2 Ways Big Data is Transforming the Face of E-Commerce

Big data refers to the massive amounts of data collection occurring through the internet and real-world sensors connected to the internet of things. This torrent of data has many implications in many sectors, e-commerce being one of them. Here are two ways big data is transforming the face of e-commerce as we know it.

Highly Targeted Marketing

Big data allows companies to compare purchase history and behavioral patterns for ever smaller customer segments. They can study their data to find the purchases that indicate someone is in the first trimester of pregnancy and start marketing to them before anyone else. They can find interests and correlations for narrow customer segments from small geographic regions to newly married, double income, no kids young couples, to people approaching retirement living in a particular state. These groups can be endlessly subdivided, compared, analyzed and – using Big Data – presented ads specific to their life stage, interests, and personal history with the website. The repeat visitor to the site sees ads different than the newcomer, both tailored to them based on their search history.

Search Engine Optimization for Everything

One of the first major sources of Big Data was user behavior on search engines. What types of pages did they truly want when they used particular search terms? How did users interact with the content? Data collection moved beyond the number of website views and keyword density as a matching method of content and user queries years ago. It moved to context analysis of content to determine its true meaning and ideal presentation to customer queries.

Website administrators added beacons and other tracking measures to measure not only which pages people visit for how long but which sections of content held their attention and what they skipped over on the same pages. This has led to search engine optimization of content and optimized design of every web page.

A/B testing allows companies to test calls to action for every page for every identified customer segment, whether calls to follow the company on social media, sign up for a newsletter or buy the product. Businesses use big data to tailor page design, content and calls to action to whatever works best for customer segments most likely to buy or methods proven to result in the highest conversion rate. 

The economic value of this data collection and analysis is driving demand for those with an online master of information degree from schools like Rutgers Online. The constant tracking of user behavior online is also why someone who was searching for an online MLIS program will see ads for this on Facebook or other web searches, not only proclaiming the value of the degree but showing ads tailored for returning students or high school graduates based on their profile.

Detailed data collection and analysis also allows e-commerce sites to apply SEO at a micro level, applying SEO to each individual product page instead of only being able to apply it to their home pages and a few content marketing pieces. The investment in servers, data collection tools, and human analysts continues because businesses are seeing a literal payoff. 


Big data is allowing businesses to tailor campaigns and marketing to very narrow customer demographics and even personalize it. Search engine optimization is increasingly tightened to the customer search terms tied to the highest return on investment. They gain the ability to respond immediately to changes in the supply chain and foresee problems before it arrives (or doesn’t). And they can apply search engine optimization to every piece of content down to each individual product page.

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