Skill Level: Intermediate

Big data is making its impact felt everywhere and social media is certainly not an exception. The concept of social media marketing is now getting a face lift thanks to the inroads of social media.


Social media has been around for quite some time now and we seem to be making pretty good use of it. With the world of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram being at its peak, we probably spend more time looking at funny cats and seeing what type of bagel our friends are eating than we should. However, these social media platforms have tons of uses beside constant status updates. One of those uses has to do with marketing. This is especially true since we can really see the impact of big data on social media marketing strategies.

Ever since social media came into existence and the big companies realized that they could take advantage of it, they have been using platforms like Facebook to engage in marketing campaigns galore. Well, with the advent of something called big data, social media marketing has taken things to a whole new level. Companies of all sizes are using social media for marketing purposes to sell various goods and services. Retailers and service providers aren’t the only ones taking advantage either. Everybody is using social media to market something, whether it’s Nike marketing shoes or a political party selling their ideologies. Let’s take a look at the impact of big data on social media marketing strategies.


  1. What Is Big Data?

    The first thing that we need to clarify is what exactly this big data thing is all about. We all know what data is right? Data is information collected in one way or another, which is then stored for analysis in an aptly named database. Back in the day, data could be something as simple as going door to door with questionnaires, which could still be the case, but now we tend to use technology to gather data. We slowly moved away from the pen and paper towards online data gathering and storage methods, which then also slowly evolved.

    Now that the whole world is connected, servers are faster than ever, and pretty much everybody has internet, there is lots of data going around. There are literally thousands of terabytes of data to be collected and analyzed each day. This is where big data comes into play. Yes, big data, as the name implies, does refer to how much data there is, or in other words, the sheer amount of it from millions of people, but there is more to it than that.

    Big data does refer to the quantity of data, but also to the variety of data. Big data comes in structured forms such as numeric info as well as unstructured data from things like financial  transactions, videos, images, text documents, emails, and yes of course, from social media. Big data also refers to the fact that there is such a huge quantity of data that needs to be analyzed in near real time conditions, which can definitely be challenging.

    In essence, when it comes to social media, big data refers to the approximately 500+ terabytes of pictures, images, memes, posts, and other things that get posted or shared each day. Just for reference, that above amount is just for Facebook and no other platform. You can rest assured that big business, even Facebook itself, are using that data to constantly improve their marketing strategies.

    Big Data’s Impact On Social Media Marketing Strategies

    There are lots of effects which big data has had on social media marketing strategies, so let’s take closer look at the most important effects right now.

  2. Personalized Marketing Campaigns

    Social media marketing campaigns used to be fairly general, or at least targeted towards a pretty vague group. However, with all of this big data being collected, companies are now using platforms like social media to engage in individualized and highly personalized marketing in order to ramp up sales. Companies like Amazon, EBay, and other big time retailers are using the data collected specifically about you to market products you might like. For example, Amazon will hit up customers by name with very specific product recommendations. If they see that you always have pictures of shoes up, they will cater their marketing strategy accordingly. Hey Mike, would you like to buy these Nike running shoes?

  3. Future Purchase Predictions

    Social media marketers used to use simple website visits, click rates, downloads, and other such things to gauge what your future purchasing behavior will be like. This did work pretty well, but there was just not enough data for it to be really accurate. Now, with big data, marketers have more than enough info about you to judge your future buying patterns, trends, and wants. Big data helps marketing divisions increase their certainty about what you want, when you want it, and how you want it, thus increasing the chances of you buying something.

  4. Product Creation

    Companies are using the multitude of data collected from you and others to judge what their new up and coming products should be. They use this big data to analyze what people like buying. More importantly, they are using this data to figure out what people are complaining about, what products are missing, or what is wrong with a certain product. Big data helps companies make adjustments to their current products and helps them create new innovations catered to you and other social media users. It’s almost like they know what you want before you know it yourself.

  5. Specified Demographics

    Online marketers used to utilize generic demographic info such as age, sex, location, and marital status to judge what kind of things you might be interested in. It is not a bad start, but there is a lot more to it. Now, with big data, social media marketers are separating those who like non-fiction books from fiction books, separating the artists from the jocks, the rockers from the rappers, and so on and so forth. Their ability to judge exactly what a specific niche of people wants to see is constantly getting better. ECommerce companies are also starting to use StackTome, an automated marketing system that allows to reach their existing customers outside email by utilizing their sales data.

  6. Testing

    Big data is really useful for companies who want to engage in a marketing campaign, those who want to test it before actually launching it. Big data allows companies to create marketing campaigns, test them, analyze results, change the campaign, and retest the results until the results are seen as adequate. This can all be done without actually engaging in a very costly marketing campaign. It’s a virtual way of testing campaigns.

  7. One For The Little Guy

    Social media marketing was almost like a monopoly not too long ago, or at least very geared towards the big players. Smaller companies with limited funds just did not have the ability to gather, store, and analyze the info required for marketing purposes. However, now with big data and cheaper storage and analytic software options, social media marketing has become much more democratized. The small players can now take advantage of it too.

  8. Conclusion

    As you can see, the impact of big data on social media marketing strategies has been immense. To put it in simplest terms, big data has allowed social media marketers to target an exact group of people, or even a single person, and sell them something which the companies know will be a big hit. This big data allows these marketers to judge future trends and it helps them know exactly what you like and what you want, maybe even before you know it yourself.

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