The term “Big data” has been coined to include the vast amount of data that is currently being collected willingly from customer behaviour as they interact with digital tools such as Apps and Geo-location. The truth is that Digital marketers have access to vast amounts of information about their target audience and are exploring several strategies to bond and communicate with them in a more personal way.

Presently, the data is quite fragmented and disjointed, but with Google Ad’s constant improvements on targeting metrics such as demographics, web browsing history and interest categories, marketers are beginning to create a “Single Support View experience” (SSV) enabling them to deliver more relevant content to their core audiences. Whilst there is a lot to learn from “big data”, Digital marketers need to be aware of how far is too far, and what level of ‘digital intrusion’ is right. How do we balance having “Big data” in the right place and at the right time so that communications are useful but not intrusive?

Big data does not just include digital channels like the various social networks and ‘owned’ digital assets like the website and apps, but also offline channels like traditional direct marketing (DM) and print materials. All this content is eventually stored in a single Omni-channel repository which feeds the digital assets i.e. website, apps, print and social media with data and provides a personal experience (UX) with the audience.

Thus, a close human element experience is provided to ensure a lot more efficient way of service and product consumption. Too often, Digital marketers focus on the technology first before they’ve truly thought about what they want to achieve and with who? The design of digital technologies and platforms should bring content to the front of a target audience and keep the technology to a minimum whilst delivering the biggest impact. As with any kind of communication to your customers, you need to think along the lines of people, objectives, strategy and technology.

Addressing the need of “mobile” internet which is evidently growing in Africa year on year. Digital strategies need to address this head on and rebuild all key digital touch-points from the smartphone up. Traffic from mobile devices with a ratio of 80%:20% (smartphone and desktop respectively) has also driven content delivery to be closely tied to geo-location. This ensures that not only is the device being correctly identified, but that physical location is being addressed.

Big Data has the potential to transform development and accelerate social progress in Africa today. However they are challenges with understanding, ownership, privacy, capacity and measurement.

About the Author: WMC Editor

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