The term "Big Data" has seen 10 times increase in search queries in just the last 4 years. And today if your want your inbound marketing efforts to be fruitful, it's better you get familiar with it soon.
To be clear, by big data I do not mean the secondary data you collect from all sources. That is churned data and everybody already has access to it and it may not even be relevant for you as every number has a context. I also am not indicating towards the data you collect for all your basic inbound marketing analysis like you website traffic and CTAs. That is something you already ought to be doing yourself or through experts.
I am talking about the exabytes of data that gets generated everyday in different forms, formats and mediums. Now, it is true that most businesses don't have the resources to go through this ocean of data nor it gives out any profitable results. Application of Big Data in marketing for me is all about finding the data that is relevant, which I can actuate and find small actionable insights that I can directly put to use.
NEED FOR BIG DATA IN INBOUND MARKETING
1. Gives you context behind the content
By understanding the patterns of searches, posts, request data based insights that your build for your own, you know exactly what is the problem that your customers have. Who are the people who would benefit from you. Each message you give, be it a blog or a post on social media, will have a direct purpose defined by where you want to take your business.
2. You give insights to your readers which they would benefit from
It may not be direct numbers or laboratory research you need to give them but what you found from your data. Your readers will benefit from your findings that they might apply themselves. This establishes you as an expert in the field and that you are in control of what is going on in your field today. This creates a high positive association to you because every time they think of the insight, they think of you.
3. Posting researches is a great way to get others to quote you
This is the secondary research that I mentioned earlier. Instead of you using it, people will use it quoting you as a source if they trust you. This earns you genuine and effective inbound links that both increase your traffic and helps you rank higher in search results, not to mention the awareness you generate.
1. Proprietary sources
This is the most genuine form of data that you might serve. Analysis of internal data such as transaction logs, internal researches is the most valued content there is because it is unique. And as I said you don't have to give numbers or details of your business, just letting people know what do you feel is right based on the data you have. And if you do post numbers, others will have to quote you cause they don't own it... you do.
2. Internal sources
Okay, this is not exactly big data if you're not a large company or have a viral campaign going on. But analyzing your traffic and your presence on the web is a great source of the context that you need. Tools to analyze own traffic and your social media pages. You can do this internally or take help of a service that provides you regular analysis in metrics you understand.
3. Social media data other than your own pages
There are millions of sources of data on social media. Likes, +1s, tweets, comments, videos and much more. And some of the platforms may apply more to your business than others and you have to know where to look.
Extracting and analyzing this data might require some investment based on the type of results you are looking for based on the type of platforms so you have to look at what you are getting out of it. There are many means to extract useful data from social media platforms and many means to use them like Buffer, Meltwater, Hootsuite, Hubspot's Marketing grader. Here's one social media analysis done right - Sentiment analysis of Tripadvisor comments.
4. Secondary sources
There are sources that provide you analyzed authentic data that you can extract that apply to your industry and product. Granted that this is not exclusive data but this is also not data that everyone uses equally.
Google trends It does not give you volume but you can find patterns in traffic movement over time on many topics that are related to your product.
Ahrefs It is a paid service helps you find what content your competitors are making the the most out of finding out the most viewed and share content on that is working in your industry which you can use to to create better data or position yourself better.
Buzzsumo You can find trending content in your industries using the trending tab. Find opportunities and key influencers by twitter following, retweets and reply ratios.
LET DATA BE YOUR SIDEKICK
Your offerings and your strategies are a result for your vision and your findings. It is true that data should not dictate what you give to your strategies. A support of authentic data that you discover is a great way to curate your inbound marketing strategy.