Campaign pacing and comparison

Client: Television broadcasting company
Job: Measure campaign performance
Date: 2016

Algorithms can do better than humans at optimizing TV campaigns. The goal of this data visualization is to show this.

Comparison Chart

In this interface, users can compare different optimized TV campaigns (the colored circles) with a baseline (grey dot). The baseline is the not optimized standard campaign performance. Additionally, there is a goal that has to be met (the flag).

As a result, we have to deal with five values: a goal, a baseline, and three campaigns. Normally one would use a simple bar chart to compare values. But bars can not be cut off, because the value is encoded in the length. We expected that we will often have values that are very close to each other, like 250,000, 249,000 and 251,000. Expressed in bars, you would see almost no difference, or no difference at all.

That’s why I created this custom chart, inspired by the dumbbell chart. It spans its length from the minimum to the maximum value, working like a zoom on tiny differences. Each KPI has its own scaling, because it doesn’t make sense to compare apples and oranges.

To make the chart aesthetically pleasing, I used circles instead of dots and a flag icon. Also, the circles mitigate overlaps a little. And overlaps can happen a lot here.

Pacing Chart

During the campaign run-time, users want to check a pacing chart to see if the campaign will probably meet its goals. Here we have many data points:

  • the current value
  • the scheduled value (aka goal)
  • the paced value (what the current value should be if it wants reach the scheduled value on time)
  • the predicted end value (if campaign is keeping its pace)
  • the time span (start and end date)
  • the current point in time

To keep it simple but meaningful, I use just three values: current, paced, and scheduled. The black dot is the paced value. If it eclipses the yellow circle, you know that the campaign is spot on, and will reach the goal. If the yellow circle is behind, the black dot turns red to indicate that there is a problem. If the yellow circle is ahead, the campaign will probably surpass the goal.