Online performance naturally starts us thinking about data. A lot of talks over the two days at A4U London were orientated around data, the term ‘big data’ features prominently in an online marketers repertoire of late, but not many have taken the time to ask what it all really means? Data and digital marketing go together like bread and butter or peas in a pod, it makes perfect sense for their harmonious relationship after all, data is one of the things that separates traditional and digital marketing. In many respects affiliate or performance marketing simply wouldn’t exist if we weren’t able to collect data to assess affiliation or performance of online campaigns.
The panel for this discussion was occupied with a number of data junkies and self-confessed geeks that were primed to help us try and understand it all, including:
Big data seems to be going mainstream but when asked, the panel treated it very much as an overused buzz word, stating “it’s more of a buzz word than a fact, data is data. Big data is a creation of a term for something that we’re already familiar with”. However they went on to conclude that big data should be described as “a large amount of data that can be pulled together to create a meaningful response or specific actions”. According to the panel, data only officially becomes ‘big’ when it is 1 petabyte or greater and that’s a serious amount of data! In order to put this in perspective, BBCiPlayer reportedly requires 7 petabytes of bandwidth per month; so most claims of ‘big data’ are in fact, false.
Data can be understood by the 3 V’s
Most people often ask ‘where do we start?’ when it comes to data, so the panel chose to explore some top tips on this. Primarily they agreed on starting small, trying to understand absolutely everything from the word go will make you feel like the world is closing in around you.
Reiss, who were represented on the panel, explained that they started by first looking at all of their digital channels: By identifying the channels with the lowest ROI first, they were able to prioritise and work from there. What was important, and effective, with this approach was that they had identified that they wished to use data to simply to solve problems rather than trying to figure out some fancy way of using it, which would provide no actionable outcome. For your 3 steps to data success, consider this approach:
Nowadays the level of detail of data that is collected is vast and overwhelming, while most people consider looking at data historically, some ask whether there is a place for real-time reporting in this? Generally the panel came to the conclusion that real-time was a ‘nice to have’, but you cannot forget about historical data altogether…
Utilising your data
“Ensure there is transparency in the data and there is a strong ROI, otherwise we may as well all pack up and go home…” (Dominic Edmunds, SaleCycle).
Understand that there are risks with using data (such as the Sony PlayStation 3 information leak example). The risks are minimal providing you do your homework. Consider devising a data strategy to allow you to: