How Visualisation is Changing the Way We Use Data

There’s no point having all the data in the world if you are not able to use it — and this is only possible if you are able to make sense of the data you have on hand.

Data visualisation, or datavis, is all about presenting data in a way that’s easier for people to understand. And what better a way for people to easily understand new concepts and absorb new information, than with the help of visual aids?

If data is easier to understand, it becomes easier to use, which then makes it possible for people to use data to achieve any number of things no matter what industry they come from. Just imagine — or visualise — what you’d like to achieve for your own business in your particular niche. 

Great datavis can make that happen, especially given all the exciting new developments that make it even easier for people to make sense of data today.

Let’s take a quick look at how datavis has developed over the years, and why it’s so crucial for businesses like yours to leverage it. Additionally, we’ll also take a look at the datavis tools you can use, specifically for marketing, and what will be trending when it comes to making the most out of datavis technology.

Data Visualisation How to Use and Why it Matter - Mediatropy Agency

Data Visualisation has been around since the dawn of time.

Remember those cave paintings in the first Ice Age movie? The real ones that can be found in Lascaux in Dordogne, France, are said to be among the earliest examples of data visualisation. 

But man has come a long way since then, coming up with these pre-digital data visualisations in the 17- and 1800s which you can get a better look at, here:

  • 1789: A New Chart of History by Joseph Priestly features a timeline presenting history’s greatest empires
  • 1812: Charles Minard’s map of Napoleon’s Russian Campaign visualised the scale of the legendary French military leader’s biggest losses in terms of army size, distance and direction of travel, lat-long and temperature (it was freezing cold!)
  • 1857: Florence Nightingale came up with a pie chart called a polar area diagram or Nightingale Rose, which presented The Causes of Mortality in the Crimean War 
  • 1860: John Snow created a dot map that incorporated bar charts which visualised the number of deaths during the London cholera outbreak in 1854

Visualisation continues to make it easier for people to use data today. 

Fast forward to the 2000s, with professionals across different industries utilising datavis as indispensable processes for their day-to-day operations. Businesses generate huge amounts of data which can literally take weeks to collect, consolidate and analyse, even by multiple team members working round the clock.

Key business decisions often can’t wait on all that processing time, and yet, the best decisions are unquestionably made when based on solid data. What makes datavis so powerful in the world of business is its ability to influence easier, and faster crucial decision making.

When a business combines data processing with the right technology, it arms itself with business intelligence that frees team members from the drudgery of manual data compilation. This enables them to focus instead on analyses, extracting insights and creating strategies. 

Because of the way datavis serves up business intelligence at a glance, teams become more agile in responding to customer needs and reacting to sudden changes in the business environment. Datavis also makes it possible for businesses to interact with the data in real-time to gain additional insights, as well as spot opportunities for growth or process improvement

Data Visualisation tools can make your marketing more effective. 

As if the job wasn’t hard enough, a marketer’s responsibilities also involve reporting performance and ROI to clients and other stakeholders. Datavis not only gives clients everything they want to know (and none of what they don’t) in an easy-to-understand manner, but can also help them to appreciate your hard work.

Here are some of the tools you can use to make great reports and to make performance tracking and campaign adjustments so much easier:

  • Looker Studio, formerly known as Google Data Studio, makes it easier for you to create dashboards and reports using data from Google products including Google Ads, Search Console and Google Analytics.
  • Tableau is one of most of the popular datavis platforms used to visualise data from Salesforce (which owns Tableau), Google Sheets, Excel, BigQuery and more. This tool is also one of the easiest to learn how to use.
  • Zoho makes it easier for you to customise your visualisations which can be a great help when your data is coming from very different sources as well as for branding. This tool is also intuitive and easy to use. 
  • Domo makes it easier for businesses to unify all of their systems into one, and marketers can use it to help them track the progress of their campaigns. This tool also facilitates collaboration between users.
  • Infogram is generally used for making infographics, but this tool also provides metrics for measuring datavis performance and can be used in marketing, media, education, public service and other industries.

Many of these platforms such as Looker and Tableau offer a free version to help you get started.

Data Visualisation will continue to develop to make using data even easier.

Just as datavis has evolved from cave paintings to maps and diagrams, so will today’s business intelligence technology evolve to make data even more accessible and actionable for businesses.

Here are a few of the data visualisation trends we can look forward to in the near future:

  • AI and ML will increasingly be used to make sure data is being visualised accurately and efficiently, especially since this removes the need to process data by hand.
  • Mobile Datavis will make it easier for anyone with a mobile device to access visualisations such as social media data.
  • No-code Datavis will make it easier for team members who are less tech-savvy to access and use data.
  • Real-time Datavis will make it possible to identify and address issues as they arise and to respond to customer needs on the spot.
  • Video Datavis has proven to be much more effective than static visualisations and will come to be used more often for presenting data.

Using data visualisation tools to serve clients is second nature to Mediatropy, whose team of datavis experts uses the latest visualisation tools and platforms even outside of the office. Get in touch with us to find out how you can leverage the power of data visualisation for your business, today.

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