I hate “big data”

mf6CKEMBig data? That’s a term we hear mentioned a lot, but what does it really mean? As businesses we have loads of data? Well that’s true. In truth we’ve always had lots of data to play around with, it just came in different formats and from different sources (sales data, footfall, even web log files).

Yes, we now do have so much more. But it’s only as big and scary as you want it to be. “Big data” is a term that, in my view, is all too often  used to sell you more services to try and make sense of it all. I’m not saying these are wrong though, but…

…the danger is running before you can walk. It doesn’t matter if you have loads of data that you’re not even touching right now if you don’t understand the questions you are being asked, or the questions you should be answering without being asked.

Don’t add on expensive session replay if you still have a poorly implemented web analytics service that you’re not really using to full effect. It’s a guarantee that there will be both quick wins and deeper levels of optimisation that you can extract from your web analytics tool without trying too hard.

If you’re ready to add extra levels of digital analytics, whether session replay or surveys or testing capabilities, then you won’t be fearful of “big data” because you’re already scaling your capabilities.

Don’t let anyone tell you you need a full suite of analytics from day one to gain a deep understanding of user behaviour on your site or app. Eventually you will have a full suite, but build it up in layers.

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