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Use Excel Power Maps to Visualize Performance by Location

Published: May 22, 2014

Author: Caitlin Halpert

Since one of my largest clients is a franchise business with ~100 individual locations, I often need to communicate localized results to contacts who know very little about search and are not data-oriented. Using Excel’s new Add-On called Power Maps (once known as GeoFlow), we can easily create a variety of visualizations to better show geographic performance.
Power Maps is available for download from Microsoft. Once it’s installed, you’ll have a handy “Map” icon in the Insert tab of the Ribbon:
Microsoft Excel ribbon
Once Power Maps is installed, you can use the feature to generate a visualization of any of the following types of locations:

  • Latitude/Longitude
  • City
  • Country/Region
  • County
  • State/Province
  • Street
  • Zip
  • Full Address

Simply select the table of data you want to map, and launch geo-flow. You’ll then be prompted to select which field in the table details the location. Typically the program will correctly identify the column.
data table
Then you’ll be able to choose the metric you would like to add to the visualization. Three are currently 5 options: stacked bar graphs, clustered bars, bubbles, heat map, and  region. You can also add time or categories to generate a more complex picture.
(Working with hyper-local clients, I’ve most often used the zip code option.)
Here’s an example of a zip code heat map.
heat map by zip code
In the following map, I layer a click heat map with bars representing conversions.
conversion heat map
Even beyond local clients, this can be very useful for national advertisers to show where they are deriving the highest return. Just be careful you aren’t just creating a population map as in this volume-based revenue visualization, which emphasizes more populous states:
revenue heat map
More telling is this version that uses ROAS as the metric:
roas heat map
I highly recommend spending some time playing with the tool to find what uses would be most helpful in your business. The capabilities go well beyond what I’ve reviewed here.
Have you discovered any other uses or insights with this tool? Leave a comment!

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