The Deluge

You’re almost certainly aware of the proliferation of data and data sources around you. But you might not realize how much data we’re surrounded by every day, or how quickly the production of data is growing.

The term “Big Data” came into general usage in 2012. That year, 2.5 exabytes of marketing data were created worldwide. 2017 is on target to create 1.46 zettabytes. That’s 584 times as much data than 2012’s output—and that doesn’t even approach the 16.3 ZB of total data to be created this year.

By the end of 2017, the estimated total cumulative marketing data in the world will be 4.4 ZB. That amount will more than double with 2018’s expected additional 5.4 ZB of marketing data.

What does that mean in terms of usage? It means that as of 2017, every minute:

  • Google conducts 3.6 million searches
    • Does your content match the search terms your customers use?
  • Twitter users send out 456,000 tweets
    • Is your content easily sharable and share-worthy?
  • 5 million spam emails are received
    • Do your content-promoting emails get opened?

Over the next 8 years, total global data is expected to grow ten-fold, from 16.3 ZB to 167 ZB. According to a report released by IDC and sponsored by Seagate, the primary source of data will shift from entertainment to “productivity” data (which includes marketing data). Major growth will also be seen in “embedded” data, most of which is from IoT devices.


Graph of anticipated growth of global data, broken out by source

Marketing Data Challenges

We’ve asked marketing leaders about their data-related challenges. Some of the most frequent responses include:

  • Data siloed within departments or teams
  • Data siloed within platforms or sources
  • Combining data from different sources without distortions or duplications
  • Choosing which data to consider when making strategic decisions
  • Using data carefully, to nurture leads rather than overwhelming or ignoring them
  • Working with small slices or segments of data
  • Taking the numbers from data and converting them to practical actions

This series will address all of the above issues and lay out a plan for getting complete, trustworthy data; approaching your data with a scientific mindset; and applying that data to content development.