3 things we should expect from Big Data (and 3 things we shouldn’t)

Feb 6, 2019 · 3 min read

In the last few years, the concept of “big data” has been in nearly every conversation involving strategy. The most simple definition would be the analysis of a big amount of data, with the aim of making relevant conclusions. The size of that big amount depends on who you ask. Some are talking about 1 TB of data, while others mean a million data points. This means expectations aren’t clear.

That’s exactly what this article is about: expectations.

(Read it in Spanish here)

All companies store information from their clients: views, clicks, sales, followers in the brand’s social profiles… and big data aims to expand that knowledge to identify consumption patterns.

And here we have the first limitation:

We can know what the current behaviour is for a specific type of consumer, but, can we predict what they will do in the future?

We must take into account that big data analyses data from the past and the present, and that mid-term and long-term predictions are just estimates. These estimates have a margin of error, which will be lower the higher the number of analysed data points is.

Are big data based estimations trustworthy?

Our recommendation is to use these predictions to identify trends. For example, a consulting firm publishes an infographic about the type of content that will be consumed in the future. They say that a user will watch 15 videos for each written article they read. In this case, we identify that the trend is to create more video content, but it seems risky to use those numbers to estimate the spread our publications will have.

The second limitation of big data is the one we find when we want to know how a specific user will act. Although we might know all sorts of details about a group’s behaviour, we can’t know for sure that one specific person will buy something on their fourth visit to our webpage.

Here’s why:

When we analyse data, we only take into account numbers and metrics, but the ones that will buy our product are human beings, not numbers.

Although people have a tendency to repeat their patterns, it’s taking them less time to change their interests and behaviour. Besides, being part of the target audience doesn’t mean that every single person in that group will react the same to our impacts.

Summarised, the possibilities of big data are:

  • Detailed and complete information about our business
  • Prediction of trends
  • Short-term estimations of our target’s behaviour

And what we shouldn’t expect:

  • Assessments of how a specific user will act
  • Mid or long-term behavior previsions
  • Estimations of future profits

So. What do we propose?

As a big data company, we know that this kind of knowledge is key to being competitive. Because of the ever-changing behaviour consumers have, we recommend to use big data for short-term actions, and to update our analysis constantly. A picture that we loved a month ago might be completely uninteresting to us now, for example.

We recommend using the big data tools and platforms that are best for your business every month, or every week, even. If you have access to detailed knowledge about the current trends, who would want information from three months ago, anyway?

Our platform analyses influencers and brands on Instagram, focusing on helping our clients take better decisions in their content strategies, and their influencer campaigns. If you want to know more about Sway Map, you can visit our website. You can also get a 7 days free trial version, or contact us through sales@swaymap.net


Swaymap analyses big data from influencers and brands…


Swaymap analyses big data from influencers and brands worldwide


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Swaymap analyses big data from influencers and brands worldwide.


Swaymap analyses big data from influencers and brands worldwide