Is Data Visualization Important? Data-Driven Insights for a Holistic Marketing Strategy

Is data visualization important? Of course it is, but don’t take our words for granted. Let us prove you why.

First, let’s start with a bit of history. In June 1994, Lou Montulli, one of the pioneers of the internet as we know it, needed a solution for recognizing the people returning to buy from the same e-commerce shop. Lou thought of sending a small data packet, therefore allowing the hosting site’s computer to store a small text file on the visitor’s disk. This file was the “cookie” that could track how the visitor interacted with the site. 

Montulli’s solution – the cookie – one of the building blocks of today’s advertising, wasn’t even built with this purpose in mind. But that was the moment when data became an asset for every online business.

Twenty-plus years later, data is worth billions for the advertising industry. No wonder data science, data analytics, Big Data, and machine learning are exploding. 

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If you want your advertising efforts to have a real competitive advantage, you will have to spend time and money on analyzing and understanding your data. Your business should become a master of the pieces of data you collect and the ways in which you process them.

In this article we will show you the importance of data visualization and the impact it can have on your marketing strategy if integrated properly.

We’ll cover:

  • The definition and importance of data visualization
  • The benefits of data visualization
  • Types of visuals
  • The power of storytelling
  • The importance of data visualization in business
  • Data visualization tools

What is data visualization?

Data visualization, or data viz, is an important component of Marketing Analytics. Data viz is the process of providing context to your data points or KPIs. To put it more simply, data visualization is the graphic representation of data or information.

Its primary function is to consolidate disparate pieces of data or information in one graphic representation and drive business growth by exposing powerful actionable insights at the deepest levels of granularity.

Why is Data Visualization important?

Data visualization is a good model for managing information. Put all those cookies to work by crafting a decision-ready representation of your advertising information. Equipping your team with visualization tools boosts the way they respond to data: they gain more clarity and are able to react faster and to better predict future outcomes. Data Studio dashboards, Tableau, and Power BI are amongst the intelligence solutions that should be part of your analysts’ kit.

Data visualization plays a huge role in analyzing and acting on your marketing data. It helps you have a better look over your key performance indicators in order to detect patterns, trends, or outliers, and take strategic marketing decisions.

Paying attention to data will save you from wasting the advertising budget on the wrong channels. Having a clear overview of data is both time-saving and vital for delivering results. So what do you think? Is Data visualization important for you?

The benefits of data visualization

Before we delve deeper into the type of visuals, we have compiled a list of six main benefits of data viz:

  • Charts and graphs can be processed faster. Using data visualization communicates information faster and easier than traditional tables reports.
  • It reveals patterns, trends, outliers, and anomalies. Data viz can show you insights that you might have otherwise missed.
  • It’s interactive. By displaying data in an inspiring and intuitive visual format, it makes it easier to spot correlations and make connections.
  • It’s a time-saver. Presenting the information in an easily, digestible format gives you the ability to absorb information quickly and make faster decisions.
  • Absorb large amounts of data. Data viz allows businesses to grasp vast amounts of data.
  • It’s shareable. Sharing the insights with everyone interested is much easier with data visualization, than sharing an Excel spreadsheet.

Use digestible visuals, whether you’re working with huge amounts of data or a simple spreadsheet.

Always make sure you can visualize your data easily by building dashboards that are easy for all your stakeholders and clients to understand. Build them in a smart and user-friendly way so you can spend more time strategizing how to act on that data to optimize your marketing strategy.

Remember: the better you build them, the better and faster you’ll pull the insights you need from your data.

Types of visuals

As beauty comes in all colors and shapes, so does data viz. Among the most common data visualization techniques, we can include:

  • Bar charts
  • Pie charts
  • Line charts
  • Sparklines
  • Tables

But there are other captivating and easy-to-understand graph types. To help you in your search, we have sorted through some data viz graphs and compiled a list:

  • Heat maps
  • Maps
  • Tree maps
  • Waterfall charts
  • Funnel charts
  • Area charts
  • Radar (spider) charts
  • Scatterplot
  • Infographics
  • Bubble clouds

How do you choose the right type of visual to use? Well, there are several aspects to consider. First of all, ask yourself who your audience is. Then, to get the best graph for data, you have to know what is the message you want to convey and find the best visualization method for each metric.

You're not listening to your data.

Your data is trying to tell you how to improve your business and you're not listening. Empower it with visuals and you will understand it.

Storytelling with data - cut the noise!

A picture well-built dashboard is worth a thousand words!

Data visualization is a gold mine of startling insights and practical pointers on achieving success. Everything that your business is today, and everything that your business will accomplish is impacted by the way you know your data. Every decision is based on how you read your data. So, the importance of data visualization is to help you see the data the right way and put you on the road to success.

But, as with every successful story, your goal in data visualization should be to provide knowledge and value in the most efficient manner possible. This translates into cutting the noise and unnecessary details for your audience. For some people, once they’ve gathered the data, there is a tendency to show all of it. Don’t use a chart if you don’t need it. Try to minimize clutter and be concise and easy to read.

What is the importance of data viz in business?

According to Michael Friendly in A Brief History of Data Visualization, the seeds of visualization can be traced back at least by 200 B.C, in “geometric diagrams, in tables of the positions of stars and other celestial bodies, and in the making of maps to aid in navigation and exploration.”

Fast forward in the future, data visualization is the best asset to communicate interesting information in style, in every possible domain you can think of. From analyzing how people take selfies, to the rise of the mints or New York taxi trips, data viz is everywhere, and business makes no exception.

Why use data visualization in business?

Data viz capabilities help you understand what’s working and what’s not working in your overall strategy. Giving visual context to your metrics allows you to measure the performance of your entire team’s efforts and see how each department succeeds.

Look at your historical and current data and determine the effectiveness of your strategy. The more data you have and the more accurate, the better it is for you to make correlations. Comparing the current performance to the past performance, you can even run predictive analysis for your KPIs and see the potential ROI of new customers and new channels.

Data visualization tools

In the early days of data visualization, you would have opened an Excel spreadsheet and created some simple graphs.

Nowadays, there is a plethora of data visualization tools available:

  • Google Data Studio
  • Tableau
  • Chartist.js
  • D3.js
  • Oracle
  • Zoho Analytics
  • Microsoft Power BI
  • And more.

You’ll want to choose a tool that’s easy to use, that minimizes IT involvement and connects data from a variety of sources. Our choice is Google Data Studio and we wrote more about it in our getting started with Google Data Studio guide.

Bottom (smoothed) line

Our answer to the question “Is data visualization important?” is a definite “Yes”. So, don’t let your efforts go unrewarded with the wrong data visualization.

The key takeaway of this article is that accurate data visualization can deliver you data-driven insights, help you drive sales, and increase ROI and ROAS.

Dashboards should be every manager’s or decision maker’s best friend and data visualization is the sexy, need-to-have addition to your stack of tools.

Besides refining the audience targeting, reports, data consolidation and other valuable aspects to your organization, data visualization is simply essential.

In conclusion, we’ll leave you with a quote:

Visualization gives you answers to questions you didn’t know you had.

Ben Schneiderman

Are you ready to visualize your own KPIs? We’re here to help you tell the story of your business.

Let’s build that perfect picture! 😉

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