The days of delivering market forecast data in static bar charts embedded in reports are waning as providers invest in data visualisation techniques to bring their proprietary data to life. We identify three ways that publishers can embrace this change.
Data has ‘exploded’.
You may think that we already inhabit a meticulously detailed, comprehensively tracked world where every human, economic, mechanical, and natural interaction or event is tracked and collated into an endless world of clouds, servers, and databases – but we’ve only just begun.
Market and consumer data firm Statista predicts that data creation will increase exponentially over the next 15 years, eventually reaching 2,142 zettabytes per year in 2035 – for context, that is the storage capacity of 2.1 billion human brains put together.
A new information epoch
All of us absorb information in different ways. We’re often categorised into one of four types of learners: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic (physical learner), or readers/writers – a handy way of compartmentalising basic learning processes but a method that becomes redundant in the face of the tsunami of data now collected around the world every second of every day.
This ‘tsunami’ of data is beyond the realms of human comprehension and existing forms of displaying information. New ways of presenting this mass of information are vital for market analysis providers looking to keep their audiences informed on current trends.
Data visualisation tools, such as Power BI, Tableau, and Google Charts – although not exactly new – have improved greatly in terms of accessibility and functionality recently, making them a vital asset for rationalising and displaying these huge datasets simply and clearly.
How is data visualisation incorporated into market analysis content?
Data visualisation is the graphical or visual representation of data and information. Conventional formats include charts and graphs, often created in Excel using data pulled from static tables. In the world of B2B publishing, these data exhibits are often placed within reports alongside textual analysis.
In recent years, data visualisation tools have improved significantly. Subscribers to market analysis services can now interrogate complex datasets and discover their own insights and stories from highly interactive exhibits, rather than relying on the analyst to serve the narrative up to them.
This will benefit consumers of market analysis and forward-thinking analyst firms looking to diversify, personalise, and future-proof their content offering in 3 key ways:
1. Speed up critical decision making in business
Your market analysis should empower your readers with the information they need to execute business-critical decisions and it should be served as clearly as possible to reduce time spent searching for information.
Barriers restricting the ability to make these decisions include the sheer volume of data available and inappropriate forms of displaying this data. For example, publishing endless data entry points as an Excel file makes it difficult for readers to extract the information of most relevance to them. Similarly, tasking one of your analysts to trawl through an extensive dataset and summarise their findings in a report is an inefficient use of their time.
Converting this complex data into a visual format – using a tool such as Power BI, for example – reduces friction in the production stage as large datasets can be inputted and translated into visuals with the press of a button. For the reader, they can easily locate, visualise, and reuse the information they need with greater efficiency.
While conventional data exhibits may expire within a week, a day or maybe even an hour, live visualisation tools refresh and update as information becomes available, making them a vital component of market analysis content strategy.Edwin Bailey Director of Marketing Content Catalyst
2. Create a personalised subscriber experience
The power of data visualisation tools goes beyond simply converting datasets into a visual format. Formatting the data into flat charts or graphs still leaves room for improvement as data points of little interest to the reader may remain.
For example, if a subscriber is interested in US motor car production but only in the last 6 months while your dataset goes back 10 years, an interactive data visualisation tool allows the subscriber to isolate the period of interest and remove any redundant data from their view. Following this, users can interrogate, create, and export custom cuts of data exhibits to be used in their own work.
End-users are essentially allowed to explore the data rather than having exhibits served in a pre-formatted, impersonal way. Individual insights are subsequently gleaned from your content – creating a concierge, highly targeted reading experience.
Personalisation is now a must-have for B2B information consumers; provide this experience with data visualisation tools.
Referring to continually updated content designed to keep readers informed and engaged, ‘evergreen’ content is becoming an ever more popular content strategy for market analysis providers.
Evergreen content’s growing popularity is fuelled by ever-fluctuating pandemic (and post pandemic) market landscapes that analyst firms keep their subscribers updated on. Markets, in general, have been characterised by uncertainty and improvisation since March 2020 and there were very few information providers who escaped having to start their 2020 forecasts and predictions from scratch – a trend that continued as variants and inconsistent government directives caused markets to lurch unpredictably.
For instance, how were tech analyst firms meant to predict the huge, almost overnight shift to home working and the impact this would have on technology sales, distribution, and use? The same could be said for those operating in retail as shops closed and digital sales exploded. How could analysts in the travel industry possibly account for the international-wide collapse of travel when making forecasts in February 2020 or indeed in December 2021 when Omicron ground Christmas plans to a juddering halt?
Market analysis content had to adapt to these unprecedented changes.
Data visualisation tools became key to this shift as they are often ‘live’ rather than snapshots of a certain period – exhibits can pull information from live databases and update the information accordingly.
Commenting on the growing presence of evergreen market analysis content, Edwin Bailey, Content Catalyst’s Director of Marketing, said; “While conventional data exhibits may expire within a week, a day or maybe even an hour with the volume of new data readily available and the volatility of markets, live visualisation tools refresh and update as information becomes available, making them a vital component of evergreen content strategy.”
This concept of ‘research as a service’ is a fundamental shift in thinking from the transactional mindset of the past and will allow market analysis providers to keep pace with the increasingly data-saturated, unpredictable world we now live in.
Data visualisation options with Content Catalyst
The Content Catalyst platform fully supports data visualisation tools. Exhibits can be embedded directly into reports allowing you to position your detailed textual analysis alongside interactive, visual charts.
Two options are available: DataViewer, our in-house developed data visualisation tool as well as a new integration with Microsoft Power BI. This integration allows users to embed interactive data products seamlessly alongside textual research content and configure these as fully searchable datasets.
Keep your audience on the right side of the data ‘explosion’ soon to be with us with the help of data visualisation tools. If you would like to learn more, please get in touch today.