Has Big Data Become Bad Data?

Understanding user behavior in the digital environment is paramount to refining and optimizing a marketing strategy or new implementation. Through dialed-in analytics, a business can make decisions based on a user’s true wants and needs – delivering a more controlled and authentic experience. Equipped with these intelligent insights, the optimal technology can be implemented to achieve the ideal approach to a digital strategy.

Until only recently – the most prevalent data used has been that of Big Data. Characterized by the output of Volume, Velocity, and Variety – Big is exactly what the name implies – a whole lot of information which may not be entirely suited to a growing UX focus.

Is big data dead?

Due to the sheer size of output, Big Data tends to be cumbersome and therefore requires a lot of work in translating to become actually useful. For the demanding user of today, a business needs more than just the numbers to keep up. Unless the data provided is broken down or used properly – it is as good as useless.

For an organization to truly utilize big data, a system to disseminate the information must be put in place led by questions to ask based upon the needs of the company and its users. The data must then be funneled to the right people to be put into the implementations that will make a difference to the experience.


Turning big data into smart data and getting it to tell its story depends on two main parts – the data quality and the ability of a team to effectively interpret it and build an intelligent strategy. All this is a highly processed system that can be taken on by large corporations with the resources and time to accomplish their goals – but by that time – the data will have most likely changed, requiring constant maintenance to get the desired result. Not an ideal process to say the least.

What are the alternatives?

Its true that the output of Big Data won’t go away. Its simply the way that we approach it that will change. Many strategies exist to create a pathway to Smart Data.

For a niche product or market specific strategy, Relevant Data leverages big data to dial into specifics, rather than the entire universe of data that is out there. For quick action, an implementation that works in tandem to help Big Data is Fast Data. Fast Data is the processing of Big Data in real-time to gain instant awareness and take action as needed. Some of the most helpful data is seen as Actionable Data, taking information to the next step by providing  insight to steps that can be acted upon based upon the history and needs of the company.

There is really no one size fits all approach to data as it is constantly changing and the shape of a company must flow with the market. Tapping into multiple data strategies to see what method truly works is a critically important action for a company looking to expand their business.

Vanessa Petersen

As Executive Director of Brand Strategy based in ArtVersion’s Portland office, Vanessa manages both national and West Coast accounts. She brings with her a passion for strategy with extensive experience in creative marketing, brand growth and development. She is a true advocate of storytelling and brand building from the inside out, and her keen knowledge of the marketplace, trend patterns and usability lead her to identify opportunities that can inspire powerful design strategies.

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