Why Small Data is Just as Good as Big Data

J.J. De Simone

We’ve all heard the phrase “big data” in conjunction with every facet of the business world. It’s a sexy phrase that everyone likes to drop into conversation. Big data refers to large datasets that oftentimes are unstructured (i.e. not organized in rows and columns); if harnessed properly, deep customer insights can be gleaned from the data, including customer behavior and buying trends.

However, if “big data” is good, then “small data” must be bad, right? Definitely not. Data is data, and its utility, regardless of how many rows and columns are in a dataset, lies in the analyst’s and data scientist’s hands.

At The frank Agency, we don’t like to say big data or small data. We just like to dive in and learn the stories data is telling so we can guide our clients to make sound, statistically based recommendations that ultimately maximize profit.

Here are just a couple of examples of how we use “small data” to produce big knowledge at The frank Agency:

  • Many companies generate daily reports that include SEO spend, leads generated, conversions, profit and media spend. By stitching together separate daily datasets over the course of year, we can glean a lot of very detailed, actionable and predictive information. With this data, we can build models that predict – with a high degree of certainty – how many SEO leads will be generated by media spend. From that information we can help our clients discover the threshold at which media spend produces the highest number of SEO leads – while simultaneously learning the cost point at which media spend produces diminishing returns. All this information is generated from just 365 rows and 12 columns of data, as opposed to thousands of rows and columns.
  • Interested in learning which marketing efforts are most successful selling a product? By using data from just a few hundred transactions, we can help determine which items have the highest likelihood of being sold through a marketing channel, such as direct mail, SEO, events, etc. This knowledge is used to determine 1) which products should be the focus of direct mail, and 2) which products should be the focus of events, as an example. This maximizes the effectiveness of all your marketing channels.

Using tried-and-true analytics algorithms, we can classify and predict who will purchase a client’s product based on demographic and past behavior. Do you have hundreds of thousands of rows in your sales dataset? Great! But we can still run the algorithm and provide analytically solid predictions with just a couple thousand rows in your sales dataset.

Big data isn’t the solution for everything. At The frank Agency, we leverage all types of data in order to guide our clients in the best direction possible. Sure, “big data” is a buzz phrase that many people assume is synonymous with “awesome.” But we’re not data elitists at The frank Agency – we’re accepting of all types of data, big or small.

Give us a call, and let’s start the discussion about how we can use all your data to get the most from your marketing and advertising efforts.

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