Big Data is Sexy

Is big data still a buzzword or is it for real?

Wikibon expects the Big Data market to top $84 billion in 2026, which represents a 17% compound annual growth rate over the 15 year period beginning in 2011

This means, it’s beyond a point of just being a buzzword and data being a big conundrum but has evolved into something that is helping brands become competitive. It’s real and it’s getting bigger.

Wikibon Big Data 2015

As someone who looks closely at stats and implications, I do believe big data is a goldmine if you really know what to look for and how to look for.

For example, Amazon knows what I shopped yesterday and what I abandoned in the cart last week. Facebook knows the ads that I am most likely to click. The online grocery store knows I don’t buy mushrooms.

Well, they know all about me (almost)!

We live in a hyper connected digital world where lot of information is being exchanged as we hop from one place to other. There are over a billion people online everyday and each of them leave digital footprints across the web. Little do we know how the information that we leave behind is being aggregated, diced, sliced and presented back to us in various forms.

As consumers, we are hardly aware of the implications of big data and how it is impacting our buying behaviour.  The aggregated footprints is the kind of big data which is helping brands to segment us based on various parameters – age, gender, location, likes, dislikes and so on.

Then Big Data isn’t sexy!!

Not for you, but certainly for the brands it certainly is.

Think few years back, shopkeepers where you go often knew your likes, dislikes. They analysed you based on the spending pattern and would often throw a freebie to ensure that your loyalty stays intact.

Extrapolate it to the current scenario, where you shop at multiple places and leave your data. You are opening up the data to be mined by brands and behave like that shopkeeper.

How Big Data is helping brands?

All those data crunching has to help brands in a certain way. Apart from improving operational efficiencies, big data is definitely helping brands to cover a wider spectrum of business.

Customer Acquisition

While I was researching for this article, I left digital footprint about me looking for big data. The next site I opened had ads related to big data, analytics tools, report download, etc. See how certain brands extracted my intent and served me information that I am most likely to click and buy.

Properly analyzing big data and providing meaningful insights can help brands minimize their sales cost and improve their RoI.

Sentiment Analysis

One of the best uses of big data is to understand the ‘sentiment’ of the consumer. What they say about the brand, products etc can be accumulated, analyzed and be actioned upon.

Brands are increasingly relying on unstructured data from social media platforms for sentiment analysis and gauging the consumer interest. It’s a great way for getting quick, insightful feedback from the consumers.

Risk Management

Closely on the lines of sentiment analysis, we have risk management. Brands are listening to the digital chatter constantly. They are looking closely at those negative mentions, reviews. Brands are well aware that the tiniest of the red flag can be a potential disaster and hence they try to douse the fire quickly.

Customer Experience

Consumer is the ultimate rock star and they loved to be treated as one. With information about your interests, spending patterns, interactions brands can now recognize consumers, anticipate their needs and tailor products, services specifically to cater them. Going forward, each product or service could be unique based on the consumers behaviour.

What brands need to do?

Analyzing the high volume, high velocity big data is like finding gems in a mud-pile where the mud is constantly being thrown. Brands have to be careful with what they are looking for and where they are looking for.

In order to be successful, brands need to adhere to a basic model:


As a first step, brands need to define the goals and ensure that they are pulling the right set of information. Not all data is useful, so not knowing what to pull often results in incorrect insights.


Brands need to build capacity to interpret trends. Today various visualization tools are available making it easy to interpret big data and deriving meaningful action points.


It is imperative for brands to improvise with each new set of data. They need to not only understand customer behaviour, they also have to identify pain points and mitigate any risks. Brands have to keep on evaluating insights and provide optimum value back to the consumer while improving their own RoI.

Eg. Back in India, Myntra – an online retailer recently moved their entire store to app-only mode. We interviewed them on #SEOTalk Twitter Chat during the time of announcement and they provided multiple reasons to move to app-only mode. The key reason was ability to collect your data and offer personalization of services.

Your turn

Do you still thing Big Data is still a buzzword?

What are the best applications of big data you’ve come across?

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