Thursday, March 28, 2013

Applying Big Data to Your Online Business

With the explosive growth of social sharing and mobile phone usage, detailed personal information about consumers is becoming more accessible - and necessary for optimized business strategies. The following is a brief look into the world of "Big Data" and how it may benefit your company.

What is "Big Data," anyway?

Big data consists of information that you would not normally obtain from traditional database technology. GetElastic shared a very interesting and helpful infographic that outlines this idea of "big data" and differentiates between the two types - structured and unstructured:
  • Structured Data: Refers to the basic consumer information we frequently have access to: name, address, zip code, census data, credit history, purchasing patterns, travel history, loyalty programs, birthdays, etc.
  • Unstructured Data: Refers to the more detailed and personal information that is obtained from Facebook, Pinterest, emails, blogs, cell phones, product reviews, video, etc. 

How is it used and how can your company benefit from it?

Collecting and analyzing big data is beneficial to both small and large companies. It can provide detailed insights into consumer behavior and allow you to discover patterns that you might not have otherwise noticed.  For example, customer reviews about a certain product will help marketers decide how to better market and competitively price products, or determine whether the demand is even there for a particular product. It can also improve user experience, customer service, and conversions.

Facebook - The Perfect Example

It is astonishing to think about how much user information is shared via social media. shared that there are 30 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook every day. Depending on a user's privacy settings, advertisers are able to target users based on gender, age, location, interests, websites they previously visited and so forth.

The future looks promising for obtaining and analyzing big data.  80% of the world's data is unstructured, according to Strategy&, and it is growing at 15 times the rate of structured. As mobile phone usage rises, you can expect the amount of data available to rise as well.

Internet users share so much information that the hardest part is figuring out what to do with it all.

by Samantha Warner
Marketing Extraordinaire