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As marketers, we hear the words “big data” a lot. In blogs and articles, marketing leaders say things like “big data can help you better target your ideal demographic” and “noticing trends in big data can give you a better understanding of how consumers think.”
At first glance, data just seems like a bunch of numbers that don’t mean anything. With some digging and hard work though, data becomes very valuable because of the tools it provides businesses.
The very first place to look for data is your personal website. Of course, you’re probably already doing that, but how much data are you missing? Google analytics and similar analytics software throw a lot of data at you, and prominently displays the easiest and most popular numbers right off the bat. By simply accessing your software, you’ll see basic data concerning your website’s traffic, like how many visitors and page views you’ve received. It’s a great start, but doesn’t give a lot of insight into your site.
Delving deeper into your website’s analytics is the first step to going down the big data rabbit hole. To get your feet wet, go to the behavior tab and slowly go through each option below. Hitting behavior flow gives you a nice visual representation of how visitors travel through your website and where you are gaining and losing consumers. Finding trends in this data can lead to focusing better on getting visitors to go where you want them to be.
Google also provides other big data sources outside of analytics software. Google Adwords, even if you don’t use it for PPC, can give you valuable keyword big data. It’s not perfect, as proved by Rand Fishkin at Moz, but it can give you a good idea how people search for information on Google. Google compiles all of their search information and let’s you know what type of keywords are very popular and competitive. Plus, it doesn’t cost a cent to set up for your business.
Another simple starter tool is Google Trends. This lets you see what people are searching in comparison to timelines. Being able to do so lets you find out when people are searching something and when a topic is really hot. This is extremely useful for planning out content around times its topic is getting searched. Also, if your business relies on being on top of what’s trending at any given moment, you can find what is getting the most attention online.
These are just a few resources everybody has access to so you can start using big data. As you become more skilled and experienced in it, you can pursue more detailed
The reason marketers look at big data is to find trends in consumer behaviors. When looking at your own site’s data, you can find trends of where visitors are landing, leaving, what pages they visit, and with a little digging, you can even find out their demographics and type of device they used to visit your site. By cross analyzing these types of data, you can begin to find trends. For example, how do people accessing your site on a mobile device roam your website differ from people on traditional computers?
Looking at other sources, you can learn to predict future trends and capitalize on them (also known as predictive analytics.) Google Trends is an easy to use tool to visualize this data and predict when people will talk about certain subjects. For example, if you look up “Big Data,” you’ll see that as a topic, it’s growing pretty steadily. You’ll also notice that for the past few years, interest in this topic is a lot lower in August and December, so it might not be great to cover these topics during these months. You can also predict that around March and September, interest sky rockets, meaning it’s a great time to write about it and capitalize on it. Also, searching for big data is very popular in India and Singapore, so if your target market includes those areas, it might be a good idea to cover this topic.
Even general trends can help you plan and capitalize on when something is going to get global attention again, meaning you’ll be able to get a nice boost in website traffic on these topics.
The whole reason to use big data and find trends is to use them to grow your business. Industry leaders are already using big data to take their marketing and business to the next level. Finding tons of trends in data doesn’t mean a thing unless you apply them to your marketing efforts.
With the help of big data, you’ll be able to better plan and predict what marketing tactics will and won’t work for your business. Looking at trends, you can better plan content for months that it receives more attention, and you can better focus content to your target markets. You can also avoid putting up content during poor performance months so your efforts aren’t wasted.
You can also use big data to improve on our existing content and website. By finding trends in how people travel through your site, you can capitalize on popular pages and make them better to get more customers. You can also analyze what makes those pages great and recreate them with other pages.
As you gather more data, you have the opportunity to find more trends and continue to grow. Just as marketing is always evolving, finding trends in data can always grow and guide you to improve your efforts.
Do you have any questions about big data? How often do you actively look for trends in your available data? Have a success story about using big data that you want to share? Post a comment below and add to the conversation.