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Article By Drew Hendricks in Forbes


Initially big data seemed to be something only available to the biggest businesses. Analytics are now being built into almost every application, however, making the technology accessible to businesses of all sizes. As businesses realize the power of information to create successful marketing campaigns and see real-time results, data is becoming an integral part of marketing.

In 2015, big data will continue its growth as an important part of business decisions. Armed with information on customer behaviors and purchases, professionals will now be able to make better decisions. Here are a few ways data will impact online marketing in 2015.


Retargeting is perhaps one of the biggest changes to online marketing in the past couple of years and in 2014, it exploded in popularity. Many businesses contract with third-party services to accomplish this, but those third-party services utilize big data techniques to gather information a site’s visitors, the products they show specific interest in, and the purchases they make. Once that data has been collected, it is used for the placement of a cookie on the visitor’s computer that then delivers content as it visits other sites. As analytics become increasingly more sophisticated in 2015, marketers will find new ways to retarget customers based on their website visits, including items they viewed without clicking.

Custom Dimensions

One way businesses are using analytics in marketing is through Custom Dimensions, a feature in Google Analytics. Also known as Custom Variables, this feature lets a business capture information about the people visiting its sites, giving insight into information like age, gender, and relationship status. Dimensions can even be customized to a specific type of business, including information about other stated interests and liked pages that might be relevant.

Marketing Personas

The “customer profile” created through studying analytics will increasingly be used to create buyer personas, which ensure each marketing effort is geared toward a specific type of customer. If a new content marketing campaign is launched, professionals will gear each blog and social media post not only to specific keywords but to targeted customer types, as well.

Customized Paid Campaigns

Advanced analytics will also give professionals the option to be more selective about paid online marketing efforts. Before spending money on Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, businesses will want to first know that efforts will pay off. Through Google Analytics and other sources, professionals will seek to learn as much as possible about their target demographics before starting a paid campaign and will continue to measure results well after.

Offline and Online Merge

Big data is no longer limited to the internet. As the technology continues to grow in usage, businesses are finding ways to measure their real-world activities, as well. Stores are gathering data on purchases and store visits each day, using sophisticated technology to gain information they’ve never before been able to capture. Sophisticated camera systems can employ heat maps to view store traffic, just as websites are using the same technology to determine online activity. In 2015, this information will begin to combine to tell businesses more about how products perform on their websites as opposed to their stores and tweak their marketing appropriately.

Experience Personalization

In traditional stores, businesses are able to get to know their most loyal customers and greet them as soon as they enter. This customized experience has been lost in the online shopping world, as e-tailers work to quickly fill orders and provide a convenient ordering experience. Big data can change all of that, letting businesses “see” customers as they visit their online stores and not only greet them, but present them with customized pages based on their previous orders and click-thrus. The use of personalization to create emails specific to a customer’s interests will continue to grow in popularity as businesses find new ways to compel consumers to open the emails they send.

2015 will be an exciting year for marketing as businesses find innovative approaches to customer engagement. Businesses are only beginning to find they many ways big data can be used to streamline operations and marketing is perhaps one of the most important. To remain competitive, businesses will likely soon be forced to use some form of analytics in their different content marketing campaigns and, fortunately, the services are becoming more accessible to businesses of all sizes.

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