It’s one thing to report and show the right metrics, but it’s another to put your reporting efforts into context. To avoid getting stuck in the mundane world of reporting, here are few charts to use to spruce up your reporting:
Line Graph — Identifying abnormalities in data can be hard looking at numbers in excel, especially if the data is divided between sheets. Line graphs show progression or regression and is easier to use when identifying any abnormalities. Plotting data on a y and x-axis is great for visual learners and better demonstrates your performance rather than listing numbers and percentages. Remember time is the key when using these charts, and it is better used comparing data of equal time intervals.
Area Chart — For most, plotting data against a x and y-axis is basic knowledge. However, putting your data into perspective is important. The area chart is great for showing volume and relationships that may not be definitively consequential. For instance, you can compare your social media traffic against all other traffic during the same periods. From there, you can better determine the role social media traffic had on general web traffic.
Pie Chart — Pie charts are great for showing ratios and comparing data within the same data set. Often it’s used to show simple distributions of data like traffic sources. But it can also be used for more complex data like the number of engagements from each source.
Bar Graphs — I can’t stress how important it is to thoroughly express your goals and expectations. It is even more important to reiterate those goals through reporting. Highlighting trends and significant growth is important. But it is even more important to measure your successes (or failures) against benchmarks your whole team is aware of. For example, you have had the highest number of videos views this month since January. Yet, you’ve been missing your monthly goal for the past six months. Using a bar graph, will help you better understand how you’re performing against your goals.
Providing visual support helps tell your story, but it can also help in analyzing what that story is. Using the above charts as a framework will assist you in recognizing and expressing your story within the appropriate context.