What is big data and why is it a big deal?
I am excited to be contributing on exactly this topic at the Teradata Marketing Festival in May, 2015, in Las Vegas!
The official definition of big data is “extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.” But the part that I really want to key in on is the role that data brings to us as marketers! It shows us those trends and or patterns based around how we market and even how we engage on social media. Bottom line, data gives us much needed information that helps us to make better decisions in our businesses.
Why do we need to understand data and how to use it?
I thought perhaps the best way to showcase the importance of data is simply to share my own experience with you.
I have been blessed to be named by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Social Media Power Influencers and am considered one of the world’s leading social selling pros. I have spent the last 5 years building not just a large, but a highly engaged digital community. I have 125,000+ fans on Facebook and my posts reach an average of almost 10 million people per week. I have had 6.54 million “tweet impressions” on Twitter over the last 28 days, had my profile visited 62,000 times and had my community grows by over 14,000 people during that time period to 338,000+ followers overall.
Altogether, across all my social media sites, website and blog, I generate north of 500 million impressions a year.
THAT is pretty big data!
It is all right there, telling me a story!
What do people want from me? What will they buy? Does traffic matter? Where are my community members most active? What are the demographics of the people who follow me?
The questions go on and on!
So to get back to the point…why is big data important?
1. Big data can answer high-level questions about your digital community
Let’s take a look at a few specific questions…
Is all traffic the same on social media?
There are two ways to get traffic on social media, you can buy it with paid advertising or you can acquire it for free by building out your social media sites and working for it. By “working” I mean developing a content strategy and engaging with your community members.
Traffic is one thing, but conversions are another.
I did not know if being big on social media was important, but I bet I could find it by listening to the data.
What does the data say in reference to this?
First, we know this. Buying traffic on social media can be a huge expense. If you wanted to use Facebook advertising to reach the same number of people I reach on the site for free every week you would pay in the neighborhood of $50,000, or $2.6 MILLION per year.
Twitter is a little cheaper, but still no bargain. To reach the same 6.54 million people I reach for free each month would cost you a little over $27,000.
Taking Facebook and Twitter together, let’s just call it an even $3 million a year to make 400 million or so impressions. That works out to around $1 for every 133 impressions.
Still, you have no guarantee of selling anything.
Question #2…Does Paid Traffic Convert Better?
Let’s have the data answer the question!
Here is one test…ONE!
I paid $100 to Twitter to show the following ad to just over 21,000 people.
I paid $0 and tweeted the same exact e-book to my followers.
Sure, it had 1/6th the number of impressions, but almost one-half the number of engagements…for FREE!
This is just ONE data point that led me to a conclusion. Now, what if I had MILLIONS of data points that could give me the answer? That answer would be a lot more credible, right?
2. Big data can answer very specific questions about my business practices
How do you do this? My first piece of advice is to use big data to tell the story.
3. Numbers do not lie
They simply tell the story.
What are you doing to look into your data and make informed decisions for your business? If you want to learn more about big data come be a part of the first ever Teradata Marketing Festival! I hope to see you there!
I've partnered with Teradata for this post in support of the ONE: Teradata Marketing Festival
As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.