Media Researchers Tackle The B Word, Publish Primer For Thinking About 'Big' Data

The Council for Research Excellence this morning is releasing a comprehensive primer for the advertising and media research community to begin organizing how it approaches so-called “Big Data” -- the ever-expanding torrent of data being generated from real-time experiences and consumer interactions. The primer, which will be discussed during a summit of advertising and media research leaders in New York this morning, is the first effort to develop an industry consensus on best practices for applying Big Data in conventional approaches to media research.

"Our industry has been talking about Big Data for some time, but understanding it is a far different thing,” states Stacey Lynn Schulman, executive vice president, analytics and research, Katz Media Group, and chair of the CRE project. The CRE is an independent research body funded by Nielsen to conduct research on research methods and applications. While it’s likely the industry is ready to establish guidelines and standards for applying Big Data, a number of media researchers have already embraced it, including Nielsen rival Rentrak.



Schulman said the primer was created in order for the media research industry to have a “level playing field, define the terms and have a definitive resource for media and marketing professionals. It is not written for budding data scientists, but for practitioners who are competent in current standard research practices and who want to upgrade their knowledge and skills."

The CRE said it would follow the release of the primer by launching a wiki later this fall, which would be updated in “real-time” by industry executives.

Among the primer’s key takeaways are:

* Access to actual transactional data was more closely associated with the definition of Big Data than unstructured data like social media, photos and bulletin boards.

* Media industry players are in various stages of incorporating Big Data strategies into their organizations, but were remarkably similar in stating that they don’t identify their efforts as such. Instead, the initiatives tend to fall under corporate strategic umbrellas to provide intelligence and answer important business questions through data.

* Big Data implementation requires three core elements for success:  top management support to get all functional areas on board and invested; education to secure engagement across the organization; and a purposeful decision to either centralize or decentralize data scientists within the company.

* The hottest applications of Big Data today are targeting and addressability, multi-touchpoint analysis and real-time decision making.

* The most important elements in accelerating Big Data integration are strategy and executive support, acquiring appropriate talent and authenticating persons data.
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