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What are data overlays and how do you use them?

Joe Quinn
Joe Quinn
What are data overlays and how do you use them?


Data overlays are incredibly important as you analyze and act upon your data. While you can use data overlays to better understand trends across your data, they can sometimes be difficult to implement or can often introduce tactical and technical challenges. In this blog post, we’ll explore the challenges with overlays today and the ways you can use data overlays (if used properly) to help inform your decisioning.


The tools that are in-market today are incredibly cumbersome and tactically challenging when it comes to implementing overlays. Here are some of the issues you can run into while trying to leverage data overlays: 

  1. Difficulty calculating overlays.  Current tools require custom calculations, or raw SQL to perform the overlay. This can make it hindering for any particular team member to calculate and implement an overlay, and to be certain that it was calculated correctly.
  2. Tactical challenges implementing overlays. It often takes many steps to get overlays deployed and can be incredibly limiting as to how often you can change your overlays should your query change, or addressing other changes in the data set.  
  3. Teams Need Shared Context. Functional teams mostly focus on their own data and systems; to win they need to collaborate.

How can you use data overlays? 

  1. Compare related metrics. For example, you can see revenue and spend on single axis; clicks over impressions, or latency against fill rate. 



  1. Understand heuristics to guide decisioning. View daily purchases shown together with a 7 day moving average and a forecast. 



  1. Better understand the impact of events. We are always eager to better understand correlation of events. Use overlays to answer the question, did a marketing event increase usage?  Did a production deploy cause a degradation? 

By using overlays in the Facet app, you can easily add and remove overlays with a few simple clicks. Our click-to-filter UI allows you to dig into your data without needing to know SQL. Now with Facet, seeing a 7 day moving average can be implemented in two clicks, and viewing critical business metrics on top of one another can be done in seconds. 

Interested in learning more about data overlays and how you can use them at Facet? Reach out to our Sales team to get started. 


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