The term and later on the concept ‘big data’ appeared in the ’90s, when internet access became widely available and reached millions of people around the globe. Business organizations saw a booming opportunity to gain consumers data and information with zero bother to request it.
Big data history has a lot to show and say about the concept, but the perception of how “Big Data” is used by businesses around the world is swinging because of Coronavirus and the impact it has up to date on everyday life. COVID-19 has drastically altered both personal life and business.
Big data: The term
The definition of ‘big data’ stands for the collection, storage, and analysis of massive amounts of data, which enables marketers to operate informed with strategy, tactics, and campaigns.
Marketers do this from day one. Marketers build a knowledge database about consumers and then tailor brand messages efficiently suited to customer’s needs.
The internet allows access and storing vast amounts of data about consumer actions and personal preferences. This is where data analysts came in handy to help businesses operate and correctly use and gather data, creating a whole new niche of specialists.
The impact of privacy laws
It’s 1998, The Economist, a trusted and renowned publisher raises the question about online privacy to the public. Publishing an article on their website inventing the term ‘online privacy’ for the first time.
1998 the beginning
The key concept discussed was that business owners can sell user information gathered from websites, email, etc. to marketers and other businesses. Analytics from a website back in the days would have pointed to the location where you access, the time of visit, how long you spent on the website, and more.
The Economist even suggested that whoever had a profile on their website might have their data sold. The publicist raised a debate that is discussed and argued about even today, three decades later. The question of how much information and data about people should be available online as well as the risks were raised in their article.
As troubling as it sounds, no matter what privacy risks giving your information on random websites hides, people, seem to take it lightly and still continue to share personal data at an all-time high rate, comments data safety expert Ivan Radev.
Today we publish tremendous amounts of information online. We upload photos and video on public platforms, check-in at physical addresses on social media, carry wearable devices that track our movements via GPS, and the list goes on.
In the last decade, countries and unions around the world have attempted to change how brands can access this information, as well as what they can do with it. In the European Union, you have the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and over the ocean, Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the USA.
These Acts cover the same concern. Businesses must tell you what and how much data they gather about you and why they store it. It’s mandatory for organizations to get your data corrected or deleted if you request them to do so.
A big leap forward in the right direction, yet the general mass of people find “Big Data” collectors unreliable.
The COVID-19 change
After the 2020 outbreak, things have changed significantly in so many aspects of our lives including how we feel about the collection and sharing of data. Governments and medical organizations publicly announce using “big data” to predict the movement of the coronavirus, the impact this would have on hospitals, and how people cope with events unfolding.
Google publicly opened the doors to all COVID-19-related data they had collected, allowing anyone to access it. Those working in data analysis companies were also sharing their processes and algorithms for trawling through the information and coming up with relevant conclusions to help predict the spread of the virus.
How brands can maintain this shift in thinking?
Sooner or later things will come back to normal as we knew it before COVID-19 hit. The question is, will people stay open-minded about the use of big data by brands or will they go back to the way they felt before?
We are currently in a time of crisis. Some have compared our times to those of war and that means rules change. Rules change fast. People accept that a crisis like this will mean more restrictions and oversight by the government.
- What happens after the crisis?
- And what can brands do to keep the positive results?
1. Improve communication with the public
The shift in the perception around big data mining came from the doors opening and the public being able to see how big data can positively affect the world.
For brands to continue to use big data without looking like they use underhanded tactics, companies must keep the lines of communication open with the public. Businesses need to focus on attracting the correct type of customers without taking advantage of them and their personal information.
2. Help to standardize data practices
Creating a universally agreed-upon framework for how big organizations collect, store and use data will engender public trust security with remote workers. The foundation for this framework should be a focus on individual rights to privacy and how anonymized data can do good in the world, along with standards to avoid data leaks and abuse.
3. Use data for more than just marketing
The fact that brands use personal information to speed up growth marketing gives “big data” a suspicious reputation. People have seen, through the pandemic, that large amounts of data can be a force of good.
If brands can include training programs, such as basic SQL skills along with the improvement in the analysis into their ESG commitments, they can engender trust with the public. It’s important to show that the use of big data is not just about personal gain for businesses, but rather about giving back as well.
4. COVID-19 has done “big data” a favor
It has balanced the scales somewhat and provided a distinct idea of its application. In a post-COVID-19 world, marketers are going to have to ensure that they don’t undo the positives. This may mean applying information gathered in new and innovative ways.