ESOMAR Big Data World Focuses on Smart Data

Confirmit Team

Confirmit Team

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Confirmit’s dedicated teams work to deliver world-leading customer experience, Voice of the Employee and Market Research solutions. 

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November saw the opening of a brand new ESOMAR event which is always a sign that a new technology, market or methodology has moved from the fringes of Market Research into the mainstream. ESOMAR Big Data World was created to explore the world of big data with a multi-dimensional approach: from business to marketing strategy, from technology to innovation, from software to artificial intelligence.

It’s a big aim, but after taking part in the event and having many fascinating conversations, I can safely say they met that aim. The program approach Big Data (by anyone’s measure a huge topic to get your arms around) from a number of different perspectives, including; innovation, social media, predictive analytics, mobile, privacy and security, and the integration of big data to traditional research.

What was clear is that Big Data is being welcomed into the industry and researchers are beginning to tackle the fear around it. The technology now available to researchers enables them to confidently use big data to deliver greater insights. Although researchers still only access and use fairly small percentages of big data, the way in which we are able to use it is becoming more manageable and that’s a trend that will continue.

For me, one of the most interesting angles was predictive analytics and how by using big data with predictive analytics, we can predict behavior in a way that we were not able to do before. For example, we can identify if a click to an advert is coming from a real interest in a product or just an occasional random click. Big data models are constantly improved and to identify the samples and the people to target that are more likely to purchase a particular product.

Two of the themes that emerged out of the conference that really got people talking included how we can protect anonymity of respondents of passively collected data, and the relationship between machines and humans; will machines take over or will there always be a need for human input in analyzing and adding context to big data?

  • Privacy and anonymity of data. There are many benefits associated with the growth of the internet and data we can collect from it. However, researchers have to find the balance between data richness and data privacy. ESOMAR and other bodies are taking the first steps by updating codes of conduct to address the new types of data available (social, big data, passive data, behavioral data) and compliance with such codes will be critical to the adoption of new approaches.
  • Will machines replace humans? There are things machine can do that humans will never be able to do such as analyze 10,000 tweets per minute, however, in order to add context to any type of big data, humans will always need an input. Machines lack the creativity to replace humans and therefore will always have to work side by side.

As an industry, we need to develop models that predict and identify the participants that are more likely to respond a survey. Can Big Data be a game changer that allows MR to find optimal sample as well as providing all the contextual data into the surveys? Time will, but the mood at ESOMAR’s Big Data World suggested that the answer will be yes!

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