Big Data for Small Businesses

Big data, the tech buzzword that has been around for a number of years, is now more than ever shaping marketing strategies. The term defines the gathering of huge amounts of data on current or potential customers.

Data is collected on individuals in every on-line action. The streamed movie you watched last night, the airport check-in for last month’s flight, and your likes, shares and comments on social media. Companies are gathering increasing amounts of data on you, your behaviours and how likely you are to engage with them.

Small businesses, due to primarily cost, are often forced to follow the big data trends larger businesses have set. However recent advancements in customer data management, has allowed small businesses to have the capacity to know more about their customers for a fraction of the former cost.

Below are several easily accessible avenues your business can use to take advantage of to get ahead of pack.


1.Your Website – Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free analytics tool offered by Google, allowing online businesses to monitor the performance of their website. It offers a highly personalised insight into a variety of data, such as:

  • Quantity of visitors
  • Their demographics
  • Times/days visited
  • What other websites send traffic their website
  • Success of mobile usability
  • The marketing tactics that drive traffic
  • Popular content pages
  • Number of visitors that have been converted into leads/customers.[1]

This tool allows the user to set goals relevant to set objectives (reach or awareness for example) and will segment for future campaigns.


2. Google Search – Google Search Console, Trends & AdWords

These tools are the key search engine data tools offered by Google, helping your business learn more about who, what and how to get your business searched more online. Search Console offers more specific detailed data into your site’s impressions, clicks, and position on Google Search.[2]

Google Trends analyses the popularity of top search keywords, subjects and purchases over a specific period of time on Google Search, across various regions and languages.[3]

Google AdWords, would be highly relevant to e-commerce websites looking to learn more about the customers who purchase from one’s website, with AdWords offering greater data capacities into optimising selling campaigns across Google Search.[4]


3. Your Social Media – Hootsuite Analytics & Facebook Insights

Hootsuite Analytics offers data analysis across all key social media channels, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. The service allows:

  • Analysis of real-time results in relation to specific objectives
  • Insights into trends and team metrics
  • Best time/day to post
  • Type of content that is most popular to publish.

This would be suitable for businesses who have a multi-faceted digital marketing strategy, and need to make comparisons between what content works on different channels.[5]

Facebook Insights allows a business to analyse the performance of their page based upon a range of data collected by Facebook. Insights offers deeper data analysis for Facebook specific users compared to Hootsuite. The tool analyses:

  • Virality of content
  • Demographical data on likers, reach, check-ins and “talking about this”.[6]


4. Additional Software – IBM Cognos Analytics & Salesforce

Businesses that are serious about data analytics, gathering the deepest personal insights, and using the latest technologies in artificial intelligence should consider the employment of IBM’s new Cognos Analytics (formally Watson Analytics).

For businesses that have the ongoing budget after the free trial period has ended, the tool allows accurate visualisations, AI-assisted pattern detection, and tools for cleansing and combining data sources for efficient analysis.

Salesforce is the world’s leading software for Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The tool offers an array of data and metrics relevant to your business, highlighting trends in your current or potential customers behaviour.[1] Salesforce allows for tailoring of metrics specific to the size of one’s business and the industry they are in.


5. Whatever is relevant for your industry

The four tools above have provided a general overview of those that could work across most industries, but it is important to have an understanding on the data tools that are relevant to your specific industry.

Retailers for example can expect big data to influence future transportation and warehousing of stock, and connecting consumers from their brick-and-mortar experience to finding products to more targeted advertising. Manufacturers might see Big Data come into use, providing solutions to production efficiencies or minimising waste.[2]



In summary, it is important that small businesses factor in big data and its emerging trends going forward. In this blog we have looked at some of the tools available for business to take advantage of the benefits of Big Data, and that will enable them to gather the relevant data for business and marketing strategies into the future.


Websites and resources used in the writting of this blog.

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Marcus Kirchner

Marcus Kirchner is a recent graduate from the University of Adelaide studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing & Management). He has been interning with Purple Giraffe, Maggie Beer and several other companies on marketing projects around Adelaide.

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