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Visualising data: to see your customers, first see yourself


Visualising data: to see your customers, first see yourself


Big data has hit the mainstream with various tools and websites being developed to give consumers the opportunity to access their own data in new and interesting ways. They can find out more about themselves, their networks and even improve their lives.

These tools have simplified the data to a point where consumers feel comfortable interacting with them. Here are some examples that have gained traction with consumers which I think are inspirational for other brands that might be looking to engage their customers in new and meaningful ways.

Example #1: wolframalpha.com/facebook

It takes a few minutes to read and analyse your Facebook data but once it’s complete you get a bespoke report on your postings, social groups, usage and associated trends.

You can also hover over most charts and drill into each section to get even more detail.

Some of my highlights are:

Friend network

This groups friends by their connections to each other. Where there is overlap between friendship groups, the clusters are connected. The distinct groups at the bottom of my network represent friends I met travelling in different countries.

The greenish colours on the left and middle represent UK friendship groups while the blue and purple groups are a mixture of UK and Australian friends.

Facebook Friend Network


Facebook Word Cloud

Word cloud

The word cloud of my postings demonstrates that I mainly use Facebook to wish happy birthday to friends and talk about surfing and the weekend.

I’m also happy to see that ngage is mentioned as well (accidentally branded with the correct colour).








Friends’ locations

My world map of friends shows an eclectic range:

Facebook Friends Locations


Example #2: peoplelikeu.com.au

By posing six questions, this site provides a ‘Uniqueness Report’ about your lifestyle compared to the rest of Australia. It utilises data from NAB/UBank, a database from Quantium (Market Blueprint) and Census information to profile how Australians spend their money. Your demographic is fitted to a profile that can then be compared against the rest of Australia.



Example #3 spotlight.abs.gov.au

Using the latest Census data, you can engage in an interactive movie to see how you fit into the Australian population and also create your very own infographic. [Ed’s note: it’s also a campaign that won the ABS an IAB Award, and the case study is right here.]


Census Visualisation



So how can marketers benefit from this type of exercise?

By value exchange.

The consumer provides some basic information and they receive a personalised, insightful visualisation that captures their interest. The marketer is ultimately increasing brand awareness.

There’s also the potential to use it for both lead generation and customer personalisation. For example, if an email address is requested to receive the visualisation (including the appropriate opt-in copy), this would generate leads. If it is sent to your own customer base it could be an innovative way to collect missing information, which would then allow you to personalise your communications to build loyalty and essentially increase sales.


Louis Keating

Louis Keating is data strategy director at ngage. Contact him on 02 8297 8241 or [email protected]

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