Storytelling with Data

By Maggie Petrella, Senior Digital Analyst

Behind every social post, ad image, sign-up click, search query, and website visit, there is data. And where there is data, there is a story to be told, but before that story can be shared, it must be discovered.

Data alone is meaningless. It is not inherently “good” or “bad.” It is not solely focused on key performance indicators more than other metrics. Nor does it explain what to do with it, how to optimize to achieve results. Data is simply a set of facts. Without a story to add meaning to these points, we may find ourselves looking at tables upon tables of data and asking “what?”, “so what?”, and “now what?”

To avoid overwhelming your audience with an abundance of numbers, there are three key steps to elevate data into a compelling and comprehensive story and inform future stories.

First, we must prioritize data to answer the “what?” with precision. In this digital age, there is an overwhelming amount of data available about every view, scroll, and click that users take online. Although one might think that more information is better, the opposite can often be true. Too much data can lead to an information overload and result in a story that is boring at best, if not unclear and confusing. Prioritizing key performance indicators that are essential for campaign success makes it easy to identify overall performance.

Next, we must contextualize data and answer the “so what?”. Our knowledge of industry benchmarks, historical performance, market conditions, audience preferences, and, of course, our clients’ objectives and goals enable us to breathe life into data and give it meaning. When we assess data with these contextual variables, we can better determine whether performance is meeting expectations and why. Additionally, through attribution analysis, we can explain which factors led to deviations from historical or industry benchmarks.

Finally, no story is complete without a takeaway. We must leverage our enhanced understanding of the metrics to optimize our actions. The actionable insights that come from our data story are the answer to “now what?” that were at the heart of the storytelling journey.

Through interactive dashboards, reporting, and ad hoc data queries, the goal is to not only provide transparent performance metrics, but also to tell a story that is actionable. At Hatcher, we make it easy to understand the story of your digital performance and effectively share this knowledge within your organization. Whether it be an ongoing organic social strategy, a short and sweet paid campaign, or an evolving multichannel endeavor, we’re excited to tell your data story.