Today we are awash with information. According to IBM’s study of Big Data 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. All those libraries of books and archives of big spool tape recordings created in the past are as nothing compared with the huge volume of information such as tweets, Facebook entries, digital pictures, online videos and, of course, statistics around right now.

Recent research by Ipsos MORI for the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College showed challenges with the lack of value the public places on statistics. In fact they did not like numbers very much at all. People were four times more likely to say they would be proud of their children if they excelled in reading and writing (55%) than if they were very good at numbers (13%).

The survey also showed that the credibility in statistics depended on who was providing them. Unsurprisingly perhaps, politicians were the least trusted source of information, gaining only an 8% approval rating, while scientists and academics each gained a high level of trust, gaining 74% and 63% respectively.

Nevertheless, statistics are essential for supporting decisions and as evidence for transforming perceptions from possibilities into certainties. The independence and reputation of the source are critical factors on their credibility. With an established polling organisation like Ipsos MORI, you can be assured that their viewpoint is unbiased and their samples comprehensive. They will not base their findings on asking the opinions of a few blokes down at the pub!

To make statistics more palatable to the general public or specific target audiences, presentation is all important. This is a daily challenge for data journalists such as those on the Guardian, as related in their interesting Datablog. The work in dealing with stats from official bodies can be a lengthy procedure as they explain: “Before a dataset results in a data journalism story, there's a whole process of sifting and finessing and generally sorting the data out. The split is roughly 70% tidying up the data, 30% doing the fun stuff of visualising and presenting it.” How this works well through charts and graphs is shown in their recent article on the British Social Attitudes Survey.

However, there are other times when raw numbers can create the most impact and need no graphics to back them up. For instance…

  • 27 million pieces of content are shared each day
  • Each month, 329 million people read blogs
  • 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing and 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing

All this and more is included in the excellent presentation “50 stats you need to know about content marketing” which we will be returning to in our next article when we deal with the power of images.

Just now, to discover what BBI Brandboost can do to help you figure out the best way to use your business stats with impact and credibility, contact us on 01494 452600 or by email.