Big data digital marketing is the practice of transforming consumer data into
actionable insights, with the goal of creating highly targeted advertising campaigns.
Data was once made up of compact pieces of insight that were easy to contain, but that’s no longer the case. What used to be communicated in petabytes (1M gigabytes) has already reached the staggering level of zettabytes. IDC, a market-research firm, predicts that by 2025 the “digital universe” (the data created and copied each year) will reach 180 zettabytes. That’s 180 followed by 21 zeros. It would take over 450M years to transfer that much information across a standard broadband connection.
That’s a lot of data.
On top of that, the collected data is increasingly more complicated than its digital ancestors. Gone are the days where small pieces of data could provide a faceless consumer’s gender, household income, and age; today’s data can paint a complete consumer picture.
- What consumers do when they wake up in the morning (which apps they check first on their mobile devices, what coffee they drink and where they bought it, what morning news shows they watch, how long they watch, and which commercials spark a web search, etc.).
- Real-time updates from social streams and consumption (pages liked, videos watched, locations shared, companies they interact with, and more).
- How long their morning commute takes (what car or public transportation they use to get there, what they eat for breakfast, and even which digital ads they see along the way).
- What they do first when they get to work (how long they spend on emails, calls, or in meetings).
And that’s just the first three hours of the day.
Common household items have already become data devices, collecting your preferences and habits. The world is moving ever closer to a time when all things are connected with sensors and digital memories, and every person will have a footprint, even when they aren’t connected to the internet. All of this information will be stored in a cloud for extraction, refinement, and worldwide use. Paul Sonderegger, a big data strategist at Oracle says, “Data will be the ultimate externality: we will generate them whatever we do.”
Not only do we have a wealth of additional data available, it’s now more accurate than ever before. With more data being self-reported, the accuracy of the insights marketers have access to is increasing exponentially. This will only continue to grow as more devices require user profiles and become more spatially aware. Learn more about what micro-data is here.
Companies are quickly buying or building data refineries to sift through these new found waves of data.
In 2016, Amazon, Alphabet, and Microsoft spent a total of nearly $32B in capital expenditure and capital
leases to provide enough space to dissect and better understand how to utilize the sheer volume of data available to them.
In an effort to move their data faster, Amazon sends trucks with shipping containers filled with
storage devices holding 100 petabytes (that’s 15 zeros tacked on) of data to their facilities for evaluation.
While it’s impossible to place a price tag on the value of data since they’re not currently a widely
sold commodity, it is clear that the future revolves around which companies can best understand
and utilize the data they have access to.
As the amount of available data continues to grow beyond human comprehension, companies are looking for ways to keep up. Many organizations are turning to Artificial Intelligence to sift through the data and complete the necessary vetting to return usable insights. AI uses algorithmic processes including machine learning, deep learning, and natural learning processing, to automate the overwhelming amount of information into something that companies can use to their advantage.
These sorts of marketing tools are still in their early stages, but companies such as Amazon and Facebook, who have the capacity to filter through all of the data available to them, have proved to have an edge on the competition. While these companies use it to intelligently recommend products or shows based on their consumers’ habits, they’re also harnessing it to provide more precise audience targeting and measurable advertising results.
The sheer volume of consumer data may seem daunting, but in an age where people expect a customized experience in all facets of their life, the increasingly specific insights will help advertisers personalize messages that will resonate better with potential patrons. It’s been proven that targeted advertising not only leaves a stronger impression on a potential consumer, but also makes them more likely to convert and become a paying customer. As data facilities continue to improve, so too will our ability to effectively reach our precise audiences through big data-driven marketing strategies. This precision will equate to less advertising waste, and higher ROI for advertisers everywhere.
Read more about why big data is important for marketers here.
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