Big Data: How Small Steps to Harnessing Big Data Can Lead to Big Rewards

When I started as an account coordinator three years ago, I had no knowledge or experience in digital media. Being the new guy can often be a hindrance, but my fresh perspective was actually my biggest advantage. Digital media is not the industry for those who dislike change. Change must be embraced, understood, and implemented at the quickest pace possible to stay on top of clients’ needs and run a successful business. Three years ago, I had never heard the term Big Data. Today, it is one of the more common digital media buzzwords being thrown around by marketers and advertisers alike. The implications of Big Data are large, but the rewards are even greater. The most interesting factor of it all is that most companies and experienced employees are not even trained to leverage their data.

Perhaps the most encouraging research I came upon while learning more about Big Data were the number of job opportunities that will become available in the next decade.  Having graduated college three years ago, pressure to find a job was extremely high during our economic recession.  I personally decided to pursue opportunities in the digital media industry because of the guaranteed growth in the sector. Current students or recent graduates should know it is estimated that 140,000 deep analytical positions will need to be filled to answer the questions of Big Data across several industries. Furthermore, 1.5 million data manager/analytics positions will become available and currently, demand is high and supply is low.

The first step for advertisers after data collection begins is to create models to interpret data in ways that can help influence business. Advertisers should start backwards, defining a business goal or mission, and then find data to support their hypothesis. Trying to create a new and universal platform that can answer all questions will likely be impossible without some practice in working with datasets beforehand. Digital advisors, such as IgnitionOne, can help advertisers shape the story they are looking to tell. It is the advertiser’s responsibility to request this help from their media resources so that a plan can be set forward together to answer the most important questions with the biggest implications first.

Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne, has stated that approaching the chaos of Big Data in the digital space is best achieved when defining goals first and getting down to user-level data. Understanding full attribution paths, how media affects engagement, and how users interact with an advertiser’s site are key focus points for IgnitionOne’s clients. In the end, our primary goal as media advisors is to deliver the best possible ads to the right consumers at the right time. Without prior data to examine, a lot of these decisions may be assumption based.

It is incredible to note that 92% of the world’s data was created in the last two years alone. For this reason, “most advertisers are sitting on top of an untapped treasure trove of audience data – they just haven’t had the tools necessary to take advantage of it.” This unharnessed data is a missed opportunity to leveraging actionable insights into increased revenue.

At IgnitionOne, we prefer to use the hard data facts, rather than anecdotal “patterns.” Our role as digital media advisors is to best service clients on their online marketing needs.  The more actionable data we have to work with and examine, the better we can do our jobs, and meet the goals that our clients count on us to achieve.

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