Data that persuadesHow to prove your pointIan	  Lurie	  CEO,	  Portent	                                             This i...
If you have questions after you         read this, shoot ‘em to me on         Twitter. I’m happy to answer.ME: @PORTENTINT
Also, I’ve put links to books,              examples, etc. on a bit.ly link              bundle at this link.portent.co/se...
I’m not a fan of bullets. They                give slides a bad name. So I’ve                banned them from this        ...
I came up with the idea for thispresentation after receiving agraph that looked like this:         7000	           6000	  ...
Why the @#$! would you do this?             7000	               6000	               5000	               4000	             ...
Why the @#$! would you do this?7000	  6000	  5000	  4000	                                                     Jun-­‐12	  3...
Why the @#$! would you do this?7000	  6000	  5000	  4000	                                                       Jun-­‐12	 ...
Why the @#$! would you do this?7000	  6000	  5000	  4000	                                                         Jun-­‐12...
Of course, this isn’t really our problem, right? Imean, we’re SEOs and PPC’ers and such. Our jobisn’t data presentation – ...
WRONG. SO WRONG. We face afew huge problems we can only fix ifwe know how to present data in acompelling way.             ...
The problem right now is that weapproach data the same way weapproach food.                     DATA = FOOD
If a little data’s good…                           Data good!!!
…more’s better! So we pig out. Wecreate these awful spreadsheets andcharts, export dozens of pages fromanalytics software ...
Whoa, hey now,         lets not get           personal.So our clients with end upfatter than Grizzlies, but withno idea wh...
We need to serve our clientslittle, well-prepared servings ofsuper-dense, usefulinformation. Not 32 Big Macs.             ...
YOUR CAREER ISN’T ABOUT BEING                  RIGHT     Because here’s the thing: Being right     doesn’t get you paid. I...
YOUR CAREER IS ABOUT BEING                UNDERSTOODIf you want the fact that you’re right tomatter – if you want to reall...
IF YOU WANT PERSUASIVEYou have to be persuasive. Butthat doesn’t mean the prettiestgraph, or the loudest argument,or the b...
BE THE PERSON THEY           ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDYou want to be persuasive? Bethe one person that your clientcan actually u...
HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT               3 STRATEGIC TIPSFirst off, three basic rules youhave to know.
LIZARD. APE. HUMAN.Before you prepare your report,repeat the phrase “Lizard, Ape,Human”. It’ll help you rememberhow people...
According to Donald Norman, werespond to information on threelevels: Visceral (fight or flight),Behavioral (like or hate),...
its true. Im a       visceral guy.When you drop a report on my desk (I am a boss, after all), my firstreaction is visceral...
not as smart  as humans?   Whatever.Then I’ll look a little more closely. This is closer to the ape-driven part ofmy brain...
does this mean                Im an apex             predator? Sweet!Now, finally, I hit the reflective response. The visc...
WHAT. WHY. WHAT NOW?Getting the right visceral response is about information design. I’ll talkabout that in minute. Gettin...
WHAT: SEO & PPC are on an upswing.                              PPC	                 SEO	             E-­‐mail	           ...
New landers launched July 1. SEO content strategy ongoing as of May 1.                           PPC	                 SEO	...
Why?                                         PPC	  Conversion	  rate	  6%	                                         Landers...
NextTest more landers.Continue SEO. There’s a lag.      Then, be ready with next steps.      These examples are over-     ...
WHAT. WHY. NEXT.Don’t forget: Answer these threequestions. Yes, this is a repeatslide. It’s that important.
ESTABLISH CONTEXT The last strategic tip: Don’t present data in a vacuum.                                 @portentint
SEO	  &	  PPC	  performance	  	  $1,400.00	  	  	  $1,200.00	  	  	  $1,000.00	  	     	  $800.00	  	                     ...
Sales	  by	  channel	  	  $1,200.00	  	                                                                Ah HAH. Now I see t...
Lizard. Ape. Human.What. Why. What next.   Provide context.  Three big strategic tips that’ll  add depth to your reports. ...
13 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT DATA     Time to get tactical. Here are a     bunch of little tips that’ll help     make your report...
1 DON’T MAKE THEM READ   Pretend your brain is a computer.   Every individual ‘chunk’ of   information you have to process...
PPC	                 SEO	             E-­‐mail	           Begging	  May-­‐12	          	  $669.00	  	   	  $643.00	  	   	...
A simple line chart requires at most 2 tasks. Phew. Much     better. The moral? Don’t make me read. Reading was the last  ...
FOLLOW TUFTE’S LAWSAbove all else, show the data.Maximize data-ink ratio.Erase non-data ink.Erase redundant data ink.Revis...
2 ABOVE ALL ELSE, SHOW THE DATA        His best, first rule: Show the        damned data!!!!                              ...
Remember, my brain has to                                           perform tasks. Every additional                       ...
By simply deleting the weird                                            vegetable icons, you’ll get one                   ...
One way to show the data first     is to maximize the ratio of data     to ink.3 MAXIMIZE DATA-INK RATIO                  ...
All the ink used to show the 3D                                             effects are a total waste. They in            ...
See how much better that is?                                                 I’m using fewer pixels for                   ...
Take another step by removing   more non-data ink.4 REMOVE NON-DATA INK                                   @portentint
For example, the gridlines in this graph aren’t                                       really helping. I can tell you that,...
Bye-bye, grid. Nice knowing you.	  $1,200.00	  	  	  $1,000.00	  	     	  $800.00	  	                                     ...
5 REMOVE REDUNDANT DATA INK     Remove data ink (pixels, if you’re     an onscreen person) that repeats     the message, t...
This tells the data’s story just as                                             well, but my visceral reaction is a       ...
As a reminder, there is                                           where we started.	  $1,200.00	  	  	  $1,000.00	  	     ...
This is the end result.                                             Much better, yes?	  $1,200.00	  	                     ...
Most important: Don’t treat your reportsand data graphics as fragile models. Youcan tear them apart, revise them andgenera...
For example, I decided the grid was helpful after                                       all, because it made it easier for...
FOLLOW TUFTE’S LAWSAbove all else, show the data.Maximize data-ink ratio.Erase non-data ink.Erase redundant data ink.Revis...
*Not crappy cookies, like chocolate chip cookiesthat turn out to be oatmeal raisin (shudder) orthose nasty, chocolate-free...
7 USE SMALL MULTIPLESSmall multiples help you break up complexdatasets and compare them. Tufte and a bunchof other writers...
Sales	  by	  month	  	  $1,200.00	  	  	  $1,000.00	  	     	  $800.00	  	                                                ...
Sales by channel                                                        PPC	                                              ...
Sales by channel                                          PPC	                                                            ...
Sales by channel                                          PPC	                                                            ...
Sales by channel                                          PPC	                                                            ...
BSG despair-o-meter                                          Season	  1	                                             Seaso...
8 USE NATURAL COLORSAnything you can do to tap our instinctive ability to respondto stimuli makes data more digestible. Th...
…eye-gougingly bad colors.                                                 Sales by channel	  $1,200.00	  	               ...
Ah. Much better, yes?	  $1,200.00	  	                                                   Sales by channel                  ...
9 USE CONTRASTING   NATURAL COLORSYes, but still a little hard to read,because all the blues ran together. So,try to use c...
From Tim Beard http://portent.co/NHy5QDTim Beard has this great palette you canuse. It’s a whole set of natural colors.
This isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot easier to                                       look at, and it’s easy to distinguish o...
Pie charts suck. Seriously. I’ve never seena pie chart that couldn’t be improved byusing another type of chart.10 SAY NO T...
How exactly am I supposed tosee the difference between,      Orders by channelsay, 4% and 8%? Do theyreally look like they...
Orders by channel70	                                 Turn the same thing into a bar                                     ch...
11 USE CONSISTENT PROPORTIONS     If you’re using small multiples, or     even presenting several pages of     charts, use...
Sales by channel                                            PPC	                                                          ...
Sales by channel                                          PPC	                                                            ...
12 GO 45 DEGREESStephen Few talks abouttrending data in his book, NowYou See It. A lot of people askhim what the best size...
Sales	  	  $450,000	  	  	  $400,000	  	  	  $350,000	  	  	  $300,000	  	  	  $250,000	  	  	  $200,000	  	  	  $150,000	...
13 SHOW TRENDSRemember, above all, show thedata! That includes trends.                                @portentint
Sales	  	  $450,000	  	  	  $400,000	  	  	  $350,000	  	  	  $300,000	  	  	  $250,000	  	  	  $200,000	  	  	  $150,000	...
Sales	  	  $450,000	  	  	  $400,000	  	  	  $350,000	  	  	  $300,000	  	  	  $250,000	  	  	  $200,000	  	  	  $150,000	...
DON’T BE THESE GUYS  There are the tactics. Now, a  couple of examples of what can  happen when you ignore the  tactics an...
No clear story. No what, when,what’s next. Huge amounts ofnon-data ink and just visual trash.
This is actually so bad that itlooks equally informativebackwards…
And even upside-down. If yourreport looks just as useful(less)upside-down, start again.
Total Clicks Compared to Total Monthly Spending            $7,000.00                                                      ...
OR
20                                            Conversions                 15                 10                  5        ...
20                                            Conversions                  15                  10                   5     ...
DON’T BE THESE GUYS Sometimes, though, the data is bad, too. Take this last example.
Monthly	  PPC	  visitors	                           1,200	                           1,000	                             80...
AN OBLIGATIONI hope you find this helpful. My point,again: Your job is as much explainer asexpert. Learn to find and tell ...
AN OBLIGATIONAnd, to me, there’s an ethicalobligation for us as experts. It’s our jobto provide good, actionable advice.No...
AN OBLIGATIONThe businesses of the people youwork for depend on that. Take itseriously.Plus: Cookies. We have them.Data ne...
@PORTENTINTIAN@PORTENT.COMPORTENT.CO/SESDATANote: Excel was only tool used tocreate the charts & graphs in thispresentatio...
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Data that persuades: Annotated - from SES SF 2012

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This is the annotated version of the Search Engine Strategies 2012 presentation, Data That Persuades. It's full of tips and advice for presenting data to your bosses, clients, or anyone else who's already got too much on their plate.

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  • The best advice I've had so far. Saves me a lot of time to read those books mentioned too! :)
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  • Glad you like it!
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  • Ian, this is the BEST. I've just 'super-crunched' it for my blog, and cited it to two people. Tufte fans and data beauty queens, unite!
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Data that persuades: Annotated - from SES SF 2012

  1. 1. Data that persuadesHow to prove your pointIan  Lurie  CEO,  Portent   This is the ‘narrated’ version of my presentation from SES San Francisco, 2012. You’ll see explanations in little black boxes like this one.San  Francisco|  August  13–17  
  2. 2. If you have questions after you read this, shoot ‘em to me on Twitter. I’m happy to answer.ME: @PORTENTINT
  3. 3. Also, I’ve put links to books, examples, etc. on a bit.ly link bundle at this link.portent.co/sesdataYes, like this, no ‘m’.
  4. 4. I’m not a fan of bullets. They give slides a bad name. So I’ve banned them from this presentation.This presentation iscertified 100% bullet-free.
  5. 5. I came up with the idea for thispresentation after receiving agraph that looked like this: 7000   6000   5000   4000   Jun-­‐12   3000   Jul-­‐12   2000   Aug-­‐12   1000   0   Alfalfa   Timothy   Chewy   Pigloos   Hay   Treats   @portentint
  6. 6. Why the @#$! would you do this? 7000   6000   5000   4000   Jun-­‐12   3000   Jul-­‐12   2000   Aug-­‐12   1000   0  I couldn’t figure out why peoplewould do this to innocent, Timothy   Chewy   Alfalfa   Pigloos  helpless data. This graph is Hay   Treats  awful. @portentint
  7. 7. Why the @#$! would you do this?7000  6000  5000  4000   Jun-­‐12  3000   Jul-­‐12  2000   Aug-­‐12  1000   0   Even worse, it was created by a Alfalfa   Timothy   Chewy   Pigloos   marketing ‘professional’ to give to Hay   Treats   her boss (I changed the products to protect the innocent) @portentint
  8. 8. Why the @#$! would you do this?7000  6000  5000  4000   Jun-­‐12  3000   Jul-­‐12  2000   Aug-­‐12  1000   0   Alfalfa   Timothy   Chewy   Pigloos   Would you take this seriously? Can Hay   Treats  even figure out what the story you is behind this data? @portentint
  9. 9. Why the @#$! would you do this?7000  6000  5000  4000   Jun-­‐12  3000   Jul-­‐12  2000   Aug-­‐12  1000   0   Alfalfa   Timothy   Chewy   Pigloos   Hay   Treats  Then I found out her boss asked for it this way to show to his boss. Grrrrrrr… @portentint
  10. 10. Of course, this isn’t really our problem, right? Imean, we’re SEOs and PPC’ers and such. Our jobisn’t data presentation – it’s giving good adviceabout rankings and ads and stuff. WHY SHOULD, TOO AND YOU I CARE
  11. 11. WRONG. SO WRONG. We face afew huge problems we can only fix ifwe know how to present data in acompelling way. WHY SHOULD, TOO AND YOU I CARE
  12. 12. The problem right now is that weapproach data the same way weapproach food. DATA = FOOD
  13. 13. If a little data’s good… Data good!!!
  14. 14. …more’s better! So we pig out. Wecreate these awful spreadsheets andcharts, export dozens of pages fromanalytics software and let our clientsand bosses stuff themselves. But theydon’t get any useful info from it. More data better!!!
  15. 15. Whoa, hey now, lets not get personal.So our clients with end upfatter than Grizzlies, but withno idea what to do next. Thedata is totally overwhelmingand actionably worthless.
  16. 16. We need to serve our clientslittle, well-prepared servings ofsuper-dense, usefulinformation. Not 32 Big Macs. I’ll lay off the food metaphor now.
  17. 17. YOUR CAREER ISN’T ABOUT BEING RIGHT Because here’s the thing: Being right doesn’t get you paid. It doesn’t get you promoted. It doesn’t get you business. Being right is how you make sure you don’t screw your clients/bosses with bad information.
  18. 18. YOUR CAREER IS ABOUT BEING UNDERSTOODIf you want the fact that you’re right tomatter – if you want to really succeedin your career as a marketer – youneed to be understood. In ourbusiness, that comes down to data,and good presentation of that data.
  19. 19. IF YOU WANT PERSUASIVEYou have to be persuasive. Butthat doesn’t mean the prettiestgraph, or the loudest argument,or the best skills as a debater.
  20. 20. BE THE PERSON THEY ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDYou want to be persuasive? Bethe one person that your clientcan actually understand. That’show you grow your career,and become awesome.
  21. 21. HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT 3 STRATEGIC TIPSFirst off, three basic rules youhave to know.
  22. 22. LIZARD. APE. HUMAN.Before you prepare your report,repeat the phrase “Lizard, Ape,Human”. It’ll help you rememberhow people consumeinformation, and keep your reportfocused.
  23. 23. According to Donald Norman, werespond to information on threelevels: Visceral (fight or flight),Behavioral (like or hate), andReflective (meaning). VISCERAL BEHAVIORAL REFLECTIVE From The Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman
  24. 24. its true. Im a visceral guy.When you drop a report on my desk (I am a boss, after all), my firstreaction is visceral. It comes from my lizard brain, and it’s a very simpleyes/no response. A ‘yes’ means I’ll look long enough to form an opinion.A ‘no’ means I’m probably going to do everything I can to ignore thedata you so lovingly prepared for me. Choice of color, layout, reportclutter and such can affect this response.
  25. 25. not as smart as humans? Whatever.Then I’ll look a little more closely. This is closer to the ape-driven part ofmy brain. It’s an emotional response, but not totally driven by a look at thedata. A well-designed bit of data graphics can make a huge differencehere, because the ape-brain isn’t quite as smart as the human-brain, but it’svery nuanced. At this point, I’m looking for something to ponder.
  26. 26. does this mean Im an apex predator? Sweet!Now, finally, I hit the reflective response. The visceral and emotionalresponse shape the reflective one. If my first reaction was “ew” and mysecond was “I can’t believe I paid for this,” my reflective response isgoing to be “Who can I hire to replace you?”If my visceral reaction was “huh!” and my behavioral was “I had no idea!”my reflective response will be “I need to dig deeper! Get in here!”
  27. 27. WHAT. WHY. WHAT NOW?Getting the right visceral response is about information design. I’ll talkabout that in minute. Getting the right behavioral and reflective responseis about answering the right questions:What story does the data tell?Why did that story happen?What should we as a company do next, based on the what and why?
  28. 28. WHAT: SEO & PPC are on an upswing. PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging   May-­‐12    $669.00      $643.00      $1,005.00      $767.00     Jun-­‐12    $850.00      $1,500.00      $647.00      $1,074.00     Jul-­‐12    $2,500.00      $2,340.00      $619.00      $687.00     Understand that data isn’t a bunch of numbers. It’s a story – a narrative – of how your marketing, product and company are working. It’s up to you to dig out that story.
  29. 29. New landers launched July 1. SEO content strategy ongoing as of May 1. PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  May-­‐12    $669.00      $643.00      $1,005.00      $767.00     Jun-­‐12    $850.00      $1,500.00      $647.00      $1,074.00     Jul-­‐12    $2,500.00      $2,340.00      $619.00      $687.00     It’s not enough to just say “SEO and PPC are doing well!” You need to explain why. Otherwise, you’re no better than a Google Analytics report, and I don’t need to pay you.
  30. 30. Why? PPC  Conversion  rate  6%   Landers go live June 1 5.00%  5%   What explains the change? Look 4.00%  4%   at the data. Think this through, thoroughly, before you even try3%   to create a report or presentation. Do the research.2%   1.10%   1.00%   1.00%  1%   0.75%   0.40%  0%   Jan-­‐12   Feb-­‐12   Mar-­‐12   Apr-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12  
  31. 31. NextTest more landers.Continue SEO. There’s a lag. Then, be ready with next steps. These examples are over- simplified, obviously. But you get the idea. Because any boss/client will ask what to do next.
  32. 32. WHAT. WHY. NEXT.Don’t forget: Answer these threequestions. Yes, this is a repeatslide. It’s that important.
  33. 33. ESTABLISH CONTEXT The last strategic tip: Don’t present data in a vacuum. @portentint
  34. 34. SEO  &  PPC  performance    $1,400.00      $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $800.00     While this chart tells me SEO  $600.00     and PPC are improving, it doesn’t  $400.00     tell me how they’re doing compared to my other channels.  $200.00     I read it and say ‘so what’?  $-­‐         May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12  
  35. 35. Sales  by  channel    $1,200.00     Ah HAH. Now I see the whole equation. SEO’s out-performing all other channels. This is data in context. It helps me make a smart decision. May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  36. 36. Lizard. Ape. Human.What. Why. What next. Provide context. Three big strategic tips that’ll add depth to your reports. But you still have to get past that first, visceral assessment. And, you have to provide clarity when the reader looks more closely.
  37. 37. 13 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT DATA Time to get tactical. Here are a bunch of little tips that’ll help make your reports more consumable.
  38. 38. 1 DON’T MAKE THEM READ Pretend your brain is a computer. Every individual ‘chunk’ of information you have to process is a task. More tasks = more work. More work = grumpy boss. @portentint
  39. 39. PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  May-­‐12    $669.00      $643.00      $1,005.00      $767.00     Jun-­‐12    $850.00      $1,500.00      $647.00      $1,074.00     Jul-­‐12    $2,500.00      $2,340.00      $619.00      $687.00     Tabular data like this forces me to perform at least 12, and as many as 19, individual tasks, just to get the story that PPC and SEO are moving up.
  40. 40. A simple line chart requires at most 2 tasks. Phew. Much better. The moral? Don’t make me read. Reading was the last thing we learned to do. We’ve been looking for patterns, though, for hundreds of thousands of years. Our brains are better at it, and we can take in a pattern shown in an image in a few seconds. Visceral, ftw! SEO  &  PPC  performance    $1,400.00      $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $800.00      $600.00      $400.00      $200.00      $-­‐         May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12  
  41. 41. FOLLOW TUFTE’S LAWSAbove all else, show the data.Maximize data-ink ratio.Erase non-data ink.Erase redundant data ink.Revise and edit.From The Visual Display of Quantitative Data,by Edward Tufte Next, a bunch of fantastic tips to follow, from the top data visualization guru on the planet, Edward Tufte. Read his books! @portentint
  42. 42. 2 ABOVE ALL ELSE, SHOW THE DATA His best, first rule: Show the damned data!!!! @portentint
  43. 43. Remember, my brain has to perform tasks. Every additional bit of junk on the page interferes with my ability to ‘see’ the data.  $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $800.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $400.00      $200.00      $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  44. 44. By simply deleting the weird vegetable icons, you’ll get one step closer to just showing the data. Nice.  $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $800.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $400.00      $200.00      $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  45. 45. One way to show the data first is to maximize the ratio of data to ink.3 MAXIMIZE DATA-INK RATIO @portentint
  46. 46. All the ink used to show the 3D effects are a total waste. They in no way help me understand this data. In fact, they may get in the way, since the blue ‘May’ bars are partly hidden.  $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $800.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $400.00      $200.00      $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  47. 47. See how much better that is? I’m using fewer pixels for decoration, and more for data.  $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $800.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $400.00      $200.00      $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  48. 48. Take another step by removing more non-data ink.4 REMOVE NON-DATA INK @portentint
  49. 49. For example, the gridlines in this graph aren’t really helping. I can tell you that, as your boss, I’m not going to trace across them. Remember the story – you’re trying to show a trend, and relative performance. The grid isn’t  $1,200.00     helping with that.  $1,000.00      $800.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $400.00      $200.00      $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  50. 50. Bye-bye, grid. Nice knowing you.  $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $800.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $400.00      $200.00      $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  51. 51. 5 REMOVE REDUNDANT DATA INK Remove data ink (pixels, if you’re an onscreen person) that repeats the message, too. In this example: I don’t need to show the Y-axis values in $200 increments. Again, this is about trending. The small increments introduce a lot of redundant ink. @portentint
  52. 52. This tells the data’s story just as well, but my visceral reaction is a lot better now. My fevered little brain doesn’t have to perform as many tasks.  $1,200.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  53. 53. As a reminder, there is where we started.  $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $800.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $400.00      $200.00      $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  54. 54. This is the end result. Much better, yes?  $1,200.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  55. 55. Most important: Don’t treat your reportsand data graphics as fragile models. Youcan tear them apart, revise them andgenerally tweak them to make ‘em morereadable. Revise and edit! 6 REVISE & EDIT @portentint
  56. 56. For example, I decided the grid was helpful after all, because it made it easier for folks to compare bars on the far-right of the chart. I didn’t want to add ink, so I added a white line across at the $600 increment. Revise and edit.  $1,200.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  57. 57. FOLLOW TUFTE’S LAWSAbove all else, show the data.Maximize data-ink ratio.Erase non-data ink.Erase redundant data ink.Revise and edit.From The Visual Display of Quantitative Data,by Edward Tufte There’s no way I can do Tufte justice in a few slides. Read his stuff. Follow his 5 laws. Join the data nerds. It’s nice here. They have cookies.* @portentint
  58. 58. *Not crappy cookies, like chocolate chip cookiesthat turn out to be oatmeal raisin (shudder) orthose nasty, chocolate-free sugar cookies. We’retalking cookies with honkin’ huge chocolatechunks in them so large they make your cheekshurt. Data nerd-dom is a nice place. @portentint
  59. 59. 7 USE SMALL MULTIPLESSmall multiples help you break up complexdatasets and compare them. Tufte and a bunchof other writers talk about them. I’m not sure whocame up with the idea. It wasn’t me, though. @portentint
  60. 60. Sales  by  month    $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $800.00     PPC    $600.00     SEO   E-­‐mail    $400.00     Take this example. It’s a little Begging   confusing. Which line is which? I have to do a lot of work to interpret it.  $200.00      $-­‐         May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12  
  61. 61. Sales by channel PPC   SEO    $1,400.00      $1,400.00      $1,200.00      $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $1,000.00      $800.00      $800.00      $600.00      $600.00      $400.00      $400.00      $200.00      $200.00      $-­‐          $-­‐         May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   E-­‐mail   Begging    $1,400.00      $1,400.00      $1,200.00      $1,200.00      $1,000.00      $1,000.00      $800.00      $800.00      $600.00      $600.00      $400.00      $400.00      $200.00      $200.00      $-­‐          $-­‐         May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   Small multiples means breaking those 4 series into a grid of matching graphs. Much easier to compare.
  62. 62. Sales by channel PPC   SEO    $1,050.00      $1,250.00      $1,000.00      $1,150.00      $950.00      $1,050.00      $900.00      $950.00      $850.00      $800.00      $850.00      $750.00      $750.00     May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   E-­‐mail   Begging    $1,140.00      $1,160.00      $1,120.00      $1,150.00      $1,100.00      $1,140.00      $1,080.00      $1,130.00      $1,060.00      $1,040.00      $1,120.00     May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   You can compress the y-axes if you want to, to emphasize change…
  63. 63. Sales by channel PPC   SEO    $1,350.00      $1,350.00      $1,250.00      $1,250.00      $1,150.00      $1,150.00      $1,050.00      $1,050.00      $950.00      $950.00      $850.00      $850.00      $750.00      $750.00     May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   E-­‐mail   Begging    $1,350.00      $1,350.00      $1,250.00      $1,250.00      $1,150.00      $1,150.00      $1,050.00      $1,050.00      $950.00      $950.00      $850.00      $850.00      $750.00      $750.00     May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12  
  64. 64. Sales by channel PPC   SEO    $1,350.00      $1,350.00      $1,150.00      $1,150.00      $950.00      $950.00      $750.00      $750.00     May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   E-­‐mail   Begging    $1,350.00      $1,350.00      $1,150.00      $1,150.00      $950.00      $950.00      $750.00     But I recommend using the same range on every  $750.00     May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   graph. Here, I have each chart Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   starting Jul-­‐12  $750, at instead of 0, because it makes the changes more obvious. But it’s still apples-to-apples.
  65. 65. BSG despair-o-meter Season  1   Season  2   9   9   9   9   9   9   8   Episode quality 1-­‐5   6-­‐10   11-­‐15   16-­‐20   1-­‐5   6-­‐10   11-­‐15   16-­‐20   Season  3   Season  4   10   9   9   7   7   6   4   2   1-­‐5   6-­‐10   11-­‐15   16-­‐20   1-­‐5   6-­‐10   11-­‐15   16-­‐20  A personal favorite: My Battlestar Galactica Despair-O-Meter comparesepisode quality season by season. Small multiples fight the Cylon menace.
  66. 66. 8 USE NATURAL COLORSAnything you can do to tap our instinctive ability to respondto stimuli makes data more digestible. That includes usingnatural colors, instead of… @portentint
  67. 67. …eye-gougingly bad colors. Sales by channel  $1,200.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  68. 68. Ah. Much better, yes?  $1,200.00     Sales by channel May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  69. 69. 9 USE CONTRASTING NATURAL COLORSYes, but still a little hard to read,because all the blues ran together. So,try to use contrasting natural colors. @portentint
  70. 70. From Tim Beard http://portent.co/NHy5QDTim Beard has this great palette you canuse. It’s a whole set of natural colors.
  71. 71. This isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot easier to look at, and it’s easy to distinguish one series from another. Sales by channel  $1,200.00     May-­‐12    $600.00     Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12    $-­‐         PPC   SEO   E-­‐mail   Begging  
  72. 72. Pie charts suck. Seriously. I’ve never seena pie chart that couldn’t be improved byusing another type of chart.10 SAY NO TO PIE CHARTS @portentint
  73. 73. How exactly am I supposed tosee the difference between, Orders by channelsay, 4% and 8%? Do theyreally look like they’reseparated by a factor of 2?No. Pie charts tend to concealdistinctions.
  74. 74. Orders by channel70   Turn the same thing into a bar chart, and suddenly it’s a lot60   easier to see the entire range of results.50  40  30  20  10   0   SEO   PPC   E-­‐mail   Display   Direct  
  75. 75. 11 USE CONSISTENT PROPORTIONS If you’re using small multiples, or even presenting several pages of charts, use the same proportions on all of them. @portentint
  76. 76. Sales by channel PPC   SEO    $1,350.00      $1,350.00      $1,150.00      $1,150.00      $950.00      $950.00      $750.00      $750.00     May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   E-­‐mail   Begging    $1,350.00      $1,350.00      $1,150.00      $1,150.00      $950.00     Here, using different proportions  $950.00     makes it look like the change over  $750.00     time for PPC and SEO$750.00       is about May-­‐12   the same as Jul-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   e-mail and begging. I May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   won’t look at the numbers, first. I’ll look at the lines. Be sure they tell an accurate story.
  77. 77. Sales by channel PPC   SEO    $1,350.00      $1,350.00      $1,150.00      $1,150.00      $950.00      $950.00      $750.00      $750.00     May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   E-­‐mail   Begging    $1,350.00      $1,350.00      $1,150.00      $1,150.00      $950.00      $950.00      $750.00      $750.00     May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   May-­‐12   Jun-­‐12   Jul-­‐12   See the difference?
  78. 78. 12 GO 45 DEGREESStephen Few talks abouttrending data in his book, NowYou See It. A lot of people askhim what the best size/shape isfor a line graph. @portentint
  79. 79. Sales    $450,000      $400,000      $350,000      $300,000      $250,000      $200,000      $150,000      $100,000     His answer: Don’t worry about  $50,000     the size. Instead, set the  $-­‐     proportions so the average slope Jan-­‐11   Feb-­‐11   Mar-­‐11   45 degrees. That tends to be Aug-­‐11   Sep-­‐11   is Apr-­‐11   May-­‐11   Jun-­‐11   Jul-­‐11   easiest to read.
  80. 80. 13 SHOW TRENDSRemember, above all, show thedata! That includes trends. @portentint
  81. 81. Sales    $450,000      $400,000      $350,000      $300,000      $250,000      $200,000      $150,000     It’s not easy to see this is an  $100,000     upward trend.  $50,000      $-­‐     Jan-­‐11   Feb-­‐11   Mar-­‐11   Apr-­‐11   May-­‐11   Jun-­‐11   Jul-­‐11   Aug-­‐11   Sep-­‐11  
  82. 82. Sales    $450,000      $400,000      $350,000      $300,000      $250,000      $200,000      $150,000     Add a trendline. Now I can see  $100,000     the trend in a second.  $50,000      $-­‐     Jan-­‐11   Feb-­‐11   Mar-­‐11   Apr-­‐11   May-­‐11   Jun-­‐11   Jul-­‐11   Aug-­‐11   Sep-­‐11  
  83. 83. DON’T BE THESE GUYS There are the tactics. Now, a couple of examples of what can happen when you ignore the tactics and the strategy of great data visualization, and just crank out one crappy report after another.
  84. 84. No clear story. No what, when,what’s next. Huge amounts ofnon-data ink and just visual trash.
  85. 85. This is actually so bad that itlooks equally informativebackwards…
  86. 86. And even upside-down. If yourreport looks just as useful(less)upside-down, start again.
  87. 87. Total Clicks Compared to Total Monthly Spending $7,000.00 6,000 $6,000.00 5,000 $5,000.00 4,000Spending $4,000.00 Clicks 3,000 $3,000.00 2,000 $2,000.00 $1,000.00 1,000 If I just pull out two graphs, I $- 0 Dec-10 think there’s a story. The story of Jan-11 Feb-11 Mar-11 Apr-11 May-11 Jun-11 Jul-11 Aug-11 Sep-11 Oct-11 Nov-11 a very bored analyst, playing Historical Average with shading filters in Excel. Clicks Conversions Compared to Total Monthly Spending $7,000.00 18 $6,000.00 16 14 $5,000.00 12 Conversions Spending $4,000.00 10 $3,000.00 8 6 $2,000.00 4 $1,000.00 2 $- 0 Dec-10 Jan-11 Feb-11 Mar-11 Apr-11 May-11 Jun-11 Jul-11 Aug-11 Sep-11 Oct-11 Nov-11 Spending Conversions
  88. 88. OR
  89. 89. 20 Conversions 15 10 5 0Take 2 minutes to remove non- Dec-10 Feb-11 Apr-11 Jun-11 Aug-11 Oct-11data ink, apply small multiplesand such, and suddenly there’s abit more information. $8,000 Spend $6,000 $4,000 $2,000 $- Dec-10 Feb-11 Apr-11 Jun-11 Aug-11 Oct-11
  90. 90. 20 Conversions 15 10 5 0 Dec-10 Feb-11 Apr-11 Jun-11 Aug-11 Oct-11The data isn’t bad. Thepresentation was awful. $8,000 Spend $6,000 $4,000 $2,000 $- Dec-10 Feb-11 Apr-11 Jun-11 Aug-11 Oct-11
  91. 91. DON’T BE THESE GUYS Sometimes, though, the data is bad, too. Take this last example.
  92. 92. Monthly  PPC  visitors   1,200   1,000   800  Unique  Visitors   600   400   200   This report is supposed to show my PPC campaign performance. But it 0   only shows me clicks!!! I don’t care Jan   Feb   about clicks!!! IMay   March   April   wantJune   know what to July   Aug   Sep   Oct   Nov   Dec   2008   319   405   667   926   1,121   913   817   520   433   331   267   204   2009   239   those clicks cost and earn. This 722   a 780   992   1,073   889   862   is 567   199   133   86   2010   253   397   100% useless crap graphic. 618   741   573   456   463   402   370   333   192   153   2011   217   322   511   640   931   793   603   526   390   357   250   262   2012   339   405   581  
  93. 93. AN OBLIGATIONI hope you find this helpful. My point,again: Your job is as much explainer asexpert. Learn to find and tell the storyin the data, and learn to do it well. It’llput you head-and-shoulders aboveyour competition.
  94. 94. AN OBLIGATIONAnd, to me, there’s an ethicalobligation for us as experts. It’s our jobto provide good, actionable advice.Not ‘good’ and ‘actionable’ from ourown perspective, but from our clients’.
  95. 95. AN OBLIGATIONThe businesses of the people youwork for depend on that. Take itseriously.Plus: Cookies. We have them.Data nerds, unite.
  96. 96. @PORTENTINTIAN@PORTENT.COMPORTENT.CO/SESDATANote: Excel was only tool used tocreate the charts & graphs in thispresentation. You don’t need fancystuff.
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