Ask any Data Scientist and they will tell you that the process of ‘wrangling’ (loading, understanding and preparing) data represents the lion’s share of their workload – often up to as much as 80%. However, that number is not as alarming as it may at first seem. To understand why, let me tell you about my living room.
Ask an Analyst, particularly a Digital Analyst, how they’d like to develop their career, and they are quite likely to tell you that they want to get into Data Science. But in fact the two disciplines (if they can even be described as separate disciplines) overlap considerably – some would even say completely. So what is the difference between Analytics and Data Science?
There’s a lot of buzz about Data Science these days, and especially its super-cool subfield, Machine Learning. Data Scientists have become the unicorns of the tech industry, commanding astronomical salaries and an equal amount of awe (and envy) to go with them. Partly as a result of this, the field has developed something of a mystical aura – the sense that not only is it complex, it’s too complex to explain to mere mortals, such as managers or business stakeholders.
It’s true that mastery of Data Science involves many complex and specialized activities, but it’s by no means impossible for a non-Data Scientist to build a good understanding of the main building blocks of the field, and how they fit together.
The relentless rise of social networks in recent years has made many marketers familiar with the concept of the social graph—data about how people are connected to one another—and its power in a marketing context.
Facebook’s social graph has propelled it to a projected annual revenue of around $40B for 2017, driven primarily by advertising sales. Advertisers are prepared to pay a premium for the advanced targeting capabilities that the graph enables, especially when combined with their own customer data; these capabilities will enable Facebook to snag over 20% of digital ad spend in the US this year.
Partly as a result of this, many marketers are thinking about how they can exploit the connectedness of their own customer base, beyond simple “refer a friend” campaigns. Additionally, it’s very common to hear marketing services outfits tack the term graph onto any discussion of user or customer data, leading one to conclude that any marketing organization worth its salt simply must have a graph database.
But what is a graph, and how is it different from a plain old customer database? And if you don’t have a customer graph in your organization, should you get one?
At the end of the nineteenth century, electricity was starting to have a profound effect on the world. As dramatized in the excellent novel The Last Days of Night, Thomas Edison battled with George Westinghouse (the latter aided by Croatian genius/madman Nikola Tesla) for control over the burgeoning market for electricity generation and supply. The popular symbol of the electrical revolution is of course Edison’s famous light bulb, but almost more important was the humble electric motor.
Garry Kasparov will forever be remembered as perhaps the greatest chess player of all time, dominating the game for almost twenty years until his retirement in 2005. But ironically he may be best remembered for the match he failed to win twenty years ago in 1997 against IBM’s Deep Blue chess computer. That watershed moment – marking the point at which computers effectively surpassed humans in chess-playing ability – prompted much speculation and hand-wringing about the coming obsolescence of the human brain, now that a mere computer had been able to beat the best chess grandmaster in the world.
Reading Time: 3 minutesI’ve been a member of the Digital Analytics Association for, it turns out, about twelve years – over half my professional life. In that time I’ve seen the organization grow and blossom into a vibrant community of professionals who are passionate about the work they do and about helping others to develop their own skills … Read more
Accurate multichannel campaign attribution has stumped the online marketing industry for years. But what if the solution is to stop worrying about attribution, and move to an optimization-driven approach?
Reading Time: 11 minutesYour company has a Marketing Strategy, right? It’s that set of 102 slides presented by the CMO at the offsite last quarter, immediately after lunch on the second day, the session you may have nodded off in (it’s ok, nobody noticed. Probably). It was the one that talked about customer personas and brand positioning and … Read more
Reading Time: 6 minutesIf you’re like me, and have succumbed to the unpardonably bourgeois luxury of hiring a cleaner, then you may also have found yourself running around your house before the cleaner comes, picking up stray items of laundry and frantically doing the dishes. Much of this is motivated by “cleaner guilt”, but there is a more … Read more