Collecting, storing, and managing big data can be an invaluable asset for a business; however the thought of analyzing a copious amount of data - even if it does reveal a hidden company gem - can appear to be an exhausting, time-consuming, and repetitive process. As Seer Interactive interns, we had the amazing opportunity to research our own big data keyword project to create a multi-faceted content asset. Although the journey had its fair share of trial and error, we can confidently report that we learned skills that not only allowed us to lay serious groundwork on an interactive asset, but also enabled us to take away skills to implement when working on a variety of projects. Hoping to share a bit of our quest, we compiled a brief guide to turning big data into a compelling story.
Big Data Applications in Search Marketing
There are a myriad of ways to leverage your big data in your search marketing strategy. Here are some of the ways we’ve used big data here at Seer:
- Analyze display ad placements at scale to find opportunities to negate and save/reallocate budgets
- Save PPC budget by doing a PPC efficiency audit in which we identify and negate expensive keywords that don’t convert (you can do this too - check out our free tool, Saving Benjamin, and our video series Wasteful Wednesday about the most common keywords to negate)
- Analyze Ngrams to identify common themes in keyword sets, audience data, or site content
- Do a deep dive on long tail keywords to find converting PPC terms we can leverage for SEO content strategy
- Prioritize SEO strategies by conversion potential
That just scratches the surface of what big data can do for your strategy, but as you dig into the data, be sure to keep the following in mind:
1. Stick to Your Strategy, but be Flexible on Tactics
When analyzing a sea of information, it’s vital that you keep an overarching goal in mind, yet still allow for flexibility to switch up your tactics and test all possible options. Big data can appear to be endless; it’s easy to get lost in a web of numbers that may or not be linked to a great story. Whether it’s in the beginning planning stages or when reaching a road-block in the middle of the process, don’t be reluctant to take a breather, and go back to the drawing board. Repeating this mantra, we left no method of data analysis un-turned. From formulating complex correlations between keywords to using simple word-clouds, we continuously brainstormed new ways to tell our data’s story - even if it meant checking off a tactic that didn't work. The key element to our success was to turn our “failures” into an opportunity to learn, and then use that knowledge to shape a different plan of action.
2. Be Efficient: Worker Smarter Not Harder
Consistently seek out faster, and more efficient methods by pulling from the most beneficial resource: your company team. As a part of the Seer team, we have had the benefit of working with almost 200 team members who have a variety of knowledge and expertise across company divisions. When faced with a potentially daunting manual task, we reached out to Seer's awesome Analytics and Data Strategy teams. We sent out a quick email saying, “Hey! Does someone know how to speed this up?” From a simple message, we discovered data scraping: an amazing tool that will save you time and energy. Word of the wise: if you are spending hours conducting tedious tasks for a big data project - seek out a way to automate it.
3. Fresh Eyes, May Lead to Fresh Perspective
After spending countless hours sifting through data, settling into a worker’s bias can be a common occurrence. The data, which has taken various steps to piece together, may not make sense to an outside reader. To ensure that our super-focused perspective didn’t limit our data’s outcome, we continuously reached out to members of our team to get a clear idea of the “bigger picture.” By bouncing ideas off of team members and reading up on related articles, we were able to pair together numerical “facts” with important context to piece together a relevant, and engaging story within the data.
4. Keep your Eyes on the Prize
Focus on the heart of the project - the data. It’s vital to create a road map - but to truly discover the most interesting and hidden facets - retain an open mind that won’t be sidelined by finding “one” piece of information. Originally our project was on a time crunch, but after diving in we discovered that the story was too big to be limited to a single element. Although it's beneficial to divert from the route from time to time - make sure you reach the destination in the end. Numerous times we found ourselves formulating design for the finished product - when the data wasn't finishing telling its’ story yet! With patience and detailed efforts, the data will ultimately be the core sculptor of your content and drive design.
Need Help With Your Big Data?
At Seer, we’re always coming up with new ways to use data to help our clients meet their business goals. If you’re overwhelmed with the sheet amount of data, are stuck on an analysis, or are looking to leverage your search data in new ways both within and outside of PPC/SEO, Seer just might be able to help.