Big data. A catchphrase that's right up there with "lowest hanging fruit" and "80/20 rule" on the list of terms professionals love to break out in business meetings - and the reality is, it should be. Turning massive amounts of data and metadata into actionable and meaningful insights is one of the biggest conundrums of the digital age. Not only is it an issue that C-levels and data scientists should think about, but marketers as well. In this spirit, we've put together a chart that outlines the marketing big data lifecycle, and how social contributes to each area:
Data Cycles, Sources and Sets
Here's a simplified schematic of the main areas of the marketing lifecycle and the corresponding data each step produces:
5 Reasons Why Social Should Be Central In the Big Data Discussion
If social media isn't an essential part of your conversations or integrated into your dashboards, here are 5 great reasons why you should consider integrating social data into your big data strategy:
1 | It's Becoming The Largest Data Set Available
This is partly due to the fact that social captures traditional digital data like cookie-based targeting, conversions and 1st generation activity, but has additional metrics unique to each platform. Page likes, retweets, Youtube views, multi-generational and dark social activity are just some examples.
2 | It's The Fastest Growing
Not only is the data massive, but as new networks launch and features are added, social is also the fastest growing. To give you an idea of just how enormous this growth is, Facebook revealed that it processes 500 times the amount of data per day as the New York Stock Exchange.
3 | It's Where People Are Spending The Most Time
We see this especially when it comes to mobile usage, as 29% of Americans opting to use social apps to pass time, more so than any other single category. In fact, evenamong the 35% of consumers who watch television while on a digital device, 39% do so to keep up with friends on social while enjoying their favorite programs.
4 | There's A Lower Barrier
What could be better than data that's directly from potential customers? The community-based aspect of social gives companies direct access to consumers who have raised their hand, asking to interact with your brand. This makes it easier for marketers to hone in on new users who are more apt to buy.
5 | Better Team Assessments
Let's face it - managing marketing operations typically means that there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen needed to whip up an impactful campaign, whether you're talking about keeping track of multiple internal teams and/or agencies. In addition to your social performance data, the metadata on your social teams provides another important dimension that is fundamental to evaluating and optimizing ROI.
With Big Data Comes Big Responsibility
We've covered how social fits into the lifecycle, and why you may want to check your temperature if it isn't included in your data strategy, but as with all things business there are challenges too. Social data is arguably the most complex, unpredictable and continuously changing. With so many unknowns and moving parts, it also presents the biggest potential for lots of waste in the marketing supply chain as well. Add in the fact that consumers are able to control what they're exposed to, making it harder to reach them, and you have a puzzle that could rival the rubix cube. CMOs will find that these challenges are not only going to become more pressing, but they will likely be held to a higher accountability as well.