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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 explains how The Sun, the British newspaper, successfully introduced charges for a previously free fantasy football platform by using influencers and social media ads.

Case Study

This case study explains how Guinness, the beer brand, used emotional storytelling focussing on inner strength to increase sales in the UK and Ireland during the Rugby World Cup.

Case Study

This case study explains how Plume Labs, a technology company, used pigeons wearing tiny air quality monitoring back-packs and social media to raise awareness of air quality issues in London, and raise investment for a new wearable technology.

Case Study

This case study shows how IKEA, a furniture brand, shifted its role among UK consumers to become an ally on their everyday furniture needs, rather that an occasional stop for cheap household goods.

Case Study

This case study explains how the UK electronics retailer Currys PC World increased sales around Christmas by being honest about the stresses and difficulties of the period and positioning itself as the solution in a humorous TV ad and social media campaign.

Case Study

This case study explains how QQ, a Chinese instant messaging service, improved its brand image and signed up new users with a scheme to help find missing children.
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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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