By Sam Spatara

As social media continues to expand its influence in our daily lives, so too is the role of “Big Data” and analytics expanding in the world of marketing and PR. While this buzzword has appeared frequently in the media as of late, many do not fully comprehend what it is, or why they should care.

One of the main reasons everyone should care about Big Data is being used to target individuals, not just large demographics. Furthermore, this allows PR practitioners to better understand who that individual is, what their interests are, and what messages they might respond best to.

As the article from Prime Research notes, “through strategy development, Big Data enables more direct targeting and more salient messaging based on proven concepts developed by tracking which messages work and don’t work on the target audience in driving business results. With this knowledge, organizations can invest in those actions which are most likely to achieve the most beneficial outcome.”

Big Data is revolutionary in terms of how businesses can track individuals and their preferences, making it easier to develop messages that are relevant and useful to a specific audience. While this practice may seem like an invasion of privacy to some, this can make it easier for businesses to communicate with their audience in a way that will yield more positive responses, such as improving customer satisfaction.

An article by Cision states that businesses can more easily respond to unhappy customers on social media, and therefore can improve customer relations going forward by utilizing Big Data: “if you have a negative mention on social media, respond immediately to diffuse the situation, remedy it and turn a disgruntled customer into a happy one.”

Most new technologies and tools introduced today have disruptive effects on their respective industries, and Big Data is no different. Thus, it is imperative that we continue to learn how to use this system responsibly and effectively, both today and in the future.