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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 shows how KFC, the fast food brand, created a humorous fake 'clean eating' campaign to successfully launch its newest product in the UK.

Case Study

This case study shows how Batelco, a mobile network, successfully stole its competition's customers with a simple real-time social media response campaign in Bahrain.

Case Study

This case study explores how Target Australia, Australia's largest department store chain, launched a national campaign to try and increase sales, using data tracking.

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 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 US appliances manufacturer Whirlpool built on its Every day, care campaign to create the Care Counts programme, which installed washers and dryers in schools to give disadvantaged students access to laundry facilities to boost attendance rates.
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This event report considers what actions brands need to take to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into effect in May 2018.


This event report outlines how companies can comply with the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into effect in May 2018 and which elevate privacy to the level of a human right.


This event report argues that the advertising industry has become 'quantophiliac', loving data, and outlines three key areas marketers should focus on to make decisions around investment in digital media.


This event report argues that in the future, all advertising will be interactive, adapted to mobile phone screens, data-driven and conversational, with the last two characteristics fuelled by AI.


This event report addresses how the Coca-Cola Co. has developed an online research library to help its marketers make better brand decisions.


This article explores how moment marketing can be used to effectively maximise consumers' engagement and purchase through reaching the right audience with relevant content at the right time.


This article looks at the predictions about advertising trends that came true, those that didn't, and what's in store for the future.
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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 article examines ten tech trends that will impact brands, business and connected consumers in 2016 and beyond.

  5. Article

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

  6. Article

    This article argues that data will become the primary currency of future marketing strategy and that marketers should deploy data to create seamless brand experiences that function across all delivery channels.

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