Welcome to the data age.
No, not the “Data Age”; a video game development company from the 80’s. But a world that is just now emerging. One that is powered by data driven decisions. Where we are culturally different and expect the choice to go left or right, build this widget or that gidget to be backed by data insights; decisions supported by data. This transition is both positive and negative.
Data increases our trust in decisions when used accurately, decreases it when not used at all and in many cases makes us feel a bit uneasy about how much other people know.
Take this blog post for example -
You likely discovered it via Facebook, another social channel or email. I can track your engagement on my website via an application called Google Analytics to determine where you came from geographically, what device you are on, how long you spent on the site, how many pages you viewed and thousands of other data points. I can then use this information to improve your digital experience.
Which types of data are you now using for product marketing strategy that were previously unavailable before the 'data revolution'?
There are hundreds of applications that allow you to collect some really cool data to help inform your decision making processes. Here is a short list of some of my favorite tools:
There are thousands of other applications for collecting data that if used properly will inform great business decisions. In the Digital Data World (DDW) we call this de-risking business decisions.
How has this data affected the way you relate to your customers and how they relate to their end user?
Our customers have almost reached a point where they expect all decisions to be data backed. Meaning - If it is cool, but not data backed they do not care about your solution or recommendation.
“Show me the data and I will believe you.”
This is both good and bad. We have an opportunity to provide data informed business decisions resulting in better digital experiences. The growing demand for data driven information also creates more stress for digital businesses because we are still learning how to build the right system for the right customer resulting in a scaleable channel of delivering information.
Any negative experiences with 'Big Data' algorithms or data providers?
Mystery Algorithm - A complex mathematical equation that uses automated machine learning to constantly improve. No one person could decipher this formula.
Search and Social Networks have what I like to call mystery algorithms. The algorithm itself is top secret and no one person really knows how the whole thing works. This results in business challenges and a dangerous digital environment.
An algorithm might change today and the impact to your website performance could be catastrophic. Meaning you could go from $100,000 per day in online sales to $0 the next. This happens and it is the nature of working in such a complex digital environment.
Data providers can also pose huge challenges. We often collect data that is not accurate, is littered with spam and experience very technical issues with the applications themselves. This results in human stress, frustrated customers and the inability to provide accurate data backed recommendations.
What do you think about real-time ad campaign feedback? Is it helpful or misleading?
It depends on how large your site is and how much real time data you have to analyze.
For very small micro-sites like the pizza place on the corner real time data is nothing more than something cool to look at. It is really just noise in the Digital Room. Your time would be better spent walking the dog or grabbing a coffee with your friends than looking at your real-time data. As digital marketers we like to see trends, and that requires big data.
For much larger sites like Patagonia real-time data can be very useful. They can gather thousands of data points in a very short period of time, make informed campaign decisions based on real-time analysis and modify the campaign to perform better.
Do you think government should regulate and enforce consumer privacy laws more forcefully in this new age of consumer transparency?
Yes and no.
Consumers are going to get smarter, but so will the systems we use to deliver digital experiences. This is going to require access to large amounts of data that was once personal information.
Take Facebook as one example. They know your purchasing behavior, geographic whereabouts, demographics, friends you like and do not like, what you are talking about and so much more.
It should be known that Facebook likely knows you, better than you know you.
Facebook uses this information to create better experiences on the entire web and not just on their social networks. This results in happier people, less stressful digital experiences and more money.
With good there is also bad.
Terror groups and hackers can use data to make informed decisions with bad intent. Customers might not trust us as much because they know we are tracking their experiences and people might not be as happy.
Where will we go from here?
I firmly believe that digital data is going to make the world a better place. As with all things; it will take time.
I love this visual representation of war data from the last 55 years - http://www.fallen.io/ww2/. You will see that contrary to public opinion global security has been improving for the past several decades.
“Without data you are just another person with an opinion.” - Andreas Schleicher
Scott Rowley is the SEO Delivery Manager at G5, a life optimizer, outdoor enthusiast and Digital Marketing Consultant.
Welcome to Scott's Adventure Blog!