Skip to content
Sinclair Oil Corporation

The Big Data Boom

Business leaders today often refer to the growing demand for Big Data as the new oil boom. In truth, right now data may be more valuable than black gold, especially to marketers.

In helping to transform marketing, data is used for everything from targeted advertising to user profiling. It’s tremendously valuable because it generates actionable insights that lead to commercial benefits. Data makes it possible to personalize user experience and automate processes across the board.

But data is actually a lot easier to procure than oil. Consumers regularly give data away for free, despite often knowing exactly how valuable it is to business. Consider how many of us freely give Facebook Pixel access to our browsing habits. The next time you see an ad after talking about going on a holiday, you’re seeing what a complex data-driven advertising network predicts you want.

Scraping data from various sources is easy. There are tools or proxy providers that are specifically designed for the job. Even so, you may not have to do your own scraping.

There are several interesting public data sets that you might want to check out, here are a few that we have been paying special attention to at TopRight.

Google Trends

The biggest and most public data repository is Google Trends. The tool has long been the go-to platform to store search trends and other data about Google users. Search trends are insights generated by processing Google search data in a predetermined period of time.

Every day, Google Trends becomes more advanced and comprehensive. If you want deeper insights from search trends and other data sets, you now have the option to export those data sets and run your own calculations.

You can use Google’s own tools such as Google BigQuery to process Google Trends export files. Alternatively, third-party data processing tools are also useful for specific purposes, including tools like Lambda and VAYU. How you process the data is entirely up to you.

ProPublica Data Store

Everyone is collecting data, including media companies and news outlets. ProPublica is one of the few that makes their data sets publicly available. If you’re familiar with the name, it’s because ProPublica is famous for its investigative journalism, including investigations into data privacy.

Thanks to the extensive network of the media company, ProPublica has a massive data repository in fields such as economy, health, and politics, as well as details on financial markets.

On the other hand, ProPublica maintains a series of premium data sets, usually with deeper, more comprehensive data points. Rather than gaining access to the insights, you can examine the raw data and perform a deeper analysis.

CDC Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the next big public data set to keep an eye on. It’s incredibly useful for the health crises, including the pandemic that we continue to face today. Health officials and specialists still use it to gain insights on the Covid-19 crisis, including knowledge about healthcare service providers and how to optimize services.

These data sets allow us to see new trends and make predictions. The CDC experts are working closely with the government in order to discover whether certain moves in response to the crisis are justified. Trends are useful for making predictions and anticipating the way the market will change.

The CDC maintains a long list of data sets and tools. Data about cancer patient treatment, genomics, food-borne illnesses, and even specific illnesses like diabetes are just a few of what you’ll find on the CDC website. The NCHHSTP Atlas and the interactive database tools are also handy for tracking and processing specific data sets.

FiveThirtyEight

If you’re familiar with marketing tools designed to manage issues and capture trends, you’ll certainly love the FiveThirtyEight data set. The website grants access to sets collected from various sources. These are mainly about US and international politics, although the list is growing rapidly.

Data sets from FiveThirtyEight are very handy for generating insights on a broader scale. When you need to know, say, market trends that are more prominent, you can use market and economy data sets to discover the insights you need. The only thing to note is that FiveThirtyEight uses surveys and Q&As, so while the data is collected legally and ethically, the size is not particularly large.

Publicly available data sets are just as interesting to explore. EarthScience contains data about the movements of the crusts of the Earth, but you can also find info on agriculture, physics, healthcare, energy, transportation, and even eSports and digital sporting events. You don’t have to collect your own data, all you have to do is look for the best public sets to use.

So is data literally as valuable dollar-for-dollar as oil? Of course not, but just like fossil fuel it has become the source of energy for innovation in the field of marketing. And the demand and usefulness for data is inly growing. This is why TopRight continues to monitor a huge variety of proprietary and public data sets, determining their applicability in transformational marketing across industries and exploiting their potential for often enormous value adds.

If you want to keep up with how Big Data is transforming marketing as we know it, follow @TopRightPartner on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedInsubscribe to my blog, and buy a copy of my latest book published by Harvard Business Review, Strategic Analytics.