Big Data Changes Social Media Marketing

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As social media gets bigger, so does the amount of data that flow from such platforms as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. To help marketers use these data to obtain relevant insights, complex analytics platforms have developed as well. Indeed, big data has changed the way social media marketing works, and the following is a list of some of these changes according to Michele Nemschoff, a digital marketing expert.

1. Big Data demands control of both structured and unstructured data

Experts say that 90 percent of all the data in the world right now was generated during the last two years. In addition, only 20 percent of this data is structured, or arranged in columns and rows which can be analyzed using traditional analytics tools.

As such, eighty percent of this data is “unstructured;”  pictures, videos or posts that come from sources like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. These unstructured data represent people’s interests, opinions and activities, and if marketers can create insights out of these data by having the ability to store, administer and investigate them, then that’s a huge advantage for them.

2. Big Data allows more personalized and targeted messages

Analysis of big social media data allows marketers to see relevant trends which allow them to create more personalized and highly customized content. People respond more to campaigns that are relevant to their needs and what they like, share and talk about.

Nameless transactions become personal relationships that last longer when offers become personalized and targeted, for example, by providing customers with exclusive product recommendations and even addressing them by name.


This article shows how big data has changed social media marketing. (Image: OVO.Creatives (CC) via Flickr)

This article shows how big data has changed social media marketing. (Image: OVO.Creatives (CC) via Flickr)

3. Big data allows marketers to predict future behaviors

Predicting future behaviors were initially done by marketers through assessing past behaviors of consumers, including downloads, clicks and the websites they visited. Unfortunately, these efforts were held back because the amount of data was inadequate.

Right now, marketers can gather data from a huge number of sources, such as purchase and customer relationship management histories, and data from external systems, mainly from social media sites.

Marketers can discover patterns from social data analysis that more accurately predicts purchasing behaviors. In addition, these data insights can help marketers come up with new services and products that cater to what consumers need and anticipate in the future.

4. Big data breaks audience demographics that lack individuality

Previously, marketers have categorized their customers according to demographics like geography, marital status and age. Customers that belonged to the same category were assumed to show similar behaviors.

Of course, that old model is not as accurate as the one provided by big social data analytics right now, which actually allows marketers to concentrate on the one-to-one marketing paradigm.

Furthermore, through big data, people can still be categorized according to similar preferences and behaviors, but with new niche audiences that couldn’t be identified through traditional demographics.

5. Big Data allows marketers to conduct virtual test campaigns

Marketing campaigns can now be tested in a virtual market, using simulated ad messages, thanks to big data. Virtual campaigns are analyzed using real-world data in real time. This is much cheaper and safer than conducting in-market tests. Furthermore, marketing analytics can be used to gauge the success of a campaign once it is launched.

6. Social media data is now democratized.

The democratization of social media data is made possible thanks to low-cost platforms such as Apache Hadoop and cheap cloud data storage. Now, big data is not just for huge companies. It can be enjoyed by businesses of all sizes; a reasonably priced way of successfully analyzing social media data to gain an edge over the competition.

Author: Neal Alfie Lasta

I enjoy learning and writing about social media and the latest in mobile updates. Don't forget to subscribe and receive our latest posts in your inbox.

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1 Comment on "Big Data Changes Social Media Marketing"

1 year 9 months ago

Very insightful article Neal. I completely agree with you, having the data there is not enough. Big data has to be collected, filter and organized in order for it to make sense.

Often, social media is overlooked in developing business strategies. Social intelligence can help companies remain aware of customer reactions and interactions with the products and services as they occur! And since this kind of insight is available via social media, this intelligence is free now!

My team at clearCi recently published a white paper about Speed to Intelligence. It talks about how companies can compete better by sharing information. You can access it here: