Trade | Dirk Shaw
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Author: Dirk Shaw


01 Apr The Power of Gifs and Data Visualization.

Three things we love: fast cars, data visualization, and gifs. So, it only makes sense to explore how people felt about the cars at the New York Auto Show using a couple of data visualization tools.


Our data source was NUVI. We set up a monitor for four days to capture all conversations on Twitter using the #NYIAS hashtag which resulted in nearly 70k mentions. Nuvi is an excellent tool for visualization but in many cases we are mashing up multiple data sets to identify unique insights. This mash up usually results in some crazy Excel file that we then have to visualize which keeps us always on the look out for tools to help data visualization and exploration.

You are probably asking yourself, when will I see a gif? I know, if it were me reading this, I would have already scrolled to the bottom looking for the gif. For you linear readers the gif’s are coming and let me know if you see the hidden image.

70k mentions are lot of data to sift through but this number is technically on the lower end when you are dealing with a large brand that is releasing a significant product or has the unfortunate situation of being in a crisis. To find patterns in the data to inform how we develop messaging, identify consumer needs, or figure out who are the detractors, we need to be able to explore the data.

So we took a simple subset of the NYIAS data to analyze the phrases that expressed positive sentiment using a beta product called SandDance created by the Visualization and Interaction Team (VIBE) in Microsoft Research. When I saw the headline “Microsoft’s New Data-Viz Tool Puts Excel Charts to Shame” from Fast Company, I felt compelled for some one-upmanship on my fellow Traders who are busy planning their next insights deck chock full o excel charts. Caveat for all you data geeks, this is just a sample of data to demonstrate the visualization tool’s capabilities.

Apparently love conquers all and who wouldn’t love a new Nissan GT-R or an Audi RS7 (and a cat).


Since I am one-upping, I took the same data set and created some charts using an online tool from Density Design, built on the d3js framework, which is one of my favorite visualization toolsets. Side note: If you want to find some inspiration for visual storytelling, take a look at and browse a vast collection of examples.

Once again the GTR was the most mentioned alongside periscope.


Client example: To help keep marketing & sales teams at Bank of America Merchant Services informed of trending topics during Money2020, we launched a real-time data visualization aligned to the solutions they have in the market.


These are just a few quick examples of how to take data out of your social listening platform to explore and visualize it in new ways. If you find the off the shelf products limiting your ability to align conversation data to messaging pillars for insights and measurement, just export your data and drop it into one of these tools or give us a call, and we will help you.



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