A marketer's guide to visual data storytelling

Storytelling has always been an essential tool in marketing, allowing us to communicate with and engage our customers. This is even more important in today’s digital world as many devices and mediums compete for consumer attention. That’s why visual storytelling, or data storytelling, with the help of tools like information graphics, additional images, and video, can be vital in helping marketers stand out from the ever-growing crowd. But how do you make sure your message hits its target? This post will take you through everything you need to know about creating meaningful visual content that resonates with your audience.


Jonathan Hazeley

3/18/20237 min read

What is visual storytelling, and why is it important for marketers

Visual storytelling with data is something every marketer should know since it's an effective way to communicate information more excitingly and engagingly. Data storytelling lets marketers share complex facts and figures with their audience, who would otherwise likely tune out. By using storytelling techniques and visuals such as storytelling data points, graphs, charts, and pictures, marketers can help visually represent ideas that can be easily understood, better remembered, and more emotionally compelling. It also allows people to make an informed decision or take action rather than just reading plain text from spreadsheets or press releases. With visual storytelling with data, marketers can capitalize on storytelling's power to captivate, educate and inspire their critical audiences into action.

What types of data should be used in visual storytelling?

Visual storytelling is an effective way to tell compelling narratives. When deciding which data should be used in visual storytelling, numerous real-world examples give us a great starting point. From customer demographics, usage patterns, and sales data to geographical information systems (GIS) or financial trends in the market, any relevant data source can be included when building a visual story. Ultimately, understanding the critical points of your audience and being aware of all the possible data sources at your disposal are vital ingredients for success when creating compelling visual stories.

Consumer behavior & demographics

Understanding customer demographics is essential when creating visual stories. Knowing critical facts like age, gender, income level, and other characteristics of customers can provide data insights on how to target them with your story best. By identifying your target audience, marketers can craft a narrative that resonates more deeply with the people they’re trying to reach.

Usage patterns & trends over time

Usage patterns are another essential factor to consider when creating visual stories. By analyzing customer behavior and understanding how customers interact with your product or service, you can obtain valuable data points that can be used to create compelling stories. For example, tracking usage trends over time can provide insight into what features are popular among different age groups or geographic regions, helping.

Sales data

Sales data provides valuable insights into your product or service's performance in the market. Analyzing key metrics such as revenue, sales volume, customer churn rate, and other KPIs can help marketers identify new growth opportunities and create stories that will drive customer engagement. For example, understanding which products are selling best in a specific region.

Geographical and location data

Geographical and location data are another effective tool for visual storytelling. By combining data about geographic features such as roads, bodies of water, and land features with other data such as population density or consumer behavior, marketers can create visually compelling stories that bring complex data to life and convey key components in your messaging.

Financial trends in the market

Market financial trends can also be used to create powerful visual stories. By analyzing financial data such as stock prices, currency exchange rates, and other indicators of economic activity, marketers can identify potential opportunities and create stories that will help them understand critical shifts in the market. For example, tracking stock price changes can enable you to gather insights.

Social media activity & engagement metrics

Social media activity and engagement metrics provide powerful insights into customer behavior. Tracking metrics such as interactions with content, likes, shares, and comments on social media platforms. Marketers can effectively communicate insights into customer needs and preferences. This information can then be used to create engaging stories that resonate with their target audience. Additionally, analyzing social media data can help marketers identify potential areas of improvement in their products and services and new growth opportunities.

Website traffic & conversions metrics

Website traffic and conversion metrics are also beneficial when creating visual stories. By tracking website analytics such as page views, time on site, bounce rate, and conversion rate, marketers can gain key insights into how customers interact with their website. This information can help them identify key improvement opportunities and create stories that target customers more effectively.

Return on investment (ROI) tracking

Return on investment (ROI) tracking is an essential factor for visual storytelling. By understanding the key metrics associated with a product or service, marketers can create stories that demonstrate the value of their offering. Tracking ROI metrics such as cost per acquisition (CPA) or customer lifetime value (LTV) can gather insights into a product or service's effectiveness, helping marketers craft stories that emphasize their customers' value. Tracking ROI over time can also help marketers identify areas of opportunity for improvement or expansion.

Search engine optimization (SEO) performance metrics

Search engine optimization (SEO) performance metrics are essential when crafting visual stories. By understanding how customers find and interact with content, marketers can identify potential opportunities for improvement and create stories that will help them rank higher in search engine results. SEO performance metrics such as organic traffic, page ranking, keyword rankings, and backlinks can help marketers craft stories that resonate more effectively with their target audience. Tracking these factors over time can also help marketers understand how their content performs to make adjustments and ensure they provide the best possible customer experience.

Customer satisfaction scores & surveys

Customer satisfaction scores and surveys are invaluable when crafting visual stories. By understanding customer feedback, marketers can gain data insights into how their products and services perform. Tracking customer satisfaction scores such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) can give marketers valuable feedback on how customers feel about their offerings. Surveys and polls can also be used to gain further insights into customer behavior, helping marketers craft stories that are more engaging and targeted toward their target audience. By leveraging customer feedback, marketers can create reports that resonate with their audience and help drive sales and strengthen customer loyalty.

Lead quality & quantity metrics.

Lead quality and quantity metrics are also important when creating visual stories. By tracking how many leads a product or service generates and the quality of these leads, marketers can gain valuable insights into how their campaigns are performing. Tracking metrics such as lead conversion rate, cost per lead (CPL), and average lead value (ALV) can help marketers create stories that target the right audience. Additionally, analyzing lead quality can provide further insights into customer behavior and preferences, assisting marketers in crafting more engaging and compelling stories. With the right metrics in place, marketers can ensure they are creating stories that will deliver the highest return on their marketing investments.

Advertising campaign performance metrics

Advertising campaign performance metrics are essential when crafting visual stories. By tracking which campaigns drive the most conversions and revenue, marketers can gain valuable insights into which strategies are working and which should be improved. Tracking metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), and cost per action (CPA) can help marketers understand which campaigns are driving the most engagement and conversions. Additionally, tracking ROI metrics such as customer lifetime value (CLV) and return on ad spend (ROAS) can provide further insights into the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

How to select the correct format for your data visualization

The key to data visualization is data analysis. Conveying to your stakeholders what the data means when there is so much data can be daunting, but here are some pointers without studying data science.

  1. Determine what raw data you need to collect amongst the datasets available and work on analyzing data.

  2. Consult with a data analyst or data scientist if you are uncertain about the data sets available, if possible, have them collect data and or analyze data

  3. Once you analyze the data collected, consider the data story's goals and what insights you hope to gather by leveraging data.

  4. Select the most effective data visualization. Choosing a more visual format keeps readers engaged while displaying data in a way that it's easy to understand and interpret.

Numerous charts and graphs can be used when visualizing data. Some of the most commonly used when crafting data stories include:

  • Bar Charts

  • Line Graphs

  • Pie Charts

  • Maps

  • Scatter Plots

  • Heat Maps

  • Bubble Charts

  • Histograms

  • Area Charts

  • Gantt Charts

  • Box Plots

  • Venn Diagrams

  • Treemaps

Tips for creating an engaging story using visuals

When preparing to tell a story using visuals, the intended audience should be considered first and foremost, starting with a straightforward narrative that best conveys the intended message is essential. This narrative should include critical components such as a title, introduction, body of the story, data source, and conclusion. You can tell a compelling, engaging, informative data story by focusing on these crucial storytelling elements with data. With careful consideration of these tips, you can effectively create meaningful stories through data visualization.

The importance of including a call-to-action in your visual stories

When visual storytelling with data, it is crucial to include a call-to-action that helps your audience understand. This call to action should be included in the context of the data story and should evoke an emotional response that drives an action pivotal to their goals. Not having one can mean missing out on invaluable opportunities!

How does a marketer tell a clear data story?

Storytelling is essential for marketers to communicate the value of their products. And data can be a powerful tool to get that message across, but it needs to be used correctly. Unclear and ineffective graphs without context won’t do much, so marketers must step back and understand how to improve their communication skills with data. It's also important to show all the key players involved in data stories in an easy-to-understand way. A great data storyteller (or marketer) will go beyond the mere presentation of data, making it visual and creating real-world connections between numbers, trends, customer segments, or market insights. When used strategically, an effective data story powered by facts that draw people in and keep them engaged with your message - becomes one of your most powerful marketing tools!

Your ability to tell a good data story is essential to a successful marketing strategy. It allows you to capture the attention of your target audience and move them toward taking action. Applying the tips in this article can create compelling visual stories that significantly impact your marketing campaigns. Once you understand the potential power of data visualization and how it can be used effectively, you'll be well on your way to harnessing the power of storytelling. By understanding how to select the right visuals and create data stories, marketers can dramatically increase their chances of success with visual storytelling. So, don't stop learning to master this vital skill any longer! Download our ebook "Show, Don't Tell: A Marketer's Guide to Visual Storytelling" now and start crafting impactful visual stories that generate actual results for your business!