5 Great Charts for Digital Advertising Reports

by | Jul 18, 2019 | How Tos

Ah, that eternal question: how best do I communicate the story of campaign performance?

Spreadsheets? Powerpoint? What kind of charts? What colors should I use?

And on and on. When it comes to pulling together, packaging and presenting reports, we’ve been around the block a time or two (and we’ve built some powerful tools to help).

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Quick Sales Pitch

In LumenAd’s Present feature set, we have custom dashboards with customizable widgets and data tables. Because all data is already automatically aggregated and normalized, crafting a report is a matter of dragging and dropping.

Reports can be whipped together in minutes or meticulously crafted to your exact specifications. Schedule a demo if you want to see it in action.

1. Radar charts.

Radar charts are great for visualizing comparisons of quality data. They are most effective when comparing one metric’s performance to a standard or group’s performance.

For instance, if you want to compare the number of impressions served across channels, a radar chart would be a good choice. It quickly and simply visualizes the disparity among the channels.

Setting the Right KPI Expert Guide Subhead: Educate

Radar charts become ineffective when there are many variables to compare. Use them to compare performance among a small number of categories. For us, these categories are usually groups of strategies (comparing geos, messaging, target audiences, etc.), channels (Paid Search vs. Paid Social vs. Display) or platforms (Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Pinterest).


2. Polar area charts.

Polar area charts are similar to standard pie charts, except for two things:

  • the sectors are divided equally around the circle.
  • the differences are shown by how far each sector extends from the center of the circle. 

A good time to use polar area chart would be to showcase the distribution of impressions across multiple devices.

Setting the Right KPI Expert Guide Subhead: Educate

Use polar area charts to display ratios that add up to 100 percent. This means comparing three sectors would be a little tricky because each sector would take up 33.333…%, and together they’d make 99.999…%. 


3. Donut charts.

Donut charts and pie charts (the two most delicious charts) are fairly similar. The difference is that donut charts are hollowed out whereas pie charts are filled in.

Another way to think about a donut chart is a vertical bar chart wrapped around itself. This makes it much easier for you eyes to travel through each section and judge them according to their length. 

Setting the Right KPI Expert Guide Subhead: Educate

Do not put a bunch of donut charts together. They’re best when flying solo because they’re so visually engaging. So, use donut charts for your showstopper metrics, it’ll often be the first thing your readers’ eyes gravitate towards.

4. Horizontal bar charts.

Vertical bar charts are cool, but there are certain situations where a horizontal bar chart is better:

When you have long labels.

Horizontal Bar charts are better for displaying long data labels. Vertical Bar charts have limited space in the x-axis so the x-axis can look cluttered. 

Setting the Right KPI Expert Guide Subhead: Educate

When you have a lot on the y-axis.

Horizontal Bar charts are also better for displaying a large number of data sets on the y-axis. Vertical bar charts are a good fit for a maximum of 10 to 12 data sets.

Setting the Right KPI Expert Guide Subhead: Educate

5. Stacked bar charts.

Stacked bar charts are … bar charts that are stacked. It’s where you stack one bar on top of the other to show how they add up.

They are great for showing the total size of groups especially if there is a part-to-whole relationship within your data that you need to bring attention to. For example, a stacked bar is a good resource for showing the quantity of impressions delivered among two date ranges.

Setting the Right KPI Expert Guide Subhead: Educate

There is a lot of information communicated here, but it’s easy to understand. To keep it from becoming overly complicated, don’t use too many X axis values.


There’s more to come! Subscribe below for more insights into how to make great reports or schedule a demo today.

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