Big Data and Marketing

Posted by Paladin on October 25, 2018

Last December, Netflix made the news for doing something that’s increasingly common among businesses: using customer data for marketing. The streaming video company used its Twitter account to post a message about 53 individual users who, according to Netflix’s data, watch the same romantic comedy every day.

According to eMarketer, big data has become a top priority for brands. Citing a survey of advertising and marketing professionals, eMarketer reports that 59 percent of agencies and 55 percent of brands say big data will be an important focus this year.

Extracting valuable insights from customer data allows marketers to create more relevant and engaging messaging. Companies like Netflix and Amazon use customer data to deliver personalized content and product recommendations on their apps and sites. So brands of all kinds and sizes are now able to harness the power of previously untapped data sets.

The Value of Relevance in Advertising

Netflix’s knowledge of its users goes so deep that it recently determined one of the horror movies available on its platform is so scary viewers are turning it off without finishing it. This enables Netflix to have more authentic conversations with its customers.

Netflix’s tweet is just one example of how big data can improve marketing. Marketers who advertise on Facebook can use its Audience Insights tool to filter user data and home in on their target customers using criteria like age, gender, location, purchasing behavior, interests, and more. It’s a similar story with Instagram, which vowed to become “a big data company” back in 2012. Today, Instagram advertisers can deliver ads to the most receptive users by targeting location, behaviors, interests, life events, and those who have already visited their website.

The more you know about your audience, the better equipped you are to craft an ad message that’s specific to your customer. On social media, that often translates into a more authentic interaction between consumer and brand.

Programmatic Ads and Personalization

Programmatic advertising is another way marketers can maximize big data. This market for buying digital media based on automated technology that uses customer data to determine where and when to place ads is expected to top $39 billion in the US this year. EMarketer’s 2017 Programmatic Advertising Estimates reveal that in 2016 more than half of all US digital video ad dollars were spent by way of programmatic technology, and almost three-quarters of all video ad dollars will be traded through automation in 2018.

A major advantage of programmatic marketing — and leveraging big data in general — is the sense of personalization. Research shows that 71 percent of consumers prefer to get ads tailored to their interests or shopping habits, and 80 percent are “more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience.” The days of advertising to the masses are quickly coming to an end. Instead, marketers are realizing that using insights from big data to customize ads is a far more effective approach.

It’s imperative that brands remember some customers perceive big data, and what it reveals about, as distributing. There’s a fine line, of course, between delivering ads consumers find useful based on data that suggests their intent, and using personal data without a customer’s permission.

Big data is changing marketing in so many ways. But its potential impact on customer engagement stands to transform the way brands interact with their customers from now on. Be smart about how you use it. Big data can be one of the most critical devices in your brand marketing toolbox.


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