What is data storytelling?

Data Storytelling is an approach used to convey insights – where data, visualisations and narratives work in tandem to influence a specific audience.

Stories or narratives are an effective way to convey a message by helping people (stakeholders) engage with it.

How is storytelling a compelling tool?

Historically, cultures and societies have told stories through various mediums such as cave paintings, books and movies. Thus, storytelling has long been the primal mode for the transmission of meaningful information.

Studies have shown that people are far more likely to engage and recall a story rather than just looking at plain numbers and statistics. A story can evoke an emotional response in people, making the message more powerful, and easier to remember as opposed to simply showing your audience or stakeholders mere facts and figures.

Bloomr and their roles in Mediacorp

Organised by Creatives at Work, Diogo Cordes Aniceto Martins, Mediacorp’s Content & Community Lead gave an insightful talk about Bloomr and what his team does.

The job scope of Bloomr includes:

  1. Content creation – Bloomr helps content creators to optimise their content and get more clients. According to Diogo, Bloomr acts like a ‘mamasan’ for content creators.
  2. Social media management – Bloomr’s team has to approve the content uploaded.
  3. Data analytics (for Mediacorp) – provide consumer insight based on data collected from users’ comments for example. Mediacorp produces TV & radio shows, online content for clients etc. These are some of the sources where data are derived, based on users’ comments and viewership for instance.

In terms of data, there are 4 different types of data which Bloomr works with:

  1. Direct data – created and owned by Mediacorp,
  2. Third party data – are ‘stuff’ which Mediacorp and Bloomr get from Google, Facebook and Instagram for example,
  3. User backed data – comments by users which are tracked to better serve users.
  4. Platform backed data – these refer to cookie tracking data.

Diogo explained by using lively graphics that based on the data obtained, Bloomr helps clients to enhance their digital marketing efforts, that is, to increase the clients’ reach and conversion rate. The key questions that the team always kept in mind when working with data are:

  1. Is my brand getting noticed on social media?
  2. Am I reaching the right target customers/audience?
  3. Is my digital marketing budget well spent?
  4. How can social media support my business and expand my customer base?

During the talk, the audience were given a ‘peek’ into Bloomr’s workspace at Mediacorp – a huge, open concept workspace where different teams can easily ‘talk’ at the same time using  Warroms or massive screens so that everyone can be connected and communicate simultaneously. This helps team members to react to data on the spot.

Data interpretation

Using colourful charts, infographics and dashboards, Diogo explained the process of ‘creative analysis of content’, that is, how his team evaluates trends on social media.

Based on charts, if a crest is observed, Bloomr is able to find out what is trending and the team will highlight the ‘tipping point’ to the producers and get them to quickly ‘ride on the wave’ to amplify the hot trend on Mediacorp’s social media platforms.

One great example is the case of Miss S-Hook (Lerine Yeo). Using her own social media platform alone, she could only reach a limited audience but when Mediacorp jumped right in to ride on ‘her’ wave, her audience and awareness about her online business skyrocketed.

Alluding to how people from 3000 years ago generated many tales based on ‘dots’ or stars in the sky, Diogo concluded by emphasising that data analysis through the interpretation of graphs, numbers and charts alone is not enough, it is crucial to make connections and tell stories based on the data.

What makes up a good data story?

A good data story leverages on three major components:

Data, narrative, and visuals.

As for the data component, first of all, we must have accurate data in order to reach correct insights. The visual component (graphs, charts, infographics etc) enables us to spot trends and patterns, which are not easily seen in the rows and columns of spreadsheets.

The narrative or story-telling part gives voice to the data through the interpretation of data. When combined together – narrative, data and visuals can create data stories that can help drive change in businesses.