Translating Knowledge into Purpose - The Practical Applications of Big Data

The march of technological advancement is continuing at a relentless pace, from the development of social media as a marketing tool to establishing the ’Internet of things,’ and merging our virtual and physical realities. While these are highly popularized examples of innovation that have obvious benefits for business owners, however, there are also more subtle developments that may be even more important for those in charge of ventures of all sizes.

Introducing Big Data for Business Owners

Big data is a concept that provides a relevant case in point, as every organization can benefit from the accumulation of accurate information and the insight that it provides. While this has always been a goal for forward-thinking entrepreneurs, the lack of suitable online storage and an inability to effectively analyze gathered data has meant that it has remained unachievable for much of the last decade.

This is no longer the case, however, as big data refers to the development of tools and management systems that can gather, utilize and analyze huge sets of information. Referencing both process and software programs, big data enables business owners to challenge and understand their core consumer base before tailoring products and services to meet their specific needs. When implemented correctly, it can bring clarity to everything that you do as an entrepreneur and aid the creation of strategic and targeted marketing campaigns.

How to Utilize Big Data in Practical Terms

With this in mind, it is worth addressing the three key benefits of big data and how you can capitalize as a business owner. Consider the following:

1. Explore Consumer Trends and Their Impact on Your Business

Google is a pivotal player in the big data revolution as its attempts at creating an organized and logically categorized search engine arguably laid the foundations for effective information management online. Google has evolved considerably from its origins, however, meaning that it now provides access to tools that can analyze its huge swathes of data and deliver genuine insight. For all business owners, this serves as a unique opportunity to explore real-time consumer trends and tailor products or marketing strategies that can effectively tap into these and win new customers.

Google Trends is the most purposeful tool of this type as it combines search engine properties with keyword analysis to offer an insight into the terms that are relevant to your business. By simply logging in and entering the type of product that you sell, for example, you can instantly access Google’s entire databanks and identify the top -related search terms in real-time. Depending on your findings, the information can be used to form a creative marketing campaign or even develop innovative new product concepts for the future.

2. Measure Social Media Interaction and its Success or Failure

While social media has been used as an effective business and marketing tool for a while now, until recently it was extremely difficult to measure results and the success or failure of individual campaigns. This is no longer an issue for small-, medium- and large-sized business owners; however, newly developed metrics means that it is now possible to monitor social interaction between consumers and your brand. This is due to the harnessing and successful management of the data that is processed through social media, and another key benefit of this is that it also allows you to analyze the effectiveness of competitors through different social platforms and developing a more engaging online profile.

There are many tools that you can use to measure the effectiveness of social media interaction and your standing as an online brand. While some of these are expensive and generally inaccessible to companies with a restricted budget, there are also less costly examples, like Social Mention, that provide an overview of how consumers view your business across resources such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. By reviewing the way in which your brand is received and the detail of individual comments left on blog posts and through tweets, for example, there is an opportunity to tailor your responses and guarantee customer satisfaction.

3. Delve Beyond Traffic Volumes and Bounce Rates

Historically, business owners would measure the success of their website using basic analytical tools and metrics such as bounce rates and the number of unique visitors. Although these metrics offer you an insight into the fundamental performance of your website, they do nothing to reveal the demographics of your core consumer base or their motivation for visiting your business online. This makes it extremely difficult for you to access relevant information about your site’s unique visitors and use this to create a targeted customer profile.

The concept of big data and its tools helps you to delve beyond these metrics, however, and analyze each and every customer that engages with your brand. Take the free-to-access tool Quancast, which offers you the opportunity to review huge amounts of personal data including your customers’ gender, age, income, education, and ethnicity. In terms of analysis, you can also determine how often individual customers visit your website and the mediums that they use to do so, which in turn lets you create targeted marketing campaigns that suit individual consumer groups. If you want to guarantee the integrity of your data and analysis, however, be sure to register by placing a shortcode on your website.

While these steps will enable you to optimize the data at your business’ disposal, you will still need to apply common sense and a vigilant eye when collating, organizing and storing data. This is especially important when sourcing data in the first instance as without accurate or verified information you will be unable to identify problems or execute viable strategies that help your business to grow efficiently and in a sustainable manner. With this in mind, you can take the theory surrounding big data and create practical applications that help to improve your venture.




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