The "web” seems to know weird things about me. Take my old friend Netflix – just the other day, I was thrilled and shocked to see that Netflix had sifted through the rubble of my son’s nonstop Dora and Diego consumption (you parents understand this) to make a couple of streaming recommendations for moi that, quite simply, made my day.
Don’t get me started on Google, whose creepy and prescient ads – "Never Fly Coach Again” (how do they know?!) -- amaze me every time!
And, just the other day, eBay was trying to sell me seriously rad trail running shoes. Now, I shop with eBay a lot – to the tune of Thomas the Train and Kate Spade – but I’ve never once bought anything sport-related from the site. I am a person, by the way, who seriously appreciates rad trail running shoes – and buy them, I did.
What do all of these companies have in common? Besides the fact that they know more nitty-gritty things about me than my own mother, the commonality is that they all use Big Data analytics. Not big data. Big Data. Note the caps. Heard the buzz word, but – like gluten free and OTT – you still don’t quite know what it means, how it works, and how IT organizations can execute?
Let’s start from a simple definition. Big Data refers to the data exhaust that people like us – your audience, viewers and site visitors – leave behind as they navigate through your online services. Take my Netflix scenario – for every search I execute, click that I make, or trailer that I watch, I am leaving fingerprints. The path I take through Netflix – from the moment I log on, to the moment I watch something (or don’t) leaves a trace. Those traces in aggregate – often rendered as multi-structured bits of data in click-streams, or web blogs, or comments on social media sites or social networks – are Big Data.
How do you make sense of Big Data vs. little data (to steal a phrase from Peter Yared’s recent post on CNET) ? Well, "little data” – the rows and columns we’re all used to today - focuses on the "what.” What viewers watch; what buyers buy; how many, how much. Big Data – coined such not so much because of its size, but because of its complexity and dynamic-nature (um, dynamo?) – helps us explore why.
Is your interest piqued? Want to know why your content distribution and online publishing friends know so much about you? Want to know more things like this about your audience when you’re distributing your content? Check-out this upcoming FREE, Live Webinar featuring eBay – a company among the titans of Big Data Analytics. You can click here to learn more and register.