The Truth About Big Data

In today’s increasingly data-driven world, it’s interesting that there remain a number of misconceptions and hesitations surrounding big data. The most significant misconception is that many marketers refer to big data as a thing when it is simply a trend. While some marketers are wary of it, others are excited and ready to use the insights that big data can offer.

It’s not far off to say that big data has forever changed the advertising industry. Data touches every channel – TV, social, mobile, video, display, search and so on. And as it’s produced on an ongoing basis, marketers should look to big data to help to determine what a target demographic cares about, as well as how to use data across channels.

Using Data Across Channels

Aaron Fetters, director of insights and analytics solutions at Kellogg, recently stated “The digital strategy group uses the data to figure out how social media should play a role with Kellogg’s other digital touch-points.” Fetters’ comment shows that knowing what data to use is critical. In this case, the Kellogg team seems to focus on how information derived from social media can influence other digital channels.

The ability to track everything down to an individual, product, sale and behavior is something that was not available prior to the growth of big data. However, the one thing we all must realize is that you don’t necessarily need to track everything. Today, marketers need to focus on what data matters to your own brand and business. Relying too much on data is never a good thing.

Ad Targeting Fail

For example, a Notre Dame fan recently visited the sports site to read up on the hard loss of the national title. Upon his visit, he was welcomed by ads for Alabama featuring, “Congrats Alabama State Champs.” As he clicked through the adchoices icon, he found that Google was behind the ad targeting.

In this case, there was too much reliance on automation and data, and therefore, the information was not mined correctly. Sure, the content of the page included Alabama and Notre Dame, and the user probably was identified as a football fan and may have even searched for information about football. But, in the end, thanks to relying solely on data and machines, the Alabama ad was targeted to a Notre Dame fan on a Notre Dame site-specific page.

The key takeaway here is that we don’t want to end up relying on data for all decisions and great ideas. The human eye and big ideas are still needed today, and sometimes, they can’t be driven by data alone.

Data For Optimization

At the end of day, the main use of the data is to help marketers to identity what is working and what isn’t worth dedicating a marketing budget to moving forward. Data help adjust, refine and optimize campaigns and complete strategies in a way that benefits both the brands and the consumers. These benefits help foster a deeper relationship between the advertiser and their audiences.

When it comes to search retargeting, big data is a major part of how retargeters reach their target consumer. From keyword lists to word optimization and creative, search retargeting uses tremendous amounts of big data to first identify a brand’s target audience and then determine where the audience is located across the Web. As a result, the best ads are served to the right audiences at the correct time.

Marketers are sitting on a gold mine of information that’s just waiting to be unearthed. The amount of data we have access to is going to grow exponentially for the foreseeable future. Use it or lose.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising Column


About The Author: is chief executive officer at search retargeting leader Magnetic charged with driving overall company expansion and building out Magnetic’s search retargeting infrastructure.

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