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Big Data and Digital Marketing: a Beautiful Relationship


Big Data is where it’s at for Digital Marketing in 2017. Our previous blog post on the digital marketing trends of 2017 discussed the increase in data visualisation companies, so this time we’re going to explore how big data can be a big benefit to marketers.


What is Big Data?

Big Data is the term used for large amounts (and we mean seriously large amounts) of data that companies, large and small, receive on a daily basis. This data can be anything from user information (IP addresses, age ranges, browsing habits), to financial information (statistics, real-time stock exchange data) and machine data (refrigeration unit data, stock data).

The beauty of big data is that is it provides companies with specific, detailed information about their services and customers. This allows them to react quickly to customer preferences, detect machine errors, find trends for upcoming promotions and even reduce their company costs.


How is Big Data applicable to Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing and big data go together like bread and butter; one is not essential for the other, but together they’re much more pleasant, and easier to swallow!

Marketers use big data in various ways to improve and expand on their existing user data, from tracking user habits on e-Commerce sites to inform future marketing and promotional campaigns, to getting a picture of a demographics’ opinions and feelings on a particular subject (which is great for content strategy planning!).

According to Data Mentors, the three most common uses of big data in digital marketing are:
– To better understand customer insights
– To improve the supply chain
– To aid campaigns and promotions
It’s not difficult to see how these huge data loads could help you in your everyday work, but we fully understand that it can be daunting to face a data stream of this size. Thankfully, there are more than a few companies out there who have made it their business to make big data accessible and easy to understand for all.


Who’s making Big Data easy to understand?

We already mentioned data visualisation company Tableau in our previous post, but there are a couple of other companies who are making a name for themselves in the big data industry:

New Relic
The New Relic team provides a variety of services relating to big data, but the one most useful for digital marketing would be their Insights service. Their software provides you with an extensive real-time data platform which shows you where things are going wrong, such as bugs in your site and your user’s habits around promotions. This allows you to prioritise your issues as they occur, leaving ‘firefighting’ in the past.



Splunk values their machine data, and their platform Splunk Enterprise demonstrates their expertise in analysing these mountains of real time data. Their software allows you to not only explore the data you’re capturing, but to visualise it, analyse it and search it all within the same platform (so no more annoying tool hopping!).

How Big Data can Improve your Employability

Digital marketing can change at the drop of a hat, with new processes, theories and trends changing the ways we work. Whereas before now, marketers had to simply know how to convey a concept, be it a visual or a catchy tagline, and get it talked about. There was no real need to be a ‘numbers person’, but unfortunately for some at least, this is all changing thanks to big data.

Of course there are companies, like the ones mentioned above, that will take the horror out of staring at a screen of rolling numbers all day – but in order to give yourself an edge above the rest of your competition (and there’s a lot of it!) you should be able to at least understand the data coming at you. The more self-sufficient you are in creating these catchy concepts, and understanding the data that comes from these campaigns, the more attractive to employers you will be.

As a starting point Google Analytics provide a free online training course, which will be crucial to you for getting a basic knowledge of the data metrics involved in everyday marketing, and will give you a well-structured introduction to data analysis for digital marketing.


Big data, in all its horrifying glory, is one of the most useful tools in a digital marketer’s arsenal. It can provide you with user insights to better your site structure and improve UX, give you real-time information about your company’s refrigeration systems across the country, and give you the opportunity to dig deep and find something you can re-work into a stunning piece of evergreen content. The trick is not to be intimidated by big data, but to let it become your closest ally in taking the digital marketing world by storm!


Spotlight Recruitment’s digital marketing clients are always on the lookout for the brightest marketing minds on offer, so send us your CV, show them your number skills and tackle that data like you mean business. Because they do!


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