Jul 22 2013
Basis Team

Big Data – It’s Not the Size that Counts, It’s How You Use it


Over the past few years, there has been a literal and figurative explosion in the amount of data available to analyze business activities. Companies that can rapidly process publicly available (or licensable) data and turn it into actionable information have been able to develop real competitive advantages. From a systems perspective, the playing field (with regards to how fast you can do both of those items) is leveling pretty quickly. So where will new sources of competitive advantage come from?

The answer is pretty simple: look at what you have that no one else does. There is only a certain amount of value that can be generated from the same data sets that everyone else has access to. In other words, add something proprietary to your analysis.

Here’s an analogy – at the NFL Scouting Combine, all teams have access to the same player test information. They see the same 40-yard dash times, the same standing broad jump distances, the same Wonderlic scores, and every other activity players are asked to perform. How do coaches decide whom to draft? How will different teams determine the value of available players? They add data into their analysis that no other team has. Some of this is quantitative (private workouts) and some is qualitative (private interviews). In addition, they use the mixture of public and proprietary data to make strategic decisions in alignment with the type of offense and defense that they run (e.g. how they operate their ‘business’).

At Centro, we maintain nearly eight years of historical data on the campaigns we have executed on behalf of our clients. We feed the lessons learned from each placement and completed campaign back into the next planning and buying cycle. For example, we can look at not just how a given publisher performed on a given campaign, but also how different individual ad size units on the publisher’s site performed. We can take it further by comparing performance across platforms (desktop vs. mobile) and formats (display vs. video). The volume of our history means we can factor seasonal performance into the analysis as well. The goal is simple: look back at the campaign objectives, see which parts of the ad buy moved the needle and use that information to build more effective campaigns. We call this strategic decision intelligence.

Whether your business is about building a championship football team or a successful campaign for a client, you want to develop some form of competitive advantage from information you possess that no one else does. Combining the right publicly available data with the right proprietary data is the key. From our experience, the competitive advantage created by Centro’s strategic decision intelligence is more a function of what you have instead of how much you have.