It’s no secret that without the effective use of data, marketing becomes less effective. After all, if you don’t measure it, how can you really tell if it’s working?
With that in mind, big data has become a more important part of modern marketing in the past couple of years. And we’re expecting it to continue to prove popular in 2018.
Taking that into account, today we’re going to look at how we think big data will be used this year, and which trends we’re expecting to see emerge.
This might sound like something your doctor would do, but trust us, it’s nowhere near as scary as that!
Put simply, prescriptive analytics is simply making use of normal business analytics to find the right solution for any particular problem by looking at the potential options available.
However – and this is the clever bit – the computations are carried out using both mathematical and computational science to predict not only what will happen when a key decision is carried out, but also WHY it will happen.
The information provided by big data is key to ensuring that the relevant tech has all it needs to make the computations, of course – without the data, analysis simply isn’t possible!
While prescriptive analytics is a year or two from becoming truly mainstream, you can expect to hear the term more and more during the next 12 months.
Increased recovery of ‘dark’ data
Once again, this doesn’t sound as suspicious as it sounds!
Put simply, ‘dark’ data is simply information logged before the computer era. Yes, as in when it was written down on paper!
You see, this information – which is still stored by any business that possesses it – can still offer a lot of value to advertisers.
After all, the one thing that never changes is human psychology, and some of the world’s most successful advertisements were launched in this era.
As such, it’s likely that data analysts will begin to try and recover – and then digitize – historical data that until now has remained ‘offline’.
A firmer focus on the quality of the information
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that until now, big data has been mostly focused on quantity: the name is, after all, a bit of a hint!
However, because SO MUCH information is now available to marketers – and the numbers continue to grow – it’s becoming increasingly important for analysts to drill further down.
Focusing on the right datasets will be key to ensuring the results your business wants. After all, any effective business will have a specific goal in mind, whether it’s increasing sales, generating a larger email list or simply increasing social media engagement.
Being judicious with the available big data sets will allow marketers to pick out only the data that’s relevant to their specific goals.
It’s easy to be carried away with the remarkable capabilities of big data, but the focus is, on the end, on growing your business.
Expect more and more big data specialists to focus on data quality in 2018.
More data streams will be integrated
One of the most important developments in big data over the past couple of years has been the use of new technology: specifically, the internet of things.
With more and more devices now capable of connecting to the web – including things as diverse as showers, heating systems, cars and even doors – big data analysts will be able to learn more and more about how people live their lives.
As a result, it’s inevitable that the data from these devices will continue to be integrated into datasets.
Whatever your industry, the chance to learn more about your customers represents an invaluable opportunity for continuing to deliver an experience that earns you an excellent reputation.
More job roles will be created
The use of analytics and data has grown hugely in the last year or two, which is impressive given how common analysts were back then!
Inevitably, though, the more data is available, the more specialists will be required to allow businesses to take care of it.
The days of simply having an ‘analytics’ team will soon be over: it’s likely data specialists in the marketing space will start to branch out in terms of their roles, looking at areas such as extraction, transformation and loading.
You don’t have to take our word for this, of course: IBM themselves have already predicted that the job market for professionals in big data will grow by over two million roles between 2018 and 2020.
Analytics will become its own service
Analytics has traditionally been part of the SEO agency model: one of the services SEO specialists offer, along with content strategy and paid advertising.
However, data is increasingly becoming seen as the MOST important discipline in the online marketing space.
As a result, we think it’s very likely that more agencies and freelancers will begin to offer bespoke big data analytics services as a service in itself:
The idea is simple enough: you ask the agency what information you’d like on your market (or your company) and they’ll dig into your analytics and then deliver a list of actionable insights you can implement over the next year or two.
For a company that has writers and paid ad specialists in-house, this ‘data-as-a-service’ model offers a lot of potential value without having to shell out for a full-time data analyst.
Depending on your view, machine learning in general either represents the greatest technological opportunity in history or one step too far.
However, there’s no denying that it can be invaluable to marketers.
As the ability of machines to learn develops, so will their capability to analyze the data and suggest different tactics to improve your marketing strategy.
It’s entirely possible that within the next year or so, you’ll be able to feed in information from your analytics – visitors, sales, conversions, bounce rate, etc. – into software which will then be able to tell you what you can do to increase your performance.
Where it will become even more interesting – and given how marketing software works already, we think this is almost inevitable – is when you’re able to input competitor data too.
You might think this sounds far-fetched, but you only have to look at the capabilities of software like AHRefs and Moz today to work out where the combination of more data and increase intelligence will lead.
The increased use of data as an asset
This isn’t strictly marketing related, but it’s worth highlighting as our last point, simply because it shows how valuable the right data can be.
Marketers all know that the right bit of information can be the key to increasing conversions, growing traffic, reducing your CPC and even just getting more people to watch your YouTube videos.
With that in mind, and with all businesses seeking to get an advantage over their competitors, we think it’s possible that at the top of the more competitive markets, businesses will seek to hold big data as an asset.
That is, a huge database could be used as a reason to raise the value of a company in the event of a sale.
Were Instagram to be re-sold today, for instance, the sellers would be able to argue that as well as the tech itself, buyers would also be getting access to millions of data points that they could then use to increase revenue.
As a result, the company would be more valuable than it would if it was just the tech itself for sale.
The more valuable data becomes in a competitive marketplace, the more companies are likely to pay for it.
Data becoming a kind of ‘asset’ is almost inevitable.