Truly tangible data: Webrepublic's 3D AdWords reporting

27 Feb 2015 / by Tobias Zehnder / Webrepublic / Comments

What if you could touch your AdWords performance data? We set out to bring intangible performance data to the world of physical objects.



My brother is an architect. We have many things in common: We're both working in a creative industry, we're both working hard and passionately for our clients' projects and we both work quite late sometimes.

However there's also a huge difference between an architect and a digital marketer: An architect designs buildings and structures that are to last for decades or even centuries. They are visible from afar and tangible.

A digital marketer’s work on the other hand is (hopefully) visible to a very specific and thus limited audience (we call this targeting). Think of an AdWords ad: it usualy aims to instantly catch your attention, just to send you away to a relevant website (we call that performance).

In other words: The results of our work as digital marketers are often invisible, and usually rather intangible.

The Idea

Another thing I share with my brother: we’re both very proud of what we do – so I set out on a mission to create something visible and tangible based on what Webrepublic produces each and evey day: invisible and intangible performance data.

I was lucky enough to quickly find awesome people that shared my enthusiasm: Yves Seiler, a talented architect and master of 3D visualization, and Danilo Bargen, one of Webrepublic’s very skilled and creative software engineers, who uses his rare spare time to teach kids how to build their own lightsabers.

The Project

Soon after kicking off the project we realized that we were on to something. Being placed on my desk, the first prototypes proved to be a great conversation starter. Everybody wanted to get his hands on the sculptures and hear the story behind the spiky shape.

The objects were created by plotting 12 months of performance data (Clicks, Cost per Click, Conversions and Impressions) in a particular way. After quite some iterations we settled on the final design and the printing could begin.

The sculptures were placed on a wooden pedestal with the metrics engraved – this provided the necessary context to understand the sculpture.

Finally we created a boxing that added another layer of context for each printed reporting by explaining the most remarkable spikes in the shape. Like this you could recognize the impact of a summer campaign or the increase of conversions in December.

We called it Vision Award, because it really looks like an awesome award, and we wanted to use it to thank our clients for sharing our vision and working with us in such an exciting industry.

The Result

Just before christmas, we were able to ship the boxes to our clients to surprise them with something they hadn’t seen before: The world's first tangible AdWords performance reporting. The feedback was great: The award sparked many conversations in our client's offices about a topic that usually is just there for a split second.

Looking back this project proves one thing: when you get a dedicated and interdisciplinary team to explore the unknown, this is where the magic happens.

What are you using your 3D printer for? Have you ever created a physical object from your data? Share your ideas or stories in the comments.