Spend time anywhere people talk about business – on blogs, social media, or even by the water cooler – and you’ll hear about big data sooner or later. But is big data really relevant for associations? The answer is a resounding yes. Big data is useful for any organization that wants to better understand its audience and streamline its marketing accordingly. Let’s take a look at big data – what it is, and how it can help your association.
What is Big Data?
Big data means high volumes of information, such as information from your website metrics. Put simply, if you can’t easily enter it in a standard spreadsheet because there’s too much of it, it’s big data. Big data can look chaotic, but with proper handling and analysis it can yield valuable information for your association.
What is Big Data Used For?
Marketing is where big data really shines – from social media updates to blog posts to membership newsletters, big data can be used to give your members more of what they want and maximize your marketing efforts. So how exactly does it do that? Let’s look at an example.
Say your association makes regular Facebook posts. If you examine the data regarding activity on your profile, you will be able to learn:
- Which updates are most popular
- Which updates are most likely to lead to action
- Which time of day is best for updates
- Which topics your followers like best
If you put all that information together, you can see what is working best on Facebook, what is not working so well, and what your members and prospects want more of. That’s big data in action – examining the available information and spotting patterns and trends that give you valuable insight into your audience’s likes and behavior.
How Can My Association Get Started with Big Data?
There are lots of tools out there for managing big data and plenty of training if you need it, but you can get started using what you already have at hand. For example, if you want to know how visitors behave when they arrive on your website, you can use your website metrics to build up a picture and spot where people are most likely to leave, and most likely to stay. Now you can start working out what you need to do more of or less of to keep your visitors interested and stop them clicking to another page.
By focusing on one area, your association can get to grips with big data without getting a big headache in the process, giving you the chance to gain helpful insights about your members.