Big data has become something of a buzzword over the past year or so, but is it actually useful? 

It conjures thoughts of massive amounts of forbidding, almost unfathomable data, and it seems that it has had little impact on the role of web analysts. 

In fact, the response of 8% of marketers in our Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2013, created in assocation with Lynchpin, was: ‘don’t care – big data is a pointless marketing term’.

The impact of Big Data

The term may have been bandied around by vendors and others (we are guilty on this blog) without explanation that many clients and marketers do not understand the term or what it means to their business. 

We asked respondents ‘what effect has big data had on the web analysts in your organisation?’ and, as you can see from the word cloud, ‘none’ was the overwhelming answer: 

Here are some of the freeform reponses: 

Time available to analyse data in Google Analytics is too little, so adding more data to the ‘pile’ to analyse will only lead to less insight, not more.

Little to none. We know we need to gather and analyse the available date to run our marketing and our business better, but ‘big data’ is not the driver of this.

We have tonnes of data and sometime it’s difficult to analyse, but this has always been a problem and always will be as data acquisition will keep growing.

Not sure what “big data” means.

With many companies still not using their current analytics tools to their full potential, asking them to process this new ‘big data’ on top of everything else is a tall order. 

Vendors would be well-placed to reassess the use of the term in marketing communications. They may well be deterring potential clients with the use of the term.

Alternatively, they will have to engage in significant education efforts which move away from “vendor hype” and actually deliver true understanding to their clients and prospects.

Big data and budgets

Although resources and budgets are a key constraint on web analytics fulfilling business requirements, our research showed that only a quarter of companies have increased their budgets for technology and analysis capabilities in response to the big data trend. 

However, big data has caused some budgets to increase, and it could be that it is taking time for the benefits of big data to filter up to senior management, and for the increased budgets to filter down.

It will be interesting to see whether increased budgets attributed to big data become more common in the next couple of years.

Has the big data trend led to increased budgets within your organisation for related technology and analysis capabilities? (company respondents)