Lately, it seems as if everyone wants a piece of the targeted data and information that’s being generated out there – and for good reason. Despite some inevitable limitations and the still-newness of this burgeoning discipline, marketers are becoming increasingly excited by the availability of big data for themselves and their clients.
Why does data matter? Everything you do generates a data footprint. Online media, for instance, “knows” your shopping habits, your geographical location and other information, all gleaned from your online activity. Traditionally, marketing firms have bought advertising on television stations based on ratings and basic segmentation generated from more simple data on the gender and age of viewers. Compared to online and digital media, such now-rudimentary forms of targeted consumer advertising simply do not have the same power.
Marketers and media firms are smartly counteracting losses from some of the more traditional means of targeting and advertising with campaigns fueled by all of the new – and potentially valuable – data. The aim is to create large databases based on what products viewers buy and what shows that they watch, so that a person’s viewing experience can match the advertising experience.
What’s in it for marketers? Put simply, designating advertising money to the right places can lead to a greater return on investment. Those marketers who know what they are doing can make educated choices that help clients maximize efficiency, reach and overall effectiveness. Some corporate giants such as Google, eBay and AT&T are making more of their data available publicly, so that it makes it possible for economists to determine fluctuations in the U.S. economy, by measuring the frequency that people search for particular phrases or what people are buying.
However, there are all sorts of reasons why many companies will not share data about their customers. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how big data becomes more and more powerful, while privacy remains, without a doubt, an issue for both consumers and advertisers.
Television competes with online. Some companies, for example, are actively gathering data from set-top boxes to see what people are watching, so that advertisers can efficiently reach appropriate niche markets at a cost of up to 98 percent less than more traditional prime-time advertising.
This detailed information can allow media firms to target their advertising to the best person at the right cost. Ultimately, advertisers need to decide how the data can be used in way that is the most valuable. Once they do, the analysis of this data can yield important answers and lead to meaningful – and profitable – decisions and strategies.
Who is doing what – and how – with big data? It goes without saying that advertising firms are always striving to help their clients maximize their return on investment. These days, many are doing this through big data predictive analytics. The analysis of big data tells them so much about the digital world (and its inhabitants) around us. By utilizing online data, it can be easy to see where a person saw a particular ad, how long they viewed it, if they followed the ad to its destination and if it led to a sale.
Whether it is listening to a particular radio station, watching favorite television programs, viewing certain websites or reading certain newspapers, the information creates a very good picture of what someone prefers to look at, listen to and watch. Of course, people are complex and their decision-making processes and preferences can change, be misinterpreted or be complicated in some other way.
What’s next for marketers and all their data? Understanding – and then interpreting – the right data will continue to be a great focus of many marketers looking to target in new and powerful ways. No matter how it all continues to play out, one thing is for sure: We will continue to see incredible, innovative activity in the area where data and insight meet strategy and planning.