I was trying to get inspiration for my week 5 posting and I stared at my iPhone for a long while, wondering what kind of data is actually being transmitted day-to-day in this small 6-inch hardware.
Instagram: Pictures I have posted, pictures I have liked, individuals I have followed/followed me, hashtags/accounts I have searched for, posts my friends liked, posts my friends liked and I liked etc etc etc
In their efforts to become more customer-centric, companies increasingly are relying on the big data they collect from social media analytics tools to help them understand customer behavior. This allows them to push certain content at a certain time; for instance, the location information available in Instagram allows businesses to know where its majority of customers are based and thus able to personalize the news feed to each user with Instagram’s new algorithmic-based timeline. Additionally, the new Instagram experience allows business profiles to include contact buttons and access to maps and directions – data not limiting to consumers’ personal information but also connections from (potential/existing) customers to businesses.
However, What Data Can’t Tell is that 90% of the social media content stems from 30% of the users. This means if businesses are using the data they derive from social media analytics, they are facing a huge risk of misreading their customers.
There is a tendency to confuse correlation with causation – considering a major disadvantage of big data is that it relies on past behaviors to predict future actions. Putting data culture at the centre of decision making then, opens up the flood gates of assumptions – that we can find our answers in data, no matter what the problem is. Does this means we can do without the grey areas like politics and negotiation then?
Going back to consumer marketing, I think preserving subjectivity is crucial, considering not everything is computable; and that consumer tastes and industry trends evolve rapidly.
About The Data Explosion, I will be updating this post together with my findings from the field trip to the exhibition Big Bang Data at Art Science Museum Singapore. Meanwhile, check out the article below.
“This volume, variety and velocity of data is unprecedented, its territory uncharted – and its potential mostly untapped”.