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May 10, 2017

Big Data is a popular term in the technology industry these days. Whole companies are being formed and funded to capture and store publicly available data for whatever creative uses one can imagine.

Advertisers benefit from the significant value of Facebook’s data. There’s no better source of real people with properly cataloged characteristics. They can be targeted with advertising that is highly relevant to them and is generally welcomed. Ads on Facebook platforms are certainly not intrusive like spam emails or mobile robocalls. On the contrary, they can actually increase the enjoyment of time spent on this social medium.

However, we overlay on Facebook data a trove of geo-targeted information. We can look at the country literally neighborhood by neighborhood, each annotated with 67 demographic variants. Instead of aiming ads broadly within a specified radius around a physical location, we can figuratively drop pins on your desired customers and skip over the ones that aren’t likely to respond. If, for example, you have a product appealing to families with school-aged children, perhaps you will want to bypass the retirement community that inhabits part of the area proscribed by the radius method. You’re better served by spending your ad budget across neighborhoods outside the radius where those school kids are abundant. When you are advertising at scale across hundreds or thousands of locations, this more precise targeting can create considerable lift in your desired return.

The mirror image of the science behind this outbound data usage is the analysis of the results that come back. We like to think the Big Insights are just as important as the Big Data. What does the data tell us about why an ad worked well in one location or with one particular offer or with one type of creative and not as well with others? Even though we are constantly performing real-time A/B testing to modify campaigns as they happen, there is much to be gleaned by after-action reports that use our data analytics to glean insights about the results. These insights will then be used to improve the next campaign, and the one after that, and so on. Whatever your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) may be, your ad campaigns can be measured rather analytically against them. Data can replace guesswork when the machinery is in place to properly collect and manage it.

In our world, Big Data is not defined by petabytes. Data gets big when it results in big efficiencies in spending choices and big learnings from those choices, both of which lead to recurring improvements in the use of Facebook’s advertising platforms. Our elegant science, tools and techniques pay off with Big benefits, and that’s what counts.