The Role of Interactive Graphics

Ed BurghardResearch indicates a 20 percent increase in Decision Simplicity results in a 96 percent increase in customer loyalty. It also results in brands being 86 percent more likely to be purchased and 115 percent more likely to be recommended to others.

Every once in awhile I run across a tool that really catches my eye.  Recently, I came across an interactive graphic created by the people at Money Choice.  This particular graphic illustrates state level financial data in an interactive way.

I am sharing the graphic to hopefully get you thinking about how to present information about your community or region in a compelling way.  Interactive graphics are a tool you should consider to make your data simpler and faster to understand, more engaging and improve the probability of delivering a communication message to your target audience.

MoneyChoice

Clearly, interactive graphics require data worth sharing in order to make your communication efforts even more effective.  In this specific case, Money Choice has shared basic state level financial data. It is a great example of how to make complex data simple to understand and explore. Click on the graphic and it will take you to the link where you can see the interactivity.

Additional Examples

NY Times Graphic on Buying vs. Renting 

WSJ Graphic on Waiting For a Green Card

Business Week Graphic on A-List Employers

One of the best articles I found on interactive graphics was a piece published by the NY Times entitled “2012: The Year in Graphics”  It shares a number of very good examples of how to make complex data simple.

I did some research using Google to try and better understand if there is data to support the use of interactive graphics as a better communication tool.  Unfortunately, I don’t have access to academic literature databases, so it took some real slogging to find articles.

One article reported on two studies that demonstrated interactive online communication had a positive effect on political involvement.  I was excited about this finding because “Civic Participation” is one dimension within the Xavier University American Dream Composite Index™ (powered by Dunnhumby) research and an area most states could improve in.

I found another article  that looked at the use of interactive media in health care.  The study conslusion was that it brought a unique emotional engagement to the communication.  As a brand guy, I found this a very hopeful finding.  Even if it can be replicated in small part outside of the health category, the potential to emotionally touch your target audience should be compelling enough to give it a try.

I also found an article on interactive advertising that basically concludes we have just scratched the surface of the potential interactive media might offer.

Discussion – My big take-away?

I think any communication tactic that engages your target with the data you want to share is a good thing and worth considering as part of your marketing mix.  If you can take “boring data” and make it exciting, or can use the interactivity to help the reader understand the implications of your offering on their problem/need, then you have successfully and positively impacted their probability of choosing your product/service/location as the solution.

There are controlled studies emerging that demonstrate value in the use of interactivity as a tactic for better communicating your message.  But, candidly, there is a need for publication of even more rigorously designed studies to truly understand how interactive media impacts decision making.  So far, I have found no research published about the site selection decision, and I’d love to see an academic institution specifically tackle the challenge of better understanding the role of interactive media in this industry.  Maybe a doctoral candidate will take on the challenge.

My personal bottom line is anything that makes it easier and faster for your target to understand your message is worth a try.  Just don’t bet the farm on it.  But, by all means make it a part of your communication mix.  And start by taking a look at the interactive graphic developed by the Money Choice team.

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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