Big data is a buzzword thrown around in every industry. Companies of all shapes and sizes collect data that can be used to make strategic decisions at every level. Wal-Mart completes one million customer transactions every hour, and with them comes 2.5 petabytes of data. That’s the equivalent of the amount of books in America’s Library of Congress…167 times over!

The data available to PR professionals and marketers today has the potential to answer so many questions, but the problem is: lots of people don’t know what to do with the data they have.

Collecting and analyzing data doesn’t have to mean combing through pages upon pages of spreadsheets. Data is everywhere, and in every industry you have access to lots of it – so let’s see if we can make it less scary to approach and show you the value of the information that you hold.

Social Media Data

Facebook’s Audience Insights provide brand pages with information about their audience, best performing content and other engagement details in a central location. You can use the data provided in Facebook’s Audience Insights to better inform paid advertising targeting and drive content decisions by creating more of the kinds of content your audience likes. In the example below, Facebook Insights shows that posts with a photo typically reach the most users and has higher engagement than simple status posts or posts with just a link. In this scenario, the page should continue to post photos to garner the most engagement from its audience.


Twitter also recently released its own Analytics dashboard to all users. The tool gives you a detailed timeline of impressions and engagement rates for every Tweet, as well as follower trends and demographics. By looking at the ‘Top Interests’ of your followers, you can see what else they are interested in, giving you opportunities for cross-promotions or partnerships. Think outside the box and connect two seemingly unrelated interests of your followers together! Take @SHIFTcomm followers’ Top Interests, for example. Comedic movies and TV shows are of interest to our followers, but not really related to marketing or PR explicitly. We could use this information to inform a blog post, giving insights into social media use during fall premiers.


Google Analytics

If you have access to your Google Analytics account, you’re in luck! There are a few quick things you can easily find to amp up any content strategy. (PR pros, want a deeper dive? Check out our guide to Google Analytics for PR.)

Google Analytics can give you detailed demographics for all the visitors to your site. Again, use this information to inform content decisions! Create content for your audience. The Referrals section can show you where traffic is coming from (i.e., tells you when someone clicks on your site from a Facebook page or from a Google search). This data can help you find promotion opportunities or even indicate where you could spend an advertising budget.

Don’t let the abundance of data available today scare you. Embrace it! It can inform, guide and drive your strategy if you know where to look.

Tori Sabourin
Marketing Analyst



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