Make no doubt about it–there’s a glut of content on the internet. With every company creating blogs, infographics, and whitepapers, only the highest quality content will stand out. One new content element many organizations are experimenting with is data visualization. Data visualization–charts, graphs, and more–has long been a mainstay in static infographics, but emerging programming technologies has really opened up complex and interactive data visualization to a whole new audience.

Why use Data Visualization?

Data is interesting, and people like to learn. It gives insight into your company, your industry, your product, or your market. Powerful data visualizations allows you tell a strong story and result in snackable, shareable, branded content that can drive your marketing efforts online.

Great Data Visualization Examples

1.What city is the microbrew capital of the U.S.?

From Pudding.Cool

Great Data Visualization - Microbreweries

The Pudding has a long track record of creating awesome data visualization pieces, but we particularly love this recent one on microbrewing. It starts strong – using geolocation to have an introductory sentence that is personalized to each person (talk about drawing someone in from the beginning!), and only gets better from there. We particularly love the interactive section that graphs U.S. cities on the quality and quantity of their beer. Although The Pudding is a publisher, this content would have worked excellent for a brand in the beer industry.

2.What got better or worse during the Obama presidency?

From N.Y. Times

Great Data Visualization - New York Times 2

This data visualization from the New York Times puts the audience in the driver’s seat. Using your finger or mouse, you get to guess what you think the line chart will look like. Then, you’re able to reveal the actual data and see how well your hypothesis stands up against the actual data. In this example, the data isn’t particularly unique or interesting, nor are the charts themselves. But we love the interactive component of this piece; it’s a really strong twist on traditional data visualization pieces. Brands who can gamify relevant data visualization are on the right path for successful content marketing.

3. Logistics of the Holiday season

From Derby LLC

Great Data Visualization - Logistics Data

We love how on-brand this static data visualization is. Additionally, it was released seasonally, taking advantage of the Christmas season. By staying on-brand in this data visualization piece, Derby is able to connect their logistics expertise to well-presented data on how complex holiday-season logistics actually is.

4. Based on a True Story

From Information is Beautiful 

Great Data Visualiztaion - Movie Accuracy

Information is Beautiful has been creating quality data visualization pieces for years now, but this is one of our recent favorites. It breaks down a number of “based on a true story” movies from the last several years. Each scene is rated on its veracity, giving a really beautiful picture of how accurate many of these beloved movies are. Brands with really storied histories or selling products with really complicated production processes could benefit from a similar approach.

5. The British Diet in Data

From the Open Data Institute

Great Data Visualization - UK Diet

We love this piece from the Open Data Institute because it takes a huge data set and makes it into a clear, digestible format. In our opinion this is one of the harder data visualizations to pull off simply because of its scope, but it works well here. Informative, educational, and interactive. By giving the user the ability to choose the “highest” and “lowest” changes, they can subtly point to what are likely the most interesting pieces of data. Businesses who have either large numbers of products or products with large number of attributes might benefit from data visualization similar to this.

6. Universcale

From Nikon

Great Data Visualization - Nikon

Nikon’s Universcale is a pretty famous data visualization because it works so well for their brand. It allows you to scroll up and down and compare the sizes of everything from a bacterium to a rabbit. Each item is categorized by size, starting with micrometer and ending with a light-year. Because Nikon sells lenses that allow you to zoom into great detail, this data visualization is perfect for associating with their product.

 

What makes for effective data visualization?

Per Information is Beautiful, it comes down to four things:

 

  1. Information – how accurate is the data you’re working with? Only use validated data from trusted sources.
  2. Story – is your data visualization going to present information that makes a point a table or a sentence couldn’t do as effectively? Just like with all web content in marketing, it needs to be interesting to work.
  3. Goal – do you have a good reason for your data visualization? Not only should your data make a point, but your brand should, too. Data visualizations are a significant investment, and making sure they’re backed up to your digital marketing goals is critical.
  4. Visual form – is your data visualization beautiful? There’s a lot of bad charts out there, make sure your’s is a good one.