Introduction to metric visualizations

There are many ways to visualize your metric data in PowerMetrics. From one metric you can optionally create multiple versions (or views) of your data by applying different chart and style options. This article defines each visualization type and suggests which ones to use for the metric you want to display.

Some visualizations have style options to allow for further customization. After selecting your Chart Type, you can view the Style options for that chart type.

For example, if you want to display data in a chart with stacked columns, you would select Bar / Column as the Chart Type and Stacked Column as the Style.

Looking for a quick introduction to our chart types? Check out this video:

Bar / Column Chart

The Bar / Column Chart bar chart icon displays a comparison of values as bars along an axis. This chart type is an effective way to compare the quantities of different categories.

When creating a Bar / Column Chart, you select Bar / Column as the Chart Type and then select a Style option to either display your data in bars or columns. There are also style options available to display your data as a stacked bar or stacked column chart.

On a metric’s homepage, bar and column charts have dynamic titles. This means you can change their segmentation and time periodicity by clicking the underlined title components.

If applicable, partial periods are indicated in the tooltip you can see when you hover over the data. These periods are also indicated with a faded bar or column. Partial periods will most commonly occur in a visualization when the metric starts or ends within a partial period or the period at either end of the chart extends beyond the time range (for example, when you select weekly periodicity in a monthly chart).

The example below shows returning users by channel (direct and organic search) over a weekly time period (with “Bar / Column” selected as the chart type and “Column” as the style).

bar column example

When viewing a stacked column chart, the top of the column indicates the total value, while each coloured section represents a subtotal for each segment. The example below uses the same metric as above but with “Bar / Column” selected as the chart type and “Stacked Column” as the style.

stacked column example

Notes:

  • Stacked bar charts don't support trend lines. If your metric includes trend lines, your visualization will default to a column chart.
  • When doing comparisons to other time periods, the previous period’s data displays as a grey dashed line. Note: The comparison setting is not applicable to the 100% bar and column chart styles.
  • In segmented bar / column charts, hovering over a data point highlights the data for each segment. The tooltip shows darker text for the specific data point and the chart shows a deeper colour for the selected segment across the entire date range.
  • The Bar (colour by category) and the Column (colour by category) styles are used when you want to assign colours to an unsegmented bar or column chart (one with “Data” > “Segment by” set to “None”). Learn more about customizing your dashboard display.
  • For clustered (non-stacked) bar and column charts that include multiple metrics with a mix of percentage and non-percentage values, you can display two Y-axes. Percentage values are assigned to one Y-axis and non-percentage values to the other Y-axis. To display two Y-axes, you must select metric names under segment by in the properties panel. Note that visualizations that include multiple metrics can only be added to dashboards or viewed in Explorer. Multiple metrics cannot be applied to standalone metrics. Learn more about multiple metrics.
  • While bar charts can be used to show parts of a whole value, depending on your data, it may be easier to understand this information in a pie / donut chart.
  • If your data set tracks values over a set period of time, use a line or area chart instead or a bar / column chart.

Line / Area Chart

When you choose the Line / Area Chart Type, you can select whether you want a Line or Area chart by selecting the corresponding Style option.

Line Chart

The Line Chart line chart icon, like the area chart, displays a comparison of values over time by plotting points joined by line segments. It’s great for comparing data as well as showing trends over time.

On a metric’s homepage, line charts have dynamic titles. This means you can change their segmentation and time periodicity by clicking the underlined title components.

If applicable, partial periods are indicated in the tooltip you can see when you hover over the data. These periods are also indicated with a dashed, faded line. Partial periods will most commonly occur in a visualization when the metric starts or ends within a partial period or the period at either end of the chart extends beyond the time range (for example, when you select weekly periodicity in a monthly chart).

The example below shows returning users by channel (direct, organic search, referral, and paid search) over a daily time period (with “Line / Area” selected as the chart type and “Line” as the style).

line chart example

Notes:

  • When doing comparisons to other time periods, the previous period’s data displays as a grey dashed line.
  • In segmented line charts, hovering over a data point highlights the data for each segment. The tooltip shows darker text for the specific data point and the chart shows a deeper colour for the selected segment across the entire date range.
  • For line charts that include multiple metrics with a mix of percentage and non-percentage values, you can display two Y-axes. Percentage values are assigned to one Y-axis and non-percentage values to the other Y-axis. To display two Y-axes, you must select metric names under segment by in the properties panel. Note that visualizations that include multiple metrics can only be added to dashboards or viewed in Explorer. Multiple metrics cannot be applied to standalone metrics. Learn more about multiple metrics.

Area Chart

Area Charts area chart icon display changes in values over time, plotted as line segments. The area below the line segments is shaded, drawing greater attention to significant changes in value.

When you are viewing segmented data, the areas are stacked. This means you must mouse over an area to see its assigned value. The top line of the stack indicates the cumulative value of all segments.

On a metric’s homepage, area charts have dynamic titles. This means you can change their segmentation and time periodicity by clicking the underlined title components.

If applicable, partial periods are indicated in the tooltip you can see when you hover over the data. These periods are also indicated with a faded area. Partial periods will most commonly occur in a visualization when the metric starts or ends within a partial period or the period at either end of the chart extends beyond the time range (for example, when you select weekly periodicity in a monthly chart).

The example below shows returning users by channel (direct, organic search, referral, and paid search) over a weekly time period (with “Line / Area” selected as the chart type and “Area” as the style).

area chart example

Notes:

  • When doing comparisons to other time periods, the previous period’s data displays as a grey dashed line. The comparison setting is not applicable to the 100% area chart style.
  • In segmented area charts, hovering over a data point highlights the data for each segment. The tooltip shows darker text for the specific data point and the chart shows a deeper colour for the selected segment across the entire date range.
  • Area charts are an effective way to quickly detect trends in data over time, but can become confusing if too many segments are included. If this is the case, we recommend switching your visualization type to a line chart.

Pie / Donut Chart

The Pie / Donut Chart pie chart icon displays categorical data divided into sections, so you can see each section’s value in comparison to the whole. You can mouse over segments to see the specific values for each one. Pie and donut charts are effective at quickly conveying information but if your data includes a lot of segments, this impact can be weakened and your message blurred. In such cases, opt for a different visualization type. Note that pie charts do not display comparisons to a previous period.

After selecting Pie / Donut as the Chart Type, choose a Style to display your data as a pie or a donut chart.

pie chart example

Note: In segmented pie charts, hovering over a data point highlights the data for each segment. The tooltip shows darker text for the specific data point and the chart shows a deeper colour for the selected segment across the entire date range.

Tree Map

Tree Maps tree map iconare used to display hierarchical data, meaning that each category can be subdivided by different segments to make up a whole value. The value each rectangle represents is reflected in its area size. For example, in a metric for total sales for three different sales agents, the agent with the least sales will have the smallest rectangle. Note that because this metric is only comparing one level of data, all the rectangles display as the same colour.

tree map example

When visualizing multiple segments of data (you can view up to three levels of hierarchical data on a tree map) different categories are differentiated by colour. Subcategories are represented as smaller rectangles (also scaled based on value) nested within the rectangle for their category. In the example below, the rectangle for Carmine Carman is blue and contains rectangles for eggs, bread, butter, and milk. You can tell at a glance that she made the smallest percentage of her total sales on milk because it is the smallest of the blue rectangles.

tree map example

Each category and subcategory is labelled to give the viewer a quick impression of the data. Mousing over the labels displays the numerical values for each category and subcategory.

After selecting Tree Map as the Chart Type, choose from the following Style options: Squarified, Slice and Dice, StripesStrips, and Packed Bubble.

Radar Chart

A Radar Chart radar chart icon (also known as a “spider chart” or “web chart”) enables users to display data with multiple variables on a chart of three or more axes. It functions as a wrap-around line chart, making it easy to identify outliers and correlations in data. When comparing multiple segments, you can quickly see which values have the greatest degree of difference and which values overlap by looking at how their shapes intersect. Consider using a radar chart as a substitute for a regular line chart when you have limited space on your dashboard. Note that if you have a large number of segments to compare, the visualization may become cluttered and difficult to interpret. If this is the case, consider using a line chart instead.

 

radar chart example

Waterfall Chart

Waterfall Charts waterfall chart icon illustrate how an initial value increases and decreases by a series of intermediate values (displayed as floating columns), showing value progression over time. The final column represents the total balance. The example below displays monthly revenue (represented as floating green columns) leading to the total revenue balance in the final column.

 

waterfall chart example

Heat Map

A Heat Map heat map icon (also known as a matrix) is used for comparing information in the same category. This visualization colour-codes value ranges so that users can quickly distinguish differences in values. The heat map legend shows which colours correspond to which values. Mousing over a cell displays its exact numeric value. The example below refers to sales figures by representative. You can quickly determine the top sales performers based on the number of cells and the depth of colour saturation.

 

heat map example

Summary Chart

Summary Charts summary chart icon depict a single numerical value that’s used to track the status of a metric. This is a good visualization choice when you need to communicate a sum value without going into greater complexity.

Summary charts can also be used to quickly convey data comparisons between time periods. There are a few options to choose from: You can display the percentage change or value change between the current value and the previous value (the delta), or you can show a comparison value (both values display together). Green is used to show a positive trend and red is used to show a negative trend.

summary chart example

Note: If there is no difference in values, no data available to compare to, or the time period set for the dashboard, or the metric, is not suitable for a comparison (for example, the dashboard time range is set to “Auto” or "Maximum date range") then the chart displays “--”.

Table

The Table table icon chart type displays your data in a table.

When configuring this visualization, select Table as the Chart Type and then choose List, Pivot, or Ranked as the Style option.

Note: The table visualization has a limit of 2000 value cells.

A List table, similar to an Excel spreadsheet, is a standard table visualization that lists items in rows. It displays results in the order in which they're returned and is a good way to see all of your data from a linear perspective.

Pivot tables enable you to view your values as plain text, eliminating any ambiguity. Unlike list tables, pivot tables organize axes' data hierarchically, so inner row headers are grouped under the parent header.

Pivot tables are useful for seeing the individual values of a metric, broken down by more than one dimension. You can assign up to two dimensions as nested levels in rows and, optionally, select one dimension for columns.

The pivot table example below displays sales revenue. The columns organize the data by month while the rows segment the values by sales agent and territory.

Pivot tables are also useful for identifying blank entries. In the example below, you can see that there is a blank entry for Kelvin Kash’s total revenue for Canada in March. This would not come across in a different visualization, such as a line chart, where a total value for sales in March would display without indicating the missing entry.

pivot table example

If you choose not to assign a dimension to your columns, your pivot table will contain one column of data and use your metric name as the column header. In the example below, the column is named "Revenue", based on the name of the metric. If you change the metric name, the column header will update to match it.

pivot table example

Ranked tables display values in either descending or ascending order. You specify how many rows to display, whether you want to see the top or the bottom values from your data, and whether you want to include a comparison column. You can compare your data to other time periods (vs a previous period, vs the same period (last year), or vs a custom period). Comparisons are made between equivalent time period types. For example, if the date range selected is "today", then the previous period will be "yesterday". Green is used to show a positive trend and red is used to show a negative trend.

ranked table example

Note: When comparing, if there is no difference in values, no data available to compare to, or the time period set for the dashboard, or the metric, is not suitable for a comparison (for example, the dashboard time range is set to “Auto” or "Maximum date range") then the chart displays “--”.

Scatter / Bubble Chart

When you choose the Scatter / Bubble Chart Type, you then select the corresponding Style option to display either a Scatter or a Bubble chart.

Note: Scatter and bubble charts combine more than one metric value. As a result, they are only applicable to metrics in Explorer and on dashboards and cannot be used as chart types for single metrics.

Scatter Chart

The Scatter Chart scatter chart icon shows relationships between two sets of numeric values, displaying one set of values for the x-axis and one for the y-axis. Each dot in a scatter chart represents a single data point. When these data points cluster together they create groupings which help you see patterns in your overall data. Interestingly, scatter charts can show correlations between data but can also help you identify outliers and gaps in your data.

Note: Too many data points can result in overplotting, making it difficult to see relationships between data. If this happens, try using smaller sets of data.

scatter chart example

Bubble Chart

Bubble Charts bubble chart icon are used to display three sets of numerical data, one set on the x-axis, one on the y-axis, and one that displays as different sized bubbles (where the larger the bubble, the higher the numeric value of the data point). Like scatter charts, they’re useful for demonstrating relationships between sets of data and at identifying gaps and outliers in your data.

Note: Too many data points can result in overplotting, making it difficult to see relationships between data. If this happens, try using smaller sets of data.

bubble chart example

Combination Chart

Combination Charts combination chart icon are used to compare two sets of data over the same dimension (for example, date or country) displaying one set of values using columns and the left axis and one set of values using the line and the right-axis in a combined bar/line chart. Combination charts enable you to visualize dissimilar sets of data, that would otherwise be difficult to compare, in a single chart. For example, you can compare two data sets that use widely different numeric scales or different data formats, such as currency vs percentage.

Note: Combination charts combine more than one metric value. As a result, they are only applicable to metrics in Explorer and on dashboards and cannot be used as a chart type for a single metric.

combination chart example

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