It seems like just about everyone, from freelance designers to influencers and everyone in between, needs to know at least a little about digital marketing these days. With so many people trying to promote a personal brand, kick off a startup, or work as an independent contractor, it’s important to measure how your marketing efforts are panning out. That means there’s a lot we all can learn from marketers who measure and analyze campaign success for a living.
And there’s one essential tool that the average marketer probably can’t live without: Google Analytics. It helps you crunch huge amounts of data in a way that makes it meaningful — and that helps you analyze your marketing strategy and make improvements where necessary. How does it achieve such a feat? The answer is data visualization.
So how are marketers using data visualization to both analyze their efforts and reach their audiences? And what can you learn from them to produce more effective visual content? Here are just a few ways.
Measuring marketing success
Without charts, tables, and graphs, it would be pretty difficult for the average marketer to identify the most important trends affecting their success rates — particularly those trends that are unexpected. Data visualization can surprise you. It can make you realize that what you thought wasn’t so important — say, one small asset in a large visual marketing campaign — is actually really important, and vice versa.
When you have a data visualization that proves your brand or company has made a positive impact, that data is powerful enough to speak for itself.
Here are just a few types of information you can glean from great data visualizations:
- What pages on your website are converting most
- How your web traffic varies by time of day and day of the week
- What social channels are driving the most traffic
- Whether you’re meeting your conversion-rate goals
- What pages have the highest bounce rate, and what those pages have in common
- Where your customers are in the world
Assessing these metrics goes a long way toward helping you determine what types of content are most engaging for your audiences. Just remember: This type of research is an ongoing project. You’ll want to collect data, revise your visual content strategy, then collect more data and revise again as needed.
Making a case for your brand
Audiences are warier than ever of advertisements. They prefer to feel like they’re being spoken to by a real person who’s sharing meaningful information. If you come out of the gate with the simple message that your company is the best without any proof, they’re likely to move on quickly.
Data visualization may be your answer. When you have a statistic that proves your brand or your company has made a positive impact—say, helps people save 10% more money, earns them 50 times more rewards — the data is powerful enough to speak for itself.
Consider how much more effectively you can communicate your biggest successes by using data visualization.
So skip the pitch and share that data with your audiences in the form of engaging data visualizations. Here are a few tactics you might try:
- Build social media micronarratives and short-form animated videos/GIFs around key data — one graph or chart per shared image.
- Design a visual marketing campaign around your strongest data points, letting them be your messaging.
- Release a motion graphic that brings your most compelling data to life. For instance, if your customer base could fill MetLife Stadium five times, animate that on-screen. It generates excitement.
- Build an interactive widget where potential customers can calculate how much your company can do for them as an individual.
- Share the most exciting data about your company on your home page. If it can be updated live as an interactive widget, do that — it will make them want to come back.
Sharing your achievements
Every once in a while, you’ll want to share what you’ve achieved with your audiences, your stakeholders, or your boss. Consider how much more effectively you can communicate your biggest successes by using data visualization. A chart showing your upward progress is more likely to impress than a vague statement about “big improvements.”
But when you’re sharing your progress, you’re not just trying to show off — you also want to create buy-in for new ideas. If you’ve got a marketing campaign in mind that you feel could be a huge success, you’ll be able to visualize that better using the data you’ve collected so far as proof that your idea has promise.
All of these approaches to data visualization can make you a better marketer for your personal brand, your work, or your company. Try them out today, and let me know how it goes!
This article is the third in a four-part series called Data Visualization in Industry, which includes “The Power of Data Viz for Telling Stories About Science” and “How Data Viz Drives Tech Industry Success.” It was originally published on the Killer Visual Strategies blog.