The Internet has fundamentally changed the medium of information communication to our audiences. While this statement is so common as a cliché, there are nuances to it that not every professional has learned to appreciate.
In the days of yore (you know, 2004 or so), the feedback loop as it currently exists between content creator and readership, did not exist. It was an era when the Internet adoption was in its nascent stages, but in 2017, the “Age of the Customer” (Source: Forrester Research) is upon us.
Audiences of any interest or geographic segment are part of a chorus of readers, listeners, and followers who provide immediate, visible feedback for a huge array of content produced in many different Internet sites and forums. Huge datasets are created every second and the content creating professionals who fail to realise the extent to which Internet dictates the stories we’re told through the content styles supplied to us are killing their business potential.
It can all be illustrated by one imaginary company.
Company X produces web videos and written content. The content is produced in-house, and they release multiple videos and articles every single day. They create a visual presence through royalty free photos and a team of experienced viral content writers. Is this where the job ends? What about performance metrics?
After a few months of haphazard releases, they start to pay close attention to the feedback they receive from different content pieces, and when it occurs. Facebook Insights is the perfect method to gain content insights. With insights like these, Company X can start to understand how their audience reacts to certain kinds of content.
They can also begin to know at what time certain kinds of content performs best. If they have enough content to release experimentally, the company begins to try all kinds of content and all kinds of release styles. Eventually, they have enough data points to understand what people want to read, even if no single reader could explain it to them in as many words.
Companies that are economically motivated to create content that is popular (and who would be an exception to this?) start to adjust their content to the preferences of their readers. Gradually this feedback loop between audience and the content producer starts to generate a content response and creation graph, that is truly a collaboration between both sources.
Companies and individuals who do this intentionally, rather than through trial and error, will find that their content is more well-received by more people than they previously thought possible. It may require them to change their product in ways that they didn’t previously consider. But, because the product ultimately should be consumed by people for you to stay in business, it’s time to adjust to their whims and preferences.
Big Data gives you the pointers to understand the feedback loop at a deeper level. Customers are the driving force behind any business, and Big Data analysis helps to gather critical insights. Often, organisational roadblocks and technology limitation limit brands to fully explore and collect data points. As a result, their data analysis is often misleading and lacks behavioural insights.
Pointers for Creating Big Data
If you want to create Big Data systems for your company, keep these pointers in mind.
#1 Invest in Big Data Collection, Storage and Organisation
You need to build a massive amount of data to analyse and target potential customers. You need to know about demographics, traffic, audience behaviour, identify data sources, their transactions, manage the collection points, learn about data protection and associated legalities, invest in a data management tool, update data to maintain relevance, and integrate the data with relevant software.
Carrying out all these activities in-house isn’t feasible if yours is a startup or a growing business as the financial commitment is high. Instead, opt for enterprise-level software like Airtable, Zoho Creator, MyTaskHelper, SAP HANA, and Amazon Simple DB.
#2 Be Agile and Monitor Traffic
The connection with web content and audience interaction are fragile and ever-changing. Your Big Data technology should be agile to modify and collect new data points and integrate into the existing database. In the Internet world of content production and marketing, web traffic is truly the gold mine, and as content producers, you have to mine that gold constantly.
The web traffic delivers tonnes of data in motion. You can deploy social listening tools to identify new audience segments and engagement rate. Harvest all the valuable information to build an audience experience. Understand what they want rather than assuming you know it all! Avoid any blind spots that lead to skewed information collection and analysis. In short, you and your team need to remain agile, always.
#3 Operate in Real-Time
The data trends visible today may not be relevant in a month. The Internet is a big confluence, like a huge brain with trillions of neurones connecting and forming new pathways. Big Data works similarly. You need to operate the business in real-time where the deployed data analytic system is capable of crunching numbers as it happens and shares valuable and actionable insights. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
Mine your data in its granular form. Aggregated data often miss out on critical points while the granular information contains valuable information about a consumer’s experience and behavioural patterns. The granular data is what you require to improve the consumer experience.
Big Data is the way to a technologically enhanced business growth. The sooner you latch on to the developments, the better.