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The big data advantage: How businesses can better influence their mobile audience

Data on what the consumer is interested in, buying and saying to their friends is accumulating every second. When businesses tap into that data to better segment their customers and target their messages, companies can see their profits and customer satisfaction soar.

Big data enables businesses to understand their customers in real-time and through a wide variety of data sources. With the majority of customers going mobile, the amount of data being produced is increasing even more, since data is also being created by apps and other services in the background even when the consumer isn't actually on their phone. This leaves a data trail documenting the consumer's movements and actions. This type of data could be used for a variety of purposes, including the ideas below.

Improve apps

There are hundreds of apps out there, but the majority of mobile customers only continually use a handful of the apps they have downloaded on to their smartphone. App developers can now compare their retention rate to other apps within the same category, and then use user or social data to find out why customers prefer using one app over another.

In addition, companies like BloomReach are working on changing apps to be more friendly to e-commerce by creating a new framework for retailers that is touch-screen friendly, has lots of pictures, and eschews lists of links. With big data, BloomReach has also created a predictive search that relies on the data created by a company's app, website and millions of other searches to predict what a customer is looking for when they just type in a letter or two into the search bar. With similar information, BloomReach also creates a "What's Hot" section on retailers' apps based on what has been popular on sites like Twitter and Pinterest.

Meeting individual needs

In today's world the customer is king. A customer won't stay loyal to a brand if the brand doesn't deliver what they want when they want it. With everyone's needs being slightly different, companies are starting to use data to help customise offers and app landing pages to every individual who comes to their site. For example, your business may find out through social media posts that a certain customer is interested in a new iPod, so you can then send a special offer for purchasing an iPod, or feature an iPod on the landing page of the app.

This data is useful in-store too. US retail giant Walmart is working on an in-store mode for its app that would allow customers to scan items for price and request suggestions for specific products in a certain price range.

Enhance location-based marketing

Location data is the primary differentiator between mobile and web-based data. Due to GPS and check-ins, businesses can access where potential customers are and send them offers when they come near a store. Not only does this help companies reach customers at the right place, but with access to other big data information, such as demographics and interests, the offers can be better catered to each individual.

The beauty of big data is that these are just a few examples amongst a slew of options and creative ideas businesses could use to better reach and understand the mobile client. As big data platforms like Hadoop continue to develop, business leaders will need to consider how much more big data will influence their strategy going forward.

Nelson Estrada is a marketing and operations management analyst at big data platform solutions specialist MapR Technologies.

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