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Data Storytelling or Storytelling based on data is a technique that transforms the information available into a story. It combines data display formats - such as graphs, charts, animated maps, among others - with narrative elements. The goal is to use a somewhat complex amount of data to tell a story in a simple and concise way.

In an increasingly information-driven culture, telling a story through it adds credibility to any Marketing strategy.

Another benefit of this methodology is the high degree of attraction of these contents. As we will see later, these stories captivate the audience, helping to improve conversions and brand loyalty.

Keep reading and learn more about it!

What is data storytelling?

It is a technique that uses data to tell a story. It is a useful way of presenting information, which means that it can be used with both internal and external audiences.

However, it is important to differentiate narration of data from visualization of data. Data visualization is about representing data graphically, not necessarily telling a story.

If you are presenting a report, for example, you can better sell an idea or better explain a point if you use graphs, tables or infographics, since these contents retain the attention of your audience in a way that a text or even a video they cannot do it.

They facilitate the processing of all the information at once and the decision making.

Data storytelling goes beyond representing data in a more attractive way. It consists of showing how or why the data changed during a period, and for that it is necessary to collect:

  • a narrative;
  • a context;
  • characters.

These are the key factors for your audience to really engage with the content!

Why tell a story with data?

Never has so much data been produced as today. Big Data is already a reality and every day more and more companies invest in a culture based on tangible and real evidence.

With so much information available, data-driven storytelling is a way to organize everything and present it in a more enjoyable and accessible way.

Since it is easier to absorb information that way, data storytelling also makes your content have a longer useful life and generate more engagement, whether it is shared online or it generates word of mouth marketing.

Beyond being visually appealing, data storytelling also strengthens your credibility. Unfortunately, all that information that we have also has its negative version: fake news or false news.

In this context, it won't take long for the data-driven approach to be requested by the customer as well.

Interactivity is another current trend in Digital Marketing and it works as a two-way street, since companies can also collect information about their customers in this process.udience, the better your chances of hitting this choice.

Many elements of data visualization not only allow consumer participation, but also encourage it, and there are many data visualization software that can help you find the most suitable format for your audience.

How to create relevant data storytelling?

We've already seen the basics related to data-driven storytelling and its importance for a marketing strategy, so now let's discuss what we need to keep in mind when implementing this concept.

Continue reading!

Be clear and concise

The idea of investing in data-driven storytelling is to make it easy to read huge and complex amounts of data. Therefore it is essential to use clear and concise language.

Think about the cognitive load of your buyer persona and choose images that provide the most information with the least possible effort. The more you know your audience, the better your chances of hitting this choice.

Highlight insights
As we've already mentioned, making data more accessible is very useful for expressing a point of view or selling an idea.

It is essential that you identify what is the main information that your data storytelling is trying to convey. Without it, the chances are high that it is data visualization content rather than a story.

This "insight moment" in which we create a framework for the disclosure of information, generally arises from the combination of two or more data sets.

Determining a goal for data storytelling can be helpful: do you want to inspire your audience or do you prefer to tell a funny story?

Match words with pictures
Telling a data storytelling does not mean that we should tell a story without words. In reverse, words should be used to make images even more attractive.

At the same time that you want to reduce the cognitive load on your audience, you want to highlight the information that you need to keep in their minds, so presenting it through text and images has its advantages.

Make it shareable

If you want your story to reach more people, you should create it in a way that is simple to share. How do we do that? Two features are essential here:

The first is visual appeal, of course. Discover the tastes of your audience and identify formats and design patterns that are best suited for them.

Second, don't underestimate the context. Why am I telling this story to these people through this data?

In other words, why should they care? It won't matter how beautiful or interactive your story is if you're addressing something your consumer doesn't want to hear about.

3 examples of Data Storytelling
Now that you know what relevant data should have in good data storytelling, let's look at 3 great examples of well-established brands that presented information through a combination of data and narrative.

1. Spotify
The annual “Wrapped” campaign could be one of the best examples of interactive data storytelling of all time.

Since 2016, Spotify has presented its users with an elaborate timeline that shows the artists, songs, and most recently the most listened to podcasts of the year.

The streaming application uses the data of its users not only to speak individually with its customers, but also to demonstrate how interesting Big Data can be.

No matter how specific a drinking pattern may be, it can be relatable and fun. Who wouldn't want to know how many times “Total Eclipse of The Heart” was heard during an eclipse week?

This case becomes even more interesting when we see that, even being an online product, Spotify was able to take its data storytelling out of that sphere, also taking it to traditional media, as you can see in the following image.

2. Google Maps
Google Maps provides a monthly travel report to users who activate the "Location History" feature on their mobile devices. You can explore this feature by interacting with Google Maps.

You can find out the places and cities that you visited the most, see photos taken in each location and acquire information about the most used means of transport.

Do you know how much time you spent on public transportation or in your car in the last month? Maybe you rode your bike more than you walked, right?

All this information can be tracked through this tool. As you can see, Google Maps has all the main characteristics that a good data storytelling should have: context, narrative turns and characters (yourself!).

3. John’s Hopkins Hospital
Yes, we are facing a global pandemic. Although little is known about the disease so far, people around the world receive a great deal of information on the subject every day.

Again, fake news is a danger, so how can we be sure that we collect all the necessary information from a trusted source?

Maryland Johns Hopkins University Hospital created a real-time map showing relevant figures on the COVID-19 situation around the world.

If you think that it is not really a data storytelling, but an example of data visualization - since we lack the narrative factor here - you are right!

However, it is also possible to consult a critical trends section, in which we can monitor the spread of the virus over time in a combination of animated videos, interactive maps, and small paragraphs of text.

As you clearly see, data storytelling is already a trend and will continue to distinguish relevant brands from their competitors.

Beyond being visually appealing, it is a smart approach that conveys credibility and can be used in many different ways and for a variety of purposes, from a fun perspective of exemplifying an app's consumer behavior to an official demonstration of the growth of the app. pandemic, for example.

Did you find this post interesting? Then, download our Interactive Content Guide so you can diversify your possibilities when creating content with the data storytelling style.


Published in Digital marketing