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Online Marketing and Big Data

Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, is quoted as saying, “the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians … The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades.”

Dr. Varian’s statement has direct implications for online marketers. Data mining in online marketing is practically a given in 2014. However, the act of gathering data is a pointless exercise without the ability to then glean insights from that data and take fitting actions based upon those insights, thus extracting value from it. Actionable insights include who your customers are, what they want to buy, when and where they want to buy it, and why they do or do not come back. 

After sufficient periods of time to produce statistically significant data, we can leverage our data sets to continually optimize our marketing efforts. Consider this quote from Gilt Groupe Co-Founder Alexis Maybank

Now we have almost five years of data on most of our members and customers, so we’re able to do more nuanced marketing and communication. Within a single minute at noon every day, there are more than 3,000 versions of our message that go out to customers, based on what they shop for, what they like, even what sizes they wear. It’s tailored, one-to-one communication with the customer.

Gilt Groupe employs statisticians and data engineers who pull off feats like building algorithms that produce 3,000 different versions of the same email, but we all can’t be statisticians or for that matter employ one on our staff. What we can do is engage the right tools that allow the savvy marketer to make sense of the overabundance of information collected everyday. 

There are countless third party analytical tools available that do the heavy lifting of the data scientist out of the box and present inferences in easy to digest and often visually pleasing formats. For performance-based marketers, CAKE mines data at granular levels in real time and reports on that data in its robust intelligence suite. This allows the marketer to not only manage and track, but also analyze and optimize their campaigns all from one dashboard.