Big data.

It’s a phrase you’ve heard a lot the last few years. It’s a $125 billion industry. But what is it, really?

Big data is simply the practice of collecting large data sets that can be analyzed to show patterns, trends, and associations, especially for consumer behavior. The latest stats indicate that 90% of the world’s data has been generated in just the past few years.

Why it’s a $125 billion industry is because it’s a marketing goldmine, and many companies are selling access to their own customer data to generate revenue in addition to their regular revenue streams. In a survey of over 300 marketing leaders in large organizations, 43% say “sale of data” is a revenue generator.

According to Elayne Lai, MINDSCAPE’s resident digital analyst, companies of all sizes get two main benefits from analyzing data. First, analyzing data helps marketers understand and anticipate audience behavior. And second, data helps marketers measure results.

1 | Understand & Anticipate Consumer Behavior

“Consumers are so trackable these days because of their attachment to their devices,” Elayne says. “From fitness apps to online purchases to social media check-ins; we are not uncomfortable sharing our information at all.

“This makes it very easy for companies to know everything, from our favorite jogging route to what we buy at the grocery store. That data, collected across an entire customer base, provides the structure of information that can be analyzed and used to create effective and valuable marketing and user experiences and eliminate wasted budget.”

So gathering data can help predict what your customers will do and help you market to them better.

2 | Measure Results

When surveyed, 96% of Mindscape’s most successful clients attribute collecting and measuring data as a key element to their success online.

Many other client’s agree that using data of any kind to measure results to improve performance is a top priority, but the majority aren’t sure where to begin.

But for those who take the time, using even the simplest data from a website’s analytics tool (like Google Analytics) offers a treasure trove of information for a marketer willing to learn what data is important to capture.

While a billboard on a highway is impossible to truly measure for effectiveness, online ads provide the number of impressions (times it appeared on a page), the number of times it was clicked, and what those users did or didn’t do your site.

Therefore, measuring what is working, what’s not working, and then doing more of what IS working is the end goal. Measuring data can help marketers hone in on spending budget much more effectively and improve results in the process.