Black Friday Mania

Most people around the world are now familiar with the shopping phenomenon that is Black Friday. Many of us, in the United States especially, wake up bright and early (or don’t sleep) to attend sales that start at 6, 5, even 4am on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

But do you really know what Black Friday is all about, or the impact it has on the retail world?

HISTORY OF BLACK FRIDAY

In 1966, the name “Black Friday” was created in Philadelphia, thanks massive traffic jams and the large number of accidents associated with travelers and shopping after the Thanksgiving holiday. It wasn’t until the mid 1980’s that retailers started taking the name “back.” This is when Black Friday shopping turned from something disastrous into something desirable.

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BLACK FRIDAY AROUND THE WORLD

It’s no longer just an American shopping holiday. In 2010, the first Black Friday sales were held in the UK, and in 2011, Mexico started their own Black Friday – called “El Buen Fin” (The Good Weekend). In 2014, even South Africa started creating Black Friday sales. Not surprisingly, Canadians are catching Black Friday fever, too: 5.1 million Canadians cross the border on Black Friday to take advantage of US sales!

Below is a map of the all the places around the world that now “celebrate” Black Friday.

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WHAT DO PEOPLE BUY ON BLACK FRIDAY?

The number one category for Black Friday purchases is electronics. 33% of consumers say they are going to shop for electronics like (in order by popularity below):

  1. TVs
  2. Tablets
  3. Laptops
  4. iPhone / iPad

Guns also sell like hotcakes on Black Friday, with 185,00 gun registrations occurring on this one day- more than any other day!

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THE FUTURE OF BLACK FRIDAY

Black Friday is turning into a weekend-long event in the US. More people are starting to shop on the evening of Thanksgiving, rather than wake up for Black Friday early morning sales. In 2015, retail store sales fell almost 10% from 2014 with a 14% increase in online sales in that same timeframe. It seems like people are trying to avoid the mobs and instead buy from the comfort of their own couch in their post-turkey coma.

This Black Friday (2016), retailers expect that trend to continue, with more sales on Thanksgiving night and online than in stores on Black Friday.

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What about you? Are you braving the crowds, the parking lots, and the cold to find some great deals in stores this Black Friday?

From all of us at Easel.ly, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a Black Friday full of great deals.

 

 

 

Data and Infographics: Solving Problems for Your Nonprofit

There are times when visuals just speak louder than words. Whether it’s a picture of people being helped or a colorful chart showing the total amount of funds raised, visuals have always struck a chord. Nonprofits and relief organizations have always known this, which is why their promotional and marketing materials usually have photos of the people they have helped (like the image below).

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But even with visuals, the biggest problems nonprofits consistently face are:

  1. Getting their message out there and
  2. Growing their outreach, their impact, and their access to resources.

With #givingtuesday just around the corner (November 29), many NPOs are gearing up their marketing campaigns to spread the word and hopefully increase their impact on the world. But still, they struggle with how best to spread the word and gain traction for their cause. How do they know what will work best in their marketing and outreach efforts?

With the growing access to data (information) and data mining tools, nonprofits have a wealth of knowledge to help them – more than ever before. This data could tell them who to reach out to, what areas they are excelling in, and where they want to grow. But how do nonprofits utilize this data to be seen by the community at large? After all, you don’t want to just share numbers and small bits of boring facts – you want to hit your audience, the public, where they live.

The good news is that, when nonprofits start using data (and infographics to represent that data), they can translate their own collections of data into visuals that impact their community. From there, the community will respond to their message, engage with the organization, and spread the word.

Where Data and Visuals Collide

Nonprofits, just like any organization, are walking mines of data. From your employees, your volunteers, the number of people or families you’ve helped, the amount of money raised, to where you see the most engagement on social media – these are all sources of information that can help grow your organization.

The beauty of data is that it usually helps you solve a problem you’ve been working on for some time. Nonprofits have a handful of problems across the board, like needing more volunteers, needing more exposure, or wanting to share their impact to raise more funds. Below are a handful of ways to solve these problems with data, as well as examples of how other organizations have created infographics to help them expand their operations.  

Do you need more volunteers?

85% of nonprofits run on just volunteers alone, which makes it a lot easier to understand why nonprofits are always in need of more volunteer help. If you’re a nonprofit hoping to gain more volunteers and support, look to your data!

Look at your current volunteer base: are they working enough hours? Where do they put in the most time? Are they being recognized for their efforts? Where did you find them? You may be thinking, “Great! That helps me recruit more volunteers, but what does that have to do with visuals?”

Simply take the data you’ve gathered about your volunteers and think about all the content you could make to encourage more volunteers to sign up. You could:

  • Showcase the impact your volunteers have had

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  • Highlight how many hours your volunteers have put in

 

 

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  • Share what makes your volunteers great

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  • Highlight how easy it is to get involved

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Do you want to highlight what your nonprofit does? Sometimes, it’s hard to limit the impact your organization does to a simple few sentences in a grant proposal. Even harder still is to show why your NPO does what it does.

With the right data, you can tell the story of your nonprofit:

  • Who you’re helping (age, location, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.)

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  • How you’re helping your demographic (donations, shelters, relief aid, mentoring, etc.)

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  • The difference your NPO has made

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Do you want people to spread the word of your nonprofit?

If you haven’t noticed yet, the data these nonprofits collected and then combined into their own infographics can effectively kill two birds with one stone: these data visualizations serve as content marketing, social media content, and even print media material. This visual content can then be used by your organization, by your audience, and can spread awareness online and in your community.

Kinda magical, huh?

A Big Thanks to Education Support Professionals

Today is Education Support Professionals Day, a day to recognize the many people who help educate our kids and support our school districts. These are the people that get your kids off to school safely, who manage all the paperwork at the front desk, who make sure they’re eating a good lunch, and who keep the lights on.

The National Educational Association’s Representative Assembly made this a national day to salute the school’s support employees in 1987. In 2016, a number of schools and organizations are celebrating these individuals who do a sometimes thankless job.

This “support staff” includes:

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  • Bus drivers (370,000)
  • Secretarial staff (81,000)
  • Janitors (323,000)
  • School nurses (70,000)
  • Librarians (21,000)
  • Teachers aides (996,000)
  • Cafeteria workers (127,000)
  • Coaches (59,000)
  • IT support (56,000)
  • …and more in grades K – 12 alone!  

To put that into perspective, there are only about 3.1 million teachers in K-12… and there are over 2 million education support professionals!

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Keep in mind that:

  • 75% of ESPs also live in the communities they work in – you know these people!
  • These people keep kids safe, support their education, and help them grow.

Thank an ESP on Nov. 16

If you want to say “Thanks” to your own ESPs, why not take a minute to just tell them that you appreciate them? Other ways to say thanks include:

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  • Donuts – who doesn’t love donuts?
  • Movie or event tickets
  • Gift certificates for coffee, shopping, etc.
  • A pay raise – who doesn’t love a good pay raise?

Keep in mind that this day is part of a bigger American Education Week. Take a minute to appreciate all that our schools and educators do, especially the ones who are making a difference in your life or your children’s lives.

To see the full infographic, visit Easel.ly.

Four Ways Internal Operations and Infographics Go Hand-in-Hand

Internal Operations and Infographics Go Hand-in-Hand

You know those really boring internal emails you get? Or the packets of budget information you have to print off, hand out, and then never read at the end of your fiscal year? What if you could cut out the middleman (the printer, your email, that pointless meeting) while still relaying necessary information to your entire organization? It is possible… with infographics.

While infographics have really only been popular within the last four or so years, they have grown exponentially in that time. We see infographics for everything, from blog images to advertising to data analysis. But while most companies can see the value in creating infographics to be consumed by their clients, customers, or audience, they have a hard time seeing the benefits that infographics can have on the inner workings of their company.

Consider this: by spending a little time designing infographics for internal use, your company could:

1. Go digital – there is no need to print off JPEGs!

Better yet, there’s no need to have a meeting; you can email the infographics to everyone!

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2. Increase executive and employee understanding of a specific subject

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3. Make it easier to update information monthly, quarterly, yearly with templates

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All you have to do is find your previous templates in Easel.ly’s Creation Tool and update the information! No reason to create unique images every time you need to share information.

4. Create multi-use visuals that can be used for:

Training your employees:

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To generate summaries and analysis:

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Investor materials:

OHTO-MediaKit-Infographics

… and finally, you can also use any and all of the above for consumer content! This can include email infographics, webinar infographics, social media marketing, and more! Infographics are versatile and engaging for anyone, whether an employee of a customer – that’s why they’re so great.

BONUS: When you start using infographics for internal purposes, you also stop boring your employees to death!

No Election is Complete Without Data and Infographics!

Tomorrow marks the end of the election cycle – the day we’ve all been waiting for. The votes will be rolling in, ballots will be counted, and we will soon know who our next POTUS is. We’ll also know which members of Congress will be leaving or joining us, and states will have their own representatives and ballot measures to keep an eye on.

While we all get distracted by the nasty TV ads and the cross-talk debates, the quiet data scientists and polling institutions have been hard at work, tracking this election step-by-step.

If you’re not sure what’s going or where to find objective information about the current state of the election, we’ve collected a ton of resources for you to track the latest polls, and to see how far we’ve come in this general election.

Hold on, everyone! We’re almost there!

The Notorious Blue and Red Map of the US

Most of us are familiar with the map of the US that shows the “Red or Blue” nature of each state. This map indicates the number of electoral votes in each state that are associated with one party or the other; if a state has more Republican electoral votes, it’s considered a Republican state.

But you don’t have to just assume it’s all over for your state and that your vote won’t count if you’re not voting for that candidate! If you’re in a Blue state and you’re bleeding Red – get out and vote!

If you’re in a purple state, we especially need you! Remember, it’s our civic duty to get out there and vote.

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Fun fact: There were (generally) at least three parties involved in our election until the 1900s, when the election became a majority two-party vote. Check out this awesome interactive map of the history of Presidential election parties from Metrocosm to see how the times have changed.

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Polls are Changing, But Are We Really Changing Opinions?

If you’re like us, you’ve had trouble keeping up with what the latest polls have been saying. Well, here are the average polling numbers from the latest 5 polls. You can see that Hillary has always had the majority, but that majority has gotten much, much smaller since July (which is, of course, when Trump became the GOP nominee).

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What’s Driving People to Vote?

There are a ton of hot button issues associated with this campaign, and we’re not going to get into that here. But the issues are important to voters, and it’s important to know what you’re voting for!

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Not Voting IS Voting

Fun fact: There are nearly 219 million registered voters in the US.

Another (not-so) fun fact: Only about 58% of registered voters actually voted in 2012

Even more upsetting? We’re ranked 32nd out of 35 countries for voter turnout.

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We are also going to have a high non-turnout rate in 2016, according to a recent poll by RealClearPolitics. To boot, nearly 18% of registered voters who say they will pick neither Trump nor Clinton.

So with maybe only 40% of people voting for the two main nominees… what will happen?

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What to Do With All This Information

You’re probably thinking, “That’s all great, but that doesn’t change my vote!” But that’s not the point. The point is knowing the current state of affairs and being aware of what’s going on as Election Day draws near. With only about half of our voter population actually voting, it’s definitely time to reacquaint ourselves with our civic duty – our right! – to vote!

Resource List

If you’re a teacher and you’re wondering how to get kids interested in the election, or how to integrate infographics into a lesson about the Presidency or civic duty, check out our other article on teaching your students about the election with infographics.

If you don’t want to watch news outlets or try to wade through biased posts on social media, keep up-to-date on Election Day with Politico’s Electoral Vote Tracker. Remember: the next POTUS needs 270 delegates to win!

For live updates on the votes as they are counted, you can also check out Real Clear Politics Election 2016 Tracker.

How to Collect Your Own Data: An Interview With Max Galka (Part 2)

How to Collect Your Own Data: An Interview With Max Galka (Part 2)

As we mentioned in Part 1 of our interview with Max Galka, data visualization has become one of the biggest trends of 2016. Not only do we have more access to more information than ever before, but we are able to collect that information (data) in all new ways. But of course, we don’t just collect data to collect it – it’s what we do with the data we gather that counts!

In this second part of our interview, you’ll get insights into how to collect data to help you create data visualizations and infographics that are top quality. Whether you’re a teacher, entrepreneur, marketer, or nonprofit organization, there is something to take away from Galka’s great insights into data. Enjoy!

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Easy Access to Data

In Part 1, we discussed with Max Galka how data visualizations can be used to bring information to life. That information can be about public need for a product like yours, a graph of recently collected information about consumers, or a visual representing your audience. But you’re probably thinking, “Where in the world do I find this information to begin with?”

If you want to know something about your industry, about your specific location, or even about your business, most people have a hard time knowing where to begin. Google searches don’t always help and not all of us are familiar with the back-end analytics needed to track marketing campaigns or traffic numbers.

Don’t worry though; data collection doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. Depending on what sort of information you’re looking for (public information or more specific information about your business or audience), you should start with the “low-hanging fruit,” as Max Galka calls it.

These are 1.) public data, 2.) your website analytics, 3.) your social media, 4.) audience polls. Thanks to advancements in the “user-friendly” nature of data collection, finding information in these four areas has never been easier.

1. Public Data

For public data sets and general information about pretty much anything under the sun (other than your specific business or audience), Max Galka recommends data.gov:

Data.gov [now] hosts close to 200,000 public data sets covering just about any topic imaginable. Browsing what’s available there could keep you busy for a long time. Another one of my favorite resources is IPUMS, a repository of Census data hosted by the Minnesota Population Center. It has the same data as the official Census website, but IPUMS is 100 times easier to work with.

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Because government databases (generally) have the most accurate and up-to-date information, these are really great places to start. The best part is that more and more data is being publicly released every month thanks to the DATA Act and the Freedom of Information Act. Galka and others are actively seeking access to even more “private” data sets that the government holds. If you’d like to learn more about this, check out Galka’s project, FOIA Mapper.

2. Website Analytics

If you’re looking for data about your own business or audience but have no idea what “analytics” are, let’s start with your website “dashboard.” Whichever platform you use for your website, whether WordPress, SquareSpace, etc., there are basic “site stats” in the admin panel of your website. These site stats will tell you how many people have visited your site, what pages they looked at, and where the traffic came from.

You can also invest in programs like Google Analytics if you’d like more detailed and targeted information, but that’s not considered “Beginner Level.” Also keep in mind that if you sell something on your site or you have people subscribe to your blog or email list, you’ll get more specific information about them. Demographics such as age, gender, location, and interests will all pop up in your analytics the more engaged your visitors are.

Pro tip: Want to gather more data? Encourage people to “convert” – buy, subscribe, sign up, whatever! More engagement = more data!

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SquareSpace cover page analytics

While it may seem cut-and-dry (and boring), all data you gather from your website can be used to:

  1. Create better content
  2. Launch new products
  3. Create infographics about your service or product
  4. Create data visualizations for investors, executives, or for your end-of-year review

It’s very basic data, but that data can be used in many ways in a number of great visuals, and can help you better understand who is visiting your site.

3. Social Media Reports

Next, and maybe most importantly, we come to social media as a source of data. If you run your own social media, you know that some posts get more engagement (likes, shares, retweets) than others. But did you know that Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest now track the sort of engagement your posts receive? Galka believes that social media is one of the best (and easiest) places to receive information about your audience:

Both Twitter and Facebook have really beefed up their analytics reporting lately. And by looking at who’s engaging with what, you can learn a lot about your target audience: who they are, what they are interested in, what resonates with them. That kind of information can help inform decisions across all areas of the business, not just social media.

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Facebook Analytics – Gender, location, total Facebook population

Generally, we take our successes on social media as a hint to post more of whatever our followers enjoyed. But as Galka explains, that data can be collected for other uses. Your social media reports may help you decide which products are working well, which geographical locations are most likely to respond / need your services, or which area of your business could use the most TLC. You can collect this data for your own personal / business use, of course, or you could use it to create infographics about your product or services.

4. Audience Polls

If the previous 3 sources of data don’t get you the information you want, it’s time to go right to the source: the data sets themselves! Your audience is a walking, talking, breathing data set just waiting to be collected. To take advantage of this, all you need to do is *gasp!* ask them. Whether you send out an email asking your customers, “Which product is your favorite and why?” or if you have an open-ended, “Leave a review or response on our Facebook page” sign-off, your audience will give you information.

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You can also use Twitter and Facebook to directly poll your audience anonymously, which is great if you don’t need to know who is responding. There are also programs like SurveyMonkey and others which allow you send out surveys en masse to your audience. The great thing about all of these options is they’re super easy to plug into a visual and all the information is going to be particularly catered to your business and / or audience.

Pro tip: Audience polls aren’t just for businesses! Teachers, nonprofits, and other organizations can use polls to collect data about virtually anything.

Collecting Data Doesn’t Have to be Intimidating

Many businesses who are looking to collect data on their customers or their industry have to mine the data for themselves. Bloggers have to research keywords and understand trends. Even teachers and nonprofits have to do this; not every set of data you want will be in a government database somewhere. While your data mining process doesn’t have to be as complex as you think, you do have to know where to look.

Also keep in mind that, just because you collected the data, it doesn’t mean that it’s telling a story – yet! Galka recommends that data miners:

“… vet whatever conclusions you are drawing from that data. ‘Correlation does not imply causation’ … [is] still good advice for data visualizations. Just because there is a relationship between two variables, it does not mean one causes the other. It’s generally best to let the data speak for itself and avoid trying to extrapolate what it means.”

Whether you use data to educate students, grow your audience, improve a product, explore your industry, or create beautiful visuals, remember: Data can speak for itself; it’s just your job to collect it.

As a quick recap, Max discussed the differences between Data Visualizations and Infographics.  And while they are more similar than they are different, they both require you to collect data and information!

Depending on your goal and information you are trying to share, he suggested 5 places to start when looking to collect data:

  • Public Data
  • Website Analytics
  • Social Media Reports
  • Polls, Surveys, and Sales Data
  • Libraries

He also provided some tips on getting started with Data Analysis:

  • Check if source is reliable (and attribute it properly!)
  • Vet the conclusions you’re drawing from the data
  • “Correlation does not imply causation”
  • Let the data speak for itself

While there are many tools out there that will allow you to create Data Visualizations and Infographics, he gave us a preview to Blueshift which is an easy way to design and publish dynamic maps in minutes!  Visit Blueshift to sign-up for early access! We also appreciated Max’s opinion on Easel.ly as an easy-to-use tool to create aesthetically pleasing infographics. We agree!

Easel.ly Resources:

Max Galka Resources:

Easel.ly would like to extend a big THANK YOU to Max for taking the time to talk with us and I hope you found it informative!   

Information, Visuals, and Collecting Data: An Interview With Max Galka (Part 1)

We at Easel.ly recently spoke to Max Galka, an entrepreneur and blogger whose main focus is on the world of data. Galka is known across the Interwebs as a data visualization genius as well as a data pioneer, working on projects that visualize information in truly colorful ways. His latest project, Blueshift, focuses on creating interactive, data-driven maps. He has started a number of other projects, including FOIA Mapper and Metrocosm, which emphasize the importance of data, our access to it, and how we can use it.

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Easel.ly reached out to Max to talk about the latest trends in data and, of course, how people can use infographics to share the data they find or collect online. His insights are helpful for anyone who trying to track data to grow their business, explore their industry, or just learn something new!

 

Because he was such a wealth of information, we’ve split this post into two parts and we also will be following it up with a webinar! We hope you find his insights helpful – we sure did!

The Expansion of Data

We’ve always had data as human beings – in the form of our written records, books, and newspapers. But did you know that only 6% of all data comes from these sources? The other 94% of data is all digital. It is also projected that about 90% of all data available has been created and stored digitally within the past 3 years, with about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being made each and every day. Because of this, it’s easy to see why we are hearing so much about data lately, including terms like “Big Data,” data visualization, and data collection.

Not sure what “Big Data” really is, even though you’ve heard the term a lot? Big Data is defined as “extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.” Other definitions include, “Information that can be ‘mined’ or explored to give insights into people and trends,” or “The intersection between capitalism and information.” In essence, though, Big Data is being used to help businesses, organizers, and educators understand the world around them and put that information into practice to improve systems, processes, and sometimes even sales.

What Do We Do With Data?

Many companies, entrepreneurs, and organizations are sitting up and taking notice of “Big Data” and how it illustrates complex systems like the economy, buying trends, and business growth in general. While corporations and organizations actively use data to explore their customer base, understand trends, and institute changes, data is important in virtually every arena of modern life. Understanding health care, tracking political polls, evaluating the economy, surveying audiences, and even quantifying test scores – these are all ways of collecting data. But what do we do with data once we’ve collected it?  

People like Max Galka are predominant in the field of data visualization, which gives us a way to turn complex (and sometimes boring) data into images and graphics that can be used by anyone. Galka and other data collectors focus on creating graphics, images, and animations that make it incredibly easy for everyone to understand the data provided so that it can be used and evaluated to create change, increase engagement and, most of all, inform.

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http://metrocosm.com/us-housing-markets-map.html

Pictured above is Galka’s interactive visualization of the cost of housing the US by state and county. While a list of average price per square footage would get the point across and probably be more simple to generate, it’s much less engaging and harder for us to comprehend in “the grander scheme of things.” This is a great example of what data visualization can do for an average individual – not just businesses or economists.

Visualizations VS. Infographics
Data visualizations (like Galka’s interactive maps) and infographics are on the rise everyday. In fact, the number of infographics created increases by 1% every day and data visualization searches on Google have increased by 50% since 2011. Wondering what the difference is? Galka explains:

In my view, data visualization generically refers to any graphic (map, chart, graph, etc) in any format (image, video, 3D model, etc) that communicates data. An infographic is an image that contains one or more data visualizations relating to a particular topic, often with other design components mixed in (photos, drawings, explanatory text, etc).

When Galka was asked, “Why do you think there is such an increase in the amount of data visualization we see today?” he explained:

I see two big reasons. First, the sheer amount of data available has grown exponentially over the last few years, and there is a growing need for ways of interpreting all of it. Likewise, the last few years have seen a quantum leap forward in web-based graphics technology. Most of the graphics I post would not have been possible just five years ago. The data was not available then and neither were the tools I use to visualize it.

As we’ve talked a lot about on the Easel.ly blog, visuals are becoming the most popular content on the Internet, and they help people learn faster than simply reading statistics or listening to a lecture. Visuals are King in this fast-paced, content-hungry world. But what does data visualization have to do with you, your business, or your classroom?

How You Can Visualize Your Own Data (and Why)

We can think of countless reasons to visualize data that you find or collect on your own. Whether you’re a teacher who wants to share statistics with your students, a small business owner who wants to map your audience’s response to your latest marketing campaign, or a massive corporation tracking sales and trends in different regions, data can help. It doesn’t have to just be for personal or internal use, either. This is where data visualizations and infographics intersect.

While Galka explains that data visualizations generally explore only one point of data, infographics can combine multiple data sets into a really engaging, usable infographic. Take, for example, the data visualizations below:

The world’s population 2015:

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http://metrocosm.com/globe-population.html

The average age across the world:

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How the working age is changing:

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How many people are employed across the world:

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All of the data visualizations above show a single facet of data based on one specific point – the population, the average age, the average working age, and the average employment rates worldwide respectively. Now take all that information, which may or may not appeal to you in it’s “raw” form, and put it into an infographic about the future of our world’s economy and the next generation of workers and leaders.

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While obviously other information was inserted into the infographic above, it makes the point: data visualizations are generally created based on one “stream” of data, while infographics compile multiple streams to create a cohesive representation of the broader topic.

What Data Means To You

What does all this mean for you, your classroom, your business, or your nonprofit organization? It means that you should jump on the bandwagon already! Collect data, whether from online resources or from your own samples, testing, and/or surveys. Create singular data visualizations like Max Galka’s, or create infographics that explain your subject, your product, or your campaign in cohesive, data-based findings.

Visuals are consumed more than any other type of content online – you can write about your poll findings or the latest statistics in your field all you want, but people want to see them. People are able to learn up to 400% better when you integrate visuals like infographics, visuals are 67% more persuasive than words alone, and visuals trigger the emotional centers of the brain better than the other senses. This means that your audience is going to learn more from you, be persuaded to “convert” (if you’re a business), and also trust you more.

In a nutshell: If you want to make a point with the facts while also appealing to your audience – whoever that is – start visualizing data today.
Are you wondering how to even find or collect data, or how to make a visual representation of what you find? Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with Max Galka!

As a quick recap, Max discussed the differences between Data Visualizations and Infographics.  And while they are more similar than they are different, they both require you to collect data and information!

Depending on your goal and information you are trying to share, he suggested 5 places to start when looking to collect data:

  • Public Data
  • Website Analytics
  • Social Media Reports
  • Polls, Surveys, and Sales Data
  • Libraries

He also provided some tips on getting started with Data Analysis:

  • Check if source is reliable (and attribute it properly!)
  • Vet the conclusions you’re drawing from the data
  • “Correlation does not imply causation”
  • Let the data speak for itself

While there are many tools out there that will allow you to create Data Visualizations and Infographics, he gave us a preview to Blueshift which is an easy way to design and publish dynamic maps in minutes!  Visit Blueshift to sign-up for early access! We also appreciated Max’s opinion on Easel.ly as an easy-to-use tool to create aesthetically pleasing infographics. We agree!

 

Easel.ly Resources:

Max Galka Resources:

Easel.ly would like to extend a big THANK YOU to Max for taking the time to talk with us and I hope you found it informative!

One Trick to Maintain (and Win!) Email Subscribers

One Trick to Maintain (and Win!) Email Subscribers

Is your email marketing campaign feeling a little stagnant? Do you have a high unsubscribe rate, or just lacking subscribers in the first place? Every campaign goes through its ups and downs naturally, but in order to start retaining your email subscribers and converting more than ever before, there’s one vital tool you may be leaving out: infographics.

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Why Use Infographics in Your Emails?

What are your email open rates? How many people click-through your emails to landing pages and links you have embedded in your emails? How many sales come as a result of your email campaign efforts? All of this data will show you why you need infographics, so make sure you’re gathering the info you need!

The cold hard facts:

The average open rate for an email can range from 15 to 25%, depending on the size of a business’s following and the niche market they are situated in. To make things worse, 34% of subscribers will mark your emails as spam if you don’t hit the target in your campaigns. And, as you’ve probably heard us mention from time-to-time, the average human attention span is now only 8 seconds – less than a goldfish!

If you’ve only got 15-25% of your subscribers even opening your emails and another third potentially marking them as spam… What are you going to do to keep subscribers from opening, scrolling through, and then deleting your emails before they can even register what you’ve got to say? Catch their eye!

Infographics Get the Message Across Faster and More Effectively

Your emails are meant to pass along vital information about your message, brand, service, or product to your audience. They’re also designed to get more interaction, more conversions, and even more sales for your business. But instead of typing long-form emails (which don’t get read), why not insert some of that information into an infographic?

When you use infographics instead of pages and paragraphs of text in your email campaign, you’re:

  • Engaging your readers’ eyesEye tracking studies indicate that subscribers skip the intro and most of the smaller text in your emails, scanning for only what is most relevant to them.

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  • Encouraging action – Subscribers are more persuaded by clear, relevant visuals and Calls to Action in lieu of straight text.

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  • Breaking it down – People want to get the jist of your message without having to process through your story, your data, or your bad jokes (sorry).

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To top that off all, infographics are the fastest way to get people to remember what you’ve shared in your email.

Infographics are:

So really, it’s no wonder that your long form, non-visual emails aren’t exactly hitting it out of the park with your subscribers. But where you do you go from here?

Things to Keep in Mind When Using Infographics in Your Emails

Content marketers are known for creating massive amounts of content and then inundating their audience with it. Don’t make their mistakes! While it can be great to have a plethora of infographics to use in your email marketing, you also need to focus on three things:

Finally, it’s time to start using infographics in your email campaign!

Ideas for Your Email Campaign

Are you seeing a decrease in subscribers or having trouble finding subscribers? Sorry to break it to you, but the finicky thing about your audience is that they actually have taste. If you’re overdoing it, or you’re letting subpar quality content slip through the cracks, they’re going to start noticing. The most important tip for using infographics in emails? Make sure they’re necessary.

Now, if you’re at a loss for how to incorporate infographics into your email marketing campaigns, consider:

  • Turning a long-form email into an infographic

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  • Highlighting points in your email with your own data

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  • Creating a signup infographic

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Parting Wisdom

Generally speaking, you can play around with what works best with your subscribers. Odds are, they’ll start interacting with you as soon as you start utilizing this awesome tool. But don’t overdo it with the images, and keep them in the wheelhouse of your brand (use logos, color schemes, fonts, etc. that are synonymous with your brand).

If you’re worried that infographics are “too difficult” or might not translate well in email, remember that people seek out infographics all the time – 800% more than they did in 2012! Infographics are also way easier than long form writing or creating a video, and more useable to boot. Infographics don’t require embed codes to “play” and they’re great for mobile email, as opposed to video, which can be hard to embed into the body of your email and may not load.

Ready to grow your email list and your business? Get started making great infographics from scratch, or use our templates to get you going!

Then let us know how it’s working for you on Facebook or Twitter!

Webinars and Infographics: Engage and Educate While Growing Your Brand

Webinars and Infographics: Engage and Educate Your Attendees

In today’s highly visual and content-driven world, it’s no wonder that webinars are becoming hotbeds of online activity. Corporations use webinars to teach their employees or to inform the community at large. Small businesses and entrepreneurs use webinars to market themselves and their ideas to a (hopefully) broader audience. Generally, if you’ve got something to share with the world and you believe that your audience will get value from what you have to share, webinars are a great idea.image04

But when your audience is just staring at your beautiful face on the screen, what are the odds that they’re actually retaining what you’re saying? What if they’re distracted by the lovely picture on the wall behind you, or the sounds of the cafe you’re in?

If you want people to actually get something out of your webinar (other than the screams of children or the fact that you have a great office), try incorporating visuals that allow your audience to focus on what’s important.

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Infographics for Better Webinars

Did you know that the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it processes written text? People who only hear information also have a much harder time recalling that information later. You actually want people to remember what you had to say in your webinar, right? So instead of typing out bullet points or just talking to your webinar audience, try visuals like infographics. We even did it in our latest interview with Jessica Hagy and it worked out great!

Not only do infographics and visuals help your audience retain information, but they also:

  • Engage – The average attention span is now only 8 seconds!

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It only takes 13 milliseconds for brains to process an image, which is much shorter than 8 seconds! Why not cut to the chase and grab your audience’s attention right off the bat?

  • Educate – Color images have been found to help people absorb 82% of information!

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Most people only recall about 10% of what they hear 3 days later. Do you want your audience to only remember 10% of what you’re saying in your webinar?

  • Increase trust – With simple images and proper design schemes, your audience is scientifically more likely to trust your message!

Well-designed infographics with quality information will help your audience see you as an authority, which makes them more likely to believe what you’re saying and buy your services or goods.

Visuals like infographics have also proven to increase action, generate more leads, and result in more conversions. But how?

How to Make a Webinar that Will Grow Your Brand

Marketers and entrepreneurs obviously use webinars because they work, but how exactly can you maximize your ROI when creating and running a webinar? Using infographics is a great place to start. Infographics are cheap and fairly easy to make with Easel.ly’s infographic creation tool, and are simple to add into your webinar demonstration.

But in order to maximize your audience’s reaction to the infographics, make sure to:

  • Maximize the visual component

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This means NOT typing out all your notes and inserting it into a slide. It means finding images or symbols that represent your points and then expanding on those points with minimal text.

When creating infographics for your webinar, keep it visual! Also think about:

    • What visuals, colors, or fonts your audience would find most engaging.
    • Keeping it simple – people can go way overboard designing infographics that distract rather than educate!
  • Include a Call to Action

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Images with Calls to Action are going to make people move. Whether you want people to focus on:

    • Writing something down (taking notes)
    • Their emotional response (like the image above)
    • Visiting a web page, booking your services, buying your product

CTAs are vital in making engaging webinar infographics. Without them, people will think, “That’s nice, but I don’t have to do anything about it.” Give them a reason to do something!

  • Information is great, but don’t forget the pitch!

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Webinars and infographics are both designed to provide information in visual ways. Obviously, both forms of content should be relevant, helpful, and actionable. But you and your business are providing this information, so don’t forget to bring it back to your products, services, or website.

In all of your infographics within your webinar, make sure you:

    • Use consistent color schemes, logos, watermarks, etc. to remind viewers who is putting on the webinar
    • Link to your website if possible
    • Quote yourself, use your own data, etc.

Also make sure to include a few infographics that have:

    • Distinct Calls to Action – “Follow me on Twitter!” or “Sign up here for my newsletter for more information on the next webinar!”
    • Promotions – “Webinar viewers get 10% off today only on our website with this code!”

Now that you know how you can use infographics in your webinar (and how they’ll benefit you), you’re probably wondering exactly how to create a webinar with visuals.

How Do You Incorporate Infographics into Your Webinars?

While many people think infographics are complicated, expensive images that they have to buy from a graphic designer, the truth is that you can make infographics simply and affordably. Once you’ve created infographics that are relevant, simple, and engaging, you can use them in your webinar!

You can insert these images into a slideshow, whether PowerPoint or Google Slides, and create an awesome visual presentation for your webinar! (There are plenty of other programs that you can create webinar slides in, but these two are the classics.) Then, simply share your screen during the webinar and put your slides in Presentation mode. Voila!

Don’t Leave the Infographics in the Webinar!

The thing that really makes infographics amazing, though – aside from using them in your rockin’ webinar – is that they’re not limited to just the webinar!

You can use the infographics you create for your webinar in multiple ways, in multiple places, and for as long as you still need the content! Infographics:

  • Make great saveable and printable resources!

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Include your infographics in your resources or show notes to let people save, share, and continue to learn from your content!

  • Help you advertise your webinar

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Create advertisements, landing pages, and marketing materials with a few of your best infographics. Not only will people be more drawn to your ads, but it creates brand cohesion when you have consistent images, colors, and content across platforms!

  • Let people share your webinar across social media

Let your audience advertise for you! Share links to your sign-up page, webinar recordings, or landing page with your infographics as social media thumbnails. Don’t just limit it to Twitter or Facebook, either! Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr; they are all great places to post your infographics.

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Jump on the Infographic Bandwagon (Before It’s Too Late)

Jump on the Infographic Bandwagon (Before It’s Too Late)

If you’re responsible for any type of content marketing, whether it’s for a small dental practice, a large marketing firm, or anything in between, odds are you know the power that visuals have. We all use thumbnail images, blog header images, and graphics scattered throughout our emails or blog posts. But infographics have a special impact on your marketing efforts, making them an invaluable resource.

And yet, you’re probably reading this, thinking: “I don’t really want to spend that much time/effort/money on creating an infographic. I don’t think they are that important.” There is no denying that creating a worthwhile infographic takes time, planning, and care, but the difficulty drastically decreases as you learn. Of course, the variety of infographic creation tools available makes it easy to create infographics on a budget and without any graphic design background. You’d be surprised at how naturally infographic creation comes when you sit down and try.

But why do you need to use infographics? What are you missing out on?

The Proof is in the Pudding

There are virtually countless case studies out there showing how much infographics have:

  • Increased leads and conversions (subscriptions, followers, even sales)
  • Increased web traffic (a great bonus if your site is monetized)
  • Increased social media shares / visibility
  • Boosted product / business launches beyond expectation
  • Simplified a business’s content marketing efforts

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Essentially, for minimal investment, you’re going to see massive returns and growth that you can’t see from other types of content marketing. And the best part? Infographics are highly versatile.

One single infographic (which takes you maybe an hour or two to create) can be used in:

  • Social media thumbnails
  • Unique social media platforms that cater to images
    • Tumblr
    • Instagram
    • Pinterest
    • Snapchat
  • Blog headers or images inside the blog itself
  • Whitepapers
  • Web copy
  • Ebooks
  • Print advertising materials
  • Online advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Free promotional materials and handouts

Name one other form of content that is so adaptable. Don’t worry, we’ll wait…

Even video, which is becoming a hot commodity these days, cannot be used for the majority of these content delivery systems! And the best part is that you can use the same infographic over and over again. The time, effort, and/or money you place in creating these infographics establishes a “one-and-done” content creation process.

Using the same infographic across these content delivery systems also allows you to:

  • Test which platforms get the most response to your infographics
  • Develop brand unity
  • Provide consistent information to your audience, no matter where you reach them
  • Play with ideas, styles, information, and format in your infographics to see what works

In the current climate, you won’t see a content marketing tool that provides better ROI than infographics. Unfortunately for you, though, more and more people are getting on this bandwagon.

Get Started Today – or Lose Out

Did you know that the number of infographics on the Internet increases by 1% every single day? That’s a staggering amount of infographics, and one that is concerning to any content marketer worth his or her salt.

The reality is that the more content that is created in one format, the more any message gets drowned out. Look at the history of blogs. In the mid-2000’s, having a blog was a unique prospect, and it meant you had something to say to a very willing and ready audience. Now, having a blog usually means that you have a brand, business, product, or service that you’re trying to promote, and a blog gets you foot traffic.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of great blogs out there, though. There definitely are. What this does mean is that the people who were established before everyone and their dog had a blog are the ones who still have the most loyal followings, and are the ones who have people sharing their content day-by-day. How does this translate into infographics?

Well, the more people who create infographics, the less an audience is going to be able to hear your message over the din. We already experience content overload daily, and with 60% of marketers producing at least one piece of content daily, it stands to reason that, eventually, infographics will become the new blogs.

The idea is to get in on the ground floor; be a visual content marketing innovator. Spend time creating relevant infographics, make them great, and share them everywhere you can. This way, when everyone realizes what you’re up to (and how much it works), you’ll already have an established infographic content platform, and your “competitors” won’t be able to touch the content you provide.

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Ready? Set? Create!

The beauty of today’s technology is that you can create an infographic using just about any platform available. Many are free or downright cheap, and can help you get started creating infographics that will set you apart from the crowd today. Your content marketing campaign will always be there, sure, but with infographics you can cut through the drudgery and get right to the issue at hand – sharing your message with your audience.

You don’t want to watch your competitors take their place at the top, do you? Beat them to the punch, and jump on the bandwagon while it’s still got room!