Are we drowning in a sea of Big Data?
As the 80’s hit song by Timbuk 3 goes ‘The future’s so bright we’ve got to wear shades’ and in the advertising, marketing and communications industry one could easily believe that to be true.
With the advent of IP delivered programmatic, dynamic creative, artificial intelligence, voice search, virtual reality, augmented reality etc. which provide the ability to personally target individuals at scale this should herald an epoch-making opportunity for the industry. However, far from it being seen as a time for confidence, it is actually proving to be a period of consternation for marketers and agencies alike.
At the heart of this marketing revolution is the sheer volume and quality of data that we now have at our disposal — as it has often been said, data is the new oil. But is it possible to have too much of a good thing? The bewildering amounts of data we now have access to represents a problem in itself because most organisations are swamped with information and are actually stymied because of it.
According to a recent Forrester study we have actually reached and breached the point of ‘peak data’ so that most of the information collected by a company cannot actually be processed, analysed and acted upon. The report estimates that anything between 60% to 73% of all the data that is currently collected is never used for any strategic purpose. The focus for many companies is how they collect and store the data without giving enough thought to how they actually use the data. Put it another away, the priority is more about 'big data' when the focus should be about 'smart data'. And the amount of data that is available is growing at exponential rate which merely exacerbates the problem as marketers can't get ahead of the game because the data horizon keeps shifting.
And it’s not like the situation is going to get any less complicated in the near future, particularly with the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) legislation which comes into effect on May 25, 2018, affecting data privacy laws across 28 countries. Unsurprisingly, many organisations are sweating about the changes because of concerns over precisely what cust