Back in my formative years, math and science were never my things. I know the sentiments are similar for STEM fans who position themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum and feel there isn’t a single creative bone in their body.

The beauty of marketing is that the field allows both kinds of thinkers to combine their talents, creating campaigns that carefully balance art and science. Whether left-brained or right-brained, however, our brains value visuals over any other type of information.

Keep. It. Simple.

Simply put, graphics, charts, and other forms of data visualization help the brain stay efficient in the digestion of information. Our minds weren’t designed to quickly process information in the way computers do. So why try to force zeroes and ones when you can use a proven effective method of communication? 

For those new to the idea of data visualization, don’t let it intimidate you! As a matter of fact, not much art or science is involved in the creation of simple line graphs, bar graphs, and pie charts – as long as you have factual data, of course. Here are my dos and don’ts for incorporating these kinds of charts in your next performance-based campaign report (all of which can be quickly created using Microsoft Office products, free online resources like Canva and RapidTables, or created by hand).


TIP: Bar graphs are best used when showing comparisons between different categories of data. This will help you save time in explaining the values of each category as this form of data visualization quickly infers the highest and lowest performing categories.

DO: Be sure to label each axis of your chart to make it your data even more easily and quickly understood.

DON’T: Distort your chart. The numerical axis of a bar chart must start at zero so that our eyes do not draw inaccurate conclusions.


TIP: Line graphs are used to track changes in your data over time. This tool can be helpful in visualizing smaller changes over time compared to a bar graph.

DO: Simplify less important information. Highlight the most important line in your chart in accordance with what is relevant to your goals.

DON’T: Skip values when you have numerical data. This may distort the trend of your lines.


TIP: Pie charts a best to use when you are comparing parts of a whole. Because of this, each “slice” must represent a percentage of a total, which is always equal to 100%.

DO: Use different colors for different categories (but not rainbows). Not only will this make charts easier to read faster, but also allows your information to be read by people with colorblindness. Vizcheck can help test your images.

DON’T: Overload your chart with information. The standard practice limits pie charts to five slices. Too much information may eliminate the advantages of data visualization.


It’s no secret that data visualization tools can be a great addition to your marketing strategy and should actually be a priority in your reporting. Today’s world is one of data, meaning that as much computing power as is available to us, so is the overload of information unto our target audiences. Bridging this gap so that we can communicate effectively is becoming more important than ever.

And if all else fails, just remember: KEEP. IT. SIMPLE.

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