Sharing is caring: How to get your hands on big data
No data? No problem. We have it, and you can use it.
There are millions of organisations on this planet, many of which have an extensive set of unique data they use to gain deep insights into the inner workings of their business. In an ideal world, all companies would share this data with one another to enable more informed decision-making across all industries and countries – unfortunately, most businesses tend to hold their data close to the chest.
With that said, there are some who have realised the value in unlocking and sharing their data. These organisations are mostly found in the ‘big sectors’, including banking, healthcare, machine to machine (M2M), public sector services, insurance and telecommunications, where customer numbers are in the many hundreds of thousands. The sheer volume, diversity and constant flow of data provides up-to-the-minute analytical fodder that is not only valuable for the organisation’s own customer analytics: it can also be leveraged by outsiders who seek a broader view of customer behaviour but lack the data resources to do so.
You don’t have to own data to utilise it
At Datamine, we provide analytics solutions that enable large organisations to make sense of complex and voluminous amounts of customer data. We also act as an intermediary between these large organisations and smaller third parties who have specific challenges that can be solved with data, but don’t have access to the diversity or volume of data required.
Our relationship with a large telecommunications organisation is a good example of the intermediary role we play in applying data analysis from one organisation to unlocking customer insights for another.
This telco client currently has a significant share of our mobile phone market and over a million handsets in circulation. Having access to the data network provides us with insights into mobile location habits and enables us to plot the movements of customers based on their proximity to mobile towers.
In case you’re thinking this is starting to sound a lot like ‘Big Brother’, remember that this type of analysis is about looking at the big picture, gaining insights and spotting trends. It’s not about looking at individuals and what they’re up to.
Building a case for outdoor media selection using mobile location data
Datamine recently completed some analysis for an outdoor media client looking for a way to quantify some of the key drivers involved in the media selection process. One of the great challenges for outdoor media companies is the lack of accurate or meaningful data around viewership, reach and frequency that marketers rely on for planning, selecting and justifying their media choices.
A company selling billboard space, for example, can give you an idea of how many vehicles drive past a billboard site each day, but it can’t tell you what sort of people are driving those vehicles, at what times, or how many times a day the same people drive past the site. Unlike its mainstream media cousins, TV, radio and press, outdoor media has not had at its fingertips a constant flow of research data on audiences and viewership for comparing itself to other media and selling itself to marketers.
We started our analysis by looking at bus advertising – those messages and graphics you see plastered on the outsides of buses all over town. Advertisers choose to put their messages on buses travelling specific routes because they believe people within their target audience are living, working or travelling along those routes and are therefore likely to see the messages. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say with certainty how tight such correlations are.
Using this telco data, Datamine’s task was to examine the numbers and types of people travelling defined bus routes over the course of a month. From this, we could determine the number of people exposed to messages (the reach), as well as the number of times they travelled the route (the frequency) and had the opportunity to see messages. By combining this information with the demographic information of cell phone users, we provided our outdoor media client with a more accurate picture of the numbers and audience travelling a set bus route and being exposed to messages.
We applied the same approach to billboard locations to build a clearer picture of the numbers and demographics of people passing by each site. This type of analysis assists marketers in comparing billboard sites and enables outdoor media companies to assess more accurately the potential of new billboard and other media sites.
Harnessing mobile location data to track the movement of people and matching it with demographic data has far reaching applications across all types of businesses. Here are some other examples we have worked on:
- Transport and roading: By examining traffic flows in and out of a suburb, city planners can more accurately identify times, causes and locations of traffic congestion and plan for future roading needs
- Retail location: Businesses looking to grow their retail presence can make well-informed choices about new site location by knowing more about the numbers and types of people passing by
- Tourism infrastructure: Analysis on the movements of international travelers on arrival is invaluable for tourist businesses in working out the best locations for retail, food, accommodation and laundromats (to name just a few)
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Capturing mobile location data to examine customer behaviour can provide a degree of detail, accuracy and timeliness that most marketers can only dream about.
While the examples above sound simple enough, the actual process of combining location data with a company’s own data to unlock these deeper customer insights is complex. The sheer volumes of data involved, the lack of specialist capabilities and systems in-house and the prohibitive costs of installing them mean most companies wanting to conduct this level of analysis need to look externally.
At Datamine, our commercial relationships with large, data-driven organisations enable us to add a whole new layer of insights to help third party organisations gain a deeper understanding of their customer behaviour. Our team is passionate about using analytics to solve complex business problems, and we’re always eager to hear from companies who are curious to discover the value locked up in their data. To read more about unlocking customer insights, check out our free Datamine Guide below.