Big (Data) is Beautiful
According to Google, there were 350 million YouTube videos shared on Twitter last year. Furthermore, 16% of Internet searches on a daily basis are new – i.e. words being typed into Google not seen before. These are just two examples of what we call “big data” that is, data collected via web or mobile analytics and not from traditional survey research.
The two worlds of survey and server data make uneasy bedfellows. Whilst media owners are fed their staple diet of survey or panel-derived audience measurement data, often on a quarterly basis, this is now being served with extra helpings of behavioural digital data on a continuous stream. There is a growing perception that survey data is slow and out of date, whereas server data is real time and true. RAJAR, the official body in charge of measuring UK radio audiences, have endeavoured to make some sense of this with a helpful guide for their subscribers. Putting it simply, survey data counts people; server data counts machines.
There is a saying (and a fashion brand) that big is beautiful. Data is indeed big and it is growing exponentially. According to Google’s UK Policy Manager, Theo Bertram, the growth of data over the next 5-10 years will be both positive and disruptive. The next big challenge for the Internet is going to be around processing, analysis and decision making. It will be how data, not just communication, will change the way consumer and business lives are run.
The beauty of big data will only come through insight and interpretation. The topic of survey versus server data will be hotly debated at the Media Research Group Conference in Monte Carlo this November.