What is big data?

Posted by on Oct 31, 2013 in Blog | No Comments
What is big data?

One of this year’s terms we all use, but don’t all understand is “big data”. Unless you’re one of those people who loves numbers and confusing information, the one thing you probably didn’t want more of was data. Big? Wouldn’t it be nicer if the term was “clear data”? Yes. But it isn’t. Data is big and we’re all going to get some clarification together.

What is big data?

Big data is really talking about the fact that there is a lot of information about your customers floating around and if you can figure out how to organize all of this information, you can use it to sell to these people more effectively.

But that isn’t a new idea at all! I know, but the reason that collecting this data is back in the spotlight is because with things like e-commerce, social media, and the ability to track the way that someone spends time online, there is a whole lot more of it.

That’s where the big comes in. Big data is the kind of data that grows by the second because people are always online, always interacting with websites, and always tweeting.

Let’s get a little more specific about this

Lisa Arthur, a writer with Forbes, describes big data as, “a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.” It’s important to note that all of the traditional data you would normally collect is still relevant.

Lisa Arthur emphasizes that most of the confusion surrounding big data is that businesses don’t stop to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to deciding what information is available, relevant, and valuable.

What kinds of data should be included in this conversation?

Traditional data: information coming from places like product transactions, call centers, and in-store interactions

Unstructured data: information without any formatting consistencies, like tweets or other social media text

Multi-structured data: information you can gather from website interaction along with structured parts, like when someone fills out an online form

Get your big data feet wet

There isn’t an easy step-by-step way to gather big data and use it to its full potential, but there are ways to start. Paying attention when people mention your business on social media is a great way to get in the game and see results quickly. There are countless stories of people who mention that they are dissatisfied with a product over Twitter and after hearing back from the company, they turn from critic to ambassador. See? Big data can be good!

I hope that helps! Let us know how you’re collecting and using big data by commenting on this post or by finding us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Tumbler. We’ll make sure to respond!

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