May 22, 2012

What is Big Data?

2 minute read

Big Data has been a big topic in recent months. It’s been all over the marketing press, Twitter, LinkedIn and there are even a few conferences that cover the subject. But what exactly is Big Data? In our opinion the title doesn’t do the subject justice. Big Data isn’t just big, it’s enormous! The simplest definition is ‘an amount of data which is too large for your current IT set up to store and utilise.’

In marketing terms we’re talking about social media. ‘51,956 talking about this’. Great. But what are they actually saying? If you want to understand them, with the intention of being more relevant, then you’re going to need a Big Data solution.

If we look at Big Data in more detail there are three main factors which define it:


The quantity of data that is produced is huge. Research, from IBM, shows that we create over 2 quintillion bytes of data every day (18 zeros if you must know!). Now that may seem like a ridiculous number but take the adidas Facebook page for example. Over 7 million ‘Likes’ and 136,841 people talking about adidas. That’s just one data set, from one touch point, for a single company.


The rate that this data comes in at is phenomenal. And it’s constant. The analysis of this data has to be fast as opinions change very quickly in the ‘Twittersphere’. #Kony2012 went from representing the Invisible Children charity, to concerns about how raised money was being used by the charity and ended up representing the Kony2012’s film maker Jason Russell’s ‘naked meltdown’, all in the space of a couple of weeks.


From a marketers perspective, Big Data is mainly produced by social media activity which adds to the problem of speed and size because not only are there numerous social networks all with varying formats, there is no set structure of a Tweet, YouTube comment or Facebook post. The unstructured nature of the data makes it extremely hard to analyse on such a vast scale.

Many of the articles we’ve seen in the press claim that more than half of organisations are producing more data than they can actually utilise and since Big Data has been billed as largest natural resource since oil, we thought it would be a good idea to conduct some of our own research.

We have put together a short survey to find out your views on Big Data and what is being done to prepare for it. As a thank you for taking part in the survey we’ll send all respondents a copy of the full report which will contain insight from leading marketing personnel. Obviously we’ll keep everything anonymous!

Posted by Ikano Insight


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What is Big Data?