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Data Storytelling: Combining Art and Science

This article became written by way of Jenny Haskins, SEO Strategist at NP DIgital

You don’t always need phrases to inform a story – in fact, on occasion numbers paintings just as nicely. But how are you going to correctly create a beginning, center, and end with numbers? And of direction, by using “numbers” I without a doubt suggest “records,” because we’re digital entrepreneurs in the end.

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Data storytelling is an intrinsic a part of numerous advertising offerings, in particular in case you work in an business enterprise putting. If this stability of art and science is done nicely, you’ll have interaction stakeholders in conversation, keep your audience’s interest, and perhaps even maintain them on the threshold of their seats.

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Key Takeaways
Data storytelling engages, clarifies, persuades, contextualizes, enhances memorability, and humanizes statistics, leading to higher information and decision-making.
Over 90% of the brain includes visual content material.
There are four non-linear steps for effective information storytelling: series, evaluation, visualization, and narrative improvement.
Data storytelling, while executed well, can make complex figures available to a diffusion of audiences.
Embrace flexibility inside the storytelling manner, on the way to lead to more compelling and properly-rounded narratives.
What is Data Storytelling?
Data storytelling combines visuals with compelling narrative. It’s the exercise of collecting, analyzing, visualizing, and conveying statistics in an attractive and persuasive way. The aim is to pressure selection-making and inspire movement based totally on insights; made easier by way of a memorable, relatable narrative.

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Why is it Important?
Instead of asking why information storytelling is essential, ask your self: What’s the point of an excellent story? To entertain and/or carry a message, you might solution. The same is going for facts storytelling.

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Or, imagine a long-anticipated film become simply released. How do you want to stroll faraway from the theater? Excited, giddy, idea-provoked, inspired. The identical is going for information storytelling.

Our customers are similar to us: human. Rather than watching a stakeholder’s eyes glaze over during your presentation, attempt to wow them with the numbers you labored so difficult to put together. As people, our brains are drawn to testimonies for several mental motives. There are survival and sociological components like knowledge sharing, relationship constructing, or even the discharge of oxytocin inside the brain that cause deeper connection, emotional resonance, and facts retention.

And the numbers don’t lie: A important bank created a credit card that centered Millennials by way of evoking emotion with storytelling. Use by this age organization grew through 70% and new bills multiplied via 40%.

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Furthermore, it’s vital to be aware that extra than ninety% of our brain is made up of visual content. Therefore, developing a story behind statistics visualization facilitates maintain it inside the mind (memorization).

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TL;DR: Data storytelling is vital actually because it facilitates with readability and know-how, engagement during your presentation, choice-making, memorability, and alignment.

The Science of Data Storytelling
Any professional with a process rooted in numbers knows the significance of accuracy, transparency, and accountability. As an SEO, this holds true. I constantly acquire and test important records (overall performance for traffic, leads, key phrases ranking) two times earlier than even considering crafting a narrative.

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Science (the numbers/records) drives the first two steps of facts storytelling:

Collection
This is the initial segment in which relevant information is amassed from diverse assets. My cross-to records assets are (of course) Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Ahrefs, SEMrush, among others – usually searching at organic visitors, key phrases ranking, conversions, SERPs, and more.

Analysis
Once the facts is gathered, it wishes to be analyzed to discover developments, patterns, and insights. This frequently involves the usage of statistical strategies and information visualization equipment to make experience of the records. For instance, to higher understand metrics pulled from Google Analytics, I’ll create a Looker Studio dashboard, which creates automated visuals to your precedence KPIs at some point of a particular time-frame.

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With technology, the whole lot desires to be genuine. However, when blending artwork with anything, “exact” isn’t exactly totally feasible. Once information is collected and analyzed, it’s time to get creative.

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The Art of Data Storytelling
At this point, we’ve the role of storytelling in human conversation and its energy in conveying complex statistics. With information storytelling, this is wherein the art of it comes in. There’s creativity, flexibility, and personal contact worried in crafting a tale and its 5 elements (character, setting, plot, war, and determination). But how do we merge the artwork in the back of the ones factors with the technological know-how in the back of our facts?

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We pass to the closing two steps in information storytelling:

Visualization
Data visualization plays a critical role in information storytelling. Charts, graphs, screenshots, and other visual aids are used to illustrate key factors and make the records more accessible and understandable to the target market.

Narrative Development
This is wherein the magic takes place. Instead of absolutely offering raw statistics, the insights gleaned from the analysis are crafted into a narrative. This narrative must have a clean structure with a beginning, center, and stop, and have to intention to communicate a particular message or concept.

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Completing this closing step allows us recognize our story elements.

An example based totally on my role: The character is the patron’s commercial enterprise, putting is their website, plot is performance, warfare is areas of possibility (content material updates, technical fixes, quick wins), and backbone is how we navigate those regions of possibility. See the following case examine to further this example – it demonstrates how NP Digital accomplished various overall performance increases for an search engine marketing marketing campaign via facts, visualization, and narrative.

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Image Source: NP Digital

The artwork of statistics storytelling also approach now not usually following these 4 steps to a tee. Remember to embrace flexibility – observe free ends, solution your very own questions, and explore every choice. This no longer simplest enables you higher recognize your data, it:

Creates a more-compelling, nicely-rounded story
Makes you more assured and personable
Promotes interest inside yourself
Keeps presentations fresh with new facts
Embracing flexibility may even hold you leaping among steps. Researching one piece of records and find some thing else that just might be relevant in your tale? Back to the first step. Think that your point may be pushed domestic via looking into one more aspect? Back to step one. Find something that throws a wrench to your complete story? Go to step four.

The intersection of technology and art, common sense and creativity, data and storytelling is complimentary; each of those exceptional factors feeds into the opposite.

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Examples of Data Storytelling
Examples of data storytelling are more outstanding in your everyday life than you could comprehend.

Image Source: Spotify Newsroom

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Remember how crazy everyone goes at 12 months’s quit for Spotify Wrapped? Me too. Why is that? Think about it: Spotify aggregates your listening facts all through the year, which is personalized to you. Then, through a familiar social media story layout, they trap customers to click via to the next snippet of their personal tune story. Spotify additionally makes use of putting visuals/photos to assist customers digest the facts, and sound for an immersive enjoy. Lastly, they activate customers to promote their personal statistics on social media (loose advertising).

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It’s wonderful. Spotify’s sales grew by 322% considering the fact that Wrapped’s launch in 2016 (Q4 ‘sixteen vs. Q4 ‘23), with the largest increase occurring that year of its release.

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The Future of Data Storytelling
There’s no doubt that statistics storytelling will only become more usual as time goes on. Data is at our fingertips with tech like smartphones, smart watches, social media, fitness trackers, step counters, display time notifications, personalized song metrics, and lots extra – even non-marketers are studying testimonies via information each day.

Results from a step monitoring app.

Image Source: MacStories

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Data storytelling presents an interesting frontier wherein era, creativity, and records converge to revolutionize how we speak insights and make choices.

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Data storytelling surely isn’t going everywhere whenever quickly, so put your creative hats on and allow’s journey the winding avenue of facts collectively.

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