How big is it? A concept that could be missed if data isn't put into context - and potentially the source of some serious debate depending on your point of view! Providing a point of reference enables your reader to understand the significance and value of a data point. Without it, the reference could fall flat, and lose its meaning.
Here's a great example. I tend to go "fishing" on a regular basis for info-graphics on digital viewing data. For me, as a researcher and marketer, it helps to size up what's happening among consumers, but also can defuse some of the unnecessary urgency that often goes hand in hand with free-standing data points.
Simpli-fi published a great collection of data points on OTT in Jan-19. I tend to forage quite a bit for data points in the digital TV space, so this one caught my attention. Great, quick sound bites on OTT, in a simple, easy to consume format. However, it really doesn't help me to size up what's happening in OTT. I'm not discounting the value of the information, some comparative points that provide additional support to the significance (trended data, competitive platforms, etc.) could serve to better demonstrate the significance of these points. But I would be doing some more digging to completely express the value of these data points in my own storytelling.
One of the blessings (and curses!) of information democratized by the Internet, is the availability of countless insights - each more interesting than the last. But researchers and marketers need to carefully handle how they use it.
An example that puts data into better context is the following information I picked up from Visual Capitalist in Jan-18. A bit dated, but the sizing of the platform data in this visualization really serves to demonstrate "how big" these platforms are relative to one another. A reference like this along with the Simpli-fi data points would work well together.
For marketers and researchers, providing context makes your insights and positioning even more solid to your readers. Facts and figures with solid copy can make for incredibly compelling positioning and story telling. But don't forget as you're crafting your story, to let your audience know "how big" the fish in your story truly is!