The golden age of Big Data is definitely here. At least, as far as the Online Marketing industry is concerned. Most of us have probably heard the term “Big Data” buzzing around rather frequently in the past few years, but what exactly does it mean? Well, as implied by its name, it refers to the collection of data sets in very large scale and high complexity levels. Due to their size, these sets cannot be measured and processed with traditional applications and methods – which is what led to reinventing the game and naming it Big Data.
What’s with Big Data that changes the game so much? Until rather recently, many online marketing experts would rely on their experience in the field and gut feeling for determining how to manage their advertising campaigns and budgets. Using facts and empirical data to support their decisions was considered nice to have. This era is now over, all hail the new Data King. Big Data and predictive analytics technologies have opened the door with a big bang and introduced online marketing to a whole new world of opportunity. Marketers are now able to actually base their game on numbers and algorithms, leveraging data to achieve outstanding results.
With that being said, there is no rose without a thorn. With the ever-increasing numbers of online users, the amount of data out there is almost endless. This creates quite a few challenges in the newly reinvented game. While some are easier to overcome than others, they all need to be addressed and taken into consideration. To give you an idea, here are a few obstacles standing in the path of Big Data:
- Relevancy: Identifying the right piece of data out of the whole mass and figuring out the best way to use it is not such an easy job. The scope of Big Data is entirely different from what most marketers are used to, and so are the goals and best practices. This requires quite a bit of out-of-the-box thinking and experimenting with new creative concepts. Out with the old, in with the new?
- Technology: The technological challenge plays a key role here. Internet technology as a whole is developing in a supersonic fast pace, and data-oriented technology is far from lagging behind. Dealing with it in an effective manner requires powerful technology-driven personnel and capabilities that are able to provide the right IT infrastructure. This entire framework requires constant maintenance and needs must quickly adapt and respond to the dynamic nature of this niche.
- Cross-Departmental Collaboration: In order to really make something out of all this data, you need to work across several functions around the board. In terms of an organization, this requires dedicating many resources and having several departments collaborating closely on this. You need people who can deal with the technological aspect of things, as well as people who can actually look into the data, determine what is relevant and know how to approach it. You will then need additional skillful people who know how to translate this data into meaningful and solid business insights, create action items and get things done.
Nobody promised a bed of roses, but on the flipside of these are unique and significant business opportunities, entirely created by the Big Data explosion. All this data, that only a few years ago was considered meaningless and redundant, has now become an extremely powerful and valuable niche in marketing. Companies are now able to gather, organize, analyze and translate this data into useful business insights and actions. The range of Big Data applications is wide and only growing – From fraud detection, through programmatic media buying and e-commerce, all the way to advanced targeted marketing. As year 2015 approaches its end, with 2016 right around the corner, it is now clearer than ever: Companies that will overcome the challenges and utilize Big Data wisely will have the upper hand. The rest are likely to be left staggering behind.
Trends and Forecasts
The industry has witnessed quite a few important developments in Big Data throughout 2015. What does the future have in store?
- Sales forecasting will get even better thanks to machine learning tools, that continue to improve. Advanced algorithms that predict consumer behavior will become more and more popular, gradually pushing aside marketers’ hunches and intuition. Another aspect of being able to “foresee” how well a product/service will perform is managing a more precise marketing budget. The more specific and targeted you get with your campaigns, thanks to Big Data analysis, the more accurate you can be when allocating budgets.
- Data-driven marketing methodologies will further be developed and go more mainstream. Designated live data feeds and dashboards have already started emerging, simplifying decision-making in real time, based on accessible Big Data insights. The first to make these Big Data adjustments are usually the big players in the industry. They tend to have the funds, resources and prime interest to analyze all the masses of data accumulated along the road and translate them into business insights. Stemmed in large quantities of data, these insights usually have strong roots and prove to be very useful. On the other hand, it might take quite a while and some intensive work on behalf of these major players, to properly go over all the data and produce insights out of it. Small and medium businesses, on the other hand, may have less resources, but are usually required to deal with smaller amounts of data. This means that digging into the data could actually be easier for them, and possibly even more productive.
In the bottom line, businesses of all sizes have already started utilizing Big Data. In fact, as time passes, we should see it becoming a standard and essential part of new business strategies. Companies born in this day and age of Big Data already regard it as a natural thing, an integral core of their organization, and shape a great deal of business activity around it. Other players may find the process a be a bit more clumsy, and be reluctant to replace their healthy intuition with machine learning tools, but all in all – the direction is clear. All roads lead to Big Data.
According to Liat Greenberg, Senior Data Analyst at Mars Media Group, having the technological know-how is definitely important. However, having the right people, who know how to leverage it and translate the data into insights is equally important. Here at MMG, we deal mostly with big data. With our advanced BI capabilities and machine learning technologies, we guide the data throughout the entire process – From efficiently collecting it, through cleaning and storing it in the right servers, to analyzing and leveraging it to create business insights. If you would like to hear more about our Big Data solutions, contact us at [email protected]