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Why Data Storytelling and Data Visualization is Good For Marketing

Data visualization, big data, data storytelling—you’ve probably heard about these terms before, and you’re probably going to hear them more often in the marketing industry.

Data is everywhere, but it’s what we do with data that makes it so important. What insights do we get from it? How do we apply data and use it to our advantage? This is exactly what makes data storytelling so important.

Data Storytelling and Data Visualization: A Faceoff

Despite what most people think, data storytelling is simply not the same as data visualization or analytics reporting. It’s not about going through hundreds of stats sitting in a PowerPoint presentation somewhere. Data storytelling is combining two worlds: hard data and human communication. It is an absolutely fascinating, and convincing narrative fashioned around and based on compelling data.

But, even though data storytelling is an important tool, a lot of companies today usually don’t take full advantage of it. Why? Because their teams are siloed.

Most companies start or create data reports/analyses that hardly make it into marketer’s hands. And even when these reports/analyses do, marketers are often ill-equipped to work through the data and extract great stories. As a result, a significant amount of valuable data becomes useless. This is unfortunate because data storytelling is one of the most powerful ways brands can communicate with their target audience.

Benefits of Data Storytelling

There are many types of communication, but data storytelling is distinctively arranged (and scientifically proven) to help marketers reach their communication goals in different ways.

Below are just some of the benefits you can get from it:

1- Provides Meaning and Value to Your Work

In a world where we are surrounded by data, but desperate for meaning, data story telling helps connect the pieces together. It is a great and effective way to impart valuable ideas and give meaning and context to information that just another number in an Excel spreadsheet. This is very important for brands.

People want and seek for useful, valuable content that broadens their knowledge, helps find solutions to their problems, and help them navigate the world better. When you deliver such content, you and your brand will be able to provide real service to your target market. And your company benefits from obtaining these insights from your own data too.

The brain interprets all content as data, but the highest-value content offers more than just knowledge—it also provides insight. This insight is valuable for decision-making and is the most meaningful. Data storytelling enables us to unearth data and communicate insight through captivating and interesting stories.

2- It’s Good For PR

To set yourself apart from the competition, you must have unique and original story ideas. The easiest way for you to get these stories is through the extraction of data This is especially useful for stories based on internal data. If you have proprietary data that only you have access to, then you can tell a story that no one else can about your industry, customers and more.

Insights like these can help throw light on a previously unknown topic, offer an interesting new angle, or provide useful perspective to people or to an industry.

These stories are not only compelling, but a lot of publishers are also hungry for great and effective storytelling. In this world where you find a lot of regurgitated and recycled content, data storytelling helps you stand out from the crowd. An outstanding piece published in a high-profile publication can give you and your brand the push it needs and introduce you to an entirely new group of potential clients.

3- Builds Credibility

Lets face it; a lot of content available out there today is simply just bullshit. In a world full of conjecture, people want cold, hard facts to keep them grounded to reality. If you can include credible data to your story, the more people will be inclined to trust your brand and the message you’re putting out there. In other words, it helps build your credibility.

4- It Makes People Remember Your Message

 By combining narrative and visuals, you are effectively aiming for both sides of a person’s brain, and thereby reinforcing the information to them. The narrative will guide you through the data, and the data will provide support to the narrative. This gives you the best of both emotional and analytical experience.

Data visualization is especially effective in this situation because it increases:

  • Comprehension—our brains are programmed to process visuals faster than language. Being able to “see” data actually makes it easier for people to understand them. Data comes to life when you add language-based context to it too.
  • Retention –visually-processed information is easier to remember/recall.
  • Appeal –data visualization is visually appealing, thus making it more attractive to the viewer.
  • It Encourages Engagement

Besides the inherent stimulation that data visualization provides, data storytelling also encourages engagement. People view the story and are encouraged to engage in it. Data storytelling has two types: narrative and explorative. Both types foster engagement but allow viewers to take different approaches.

Explorative: Viewers are urged to explore data and draw their own conclusions. They are urged to focus on stories relevant to the data.

Narrative: Viewers are led through a narrative, which arrives at a specific conclusion.

While you’d end up doing more with explorative storytelling, both types of data storytelling require people to synthesize and view data actively.

5- It is Versatile

The insights you gain from data stories can be translated to many different formats, such as:

  • Articles
  • Annual reports
  • Brochures
  • Info graphics
  • Case studies
  • Interactive info graphics
  • Motion graphics
  • Micro content
  • Videos
  • Reports
  • White papers

You can also repurpose or find another use for an interesting stat or data visualization to improve other types of content.

Storytelling with data is critical to the marketing success of any business. Creating quality, useful, and data-backed content not only supplements your other content-marketing efforts, but it can also strengthen your entire marketing strategy. When you build brand exposure and strong backlinks, you’re building a strong foundation for your site’s credibility and eventually enhancing all other marketing work you’re involved in.

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