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Christopher Johannessen list for Data Storytelling

This is taken from the Analytics Discussions from the DAA: DIGITAL ANALYTICS ASSOCIATION Open Forum.  I thought the resources he posted were amazing and worth sharing.


Q: I am looking for a source such as a blog, forum, or a course to learn more about presenting data with story telling techniques. I appreciate any help.


1) Edward Tufte books

Edward Tufte has been cited by many as the “dean of data visualization” – his books are a great resource (a simple bit of advice he gives – read the sports pages to see how to tell a story quickly + concisely with data)

2) Michael Babwasingh’s data visualization blog

3) The Tableau (software vendor) blog has some periodic posts about data story telling:

– as well as good on-demand webinars such as this one:

– and Robert Kosara’s website \ blog (a lot of good publications + a few downloadables here):

– and on Twitter, Tapestry Conference (Tableau organized conference around data story telling) has periodic tweets in this area:

4) Stephen Few’s blog is good (his book “Information Dashboard Design” is a good resource for, well, dashboards)

5) The Harvard Business Review blog, over the past 6 months or so, has had a lot of good story telling and data visualization posts, notably from Nancy Duarte: (there are other people blogging here as well)

6) For Presentations – the Prezi blog is fun (Prezi is a relatively new, more fluid alternative to PowerPoint):

– for books about PowerPoint, I usually recommend “Beyond Bullet Points” as well as “Presentation Zen” (I prefer Beyond Bullet Points personally)

7) For some great video examples (to watch and learn how to present your stories, live):

TED talks are always great: look for talks by Hans Rosling, David McCandless, and others on story telling in general

There are also a host of great digital analytics videos at Online-Behavior +

and YouTube has a lot more (just search for “data storytelling” or “web analytics storytelling” or “analytics storytelling” or “eMetrics”)

I hope all this helps – cheers!

Christopher Johannessen
Director, Digital Analytics
TPG Direct \ Omnicom


Additional Resources:

This was also the subject of my recent SXSW presentation: “Scientist to Storyteller: How to Narrate Data”, which also used Prezi! Hope there’s some resources there that can help you.

Eric Swayne
Director, Product & Marketing
Addison TX



I recently did a session on this topic at the Adobe Summit back in March with Dieter Davis of Nike. The session was recorded and you can watch it at this Adobe TV link: Data Storytelling: Turning Insights into Action

Brent Dykes
Evangelist, Analytics
Adobe Systems (Corporate Account)
Lehi, UT


Spincam Rotating Images

I have always been a big fan of Spincam though I haven’t used it much recently. I feel like it would be the perfect app to create dynamic product images that users could manipulate and control.

Today instructables had a cool rotating platform that I thought would work well for building product images. Also I noticed that Spincam added embed features. Below is a test I am running to see how the Spincam embed feature looks.

I pitched Cinemagraphs in emails at Wolverine World Wide in 2012 and now you see them in a lot of retail emails (subscribe to Urban Outfitters and make sure you are using an email browser that supports these images). I wonder when rotating product images will take off.  The technology is there.

(This is an old video, ignore my shirt….)

Different Strategies

Optimizing SEM 2014 (Part 1)

I have been at Yahoo for about four months now and I wanted to share some of the observations that I have made in that time period.  I review accounts for clients and offer search engine marketing optimization advice based on my experience.  I am fascinated by account structure and organization and I would like to see more clients use the most up-to-date best practices to improve their search engine marketing performance.

That being said, these SEM optimizations are for enterprise search campaigns and will require and automated bidding platform to manage.  Large accounts are too complex to be handled manually and need efficient, automated bidding strategies which I am not going to discuss in this article.

Additionally, I will be using the two definitions of accounts interchangeably but recognize that there is a difference.

  • Search engine accounts are individual account in a search engine.  Each search account usually has a unique sign-in and a unique account id.
  • Advertising accounts or client accounts include all the search engine accounts that one advertiser manages including campaigns and keywords.

SEM Optimizations

1) Large advertiser accounts are MASSIVE and contain millions and millions of keywords

This was sort of a shock for me. I have worked with clients that had 1.5 million keywords and I thought that many keywords was a lot (not unique keywords but the same keyword segmented by match type, device, and geo-target). Most large retailers have multiple search accounts with hundreds of thousands of keywords in each account.  I was amazed when I discovered that one retailer had segmented product category in to separate search accounts.  

Don’t be afraid of massive keyword lists and multiple accounts.  Search Engine Account Managers can help you manage performance across accounts. Develop a solid SEM account and campaign structure and grow keyword lists organically.  If you have a large advertising account with thousands of clicks a day and adding additional keywords can reduce average cost-per-click by $.10, the benefits will be huge.

2) Many large advertisers do not take advantage of multiple accounts for segmentation

If you have a decent SEM management platform or the means to monitor multiple search accounts, use different search accounts to segment keywords and traffic.  Multiple search accounts is an easy way to monitor segmentation and make sure targeting is set correctly.  Set scheduled reports, dimensions, or labels to monitor performance and targeting.  Use account management tools like Bing Ad Editor & Google Adwords Editor to make bulk changes.

A suggested account segmentation strategy in Bing would be to create nine accounts segmenting devices and match type. All the campaigns would initially have the same campaigns and keywords but keyword match type, device targeting and negative keywords would be very different.

  • Computer – Broad
  • Computer – Phrase
  • Computer – Exact
  • Tablet – Broad
  • Tablet – Phrase
  • Tablet – Exact
  • Mobile – Broad
  • Mobile – Phrase
  • Mobile – Exact

The segmentation strategy above offers four advantages:

  1. When budgets need to be reduced, it is easy to target low performing areas to pause
  2. Devices have very different metrics (CTR and Conversion Rate) and segmentation makes it easy to optimize accordingly
  3. Segmented keywords offers a way to dial in keyword bids to the appropriate level (keyword level tracking is required)
  4. It is easy to setup negative blocking

3) Mobile Conversion Rates are Changing Dramatically

It is essential that advertisers develop a mobile strategy such as m-commerce or supporting brick and mortar locations. Google is forcing advertisers to advertise on tablets.  Amazon saw 50% of their Holiday 2013 traffic come from mobile. On average, most advertisers are seeing 15% to 20% of their total conversions come from mobile (if you only advertise on computers, this revenue is incremental).  I have seen some advertisers with 50% of their conversions coming from mobile.

Mobile traffic has been on the rise for years, but it seems that finally mobile conversion rates are making it ROAS positive for Advertisers to embrace mobile wholeheartedly.

For mobile analytics, remember Google Adwords campaigns group computer and tablets together.  Google Analytics filters group tablets and mobile together.  Monitor computer, tablet, and mobile metrics separately by segmenting by device in the search engines. Most advertisers will be amazed to find how differently each device performs.


  • Additional SEM optimizations: Negative Blocking, Geo-targeting, Product Feeds, & Local Keywords
  • Bing specific optimizations

Different Strategies