26 Jul The funny thing about infographics that’s not so funny

 

noodles

‘Instant’ approach works for cup of noodles, not your data analysis.

 

This is a personal pet peeve of mine, since I often feel robbed of my time after reacting to bait click article title only ending up gazing to meaningless or poorly interpreted data hidden in pretty cartoonish graphic. Most often is this ‘great’ technique used by ad tech and marketing services businesses to position them as thought leaders in their respective fields but on contrary very often providing very mediocre (read worse than average) advice to the practitioners.

Terrible example of such advice provided by Huffington post editor here and equally terrible advice wrapped into sleek infographic, which I suppose is intended to make the recommendation more sound, by Kissmetrics on their blog here. Apparently if you want most of your content shared on Facebook, you have got to post on Saturday. Do we need to say more?

Angles, Layers & Dimensions

This is a great example of one dimensional advice, in this case ignoring: type of content, type of audience, gender, age, cultural and religious aspects, timing or seasonality and many other elements. Such advice has above average potential to be utterly stupid, but that’s a topic for another blog post.  (read our blog on the AVERAGE dilemma)

Is this really going to be applicable in your business?

The key question, obviously. So let’s take a look at an example below. What do you think? From my point of view, this company just showed only information about customers of their clients, not yours and mostly US based on top of it! Let’s suppose this company does mostly serve clients in retail. So the demographics are pretty broad – in age, gender, technical skills. Their representation of the e-mail opening can look like this.

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Source: https://www.emailonacid.com/images/blog_images/Emailology/2014/infographic/Email-Marketing-Cheat-Sheet.png

Reality Check

Now let’s imagine you are a reseller of trendy shoes. And your target group of clients are teenagers and people in their twenties. They all have phones and spend the day pretty differently having access to the online world 24/7. So they are a subset of the broad group customers. When you select only your customer base, it can look for example like this:

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While using ready-made graphs from such companies not based on your own customers you just missed the most profitable part of the day, the peak that happens around 17:00 and 18:00. So, is the best practice infographic really best for you?

Where do we go from here?

Staying with our topic: optimal time to send email campaigns. Start with the data, every modern e-mailing platform has an API or other means of getting the data, raw data for that matter. Not just a cookie cutter reports available in interface aka black box. That means that anyone can access such data and put it in the context. In Keboola, our first step would be downloading your own data and present you with the behavior of YOUR customers.

From there it is only a step to include other data sources – your sales data for example. Then you can zoom out to the days, weeks and months to see when it is the best time to start Christmas pricing or when to buy new products and how many of them. Also, with our capabilities to feed the processed and enriched data back to your own ecosystem you can simply segment your own customer by their behavior. Do you have a group of customers that buy frequently for a small amount of money? Lets surprise them with tailored marketing campaign and move them to another level!

Marketers say “test it, test it and test it”. They are referring to the fact that every best practice should be continuously examined and put under scrutiny to see if it really works and whether it can be continuously improved. Technology in combination with curious nature of creative human mind can enable that. Start by combining the data you already have in your business, the principle of compound interest applies there as well, if you are looking for help, get in touch.

To finish this post on a lighter note, things can get exponentially worse than the examples above provided in terms of infographics see here the list of world’s worst.

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Pavel Bulowski & Vojtech Kurka