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What is Big Data and What Are the Benefits for Marketers?

5 min read
Mar 27, 2024


What is Big Data?

Big data refers to the vast volume of data that businesses extract, collect and analyze, generating information and insights. This data comes from sources such as social media, website interactions, sensors, and more.  Unlike traditional data sources, big data encompasses a variety of formats, including text, images, videos, and sensor data.

Think of traditional data coming from sources like spreadsheets and databases - known as structured data. It’s more static. Big data, goes further to include unstructured sources and is dynamic, changing all the time. 

What sets big data apart is not just its volume, but also its velocity and variety. It's constantly being generated at high speeds and comes from diverse sources, making it challenging to manage and analyze using traditional database systems.

In essence, big data is a treasure trove of information waiting to be unlocked. It holds valuable insights that can help organizations, and more specifically marketers, understand customer behavior, predict market trends, and optimize marketing campaigns for better results. 

Or, as Gartner puts it:

Big data is high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.’ 

However, harnessing the power of big data requires the right tools, techniques, and strategies. Stay tuned as we explore the opportunities and challenges of leveraging big data in marketing.

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The 3 Vs of big data

Big data is easiest to understand in terms of the 3 Vs: volume, velocity, and variety. 


Think of volume as the amount of data flooding the digital landscape. We're talking about an incomprehensible volume that grows exponentially by the minute. 

Take Instagram - it has 800 million monthly active users with 70 million photos uploaded daily. This activity creates an ever-expanding reservoir of data ripe for exploration and exploitation and falls under the category of big data. 

ny stock exchange processes 1tb data

Source: Investopedia


Velocity is the speed at which data is generated, and in today's hyper-connected world, it's nothing short of staggering. It emphasizes how quickly data is created, collected, and shared across different channels like online interactions, social media, and sensors. 

This rapid flow of data requires fast processing and analysis in real-time or near real-time to uncover important insights and react swiftly to changing trends or events. Think of it as the need for speed in understanding and acting on the constant stream of information pouring in from various sources.

iot devices

Source: Statista


When we talk about the different varieties of data, we're referring to three main types: structured, unstructured, and semi-structured.

Structured data is the simplest to analyze, encompassing information like demographics, accounting transactions, or location data from smart devices.

Unstructured data, on the other hand, is more challenging to collect and analyze because it doesn't follow the traditional row-column model. This type includes photos, videos, social media content, website content, open-ended survey responses, and call center transcripts.

80% of data is unstructured

Source: Forbes

Semi-structured does not fit neatly into the traditional structured or unstructured categories. Unlike structured data, which is organized in a tabular format with predefined fields and data types, and unstructured data, which lacks a predefined data model, semi-structured data exhibits some structure but does not conform to a strict schema. Examples of semi-structured data include XML files, JSON files, and log files. 

With advancements in technology like AI and machine learning, even unstructured data can be processed and used effectively by almost anyone. Have you ever wondered why when you search for a product on Amazon, it then appears as an ad on Facebook? That’s remarketing. This is only possible because both Amazon and Facebook have collected your data and distributed it accordingly. 

google runs 99000 searches per second

Source: Fit Small Business

So, whether you’re a doctor publishing an article that offers new insights into biomedicine, an Instagram user uploading a cute picture of your dog, someone who is sending emails to top retail clients or simply someone who has made a note on their phone to buy bread later, it’s all data that can be collected, analyzed, utilized or stored in one way or another. 

The value of big data for marketers

From unlocking deeper customer insights to crafting personalized campaigns to predictive analytics, big data offers huge benefits to marketers. 

Deeper customer insights: Big data allows marketers to gain deeper insights into their target audience. By analyzing vast amounts of customer data, including demographics, preferences, and behavior patterns, marketers can better understand their customers' needs and preferences. This insight enables them to tailor their marketing campaigns and messages more effectively, resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates.

Personalized marketing campaigns: With big data analytics, marketers can segment their audience more precisely and deliver personalized marketing campaigns. By leveraging data on customer preferences, purchase history, and online behavior, marketers can create highly targeted and relevant content and offers. This personalized approach not only enhances the customer experience but also increases the likelihood of conversion.

Predictive analytics: Big data enables predictive analytics, allowing marketers to forecast future trends and behaviors. By analyzing historical data and identifying patterns, marketers can anticipate customer needs and preferences, as well as market trends. This predictive insight empowers marketers to proactively adjust their strategies, allocate resources more effectively, and stay ahead of the competition.

Enhanced marketing ROI: By leveraging big data analytics, marketers can measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns more accurately. They can track KPIs such as customer acquisition cost, return on investment, and customer lifetime value. This data-driven approach enables marketers to optimize their marketing spend, allocate resources to the most effective channels, and maximize ROI.

Improved customer experience: Big data enables marketers to deliver a more personalized and seamless customer experience across all touchpoints. By analyzing customer data in real time, marketers can tailor their interactions and communications to meet the specific needs and preferences of each customer. This personalized approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also fosters brand loyalty and advocacy.



Big data is not just a buzzword; it’s a transformative force driving modern marketing strategies forward. By harnessing the power of big data analytics, marketers can gain deeper insights, improving their own results and the customer experience at the same time. 

In today's data-driven world, effectively collecting, analyzing, and utilizing big data is no longer a luxury but a necessity for staying competitive and achieving marketing success. So, whether you're a seasoned marketer or just dipping your toes into the world of big data, embracing its potential is key to unlocking new possibilities and driving business growth in the digital age.


One of the best ways to capitalize on big data is to track and analyze it effectively. Hurree's powerful dashboards are powered by AI and allow you to visualize, analyze, and collaborate on your data in one platform. Try Hurree for free today with our 7-day free trial. 

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