dataminingIn 2013 we have as many methods of harvesting and storing data as we have of using it and therein lies the issue of Big Data i.e. what on earth do we do with it? Tweets, customer transactions, trade events, videos, documents, images, you name it and information is flooding into your industry faster than Usain Bolt in the New Year sales.

Stat attack: Almost 50 hours of video footage is loaded to YouTube every minute of the day

Big Data can be structured within three key areas: velocity (how fast it’s produced and processed), volume (how much is being stored) and variety (what format is it produced in). So, how can you harness Big Data and not be washed away in the deluge of facts and figures which can often do more harm than good?

Stat attack: today’s digital stratosphere contains over 2.7 Zetabytes of data

Below are four uses of taming and using Big Data that hold firm to the old adage: ‘it’s not how much data you have, it’s what you do with it that counts’.

Manageable chunks

Separating the data you’ve acquired enables you to analyse and research without getting bogged down. Organising your data into manageable chunks will allow you to uncover potential correlations with other categories and will help you to discover hidden patterns that would otherwise have remained covered underneath the pile. Once you’ve organised your data it will become easier to spot new trends and possible areas of growth within your industry.

Stat attack: social media sites such as Facebook can access and analyse over 30 Petabytes of data

Keep it simple

Basically, you can use Big Data in two steps: analytically and then to create new products and services. Analytics can reveal insights into customer behaviour that were previously considered far too expensive and time consuming, such as: social and geographical influences. By combining the signals and correlations identified within data it’s then possible to target new customers much more effectively by offering them what they actually want when they might actually want it.

Stat attack: The human genome was once decoded and processed within 10 years; it now takes about a week

Personalise and target

Once you’ve broken down, analysed and discovered hidden patterns in consumer behaviour it’s now possible to personalise and target specific customers. Real time ads, social media ads and PPC ensure companies are only targeting consumers who find their product or service relevant and are therefore a better prospect than a more expensive blanket campaign. Personal data capture is a huge feature of Big Data and at the forefront of the ever-changing face of digital marketing.

Stat attack: Facebook says that, on average, over 30 billion examples of content are shared every month

Predicting the future

By analysing Big Data it’s possible to see where mistakes have been made in the past and where we can perceive they may be made again in the future. Cutting down on risk is of huge value to all companies no matter how large or how small and the prospect of being able to not waste money on potential disasters can often make the difference between success and failure. Examining real-time trends, behaviours and interests enables us to combine past data with current data as we start to predict the future.

Stat attack: According to a McKinsey & Company report, big data can help improve operating margins by around 60%