text widget to provide context, highlight insights, and guide the reader through your report.
  • Elevate your brand’s visibility and build trust by white-labeling your reports with your signature branding.

Step 4: Effortless Sharing

Once your report is polished and ready, it’s time to share it with your stakeholders. Swydo simplifies this step for you:

  • Schedule your reports for automatic delivery, ensuring they reach your audience precisely when needed.
  • Choose how you want to share your reports. Opt for online dashboards with a custom URL for an interactive experience, or send them as PDFs under your domain.

Swydo stands out for its simplicity, focusing on the specific needs of digital marketing agencies who want to quickly and effectively communicate their marketing insights. Want to see what Swydo can do for you? Request a demo or sign up for a free trial and create a free marketing report in minutes.