What is Big Data?
You have probably heard about “big data,” but may be uncertain about what the term really means. So to begin, what is big data?
Big data refers to large, diverse datasets that may be structured or unstructured and that can be analyzed to reveal patterns and insights concerning complex topics, such as user behavior.
For small business owners, big data can refer to data from your website, social media profiles, digital marketing ad campaigns, client relationship manager, and more.
What Can You Do With Big Data?
So what can big data do for you as a business owner? There are a myriad of potential applications for big data that will enhance your ability to understand and connect with your customers. Big data can even help you predict how your customers will act based on previous behavior, interests, demographics, and more. Beyond that, insights from big data can improve ROI and reduce overhead by contributing to process automation, real-time campaign adjustment, goal tracking, and problem solving. In fact, there really isn’t a limit when it comes to how you can use big data to your benefit. Some applications include:
How To Harness Big Data
All of the applications mentioned above sound incredibly useful, and they are! However, in order to secure any of the benefits of big data for your business, you will have to first learn how to access and analyze your data. The great news is that there are free tools available that can help you do so.
Expert TipWhen it comes to big data, the options are endless, so you should take some time to think strategically about what your goals are and where the greatest inefficiencies are within your business to determine where you should begin to focus your efforts. Concentrate first on the initiatives that will have the greatest impact for your business.
As an example of one of the free tools you can use to harness big data, let’s take a look at Google Analytics, a tool for web analytics that tracks traffic to your website.
A snapshot of some of the ways you can put big data to work with Google Analytics:
- Watch real time traffic to see who is on your website right now, which pages they are viewing, what country they are in, and what traffic source led them to view your site.
- Examine audience characteristics, like which countries your users live in, what languages they speak, whether they are accessing your site from desktop or mobile, what operating system and browser they use, what their interests are, what demographic groups they belong to, and whether they are first-time or returning users.
- Determine which channels drive traffic to your site. For example, what proportions of your users visit your site directly, from organic search, from paid search, from display, and from referrals?
- Understand users’ behavior on site, including which pages they view, how long they spend on a page, bounce rates, and on which pages they are most likely to drop out of the acquisition funnel.
- Set goal actions or events, such as making a purchase, subscribing, downloading a particular file, or viewing a certain number of pages.
- Track total sales, performance of particular products, or other conversion metrics.
- Conduct A/B and multivariate testing to optimize performance of your ads and pages.
Data is everywhere – don’t miss out on the opportunity to put the insights it can give you to use for your business.
Courtney Turrin is VP of Data Science at Xponent21. Our company engineers digital experiences that delight visitors, attract new leads, increase conversions, and reduce operational overhead. If you want to learn more about how to use big data to maximize the conversions generated by your website and digital marketing, get in touch with us.