Andy Capaloff
February 19, 2014

Here’s How To Find The Story In Your Data

This is the introduction to what will be a sporadic series on Data Story in Social Media. Over time, individual aspects will be delved into in greater detail.


When discussing anything about Data Story, it’s important to start from the very beginning.  Telling stories through Data can mean different things to different people.

This quote, from Amanda Cox, in conversation with Chris Twigg on the Stories Through Data blog, is a great place to start when considering what Data Story might be:

Data Visualization Quote

Well yes of course there is, but how much of it is in the eye of the beholder?

Conversely, the featured image is from an article by Redthree, a Data Services company, 7 Ways To Make Data Work For You –  which talks at a far deeper level.

In simple terms, I would define Data Story as the equivalent of the conversation behind a PowerPoint presentation based around bullet points.  Bullets, like the Pie Charts and graphs so favoured by Google Analytics, give the high level.  They are all that some people actually need to know.  The person presenting speaks beyond them to give details.  This, as opposed to the higher-level presentation, is the meat and tells those who need to know more, what the true story is.

So what is the story?

If you use custom dashboards, such as those I have attached here, you will see how you can combine various aspects into part of a coherent story.  Google Analytics will give you a very high level picture but numbers without context can send you off on tangents.  You also need a granular level analytics tool such as Clicky, to show you the effect of each of your pieces, and combine the results to form a true picture.

These attachments (Google Analytics dashboard from www.onlinemediamasters .com and Clicky Analytics dashboard from are of course, unrelated, but are posted strictly as illustration.

At-A-Glance-Google-Analytics courtesy of

At-A-Glance-Google-Analytics courtesy of


Clicky Dashboard, courtesy of

Clicky Dashboard, courtesy of


Naturally, each tool has far more to offer than I can show you in one blog post, but the ultimate goal is to look for patterns when analyzing your Google Analytics and your post results.  There are many questions that can be asked, the simplest of which may be:

Why did you that piece you posted last Tuesday, for example, not cause the usual peak for that weekly timeslot? 

What was the breakdown of engagement, including SEO, for the piece that went through the roof?

This is part of the basis for your Data Story.  It may not be as you had imagined it would be, but it as in personal life, where perceptions of an individual are in many ways more important than their own self-image, so it is with our Data. It is a reflection on how we present to the world.  And in the business sense, the difference is more marked.

It is important to look beneath the surface!

If you sell your product in the numbers you had hoped for, but to an altogether different audience or an otherwise unexpected reason, and if you then progress along the same path believing your goals are being met, your numbers stand to dwindle.

If you understand who bought your products and why, and continue to keep on top of the inevitable changes, you are making your Data work for you and gaining an advantage in business that your predecessors could only have dreamt about.

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Andy Capaloff

Andy Capaloff is the COO of Curatti. Prior to moving into the world of Content Marketing, Social Media Management and the day-to-day running of a Digital Marketing company, Andy spent over 3 decades in various aspects of IT. It is here that he honed his writing and technical skills, and his ability to ask uncommon questions.