Cut Though The Noise: Big Data Applied to Search Marketing

Big Data: it’s more than an overused industry buzz-term. Lessons learned from the major issues faced when dealing with big data are applicable to all of our digital campaign management efforts. 

These lessons should be used as a framework when looking for ways to integrate data and glean insight from our digital campaigns. As search marketing experts, we are constantly trying to find ways to improve performance. Tapping third party data to do so opens up a lot of opportunity, but it also results in added layers of complexity. 

Keep these the following principals in mind to help sift through the nonsense, identify the actionable insights, and drive results for your clients. They’ll help you make the most impact, and hey, maybe you’ll raise your hand the next time someone asks if there’s a data scientist in the room. 

Cut through the noise. By now you’ve heard the phrase “the internet of things” (IoT). As we saw at CES this year, this revolution is being realized in every utility we interact with on a daily basis (the massive amounts of data being generated through wearables, appliances, cars, etc. is tough to quantify). Some experts are starting to realize the ubiquity of this data creates more noise, not signals. 



As digital marketers, and data scientists, it’s our responsibility to determine what data adds value to a campaign, and what simply adds complexity and confusion. The goal is to use big data to get smarter, and if you can’t start out with a clear goal of crafting a meaningful story from the results, don’t touch it. 

Think Big Picture, Then Think Bigger. This is a constant challenge when running your digital campaigns. You will always benefit (and be seen as a more valuable, trusted partner) from thinking more holistically. Carol Chung, SVP of Media Technology at DigitasLBi recommends to “always look at a larger picture of what you want to get out of everything, how you will be able to access data, and what you want to do with the results.” 

Showing your team how you are using your search campaigns to inform or glean insight from other channels goes a long way. The fruits of this labor come when such learnings are used to make larger strategic business decisions. 

 Tap Your Resources. Can you leverage existing first-party data from your analytics platforms to understand behavior differences between different paid, owned, and earned media channels? Do you have access to DSP, DMP, rich media, or other third-party data that can be leveraged in new initiatives or layered on top of existing programs? Is there a technology provider that can unlock additional targeting tactics? There may be opportunities to synchronize other existing efforts outside of your current search efforts to create impactful tests and results. 

With just a few thought-starters, you’ve hopefully begun to think about how you can contain the “big data” issue, and turn it into “smart data” in a search world. Be careful when you choose which data to leverage in your current campaigns, or when creating new ones. And don’t be scared to throw out a lot of it. Your clients will thank you.

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