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UK Key Trends for 2014: Big Data—Much Talk, Little Action?

Many are struggling to handle big data

Debate and activity are on the rise in the UK, as companies of all kinds see the potential for big data to identify and exploit business opportunities based on the customer information they have or can gather digitally, according to a new eMarketer report, “UK Key Digital Trends for 2014: Mobile Usage, Big Data and Ad-Buying Options Influencing Digital Ecosystem.”

Most advertisers and marketers have a constantly growing mass of useful data available to them. A survey of UK companies and agencies by Econsultancy and Monetate for their “Real-Time Marketing Report” in late 2013 found that 82% considered their customer data to be “actionable.”

Adoption rates for big data analytics are rising steadily, at least among larger firms, as estimated by a November 2013 report from SAS and e-skills UK. The proportion of these firms with big data initiatives was expected to reach 29% in 2017, compared with 20% in 2013.

But the challenges are many. In a Q3 2013 GfK and Guardian Media Network survey, seven in 10 UK marketers said they didn’t have the skills required to address big data issues.

Knowledge of data analytics is one major hurdle. Even in larger companies sampled in the SAS/e-skills UK study, over 20% of respondents in IT and business intelligence roles, as well as 33% of those working in other roles, said their understanding of big data analytics was poor.

In August 2013 polling by SAP, UK business decision-makers noted many challenges in using data to inform their decisions. Lack of resources or time was the primary issue (cited by 47%), with data location or sheer excess of data following closely. Only 1% of respondents said they faced no challenges. Rather alarmingly, 24% said they weren’t clear about what to measure in the first place.


The full report, “UK Key Digital Trends for 2014: Mobile Usage, Big Data and Ad-Buying Options Influencing Digital Ecosystem,” also answers these key questions:

  • How is the proliferation of media devices and platforms changing UK consumer behavior?
  • How are mobile phones and tablets changing shopping and buying habits in the UK?
  • How is the notion of big data affecting UK marketers and consumers?
  • How are developments in real-time ad buying and native advertising changing the game for marketers and consumers?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


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