Globally, businesses created 1.8 zettabytes of data in 2011, according to research firm IDC. Data gives marketers the ability to better understand the relationship between brands and human behavior, but many just can't fathom the enormity of the bits and bytes generated from emerging online media. Two white papers published this month try to put the concept into context.
The first, published this week by Winterberry Group, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and IBM calls the movement "big data." It examines data-drive mediums, such as audience optimization, channel optimization, advertising yield management and targeted media buying. The ability to generate mounds of data isn't exactly new. Other industries, such as the electronics supply chain or inventory and automation systems powered by radio frequency identification technology do the same. Online marketers have just begun to experience this phenomenon.
One of the biggest hindrances to these new ways of using data for the online advertising industry remains old business processes and ad sales reps not having the technology experience to sell the inventory, according to the white paper.
Companies continue to suffer from an antiquated culture focusing on "traditional media management" even though they may use new digital channels, but marketers must learn how to combine, sift and sort through the garbage, according to the white paper. Traditional methods force data into silos separate from other marketing channels and resources, when the data should be combined allowing marketers to get a complete view of the consumer.
BCG Perspectives, published by the Boston Consulting Group this month, also highlights the importance of online data. The white paper titled The Evolution of Online-User Data looks at shifting campaign strategies, rich media use, change in use of ad exchanges and demand side platforms, and mounting financial pressure on publishers.
BCG also points to concerns about accuracy in identifying different genders from data collected by the same cookie only different providers, a common occurrence when computers are shared, according to the white paper. In fact, the white paper makes note of a list of concerns marketers should become aware of before launching campaigns, along with data classifications and descriptions of what the paper calls the next generation of data collection strategies that should emerge during the next three years.