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How To Make a Graph with the Appearance of Massive Growth by Changing the Rise and Run
How To Make Graphs Tell a Story in Powerpoint
Graphs are a powerful marketing tool since the image can tell an amazing story. In the case of many web 2.0 companies, you may have seen the story of Twitters amazing growth. However, you have to really read the numbers - I’m not saying Twitters growth isn’t crazy impressive, just that graphs can tell a story to your eyes, but if you read the data it’s actually very different.
HubPages has had excellent growth since it’s launch in August 2006. Google analytics shows that HubPages has nearly 14 million visitors per month and nearly 40 million page views. I’m putting a presentation on HubPages together that shows the growth of Hubs and how it correlates to page view growth. The three images below have the exact same data, all on the same scale. The only difference is the rise and run of the graph are changed based on how I format the graph to the slide. I'd like to have some room on the slide for bullet points. See how different the story looks based on how I format the graph.
1. The first image shows how the graph looks when you paste it directly from Excel to Powerpoint. It shows excellent growth, but there’s not much room to write bullets for the slide. Let’s see what the graph looks like if I decrease the rise (vertical height) of the graph.
Decreasing the vertical height of the Y axis
2. Image two shows that I’ve decreased the rise of the graph. I now have a nice space above for bullets. But. The graph doesn’t illustrate the excellent growth of HubPages. Note the data is absolutley the same between the first image and the second. Let’s see how the graph looks if I decrease the run of the slide so I have room to the side for bullet points…
Decreasing the horizontal width of the X axis
3. The image below is the exact same data as the data in the first images, but I’ve decreased the run (X axis). By decreasing the run of the graph, it gives the appearance of much more dramatic growth. This is the power of appearance.