What Is Data Visualization? Examples, Tools & Benefits in Marketing


Data visualization is the representation of data in a visual format as an infographic, chart, diagram, picture, and so on. Also used as a reporting tool, data visualization presents an appealing visual overview of seemingly complicated data. In this article, we look at data visualization examples, tools and its benefits to marketers.

Marketing no longer follows the spray and pray approach. Every decision needs to be backed by data. There are myriad of data points to be picked from. Some examples are website analyticsOpens a new window , app performance, sales figures, customer dataOpens a new window , market research and campaign stats. This sea of data might lead to analysis paralysis, wherein it becomes difficult to make decisions.

Data visualization attempts to tackle this deluge by showcasing data in a visual format. Let’s understand what data visualization means.

What Is Data Visualization?

Data visualization is a visual representation of data. Data visualization unveils patterns, trends, outliers, and correlations in your data. Data visualization also helps stakeholders and decision-makers easily understand the meaning of data to drive business decisions.

If you’re unsure about which advertising solution to invest in to promote your new product, pull out your previous campaign data, and plot a bar chart comparing the performance of different platforms. Doing this will help you absorb the data and make the right decision/s.

Some of the prominent ways to make data tell storiesOpens a new window visually are bar charts, line charts, pie charts, bubble charts, infographics, timelines, word clouds, scatter plots and heat maps.

With so many applications of data visualization, let’s understand how to use it well and why it matters in marketing.

Data Visualization Examples

Images, infographics, gifs, etc. are attention-grabbing, visually appealing and also incredibly shareable. We process visual dataOpens a new window 60,000 times faster than text alone and visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media. Let’s look at two prominent examples of what effective data visualization looks like.

1. Infographics

Screenshot of Infographic by Subscriptionly

This infographic by SubscriptionlyOpens a new window highlights key e-commerce statistics and trends. You can also scroll through to see the possibilities, challenges, case studies and future trends without having to read a 10-minute long article.

Infographics are a great way to organize and present valuable information in a short, appealing format that’s succinct, easy to understand and shareable on social media.

2. Interactive Graphics

Screenshot of Our Interactive Graphic Made on Prezi

Interactive graphicsOpens a new window can represent a large amount of text or data without looking overcrowded and overwhelming. Prezi is one such tool that lets you create graphics with text, videos, images built into the interactive that lets you share large amount of information quickly while engaging your audience.

Learn More: 10 Ways Machine Learning helps Visualize Better DataOpens a new window

Top 5 Data Visualization Tools

Data visualization tools can help you make sense of large sets of data and effectively use it to make data-driven decisions, therefore, improving productivity. Here are some of the most popular data visualization toolsOpens a new window available today.

1. Tableau

Known as the grandmaster of data visualization software, Tableau is simple to use and encourages intuitive and easy visualizations. Faster data comprehension is possible with word clouds, bubble charts, tree diagrams and treemaps that provide contextual information.

It has special features like Data Blending and you can collaborate in real time. You can share reports in Tableau by publishing them to a Tableau server, via email or the Tableau Reader capability, or by publishing Tableau workbook and giving access to anyone who has the link.

2. QlikView

QlikView’s features include strong data visualization capabilities, powerful BI, analytics and enterprise reporting capabilities and a clean user interface (UI). You can explore and discover data as QlickView maintains and automatically manipulates data associations.

It offers a quick and rich user experience by allowing storage and access of data by several users at a time, thereby allowing for faster queries. Dashboards and reports are easy to navigate but require developer skills to build reports.

3. FusionCharts

FusionCharts lets you plug-in data directly to any of the live templates instead of starting from scratch. It is based on a JavaScript API and you can seamlessly integrate with JavaScript Frameworks. It comes with open-source plugins for popular libraries (jQuery), frameworks (AngularJS & React) and languages (ASP.NET & PHP) making it easy to integrate with your current stack.

It offers over 90 charts and 1000+ maps, which are customizable and extensive event handling can control how your charts behave under different scenarios such as data loading, chart rendering, etc.

4. HighCharts

HighCharts offers quick and simple visualization. You can also create interactive charts, timeline charts, maps and online charts. It’s a free tool for non-commercial purposes.

It offers cross-browser support, that is, anyone can view and run its interactive visualizations. The downside is that there are limited possibilities to customize your charts.

5. Prezi

Prezi is a presentation platform that lets users create multiple appealing formats that help improve brand engagement and communications. In a MarTech Advisor exclusive interviewOpens a new window , Peter Arvai, CEO, Prezi, said that Salesforce’s audience satisfaction went up by 28% when they switched over to Prezi.

It offers a unique way to put your data across in the form of storytelling. Prezi is an easy-to-use tool that lets you communicate all the aspects of your products or services with audio and video. The presentation software lets you personalize and create templates with customizing options. You can also present remotely and share meeting summaries with clients.

Learn More: How to Introduce Infographics to your SEO StrategyOpens a new window

5 Benefits of Data Visualization in Marketing

Now that we’ve seen some data visualization examples and tools, let’s understand the benefits it can bring to your organization.

1. Uncover Patterns and Trends

Which are the most visited pages on the website? Which day of the week brings in more visitors? Which city has better lead to conversion ratio? As marketers, we are always seeking patterns and trends in data to find opportunities. Raw data can give you the numbers, but when you plot the data, it becomes easier to spot patterns, correlations and developing trends in the inherent data.

2. Distill Complex Data

Humans are visual creatures. 93% of human communication is visualOpens a new window . Going through a spreadsheet full of numbers can get mentally taxing. Your stakeholders are looking for information that serves their purpose without too much hassle. To be precise, they are looking for actionable insightsOpens a new window rather than heaps of data with no concrete action steps. Converting numbers into visuals helps you simplify those complex rows and columns into easily consumable information.

3. Drive Your Point Home

Imagine, it’s the year-end meeting, and you want to secure a higher marketing budget to scale your efforts. Your team has brought in excellent results, and you are fighting tooth and nail to justify your budget. In such situations, you can steer the management by building a compelling narrative through data-driven storytelling. Put forward your case by conveying your arguments through data visualization that supports the narrative. Visuals make comprehension and information retention easy. Data visualization helps portray data in a purposeful manner and influence decision makersOpens a new window .

4. Data-Driven Marketing Strategy

Data has become the backbone of marketing. With so many online avenues available, which platforms should you choose to concentrate your efforts on? You’ve got a choice between owned media (website and blog), earned media (guest posts, PR and social media communities) and paid media (search ads, banner ads and social media ads).

To make the decision easy, start by aggregating data from different analytics toolsOpens a new window (Google Analytics, AdWords, social media insights, etc.) for each media, and visualize how the numbers are adding up against your goals. For example, if you want to increase website traffic by 20% in the next quarter, identify which platforms are bringing in the most visitors so you can capitalize on those channels.

5. Data Visualization as Content

Online consumers are facing information overload more than ever. Data visualization can help marketers stand out from the clutter. Relying on the benefits of visual contentOpens a new window that we saw earlier, telling stories through data visualization techniques such as infographics can help you express insights in a useful, comprehensive, easily shareable and simplified format.

Wrapping Up

Data visualization allows you to communicate complex data in a simple and visual way. The prerequisite for this is to focus on your audience, narration and the data visualization format.

With the data visualization examples, tools, and benefits outlined here, the possibilities with your high-volume data are endless.

Learn More: Role of Interactive Maps in Data VisualizationOpens a new window

How are you leveraging data visualization? Share your examples with us on TwitterOpens a new window or LinkedInOpens a new window or FacebookOpens a new window .

[UPDATED: 27 August 2019]