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Effective Data Design for Social Ads

Designing with data at scale Abstract burst of textures and colors on a textured background

Communicating data in a simple and engaging way is a challenge facing content marketers, who are tasked with pulling out the narrative hidden within data to amplify social messaging.

Data visualization is part art, part science, that helps businesses to convey data effectively.

Great data design is simpler, and harder, than it looks.

At the heart of effective data design is the principle that form follows function, or clarity trumps aesthetic excess. While a visually appealing design can attract attention, its primary goal should always be to make the data easier to consume, and the story it tells easier to understand.

Good design helps make data comparison intuitive. By presenting data visually, businesses can spotlight trends, successes, and competitive advantages that might be complex to explain using text-based explanations alone. However, in too many cases, data design fails to achieve its main purpose because aesthetics are prioritized over informative value.

In the field of data visualization for content marketing, deliberate simplicity is key. This approach ensures rapid directing of the reader’s focus towards the core insight, maximizing the brief opportunity to hold their attention.

The impact of a data visualization often hinges on the choice of visual representation. The wrong chart or graph type can obscure the message, confusing the audience rather than clarifying the data. Consider carefully the data being presented and which approach presents the data in the most obvious way. For example, If it’s a comparison between two data points that are close to each other, using a bar or ring chart is not going to really showcase the difference between the two. Using a typographical approach instead provides more opportunity to exaggerate and highlight the differences, but yet still remain faithful to the data.

How quickly and easily data is absorbed is as important as the data itself. Designing with the typical viewer’s visual scanning behavior in mind minimizes the effort required to grasp the data story, enhancing the overall impact of the visualization. More often than not, we tend to rapidly scan an image in the same way we read, following a “Z” pattern, left-to-right, then drop down and left, and repeat. Hence many social ads have the logo (or message) starting in the top left and the CTA button finishing in the bottom right.

The end goal of most social ads, other than to inform, is to trigger a response via a call to action (CTA) and getting that right can make or break a campaign. Aside from the strategic question of which CTA copy will be most effective, from a visual perspective there are basically three rules; position it last, keep it simple, and make it obvious by using contrast well.

Positioning, copy, color and size are all elements that should be experimented with through A/B testing to optimize conversion rates.

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A great example of designing effectively with data at scale is the partnership between Base5 and Base5 has revolutionized the way scales customer content production for 1,000s of social media ads by leveraging’s business data married with Base5’s data design expertise. offers data-driven insights based on satisfaction metrics gathered from millions of software reviews. Through social ads, infographics, and animations, Base5 has enabled customers to amplify their data stories with on-brand messaging and design that leverages data from user reviews in a concise, effective way.


Designing with data at scale offers a unique opportunity to amplify the impact of content marketing efforts.

By employing strategies that prioritize clarity, simplicity, and audience engagement, content marketers can elevate the effectiveness of their brand’s narrative. The marriage of data and design is not just about making information pretty; it’s about making it accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyone.

Be clear, keep it simple:

  • Opt for simplicity and directness. The ability to simplify without losing depth or meaning is a hallmark of effective data visualization.
  • Focus audience attention by being selective about the information included. If it doesn’t add context to the story, it shouldn’t be there.

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