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Why is data storytelling effective?

Dr. Heather Buker |

Created: September 9, 2022|Last Updated: August 10, 2023
Why is data storytelling effective?


Data is important, but is it enough in itself? Data gets value when it is used effectively. Data storytelling is an effective way to explain data-led concepts and get data-backed outcomes. 

Data is just numbers. These numbers are an important record of what has happened. And even though we talk about data being extremely valuable, it's hard to appreciate its value when it's just in the form of some numbers.

Data becomes valuable when it is analysed, explored, and compared with previous data to form patterns and view trends. This is when data shows the complete picture of what has happened and why it has happened. This is when data is no longer just numbers but a set of powerful insights that can drive improvement. 

In a nutshell, data needs to be analysed by taking into account the context of the data. While analysts in an organisation can make sense of the numbers and understand them with reference to context, this is not an ability that everyone in an organisation has. 

Thus, to ensure that everyone understands data and the insights it brings, you need the analytics tools and the skills to not just co  Helping everyone understand what’s happening and get them invested in taking action to get toward your ideal state, then, can only occur when you use the right skills and right analytics tools to not only present the data but to also make them remember the takeaways. 

Data storytelling is a way in which you can bring everyone in the organisation on the same page in terms of data-backed strategies, objectives, and plans. It is a way to communicate data through narratives and visualisation. 


Why is data storytelling so effective?

Who doesn't like stories? Stories are interesting and appealing. Concepts explained through stories are easier to understand and retain. Here are some of the reasons why data storytelling is an effective and important skill.


Data stories give voice to the data

Even though numbers can be helpful to understand what has happened and why it has happened, it's not always immediately apparent what the data is trying to say. 

Giving a voice to the data through a narrative is a great way to give bring more clarity. An engaging story starting from the raw data, describing the insights drawn from the data and the final vision is so much more powerful than just some numbers in a spreadsheet or a report.

Data stories are memorable

People don't remember statistics for too long, but they do remember stories. There have been several studies that have corroborated this fact. 

When data is conveyed in the form of stories, it has a much higher chance of being retained by the people who hear these stories. 

Data stories are more appealing

Stories are interesting and appeal to the listeners. When people listen to stories, they are more open to the ideas being conveyed in the stories instead of getting held up in the nuances of the data interpretation.  

This makes data storytelling an essential skill for people to understand what matters without getting bogged down by numbers. 

Data stories are persuasive

Stories are more persuasive than numbers. Even infographics that display data in an easy-to-understand format don't compare against the persuasiveness of stories. 

People are more likely to get invested in the vision when it is backed by a story that outlines the path to it, rather than some numbers that justify the plan.

Data stories can build trust

People are sceptical; stories help win their trust. When historic data and trends are used to predict an outcome, just presenting the numbers is not always enough. 

Instead, lead with a compelling narrative and see the magic of data storytelling. A compelling story that supports your vision does not have to be biased, but it can be creative. Creative storytelling can inspire and drive the actions needed to achieve the vision.

Stories convey ideas faster

Analysing data and connecting the data points to reach a conclusive idea is time-consuming. Even when you try to explain the idea by presenting the supporting data points, the data in itself can be so exhaustive, and the analytical reports so lengthy, that it can take a lot of time to get your point across.

With data storytelling, you can give a high-level view of how the idea can be implemented and what goal it can help achieve, making it much faster to convey the idea to the people.

Data storytelling brings more value to AI analytics

Today, a lot of organisations use AI-based tools for analytics instead of traditional dashboards and excel sheets. Admittedly, these tools have revolutionised how reports are created and how information is accessed by users. 

These tools support contextual analysis and make it easier to interpret numbers and get useful insights. Data storytelling can take this interpretation to a whole new level through a narrative that improves the retention of the information being conveyed and gets people more invested in the idea.  communicate discoveries and inspire action from detailed analysis in a more succinct, engaging manner.

LiveDocs by 6clicks lets you engage with the data stories around embedded data that is always up-to-date. LiveDocs and the 6clicks Analytics suite make a powerful combination.   

Data storytelling drives a data-driven culture

Even when organisations have enough resources for collecting and reporting data, a data-driven culture does not come naturally to them. It has to be consciously built.

Data storytelling is a great way to build a data-driven culture. It gets people to appreciate the power of data and helps them understand how data plays a role in critical decision-making. When they see the results that a data-backed strategy brings, they are more likely to be more invested in supporting a data-driven culture. Read more - Creating Data Stories to Foster a Data Culture.