During a recent event we attended the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Kansas Chapter’s Professional Development Day, we gained valuable insight about data. Despite more than twenty years of experience, we discovered new techniques and tools for helping our clients achieve their goals. Additionally, it reinforced our confidence that metrics are essential to our work.
As an agency, Baseline Creative knows it is vital to stay on top of these advancements in measurement and analysis. When our work achieves the goals and objectives our clients need—and when there are measurable results we can effectively communicate—we demonstrate the ability of marketing to make a difference for a business owner and are able to establish a long-term relationship with a client. And that’s a winning formula for any agency.
Getting the Right Data
Data and how it is collected, interpreted, and utilized is rapidly changing with the emergence of new tools and privacy policies. Jamil Malone, of Emprise Bank presented on the making sense of all the information. According to Malone, while there are a plethora of SEO and analytics tools out there, Google—the mitochondria of search—often has the best available.
- Google Tag Manager is a relatively new feature that is a game-changer for marketers who no longer have to rely on developers to hard code metadata. With Tag Manager, Google has made tracking conversions, re-targeting, and site analytics much easier for marketers.
- Another product from Google is the URL Builder. It allows the user to create tags that track the consumer’s journey in great detail. Google URL Builder can drill down into the data. Google URL Builder allows you to determine the campaign, source, and medium. Also, you can glean data regarding paid search term and content customers are using to get to a website.
- In social media, analytics are available on every platform. Facebook has the most advanced reporting. Also, Facebook is constantly tweaking their product to prove return on investment to advertisers. Most importantly, Malone said, is starting with an objective that will determine which kind of data you need to track and collect whether it’s on social media, or other marketing platforms.
How to Make Data Visually Interesting
How data is communicated is as important as the data itself. Ted Kriwiel of Lion Graph explained that data tells a story—if it’s visualized correctly. Lion Graph is a data visualization company in Wichita.
- Much like the typical narrative arc, data starts off with an inciting incident. Then a rising action, followed by a climax, then falling action and resolution. This brilliant comparison to writing was one that struck most of the communicators in the room. Many relate better to storytelling than data.
- Kriwiel further explained that use of color, space/proportions and even the type of visual used make a difference. When designing a visual (line graph vs scatter plot for example) are all important in describing the overall story the data is telling.
- There are tools for creating compelling data visualizations. These tools include Tableau (Tableau Public is a free version) and Canva. Also, companies like Lion Graph do the heavy lifting of data visualization for their clients. Regardless of the tool used, Kriwiel said, the most effective data visuals are designed with the audience in mind. Start with a question that needs answers; and activate the senses.
It isn’t enough to make social posts or build attractive websites. As marketers, we need to be able to demonstrate our effectiveness to our clients. Specifically in ways they understand. Effectiveness often corresponds to increasing their bottom line. At Baseline Creative we appreciate and welcome new methods to increase our knowledge. Especially when this knowledge, in turn, increases ROI for our clients.