The Big Data Buffet: How to Analyze Metrics Effectively

Alexs Buffet Post
Alex Minton
November 28, 2017

The golden rule of big data comes from the golden rule of buffet lines: less is more. Not only is big data hard to digest, but it can also leave you feeling sick to your analytical stomach when you’re toe-to-toe with the vast spread of information.

Not to worry—in today’s world, you won’t go hungry for more data. Instead, here are some big data portion control best practices that can leave your business feeling full of insight (without having to loosen your belt).


Narrow down what you want to sample

In today’s world, big data is all around you (and you may not even realize it). Big data can be anything from the tweets you make on your morning commute to the search query you enter into Google in your hunt to find the best Thai food in Chicago. (It’s Thai Spice off Devon in case you were wondering.)

More formally put by Lisa Arthur, a contributor for Forbes Magazine, “Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.”

It is crucial to first understand what your business is trying to glean from big data. 

Perhaps you are an e-commerce site specializing in holiday decorations trying to figure out consumer behavior to boost your transactions and revenue. Here’s some big data you could be interested in:

– Search queries on Google relating to holiday lights, Christmas decorations, or twinkle lights

– Demographics, interests, and behaviors of your perfect customer within Facebook

– How frequently users add a string of lights to their cart and then suddenly bounce before checkout

By narrowing down the areas you want to analyze, you are reducing the amount of irrelevant data your team has to sift through.

P.S. If you’re looking for a second helping of this information, check out Perfect Search’s case study with an e-commerce client.


Grab your utensils

Now that you have narrowed down the data you want to digest, it’s time to whip out your utensils. In this case, the world wide web is full of free analytical tools to help slice and dice the data into meaningful insights. Here are some go-to’s:

– Google AdWords – Known as the bread and butter of search advertising. Google AdWords allows for big data to be organized, analyzed, and optimized in a matter of seconds. One of the most insightful metrics is a keyword’s cost per conversion. Check out our Director of Search and Social Advertising Eric Yarnik’s dive into the most recent upgrade of the AdWords interface.

– Facebook Business Manager – One of the coolest things about this social tool is its ability to segment your audience. One of the largest challenges with big data is separating the signal from the noise (a.k.a. the pit from the peach). The more data you have, the more difficult it is to manage. Facebook Business Manager does the hard work for you by allowing you to dissect your perfect customer by demographic, interest, and behavior. The more specific your audience gets, the more likely they are to convert.

– Google Analytics – Your website is worth a thousand words, and Google Analytics documents each customer’s interaction to string those words into strategy. A great feature is the ability to analyze what percent of traffic came from a certain channel. Whether it’s mobile, desktop, social, or direct, the more you know about where your customers are from, the easier it is to customize your digital marketing strategy. 

Like all good utensils, these tools are more powerful when used together.


Don’t forget the 5 food groups

Just as your mother nags you in a buffet line to add some color to your plate, the same rule applies to big data. For big data to mean something to your business, you have to combine the 5 Food Groups of Digital Marketing:

– Social Media

– Email Marketing

– Display Marketing



The folks at Search Engine Land define this interconnectivity as The Cross-Channel View: “The cross-channel view is one that spans the length and breadth of the online marketer’s channels. It began with attribution, but the era of big data that is now upon us means marketers have the opportunity to take advantage of large data sets from each channel and leverage them for deeper, actionable insight — provided they are looking at their channels through those eyes and have acquired the technology to do so.”

The Cross-Channel View is what separates the wheat from the chaff in digital marketing. It’s just as important for your business to appear at the top position in Google’s SERP for a paid ad as it is to have healthy SEO metrics such as high-quality backlinks, fast site speed, and relevant content. Additionally, the various banners and images your business can take advantage of with email and display marketing help remind your perfect customer to convert, no matter where they sit in the sales funnel.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Stepping out of your comfort zone with big data can be like ordering the mystery item off the daily specials list. You’ll never know if a strategy will work well for you unless you try. Remember, you can always go up for seconds.

Is your mouth watering for big data? No need to feel like a glutton. Request an audit from Perfect Search and our team will do a full-site analysis with all the big data insights your business has been waiting for. 


Alex Minton

Currently a junior at Loyola University Chicago, Alex Minton is a triplet from Omaha, Nebraska. Ask him about his long list of failed sporting attempts. (Spoiler alert: Golf was too hot. He was mainly in volleyball for the snacks.)

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