Data Visualization

7 Examples Of How Bar Graphs Help Tell A Story

Jordan Turner
September 16, 2021
 min read
7 Examples Of How Bar Graphs Help Tell A Story7 Examples Of How Bar Graphs Help Tell A Story

Storytelling— a method as old as time— helps connect people and ideas. It takes an ideology, or piece of information, and humanizes it so that the audience can better relate to the information. In fact, research has shown that in MRI scans various areas of the brain light up when someone is listening to a story. It’s no wonder then that storytelling is wildly popular in nearly every culture.

Storytelling can be traced back to the cavemen days when they would use carvings or paintings to narrate stories and ideas. While we've evolved immensely since those days, the origins of storytelling remain the same. However, now storytelling is not limited to books and drawings, and comes in many different shapes and forms. One of those being data storytelling, a method that has become increasingly popular among businesses in the last several years. 

Data storytelling is exactly how it sounds: painting a larger picture with your data to make otherwise complex metrics and figures easier to comprehend. Data needs to be put into context in order for non-analytical people to understand it. A big component of data storytelling is utilizing proper charts and graphs to help visualize what you’re trying to say. Data visualization breaks down your information into digestible, bite-size chunks and tells your audience exactly what you want them to take away from the story. 

At, we have our thumb on the pulse of data visualization. We understand that your data has a story to tell, and our Smart Slide templates allow you to do that regardless of your design background. With a slew of customizable charts and graphs, it’s easy to structure your data in a way that supports your overarching story. Of course, it’s important to understand when to use a line chart and when to use a bar graph, otherwise your figures might get lost in translation.

To help you choose the right chart for your data, we’re sharing 7 examples of how you can use our bar graph to tell your story. 

Share wins

You can talk about your success until you’re blue in the face, but eventually you’ll want to put your money where your mouth is and show your success. A bar graph is a great way to illustrate team or company wins. With a bar graph visual, you can easily see your team’s milestones and the upward trajectory, making the wins more obvious to other departments or external partners. 

Call out missed opportunities or gaps

Just as a bar graph can help demonstrate wins, it can also be used to call out missed opportunities or gaps. If you’re noticing a downward trend, you can use a bar graph to add context to the declining numbers and point out the opportunities for improvement in your team’s strategy. By acknowledging the gaps and getting in front of the numbers, you can help soften the blow and spin it into a positive for the sake of your story. 

Show similarities and differences

You can use one bar graph template slide to display a lot of information— such as similarities and differences between demographics, traffic, campaigns, or sales— but it’s important you differentiate between data sets. When showing similarities or differences between groups use colors, spacing, and labels to make the distinctions obvious.

Track industry trends

A bar graph is a fan favorite for industry trends. The bars allow you to draw a connective line up, down, or steadily across, and help paint the picture of trends that might have been overlooked otherwise. Similarly, you might opt for a bar graph to share a competitive analysis with team members. 

Help make less obvious connections 

Using a bar graph is a good way to point out patterns or relationships between groups of data. By displaying the data in a more digestible format— through data visualization— the connections between different groups, ages, businesses, or clients can be more obvious to someone quickly skimming your slides. 

Demonstrate changes over time

Vertical bar graphs are great for comparing different groups that change over a long period of time. While small or short-term changes may not be as obvious in bar graph form, bar graphs can show growth (or declines) month-over-month or year-over-year. It helps package changes in a more visually appealing way. 

Set goals for your team

While this may not be the most popular use case, bar graphs are a good asset to use for setting team goals. You can keep track of sales or traffic throughout the quarter, and use those metrics to see how you’ll trend in each coming month. With that in mind, you can form objectives and key results (OKRs) and track it as campaigns and projects progress. 

Jordan Turner

Jordan Turner

Jordan is a Bay Area writer, social media manager, and successful blogger. Check out or find her on Instagram @theoceanminded.