You need to know what data teaches brands about you

OCT 19, 2017

What is big data? In simple terms, this is defined by large sets of data that can be analyzed to reveal patterns in human behavior and interactions. You might already use analytics data to better understand your audiences on social media. But the big brands are using this information for much more than increasing their Instagram following.

Describing itself as a ‘digital-first’ brand, NYX Cosmetics is now releasing its own app, selling NYX products alongside ‘shoppable content’. Tech Crunch writes that this will include ‘video tutorials by customers and beauty bloggers, [as well as letting] users leave reviews, earn rewards, and download stickers.’

This app gives NYX a third channel ‘to gather data about consumers’ shopping habits. Like other e-commerce companies, NYX uses predictive intelligence tools to recommend products based on each shopper’s browsing and purchasing history.’ The idea is to give you a better, unique shopping and content experience, reflecting off your preferences.

Earlier this month, Digiday published an article called ‘How Clique Media Group uses audience data to inform everything it does’. The Los Angeles-based lifestyle publisher, which owns brands including Who What Wear, Byrdie, MyDomaine, and College Fashionista, has become ‘more rigorously data-oriented’ in order to tell people about, then shop current trends. It launched its first shopping app in June, powered by this information.

‘We’re collecting data and insights from this community, taking those insights, using it to create our products; then, we’re taking those products and marketing them back to our audience,’ says CMG’s CEO, Katherine Power.

Where does this data come from? Several places. Demographic data comes from the Who What Wear shopping app; CMG sources story ideas and conducts weekly focus groups on its Facebook pages; it also uses ‘social listening tools to learn what fashion, beauty, and home trends people are talking about across social channels’, as well as influencer network INF to connect with creators and their contacts.

‘While CMG is part of a short list of publishers capable of delivering data at this volume to brands, it is also part of a growing movement.’ The speed at which it processes this data, whether to create posts or products, is indicative of the brand’s continuing success.

‘[Consumers] want a thoughtful, specifically tailored-to-them experience or product line,’ Power said. ‘We have the data to back that up.’

But where is the line drawn between giving consumers what they want and using consumer data to influence their shopping habits? In ‘The Duality of Big Data’, Wired writes:

‘Tech-savvy individuals with bad intentions can manipulate people through big data… Starving entrepreneurs may also use big data to game the system. The mentality of doing whatever it takes to succeed plays out in strange ways on the Internet… there’s always someone who wants what you have and is capable of stealing it.’

What are your thoughts on big data? Share in the comments!

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