Big data and politics: OptimalBI campaign compares politicians’ tweeting performances

Big data has become a ubiquitous magic phrase that modern marketers regularly incant when discussing what’s essential to marketing success in the digital age. And while the term has its fair share of sycophants, there are some in the industry who still aren’t quite as convinced that big data is our saviour    

So rather than simply contributing to this extensive canon of big data worship, Shane Gibson, the owner of data intelligence agency OptimalBI, has launched a topical campaign that aims to give a visual representation of the type of information that can be extracted from big data. 

Hosted on a specially dedicated microsite, the campaign will give a data-driven comparative analysis of key poltical figures in the lead-up to this year’s election. (Weekly updates will be provided via that @polivpoli Twitter account).

Over the course of the next few months, Gibson and his team will aim to provide answers to a series of political questions through Magnum BI, a colourfully named new offering that automates many of the labour-heavy processes associated with analysing data.

“People manually trawling through data currently spend about 80 percent of their time on collection and only 20 percent on analysing. [And] as you deal with more and more silos of data, it exponentially increases the time it takes to work with this data,” he says. 

“MagnumBI is business intelligence made simple – less cost, less time, less risk compared to the traditional approaches. Things such as Amazon Web Services enable us to deliver MagnumBI at a tenth of the price [charged by]service providers or available on premise hardware.

“With an automated process, such as what OptimalBI delivers through their MagnumBI offering, [data analysis]is the other way around: 20 percent on management and 80 percent on analysing and discovery, understanding and translating what insight the data provides for the business.”

By using this system in the campaign, Gibson is able to present big data political insights in a creative form that is easier to process than the rows and columns of an Excel spreadsheet.  

“Behind the scenes we leverage industry leading technologies, apply a tried and tested blend of transformation to take data from your systems and present it back in the way your business thinks. Then we help you prepare beautiful reports and analytical processing to gain real insight and competitive advantage – quick, safe and cost effective,” he says via a short blurb on the site.

And it seems that he is applying a ‘show don’t tell’ approach to the campaign, in the sense that the first question posted on the website has been answered with an infographic. 

When addressing the issue of who the most avid Tweeter is between John Key or David Cunliffe, Gibson used a range of publicly available information and then condensed it into a neat package, which relays various insights in a bite-sized format.

Although it’s unclear whether such an approach could render practicable insights capable of influencing a company’s ROI, it is interesting to see big data being used to tell a story, even if only for the purposes of anecdotal interest.  

Interestingly, in his recent interview with StopPress, BuzzShift’s chief executive Cameron Gawley pointed out this approach is a much more effective way of relaying the value of big data to clients and business owners.

“[Marketers] like their story being told in a concise and interesting manner. And I think the more emphasis we place on telling a story rather than just presenting raw data will make it easier for the client to understand it, and they’ll make a better decision as a result,” said Gawley.



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