KEY POINTS

  • Seventy-one percent of chief marketing officers around the globe say their organization is unprepared to deal with the explosion of big data over the next few years, according to an IBM survey. They cited it as their top challenge, ahead of device fragmentation and shifting demographics.
  • The data tidal wave shows no signs of abating. By 2015, research firm IDC predicts there will be more than 5,300 exabytes of unstructured digital consumer data stored in databases, and we expect a large share of that to be generated by social networks. For context, one exabyte equals 1 million terabytes, and Facebook's databases ingest approximately 500 terabytes of data each day. Facebook ingests approximately 500 times more data each day than the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Twitter is storing at least 12 times more data each day than the NYSE. 
  • "Unstructured" big data means data that is spontaneously generated and not easily captured and classified ("Structured" data is more akin to data entered into a form, like a user name might be, or generated as part of a pre-classified series, like the time stamp on a tweet.) 
  • Machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) — the study of how computer systems can be programmed to exhibit problem-solving and decision-making capabilities that emulate human intelligence — are helping marketers and advertisers glean insights from this vast ocean of unstructured consumer data collected by the world's largest social networks. 
  • Advances in "deep learning," cutting-edge AI research that attempts to program machines to perform high-level thought and abstractions, are allowing marketers to extract information from the billions of photos, videos, and messages uploaded and shared on social networks each day. Image recognition technology is now advanced enough to identify brand logos in photos.
  • Audience targeting and personalized predictive marketing using social data are expected to be some of the business areas that benefit the most from mining big data — 61% of data professionals say big data will overhaul marketing for the better, according to Booz & Company.

INTRODUCTION

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