Can Big Data Help Us Predict the Future?

Content Marketing Research

When we think of predicting the future, crystal balls, tarot cards, and tea leaves are what come to mind. But with the latest advances in big data analysis, researchers can create models that may accurately predict future events. In the last few years, big data has even been heralded as a method with which governments can predict terrorist attacks with more than 90% accuracy. Though much less life or death, marketers also have a lot to learn from big data. 

Big data refers to the vast collection of information available to researchers and marketers today from sources such as social media, web analytics, and other sources that, when processed, can point to trends and patterns that may otherwise be unclear.

The data sets used by researchers can often be so massive that only machine learning is able to make sense of it. How much data are we talking about? IBM estimates that humanity creates an average of 2.5 million terabytes of data every single day

In the realm of marketing, it is almost impossible to overstate the impact that big data can have on the customer experience. One of the best techniques that promise to have the most impact on the world of marketing is text mining. 

Text mining is an analytical method of poring over vast amounts of text, be it from social media or another source, to derive patterns from that text. Brands can use this sort of analysis to better understand customer perceptions, for example. Analysts can use an offshoot of text mining, known as opinion mining, or sentiment analysis, to scour thousands of communications to identify commonalities which can then be acted upon. 

Text mining can also help marketers optimize their email campaigns by finding which set of keywords may have led to a higher open or click rate in past campaigns. It can also look into other factors such as the season, date or time that emails were sent and derive actionable data from that. 

The sky is truly the limit when it comes to what big data and techniques like text mining have to tell us about how we can improve the customer experience, but can it really tell the future? While it may not be a crystal ball, it can provide valuable insights into how customers may act based on previous behavior, and in the world of marketing, that may be just as good.