Analytics at the Speed of Sight

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By  Bosley Jarett | Paid Search Lead

Bosley Jarrett is a 3-time Search Marketing Expo speaker and an award-winning designer/photographer-turned-paid-search-analyst at Red Ventures where he has managed multi-million-dollar accounts in the telecom, energy, insurance, and financial services industries. Outside of work, you can find him nerding out about color combinations or owning other Charlotteans at trivia at one of the local breweries.


Ever wonder why data analysts are weirdly obsessed with covering office walls with dashboards? It’s not just because charts are on trend. At Red Ventures, we’re on a never-ending quest to extract new, impactful insights from our datasets – then refine our strategies based on what we learn.

I know what you’re thinking. With all this data, how can we possibly keep enough momentum to analyze and iterate at warp speed? (Spoiler: it’s not just our analysts’ mastery of Microsoft Excel.) The big secret to speedy analysis is right in front of your eyes.

Beautiful data insights are better data insights.

Quick science lesson: the human brain can process visual inputs 60,000 times faster than text.

Let that sink in for a second. When you bury your insights in a number-laden spreadsheet, you’re forcing your brain to work in slow-motion. Humans can process stimuli significantly faster if we take numbers out of the equation.


Sorry, Count.

So, we take the raw numbers from our datasets and plug them into visualization software to uncover new insights, faster.

Focus on what’s in front of you.

Here’s a helpful factoid for aspiring Picassos and data analysis alike: When you’re walking around the world, your eyes automatically focus on size and color to help you make split-second decisions about what’s in front of you. At RV, we use this knowledge to our advantage, even in basic data analysis.

Color

Ever wonder why red lights are red? (Now you’re wondering, aren’t you?) It’s because our eyes are pre-programmed to be drawn to the color red. In fact, when you think about it, some of the most important things we read are written in red.

SIgns

Four critically important messages that should NOT be ignored

The general rule of thumb is that warm reds and oranges scream out for your attention, while cooler blues and purples recede into the background. When it’s time to showcase our analytics, we use Excel’s color scales to highlight the most important pieces of data. That way, we arrive at conclusions quickly – without forcing our brains to read each row in order to make the same discovery.

Take these two charts for example:

chart-red

Not to point fingers, but one of these is much easier on the eyes.

Size

Just as our eyes are drawn to red objects (we’re onto you, RV branding team), they’re also predisposed to focus in on big objects. On the data analysis side, we find creative ways to display our data so that you can focus in on the most important pieces without even trying.

Visual interactivity is the key to super-speed.

In order to fully utilize your eyes in data analysis, you’ll need more than bigger, brighter numbers. You need a little interactivity, too.

Red Ventures analysts use visualization tools like Power BI and Tableau dive deeper into our data analysis. Take a look:

Look, Ma! No Excel.

Both platforms are powerful reporting software in their own ways, but my favorite aspect is that they allow us to create interactive visualizations so that we can explore our data faster and with more depth than is possible in Excel. Bonus points? They’re fun to use, too.

Quick hit: your eyes are pre-programed to be your best analytics tool, so play to their strengths.

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