The Deal with Visualizing Data

It’s no secret that we live in a world with an onslaught of data. Before the digital age, an age in which we can view and interact with data in real time, finding insights based on buyer demographics, purchase behavior and purchase research habits was difficult because the information simply wasn’t available the way it is now.

We probably have the opposite problem today—there is so much data available, it’s actually hard to distinguish what is important and what isn’t when it comes to making advertising decisions.

Humor me by playing along with the following example… If I told you to count all of the 8’s in the picture below, could you get the answer correct? Could you do it without losing count and starting over? Eventually, you would get the answer correct, but it would take you way longer than it probably should to complete:


Okay, NOW what if I told you to count all of the 8’s in this new picture? The only thing I did was change the color of all of the 8’s in the array of numbers. Is the task easier? How much faster can you count them?

Numbers 2

Data visualization is truly a science, and numerous articles, textbooks, college courses and blogs have been dedicated to helping people find insights on their brands through the practice of good data visualization. Take this Ad Age article by Oren Frank (an oldie but goodie) that discusses the oldest tool of visualization: a road map. Take NYC for instance, what would it be like for a tourist to navigate the streets without a map? The hope is that when you give them a map, they will discover a “shortcut” to their destination. That shortcut is the “key insight” to good decision making!

(Oh, by the way, the answer was 56.)