In our technologically advanced world, we are overrun by data. Data exists everywhere, but there are different types of data. One type that you may have heard of is big data. However, what exactly is this – and why should you care about it?
Today, we’re going to explore this topic in a bit more detail. You’ll learn all the key things you need to know about big data and how it can affect you!
What Is Big Data?
Data refers to pretty much anything that we create or use in the digital world. It can mean files, figures, stats, etc. When someone visits a website, there’s information on how many visitors there are – this is data.
So, what separates big data apart from other types of data? Funnily enough, it has nothing to do with the specific information itself. Instead, the definition of big data is that it contains greater variety, arrives in increasing volumes, and with more velocity than other forms of data.
In a simpler sense, big data refers to data that is a lot larger and more complicated than your usual data sets. It’s coming at you in force, giving you so much to unpack and make use of.
Why Do You Need To Care About Big Data?
You need to understand and care about big data if you regularly have access to large volumes of information. Specifically, it’s something that small business owners should care about. You will be bombarded with data from so many different sources every single day. This includes the following:
- Web traffic data
- Marketing data
- Advertising data
- Sales data
- Customer data
The list goes on and on, and you need to find ways of making sense of everything. When a company knows how to use and analyze big data, it can spot patterns or trends. This makes it easier for you to make better business decisions in the future. You’re able to take all of this information and turn it into something that’s easier for you to understand. You see a clearer picture of what’s going on in your business.
For instance, you can analyze big data to see customer patterns. This means that you see how people are finding your business and what leads to them making purchases. The analysis may identify a trend whereby most customers find you through, let’s say, social media. In turn, you know to devote more resources to your social media marketing campaign, driving more customers to your business.
Big data can also be used to provide better customer service. Again, you analyze all the data sets coming in from multiple sources. This could mean you see how people respond to different types of customer service from your business. It’s easy to identify what you’re doing right and wrong. From here, you can make changes to fix this, and then re-analyze the data. If you see a positive change, it shows you have improved this service.
Ultimately, you need to care about big data if you have a business that wants to make money. Analyzing big data trends can help you improve every aspect of your company. As a result, this is going to lead to better profits and increased revenue.
How Do You Analyze Big Data?
This is pretty much where big data separates itself from normal data sets. With smaller forms of data, it is easy to analyze things using normal data analytics software. Most websites will come with software that’s capable of handling things like web traffic information, etc.
However, the problem with big data is that it’s so voluminous and comes at such variety and velocity that normal programs struggle to manage it. Instead, you typically need to download a big data analytics program to help you make sense of everything. One of the most widely used is BigQuery, which is a fully-managed data warehouse from Google. It lets you analyze petabytes of data all in one go. For those that don’t know, a petabyte is what comes after a terabyte. Essentially, it equates to 1000 terabytes of data – which is an absurd amount.
Once you’ve got the platform, you need to import data into it. You can do this in a variety of ways, and it’s actually very easy if you have data stored in the cloud. Providers like Dropbox make it very easy to move data across with Dropbox BigQuery integration. All of the information and data files can be put in the big data platform, ready to analyze.
Let the software do its thing, and you will be presented with all the information you could possibly need. Of course, you need to know how to actually use things like BigQuery to analyze the data and get the information you require. There are plenty of articles out there that explain how to do this, as there is simply not enough time to go through the steps.
What Is Big Data A/B Testing?
Another thing to be aware of is A/B testing. We’ve actually touched upon this earlier when speaking about the benefits of big data.
Basically, A/B testing is when you alter one element of a process and then run a test. In big data, this happens when you discover something through your analysis. You then make one change, run the analysis again, and see what the data tells you.
If it tells you that nothing has changed – or it’s gotten worse – you can revert the change and try something else. The whole purpose is to let you test and tweak processes until you get the desired outcome. It’s a very important process in big data analytics!
In conclusion, big data simply refers to data sets that are much larger than normal. They come at you in massive waves that are difficult for normal data storage and analytics software to handle. As a result, you need specialized applications to store and sort this data. It’s very important to understand and care about big data if you have a business. This is because the right analysis can help you improve so many elements of your company, leading to greater profits in the future.