Big Data Tips for Business

10 Dec. 2013 - - Total Reads 11,937

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Winning The Big Data Game. How big data tips for Business will help with your online and offline game. 

When Google launched their simple, single field search the game had changed forever. Without doubt, single handedly propelling them to one of the largest companies in the world and arguably shifting the minds of digital natives and entrepreneurs the world over. Essentially speeding up our acceptance of online services and thrusting us into a more connected global marketplace.

Distributed networking was the next game changer. From the tens of thousands of active Social Media platforms, it was Facebook who emerged, like Google, simplifying the landscape into a simple and elegantly designed platform, which now hosts 1.1 billion monthly active users.

Supporting technology especially mobile, tablets and apps are the other huge driver of change, allowing us to connect almost anywhere. We love mobile so much; there are more mobiles in the world than toothbrushes. They are so convenient and engaging, by the end of 2014, 50% of Australians were using their mobile while watching television.

So with all this data centricity, especially in terms of track-able user events, we have been arming clients with feedback and insights previously the domain of only our blue chip clients. More interesting though, it is in the last few months we are seeing this power of big data replicate from the boardroom to the home-office. Smaller businesses are now have easy access to relevant customer trends and on the fly analytics. Data so relevant, we are pushing it back up to multi-national clients and effecting next years marketing objectives.

It is due in part to companies like Google pushing for more traditionally accepted models and trying to clean up the cowboy search space. So you’ll see calls and emails claiming page 1 rankings drop off, as this simply isn’t believable any more. This is because Google are removing keywords from traffic analytics. Which means best practice and is all you can do from a lead perspective to stay competitive in the search game. For example; A skin care brand can no longer see how successful ‘the best anti-aging skin cream’ as a keyword traffic generator is. Or a pizza shop can no longer see how well their ‘thin base pizza delivery eastern suburbs’ keyword is performing. This has huge implications to search.

As many of us are aware from those annoying phone calls, there was a huge industry built up around keyword hunting and the last few years hundreds of thousands so-called SEO experts working this angle and other not so above board practices like back-linking. Google had started negatively ranking link-farms in 2011 and when they turned on their new algorithm to combat this, we saw some major newspapers being out ranked by local blogs, obviously they were contracting out to some less reputable SEO companies.

To stay relevant online we are seeing some of the ex-SEO experts are brushing up on English and moving into the social media package space. Again, buyers beware; my strongest recommendation for any digital service is only engage an agency or individual you have had a trusted direct connection or referral with.

So what is left for Search? Best practice certainly; which is working on organic traffic as a whole instead of breaking it down into individual keywords. &Mine have seen a 15% uplift in traffic across all our search accounts since the hummingbird algorithm changes in October 2013. Why? It’s because we’ve been operating in the ‘honest’ side of search and there is an obvious responsibility from Google to align with real content. The other keys to remaining strong in the organic search game will remain constants, goal conversions and multivariate testing; if you’ve got any reasonable traffic on your site, you should be looking into both.

However these search changes are an offshoot of the greatest competition is being waged in search history. As Facebook and Google move closer towards ‘contextual search’. Let me explain what this is with some examples; Facebook with 1.1 Billion monthly users has started to return results based on what your friends like. Their idea is you won’t search and trawl through websites looking for the right thin base pizza place, if you know a few of your friends already liked one a few minutes from where you are. See where all those likes are heading now? And Google who had a ghost town of a social platform a just over a year ago in Google+, have catapulted to over 500 million users through linking YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive, Analytics and other accounts. Basically they all give you a Google Social profile if you are aware of it or not. They are already providing contextual results in Search (those little star ratings). It isn’t as cool as what Facebook are able to do, yet, but as more people click the + button on sites and in Search, the race for contextual search traffic is on. This is Big Data playing a major role in results coming to you.

Google have another advantage too, which will benefit you – they have merged our user data over web analytics. Since analytics launched, we were all able to see where users were located and how long they spent on site, did they buy, did they engage etc. But now, we have access to more personal demographics like their age brackets and interests, their gender and recent online activities; are they shopping for a home, do they prefer entertainment over technology – all aligned to more traditional marketing sets.

For any company trying to work out their target demographics and how to position their online to offline products and services, big data insights are now at your fingertips. Make sure you follow these 5 Big Data tips for business to stay ahead of the competition:

  1. Upgrade Google analytics to turn on demographic and contextual data noting you need to submit updated T&Cs to Google for approval
  2. Align your social media strategy for contextual search results and demographic insights, if Facebook and Google are already there, others will certainly follow
  3. If you haven’t seen a bump in your organic search results over the last few months, time to change your agency or content strategy to a more honest approach
  4. Build in conversion goals and testing across your digital landscape this will help measure real business objectives and iteratively improve results
  5. If you need help, qualify the individual or agency from a trusted referral partner or you’ll pay the price of moving in the wrong direction.

Most importantly, don’t over analyse, develop meaningful insights which actually matter to your bottom line, I see a lot of managers get distracted by irrelevant numbers, for example the number of Facebook likes they have.

Big data is converging on us from other places too; User sediment and social optimization tools becoming more affordable. I was recently dazzled by CBA’s free and market leading ‘merchant data’ that combines user records from credit and debit card transactions, allowing retailers and etailers to see info like the number of return customers they have, what they spend and where they live. With mobile app records sure to make a mainstream appearance soon too, the compelling case for integrating Big Data performance indicators to your business to me is a no brainer. Ensure you are onboard with the right tools and talent to understand and leverage this new world of instrumental insights.

Michael Simonetti
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