How Data Visualization Is Breathing New Life into Social Media Marketing Metrics

December 23, 2016 John Montesi

social media marketing

Data is one of the least fun words in the social media marketing world. So often, when people want to see the numbers, they’re hoping for a quick spreadsheet or PowerPoint that proves that their marketing dollars are well spent.

As the person behind the creation of those PowerPoint reports, though, you’re struggling. You pump hours each week into pulling together reports on your social marketing analytics, while also spearheading creative strategy and working closely with the editors of your brand’s digital publication—and the shift from creativity to report building is a severe drain on your mind and eyes alike. But now it’s the end of the year, and you’re also responsible for the email communications of one of your teammates who’s out on break. On top of that, today, another colleague called out sick, and you have to lead a strategy session with two new hires. You’re stressed, and oh by the way, your execs expect to see your presentation at 3:00 this afternoon.

There has to be a better way, you’re thinking, as your fingers fly across your keyboard, trying to get ahead of the time that remains between you and 3:00 p.m.

There is.

Sisense

It Just Makes Sisense

Sisense, an analytics software company, is bringing data to the forefront of the modern workflow by offering chatbot integration to several major messaging platforms. With Sisense, marketers can create visually rich data representations in an easy conversational format. It’s more like sending your coworker a Slack message than running a dull analytics report and spending the time turning raw data into something worth looking at.

That alone is thrilling, but Sisense’s tool points to a trend in big data marketing—one that exists at the intersection of creative thinking and smart software. Thanks to the availability of countless software, plugins, and social media platforms catering to marketers, we’re able to collect more and better data than ever. But until recently, it was still as clunky as ever to gather, analyze, and decipher. Sisense brings visualized data into the conversation (literally) which does away with the need for numbers crunching and painful formal presentations.

Visual Learning

One of my favorite under-the-radar announcements of the year was Knotch‘s new colored feedback tool, which allows audiences to respond to content in a way that’s much more emotional than a numbered scale or boring feedback survey. What’s so important about people reacting to sponsored content using colors instead of surveys? For one, Knotch notes response rates as high as 25 percent, up from the typical industry standard of about 1 percent. But arguably bigger news than higher response rates is the way this company is bringing data visualization into a language that more of us speak—colors, emotions, and simple bar graphs instead of raw decimal points on click-through rates and audience engagement. Such a simple, beautiful feedback capturing system is a content marketer’s dream come true—we get something pretty to look at and lots of valuable feedback from the people who matter most.

Knotch

Etsy has famously combined data science and creative thinking to build the business it has today—and a huge part of its success is that even before all the fun tools were there, it was interested in finding the intersection between data points and human users. Its carefree vibe and online marketplace that gives users the sense of stumbling upon unique goods is the result of a staggering amount of big data analysis, which is a lesson for the rest of us that utilizing data doesn’t have to lead to boring end results.

The End of an Era

With tools like Sisense and Knotch bringing new life to tired numbers, it’s only a matter of time before everyone from the top-down will re-evaluate the ROI on marketers spending their time measuring their own performance. Data visualization tools make it easier than ever for marketers at all levels to empathize with the audience behind their data points—there’s just something more human about a colored graph than a bunch of messy raw numbers in an analytics spreadsheet. And there’s something eerily human about analytics software that can be included in Slack conversations as if it were a team member. But this conversational data analysis is exactly what we need to reduce the strain on social media marketing professionals who are tired of shifting gears from creative, collaborative workflows to tedious presentation and spreadsheet building.

In a world where you (or your boss) can ask a chatbot about the performance of a recent campaign or an individual asset, there’s really no reason for marketers to spend time analyzing ugly data and trying to make it more visually appealing. Imagine if those hours were spent trying to figure out what the next big trend is in social media marketing instead. As sure as video content was big in 2016, data visualization and flexible tools are going to spread as the silos between content creation and performance measurement continue to break down.

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