How To Improve Your Data With Data Visualizations


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Imagine the following: You are the Chief Marketing Officer for your company and have been given the task of reporting on the annual marketing results. It is up to you to communicate the entire report to all stakeholders present.

How do you do it?

You might not be familiar with this situation.

You might not have stakeholders or be a CMO, but you are often in a position to effectively tell the story behind your online marketing data.

We know online marketing data can be difficult to access: it must be gathered in any type of database, third-party app, CRM, Excel spreadsheet, or another third-party app.

You have all the data you need for data collection, consolidation, and management. Now it is time to make sense of everything.

Data visualization is the answer.

Take a ride on our data visualization train to explore the many opportunities dataviz offers.

1. Why data visualization is important to convey your message with marketing data

We are constantly inundated by information. Everybody is suffering from data overload. Many people feel as though they are drowning in information.

We receive five times as much information as we did in 1980, which is equivalent to 174 newspapers per day.

It is amazing how intangible things like information can have such an impact on people.

Neuroscientists suggest that this is because our brains were built to handle the volume of information that we received thousands of years ago in an environment that was slower.

But technology and innovation are moving too fast for our brains not to keep up.

Brain fatigue can occur in the middle or late of the day, and you feel overwhelmed.

Our brain, the only organ responsible for processing all of that information, is highly visual.

90% is visual information. Studies show that people can remember as much as 80% of what is seen and only 30% of what they read. Visuals can be processed 60 times faster than text.

This is all explained by a simple and natural explanation: Our eyes act as little cameras that extend our brains.

The visual function is 50% of the brain’s capacity.

It turns out we have been designed in such a way that dataviz is a great strategy for marketers in general!

Marketing dashboards allow you to see and use the value in your data. This is an incredible asset!

Marketers are responsible for manipulating thousands upon thousands of data points each day. A visualization is better than a “reading” and will have a greater impact.

A visual chart is easier than a spreadsheet to identify trends and patterns.

These tools make it easier to recognize relationships among variables and allow you to see what might otherwise be lost.

Listening to stories activates more of our brains. Engage your audience by using a narrative to present your data.

This is how data storytelling and data visualization can be combined. But for now, let’s just focus on the visualization portion and work with it.

Strong foundations are essential for telling the story behind data. It is crucial to understand your data, to clean it, and to figure out what you want to get rid of.

Let’s dive deeper into data visualization and how to create and deliver dataviz that is perfect, actionable, and effective.

2. How to build a data visualization that focuses on the needs of your audience

Understanding Your Audience

Your audience must be defined first. Who are you creating data visualizations for? What type of professionals or people are they?

Don’t be too detailed here. Describe in detail who it will be presented to and what its goals are.

Your CEO will ask different questions than your teams. This is because your team needs to know more than what a stakeholder would like to know.

Every member of your audience wants to make money for themselves.

To meet their expectations and gain their trust, it is important to place their interests first. This will allow them to set the direction of your story.

After you’ve answered the questions about your audience, and put yourself in their shoes for a while, consider what information they will require to meet their expectations.

Responding to Their Needs

You must first choose the right data.

Let’s suppose your audience consists of investors or CFOs who allocate budgets each year to your company.

They will want to know metrics that tell them whether they have invested in the right product or allocated the right budget. These metrics could include:

  • Marketing number of customers: This gives you an idea of how much of your customer base is generated by marketing. This is important because marketing does not just focus on brand awareness. It also drives prospects to the sales department.
  • The conversion rate of the funnel: It helps you understand how effective your efforts are in quality lead generation and moves them to the bottom of the funnel.
  • Return on marketing investment: Of course, they only want to know how much profit is made for every dollar spent.

If your audience consists of SEO-focused team members, you will want to display advanced Google Analytics dashboards and social media analytics.

They must be able to evaluate how well their efforts are translating into results. These metrics could include:

  • Traffic sources: This is one of the most important indicators of your website’s success. It is important to understand where visitors come from and how you can best target your efforts.
  • Page tracking: This will show you how visitors behave on your pages. You want to know how long they stay on your pages before they leave (session duration), how many pages are seen before they leave (average pages per session), or what their bounce rate is. This will help you identify the most effective landing pages for different marketing campaigns.

Finally, if you are speaking to the top management of the company, it is unlikely that you will go into detail about specific metrics or details like the others.

It is recommended to present a comprehensive picture of both the performance and strategy. The following metrics could be displayed:

  • The marketing spend of different channels has changed over the past year, quarter, or month. This also includes how much revenue they generated.
  • Marketing profit in general and profit per acquisition in particular.

These are just a few examples, and not a comprehensive list of all the things you can do to meet the needs of your audience depending on their individuality.

How to choose the right data visualization

Now we are moving on to the point of this article. Once you have selected the best metrics for your audience, it is time to figure out how to effectively visualize them.

This is often the problem.

Remember that different views can answer different questions and different charts tell different stories. You should choose your charts with care.

Tip: Avoid accumulating too many lines. That decreases comprehension. The chart will also be more confusing if you try to color or stack up areas that overlap.

Bar charts can be horizontal, vertical, or stacked. It can be used to show evolutions, but it is more useful when you want to rank variables and compare them.

Tip: If you wish to illustrate evolution, you should use a vertical column chart. Time is expressed from left to right. Horizontal is not possible. Stacked charts can be used to show a part-to-whole relationship.

The pie chart: This is the famous pie chart. It has been used and misused over time. It was so popular that an app was created to create memes.

The pie chart is quite effective. To give an example, the pie chart can be used to provide a rough idea of a metric. The exact number is not important but the idea of the percentage is.

Pie charts can be very useful for visualization because they provide a direct view of a relationship from one part to another. Many instruments use circular dials (speedometers, clocks, etc.) to show this. ).

Tip: Do not use a pie chart to make precise comparisons with multiple variables. A pie chart will not display a difference of 1% between two variables. The pie chart will also be less effective if it has too many variables.

They are also called “speedometers” and are very easy to read. They can only be used to display one value in a quantitative context. It is not possible to compare them to other variables unless two gauge charts are created.

Tip: Only display one data point. It cannot be used to show a trend, evolution, or comparison.

The spider chart, also known as “radars”, spider charts are comparative table. It is useful for multivariate data that has more than three quantitative variables.

This means that you will need to evaluate at least two things with three or more characteristics.

Tip: It is not possible to use it for time, trends, or evolution.

Map: Maps are a great way to show geographical data. It is important to add value in a readable manner.

Tip: Stuffing the map with red dots won’t bring any other results than confusion. Make sure you are careful about how you present your data.

Scatter plots: This chart is extremely useful when looking for correlations using large datasets. These charts can be used to show how one variable affects another. This is known as the correlation.

Tip: It’s useful when you need to show data with at least two metrics. A trend line can be helpful as well.

3. Combine your dataviz to create a powerful and persuasive dashboard

Now you have chosen the best data visualization to answer the questions that your audience is asking. After such an excellent job, you cannot stop. Now, combine all your charts to create a stunning dashboard that tells your data story.

To make your story as appealing and understandable as possible, here are some best practices and tips.

There’s no need for you to reinvent the wheel every single day. Here are some guidelines to help you build your dashboard.

Dashboard Design Best Practices

It is better to have less than you think

Since Robert Browning, a 19th-century poet, first said that “less is more”, we have come to a long way. However, this advice is still a good one that we like to keep.

In western societies, the idea that simplicity and clarity lead to good design isn’t as well-established and held as it is today. Everything is now dominated by the minimalist design movement, including tech products and clothing.

It will be easy to implement, as you already selected the most relevant metrics for your audience.

Calculated risk released a chart that illustrated the percentage of job losses relative to peak employment. This chart is an example of data visualization overload.

The axes are not only unusual in their measurements (time is usually displayed on the horizontal axis and years on the vertical axis), but it is impossible to compare the lines.

No data clutter

Similar to the previous point, designing data visualizations that avoid clutter will dramatically improve their effectiveness.

You can optimize the impact of your data on your audience by organizing it in a way that appeals directly to their cognitive abilities.

The Gestalt School of Psychology created a great guide that identifies clutter’s forms and characteristics, along with rules for the organization of perceptual scenes – that is, order creation within the context of visual stimulation.

For example, the principle of proximity dictates that humans have a tendency to group elements together based on their location (their “proximity”)

With well-placed, grouped data, perception can be altered.

Another principle is similarity. Squares go with squares and circles with circles. Humans are naturally inclined to group similar elements.

Your audience will expect you to group several rectangular greens on your visualization.

The subconscious desire for visual order can also influence data visualization. In western societies, information consumption by your audience will begin at the upper left corner in an F” pattern.

Therefore, diagonal elements are not welcome on a dashboard.

Give context

Always give data context. Everyone in the room will be able to communicate its background and where it wants to go.

It is important to mention that your data was collected online via Google Analytics.

It’s also worth noting that your offline marketing data was obtained via street survey and cold-calling. This will help to interpret the results differently.

Jargon is another important aspect of your presentation.

Investors might not know what a GA cohort analysis is or the reasons behind channel names for user acquisition when they are reporting to them.

You should ensure that everyone has a clear dashboard. Don’t use technical terms. Flexibility is the key to success!

Color theory is important!

Marketers should be more familiar with color theory than any other professional.

You can find many comprehensive guides that will help you choose the right color for your needs and what emotions they evoke or work well with.

It is a common error to use too many saturated colors.

Anything intense attracts attention. However, if the entire dashboard is full of intense colors, the effect can be overwhelming to the reader. They don’t know which information is most important and which is first.

Consistency is key to reducing the mental effort required for comprehension.

Avoid using random colors for your items.

The graduation of a color can be used to show intensity. This is especially relevant when you are using a map chart that shows the concentration of a variable across different regions. Also, dark red means “a lot of X” while light red indicates “a little bit of X.”

Here’s an example of poor color use. The background is a gradient of blue that doesn’t add any chaos to the visualization and clashes with the bright yellows and reds that are too intense. It gives it the feeling of “cheap dataviz!”

Personalize it

The customization of your dashboard is directly linked to the best practices on colors.

[tweet_box style=”default”) To make data visualizations more relatable to your audience, take over the corporate branding and colors of your clients. [/tweet_box]

This will give your message a personal touch and make it more appealing to your target audience.

Have fun, be creative

Authenticity is the last thing.

It’s easy to give your dashboard a real feeling that will resonate with your audience. We don’t want you to forget what we have just said. But you can choose what makes sense to you and let your creativity flow in your presentation.

Illustrations of the Best Marketing Dashboard Practices

We’ve covered all the steps for creating a marketing dashboard that is unique to your audience. Let’s now show it off with real dashboards using these best practices.

An online dashboard tool allows you to connect and create visualizations from different data sources.

Let’s begin with a dashboard that can accurately answer the initial situation that you were in when we introduced that article.

Your CEO asks that you, as Chief Marketing Officer, report on marketing activities efficiently to ensure everyone at the table is aware of what is going on.

This dashboard can be used to address all their needs since it gives an overview of the key marketing KPIs that you monitor.

It provides the information they require to make strategic decisions.

The content is actionable and relevant. Let’s take a look at the overall style. The color theory is respected as they are harmonious and remain in the same blue gradient. There is no clash which makes it difficult to read.

The metrics are organized in an efficient and well-organized manner, with each color collecting metrics for each category: revenue generation and costs. Profit is also included.

Clear distribution, no data clutter, leading to each matter and concluding with the most important bottom line, ROI.

Marketing Performance Dashboard

This dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of all marketing performance data for different paid campaigns.

It is a great way to report to the PPC manager asking for insight on the different initiatives you have taken and how you did in each.

What percentage of each you spent on each, and what each one did in comparison to the other. This will allow you to plan and execute your goals more effectively, as well as budget for future marketing campaigns.

Regarding the outlook, we once again see that the global layout of the site is clear, simple, and efficient.

The dashboard’s data is contextualized in the left column. This gives an overview of different metrics and allows for comparisons between campaigns. Each campaign has a unique color.

Web Analytics Dashboard

This dashboard provides more detailed information about website traffic. This dashboard is not intended for investors or other stakeholders.

This dashboard requires a lot of data to make sense of, but it is clear and easy to understand, thus avoiding data overload.

This dashboard will let you monitor all of your web analytics, from the most basic (such as the number and time spent by visitors) to the more complex (where they come from and how they convert).

The top snapshot gives a great overview of the KPIs, which are detailed below.

The layout is well-organized, the colors are coordinated, and visuals can be used to quickly catch what the metrics are saying. A clock to show the visits’ duration, a flag to indicate the goal conversion rate, and a human icon to show the number of visits.

As we have explained in the first section of this article, visuals are essential for a quick and easy understanding.


You should now be able to understand the steps involved in creating outstanding data visualizations.

You should be able to understand how to create professional data visualizations to convey the correct information behind your marketing data.

You will be able to give a great impression to your audience next time you are asked for a report.

Mona is passionate about data analytics, and innovative business reporting methods. In Berlin’s bustling startup scene, Mona is the Content Manager for Datapine. Get datapine’s smart dashboarding software for free in this 14-day trial.

About the author

Kobe Digital is a unified team of performance marketing, design, and video production experts. Our mastery of these disciplines is what makes us effective. Our ability to integrate them seamlessly is what makes us unique.