Who Needs Big Data?

  |  March 11, 2013   |  Comments

Focusing on demographics, actions, and creative engagement should take some of the mystery out of big data and help you refine it to the point that it propels your business to new heights.

The term "big data" seems ubiquitous these days. It's a big topic of discussion at most conferences, and it strikes me that for all our talk about it, many questions remain. Who needs big data? The short answer is: we all do. But if you find yourself unsure of what it is and how to use it, I have some ideas for you. Think of data as a raw material. Like any other raw material, it needs to be refined, processed, and managed. Just as crude oil doesn't power our cars, raw, unanalyzed data won't propel our businesses forward.

My advice to marketers and publishers: pick your data partners wisely and, to start, be sure to gain a full understanding in these three key areas:

  1. Demographics. This information is now more critical than ever as audience buying becomes the norm and we witness the convergence of TV media buying with digital. Demographics focus mainly on the information surrounding age, gender, and income. In order to tailor products and services to a particular group - thereby maximizing value - it's important to understand the size and activities of each demographic combination.
  2. Actions. The data surrounding consumer actions can vary greatly from client to client. The idea is to identify the steps a consumer takes in completing a specific task. For example, the clickstream to purchase (purchase path) will tell you a lot about what the most important triggers are for purchase, which will help you design the optimal media campaign and messaging. Grocery stores spend millions of dollars per year understanding traffic flow through the store to maximize purchase of goods. The Internet is just one giant grocery store, so get your wallet out. This is going to get expensive.
  3. Creative engagement. Data about how consumers engage with advertising creative on a particular website, or across a demographic category, can tell you a lot about what is and isn't working. A/B copy testing, which is used very successfully to improve efficacy in TV advertising, is just starting to be used in digital. The good news here is that social media and other relatively inexpensive media make this kind of testing simple and quick, which means a campaign can be optimized on the fly.

Of course, there are many more data sets to keep in mind, but focusing on these key areas to start should take some of the mystery out of "big data" and help you refine it to the point that it propels your business to new heights. Be specific about the information you will need to make your campaign or project more effective and focus only on the data points that will get you there.

Big Data image on home page via Shutterstock.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!*
*Early Bird Rates expire April 17.


Larry  Allen

Larry Allen is SVP, Global Platform Sales for Xaxis. He has responsibility for overseeing solutions for publishers including Xaxis for Publishers, Xaxis Exchange, and Xaxis Marketplace globally.

Larry has extensive experience in digital media, marketing, and business strategy unmatched by most standards. Prior to joining 24/7 Media (which merged with Xaxis in 2014), he held senior management positions at cutting-edge digital media companies such as AOL, Viewpoint, Unicast, Yieldex, Real Media, and TACODA.

Larry also ran his own consulting business where he advised many major media companies such as The New York Times, Meredith, 33Across, and Business Insider. He is a frequent contributor to a number of trade publications, blogs, and industry conferences.

A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Management, Larry is based in Xaxis' headquarters in New York City.

Follow him on Twitter at @lawrenceallen2.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?


    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora,, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...