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Big data

The term ‘big data’ refers to data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Examples are retail transactional and web tracking databases. Analysis of big data affords great opportunities for improving and customising brand experience, for generating insights, and for optimising marketing communications. However, it also risks short-term decision-making at the expense of brand-building, and requires attention to privacy laws and the risk of consumer backlash.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

Ben Essen's Admap Prize-winning essay argues that marketers should use data to disrupt to the creative process, rather than to provide evidence and certainty. Embracing the data that make us uncomfortable, he adds, will help us ask the questions that unlock true creative innovation.
Why a careful approach to data can be a source of much-needed consumer trust.
Gian Fulgoni of comScore discusses the impact of big data, and its opportunities and perils.
How data can both transform how the consumer touches the brand and the application of online advertising.
Les Binet and Sarah Carter on the dangers of using data that shows only short-term fluctuations.

Case Study

This case study describes how Domino's Pizza in the UK used a chatbot to allow consumers with an existing Domino's 'Easy Order' account to order pizza directly through Facebook Messenger.

Case Study

This case study describes how the app Spott was launched in Belgium, offering retail inspiration for viewers and increasing the relevance and attractiveness of content.

Case Study

This case study describes how Rwandan genocide survivors' charity, SURF, drove engagement and brand awareness to promote jewellery made by genocide widows, using audience surveys and data-optimised creative units.

Case Study

This case study describes how ING, a Dutch national bank, re-energised its sponsorship of art and culture in the Netherlands and strengthened its image as an innovative bank, using data and technology to create The Next Rembrandt.

Case Study

This case study describes how Glasgow Life, a charitable sports and culture organisation, and the Federation International de Gymnastique, the competitive gymnastics governing board, designed a new brand identity for the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow.

Case Study

This case study describes how mobile online strategy game Mobile Strike was launched into the Taiwanese market by bringing digital background insights into TV and traditional media.
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This article explores how Qantas, Australia's national airline, is using data to improve its customer experience and rethink audience segmentation.


This report provides a range of views on the challenges facing programmatic advertising, with contributions from senior executives from organisations including ISBA, representing UK advertisers, Guardian Media Group, Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad agency, and Google.


This article explores the ever more important topic of data governance; a simple reading of the demands on data managers would reveal many pitfalls, but the author disagrees: a responsible approach to data can be a source of much-needed consumer trust.

Research Paper

This paper describes a research project for Mercado Libre, a Latin American ecommerce platform, which wanted a better understanding of its own position against those of its competitors in the online shopping market.

Research Paper

This paper describes how Coca-Cola, the beverage company, ensures consistency in its market research globally, through the use of a partner organisation that monitors and supports the activities of its research agencies around the world.

Research Paper

This article explores the use of artificial intelligence in Latin American countries, including Mexico, Argentina and Peru, and suggests that accurate AI-based social listening and analytics can work in any language/country and for any topic.


This article advises companies on how to adapt to the upcoming changes that will occur with the implementation of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the European Union.
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  1. Article

    This report looks at the trends and technologies that are set to become more important and relevant to marketers in 2017 including live video, VR and AR, web TV and chatbots.

  2. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2017 report, looks at the marketing opportunities offered by artificial intelligence (AI) including insight generation, chatbots, digital personal assistants and optimisation of media buying.

  3. Article

    This report explores excellence in connection strategy, channel analysis and measurement, by studying the entries to the 2015 Warc Prize for Connection Strategy.

  4. Article

    This best practice guide looks at how brands can build long-term loyalty in a marketing environment that has often relied on short-term rewards.

  5. Article

    This article summarises Warc's Toolkit 2016, a guide to six key challenges for brands in the coming year.

  6. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2016 report, looks at growing interest by marketers in identifying and targeting 'moments'.

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