Data visualizations help people make decisions faster and with more accuracy. The sea of Google Analytics data is one area that data visualization can be put to excellent use.
I recently presented to the Kansas City Search Engine Marketing on how to use data visualizations with online marketing data to make more accurate decisions in less time.
After determining which Google Analytics metrics track the activities that matter to the goals and objectives you’ve set for your organization, you (and your clients) can monitor them through custom dashboards and reports. Add the interactivity, context, perspective, notes and visual appeal of data visualization and you’ve just exponentially increased the understandability of those reports: they are engaging and appealing.
Princeton University is one of many non-profits that have traditionally relied on Excel to utilize data from multiple sources to create meaningful reports in their development offices, managing the marriage between the art and the science of fundraising.
They found data visualization moved the science of their fundraising efforts forward. By providing context and significance of their data, patterns, trends and correlations that might go undetected in text-based data was revealed and recognized faster.
The primary benefits of utilizing data visualization for analysis the development departments were:
- Communicate information more effectively. Visualizations allowed the team to think more holistically about the information they gathered. “It encourages a deeper level of thinking and learning rather than just confirmation,” says Heather Campbell, Associate Director, Development Research Analytics.
- Halve the needed time-to-insight. Once the dashboards are created, the team simply refreshes the data (which takes no more than a few seconds) and gets an updated view. This represents a huge step forward for them, and allows them to same day and answer more questions.
- Enrich engagement with the international alumni community. Mapping international alumni engagement created a visual sense of engagement, and that helped the frontline staff improve its prospecting efforts: it helped them verify that their choices about where to focus their efforts were realistic.
- Minimize the risk of human error. Because the majority of the needed data is available in one place, up-to-date, and pre-formatted, a great deal of time is saved and data quality is preserved.
What if Data Visualizations Could do Even More? What if They Could be used to Save Lives?
Data is a resource that is all around, can be shaped to provide new innovations and new insights and it’s easily mined.
It sometimes feels like we’re suffering from information overload. We have more data than we know what to do with, and in most cases, how to make sense of it.
In his TED talk, David McCandless, a data visualization expert, asks, “Is Data the New Soil?”
The ability to quickly make data-based, informed decisions is a definite competitive advantage.
Data visualization enables decision makers to see new ways to interpret data.
While data is being generated faster than ever, without organization and analysis there is no relevance or value. Data visualization is the most effective way to present data in a meaningful way and inform decision makers.
I created this data visualization based on one I accessed in the Tableau Public Gallery.