For web-based businesses, and of course, those with a web presence (which is just about everyone) there’s a goldmine of behavioral data accessible with the right tools. The trick is getting past static web analytic reporting (bounce rates, page views, session times etc.) and going further into unlocking the rich treasure trove of machine data, text and weblogs that create “big data” insight.
In your business, gigabytes if not terabytes of multi-structured data are likely just waiting to be coupled with your imaginative thinking and analysis to create new data products that ultimately help drive customer interactions and revenues
For example, take a look at what LinkedIn is doing in creating new “products” with data they collect and analyze with a MapReduce approach and other techniques.
According to a recent whitepaper “Building Data Science Teams”, LinkedIn’s former Chief Data Scientist shows how smart thinking can be paired with compute power and huge quantities of multi-structured data to create innovative new products such as:
- Products that provide personalized content (which makes customers feel products/services are handpicked for them based on their wants/needs)
- Products that drive the company’s value proposition (For LinkedIn, it’s their “People You May Know” or “Jobs You May Be Interested In” algorithms which drive further customer engagement)
- Products that facilitate an introduction to other products (to funnel customers into other relevant areas of your website and thus lower your bounce rates)
- Products that prevent dead ends (ex: smart algorithms that suggest other potential purchases, i.e. “People like you also bought…”)
And of course, many of the above “products” are more than simply focused on nebulous metrics such “customer engagement”—they can directly tie to revenue improvements.
There are even opportunities to drive news cycles with unlocked insights. Companies such as LinkedIn can use information gleaned from their web server farms to build press releases such as: “Top Ten Phrases Recruiters Want to See” or “Top Ten Job Growth Areas in the United States”. These kinds of press releases are interesting to local newspapers, bloggers and media outlets, especially if there’s a unique angle relevant to readers/viewers.
There are plenty of companies turning to outside firms, crowds, and even their own customers for innovation. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with any of these approaches. However, those approaches may be trying too hard – especially when there’s a goldmine waiting to be unleashed just a few web servers away.