Whilst being an extremely complex topic, big data can be briefly explained as a large volume of data that can be mined, analyzed, and used for information. Whilst this enormous bank of information can be used in a plethora of ways, one of the most prominent and intriguing is its impact on advertising.
“It’s clear that big data can be spectacularly efficient in providing us with relevant data and reports on the effectiveness of the campaigns we are running. Prior to this technology, we could still understand the effectiveness of our campaigns but at a much slower pace. Now we can quickly analyze data and make appropriate changes in line with what it is telling us, producing more successful, cost effective and timely campaigns. For example at AdMaster we use an analytical tool to allow real-time access to data with a five minute lag window.”
To put it simply, big data allows advertisers to more effectively communicate with consumers about products and services they would be interested in. Instead of making generalized digital campaigns for a certain age group or target audience, you can use this bank of information to accurately show what message, product and information the customer wants to see and show them this at times they are most likely to make the conversion advertisers want.
The benefits of this collection of information go beyond simply the optimization of campaigns as detailed by Calvin.
“It also allows for a better overall analysis of customers. Say for example that you have reached one million people with your online campaign. With big data you know who clicked on the advert and how engaged they were. This allows advertisers to effectively re-target customers based on their level of potential interest to increase conversions based on a more finely tuned message.”
The same can be said for the use of big data to gain a much better understanding of your audience and customers. Whilst the traditional use of personas is still utilized to a certain extent, big data allows for a much more detailed picture of who your audience is.
“The practice of re-targeting only works on the basis that you have the best understanding of the customer possible. Understandably we have therefore seen a greater focus on the use of consumer tags to get a better understanding of our audience. This allows us to gain insight on our various customer profiles; who they are, what they like, what they dislike, their views on technology, what their spending habits are, and even their personal interest in the product. All this adds up to a much more accurate picture. If you calculate this incorrectly, re-targeting may actually do more damage, disrupting any trust you may have built up with the customer rather than offering something of value.”
Yet there are still some growing pains for big data before it becomes completely infallible. Notably as pointed out by Calvin, the fact that we are still in the very early stages of using this technology.
“To really maximize the effectiveness of big data you need to have top notch data scientists constantly monitoring goings on. This is so far lacking in a lot of businesses who are wanting to use big data. Additionally, many brands and companies assume that big data will solve all of their advertising problems. However they forget the fundamentals of advertising and marketing you need to run a successful campaign. Also, there is still a high percentage of advertising that takes place offline. Things like billboards and television adverts are much harder to measure in comparison to digital campaigns, but still remain an important part of advertising as a whole.”
Similarly, there remains a conflict over the role creativity will play in advertising in the future.
“While big data has undoubtedly changed the advertising industry into more of a science, there still remains an importance for creativity in advertising. You can target the right audience, but if the content is poor, or the image doesn’t grab their attention then your conversions are going to suffer. You may see a slight reduction in the creative side of the industry but it’s not going to disappear completely.”
Clearly, big data is only going to become more and more important as we become more reliant on technology. Products like smart mirrors, self driving cars, and smart speakers (i.e. Amazon Alexa) enhance the effectiveness of big data as it gives advertisers more of an insight into our daily routines, habits, and preferences.
According to Calvin with this potentially limitless access to our personal lives comes an increased worry about our privacy and levels of security.
“Data is almost certainly going to drive decision making in the future. However as the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal has shown us, there needs to be regulation around the use of data and protecting individuals privacy. This type of much needed regulation is currently being brought in across Europe and China. Legislation like this should aim to enshrine privacy and enforce consent from individuals before the use of their data.”
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