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Too much data causing business bottlenecks: Google

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
02 August 2018 2 minute readShare
Technology, computer, digital

A senior Google executive has told a Sydney conference that businesses of all size are getting bogged down with too much data, revealing how even global giants like Fox Studios are affected.

Speaking at Advertising Week APAC, Karen Stocks — Google’s head of global measurement solutions — explained that Hugh Jackman’s latest movie The Greatest Showman almost flopped, but that Fox Studios was able to turn things around simply by digging into its consumer data.

According to Ms Stocks, the film tanked at the box office on its opening weekend. The studio looked into who actually bought tickets and discovered it had been marketing the film to a completely different audience.


Changing its advertising and marketing to target this new audience, the film went on to become the third-highest grossing live action musical of all time with $170 million in box office sales worldwide.

“Measurement underpins everything that we do,” Ms Stocks said.


Arguably, though, Fox Studios already had this data in its initial market research, but it got lost in the mix – an easy thing to do for any business.

Ms Stocks noted that the act of buying a car has more than 900 digital touchpoints as the customer researches various makes, models, dealers, options and costs.

Consumers are also more diverse than ever, with a quarter of Australians using five or more devices to connect to the internet.

According to Ms Stocks, Google’s next big move is to integrate business sales data with its ad spend data, to deliver businesses with detailed metrics on how their ad spend stacks up not just online but also in-store and through other channels such as third parties.



Data bottleneck was also raised in a separate panel, with Myer’s former chief marketing officer Tara Lordsmith stating that a team of 350 data analysts is no more advanced in its ability to make decisions than a team of 20.

“Aligning business leaders around the right data is so critical,” Ms Lordsmith said.

The privacy debate

In addition to the sheer volume of data available and the difficulty in sifting through it to find the information that counts most, the other major challenge facing businesses pertains to the customer themselves.

“We do need to step back and make sure we are following customer expectations,” Google’s Ms Stocks said.

That involves getting consent from customers to use their data in ways that can personalise the experience to them – adding value to their shopping experience – and collating data in such ways that, while meaningful, is not personally identifiable.

Customer data insights

Take a look at just some of the overall data and research around customer insights that have been published recently:

• A lack of trust in online operators is pushing shoppers back in-store

• Aussies are now spending 90 per cent more on their pets than two years ago

Customers find cash-only businesses inconvenient to deal with

Political views help to determine what shoppers buy and how much they are willing to spend

Too much data causing business bottlenecks: Google
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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