Imagine the following scenario. An Internet user lands on a page on a website, which begins to load. At that very same moment the website sends out a “bid request” to thousands of advertisers saying: “There’s a user here who is a 36-years-old Caucasian female, lives in Pennsylvania, has two dogs, and who has recently searched for skinny jeans and fitness books. How much are you willing to bid to display your ad on this page?” In about 100 milliseconds an auction is run and the winner is allowed to place its ad on the page.
What’s staggering is that the whole process takes place in 300-500 milliseconds, causing no visible delay to the user, and that this same process is repeated every time a web page loads for every ad slot on the page.
If this sounds like a marketer’s dream come true, it’s because it is. Good news is, it’s not a dream anymore. It’s reality and, as technology improves, it’s changing interactive advertising as we know it.
The process I described above is called “Real Time Bidding”, and what creates the opportunity to serve ads that are so relevant to end users is known as “Big Data”. According to AdAge, “Big Data”, when applied to digital marketing, can include online searches, website log files, consumer-uploaded images, retail transactions, loyalty card information, email communications, mobile location information, and social media commentary, just to name a few. These are all different “channels” that consumers use in their quest to find solutions to their problems, make purchases, and more in general to improve their life.
Needless to say, the most popular example of Real Time Bidding meshed with Big Data is the Google Display Network, which is becoming increasingly more powerful in its targeting capabilities.
So, how is all of this information going to affect you and your business, and change the landscape of digital advertising as we know it?
Think about it. – The nature of digital advertising has long been “one-to-one”, that is, who clicked on an ad and who converted. The user goes online, runs a search, clicks an ad, and makes a purchase.
Not so anymore. – Often consumers are more complex than ever and use multiple channels either before and after running a keyword search, and the ads served to them while they are on those other channels are indeed very relevant to their needs.
I hate to say this, but keyword search alone may not be enough anymore to achieve the largest visibility and the best possible ROI from your marketing efforts.
As a marketer, you must take action now to leverage the power of Big Data in order to offer your prospects and customers a more “customized-to-their-needs” experience which will ultimately increase your ROI and profits.
So, when planning your next online marketing effort, ask yourself this question: “How can I have display, remarketing, video, and social media advertising work in synergy with my keyword search campaign?” – Being able to answer that question effectively could make the difference between a successful and a not-so successful digital campaign.
These are just a couple of the questions that have been plaguing industries and enterprises worldwide since the “Big Data” phenomenon surfaced. By now, most of us have heard this buzzword/phrase that has been penetrating the minds of IT and analytics professionals alike. However, many organizations are still unsure how to effectively analyze and gain new insights from it. Luckily, there are expert specialists in this field who are eager to join and guide them through their journey.
What is “Big Data?”
I’ll spare you the formal definition and put it simply: “Big Data” is everything, and it’s everywhere. “Big Data” is defined by (at least) three ‘Vs’: Volume, Velocity and Variety. And you might even hear about a fourth ‘V’ depending on which “Big Data” solution provider you’re talking to.
- zettabytes = as much information as there are grains of sands on all the world’s beaches
- Veracity (IBM) — Accurate, truthful and trustworthy data
- Variability (SAS) — Data flows that may be unpredictable, inconsistent and anomalous
Now that we have a better grasp of what exactly “Big Data” is, I’d like to explore some of the complexities and challenges companies face because of it, as well, as the opportunities it presents.
Challenges & Complexities
The size, requirements, boundaries and resources of an organization, as well as the industry it’s in, can dictate the adoption of “Big Data” in addition to which obstacles will prevent them from extracting high-value impact and gaining new business insights that were previously unattainable.
However, there are a few common challenges despite the nature of the business:
- An abundance and variety of data sources and the information collected
- Inherent complexity in processing, management and aggregation
I intentionally left out a fundamental part of the “Big Data” definition when I talked about the three or four ‘Vs’ of this concept, but this is a perfect place to sneak it in.
IDC’s definition of “Big Data” embraces the hardware, services and software that integrate, organize, manage, analyze and present the data that is characterized by the ‘Vs’ discussed at the beginning of this post.
This is why new technologies and architectures, advanced tools and platforms are needed and are continuing to be developed. These appliances will allow enterprises to leverage “Big Data” and (you guessed it) analytics.
- Technical: Data scientists with an unparalleled level of skill to understand the interactions of a new class of technologies
- Analytics: Data mining; statistics; business analytics; problem solving; creativity
Although there are some hindrances to enterprises fully embracing this new era of “Big Data” and analytics, there are evolving approaches to conquer them. For example, the Google Analytics Premium and BigQuery integration that will be taking place toward the end of this year was just announced at the Google I/O a couple weeks ago. If you’re a GA Premium user, I’ll venture to guess that this made you smile — even if you’re not 100% sure what it’s going to mean for your business.
Check back next week when I’ll discuss what value, advantages, opportunities and possible use cases can arise from utilizing more advanced technologies, solutions, and analytics strategies such as the “Big Data” movement. Stay tuned!
Google Analytics Premium customers smiled a little brighter yesterday after one specific announcement was made at the Google I/O. An additional feature, Google BigQuery, is planned to become available to Google Analytics Premium users later this year.
Talk about a game changer. This goes far beyond just Web Analytics and opens the doors to a tremendous scope of opportunities. But, the basics are just amazing enough to make me anxiously call out a couple of them.
Access and query your Google Analytics data alongside and in combination with any of the other data sets your company derives for its business intelligence needs; all in a matter of seconds. I’m talking about trillions of rows of data right at your fingertips. Really, you can export the data, print it out and touch it if you’d like.
As if Web Analytics data isn’t multifaceted enough, there is an abundance of other data sets companies collect that are just as intricate and essential to running their businesses. With more and more organizations aware of the “big data” phenomenon, key stakeholders are starting to ask more complex questions and are leaning on their analysts for the insights to make better-informed business decisions. And they should.
This exercise can be daunting; exhausting; frustrating and sometimes near impossible. And, chances are most time is spent trying to query, join, and report on the correct data which means less time for true analysis to provide actionable recommendations to decision-makers.
The Google Analytics Premium and BigQuery integration is planned to ease these pains. It will provide granular data access for you to:
With so many possibilities, you can get lost in exploring them all. But, before you meander off on your own, make sure you get back to the boss on that request from…