Big Data Vs. Surveys

Does it make sense to keep doing surveys to evaluate, for example, the ranking of a brand, when all the real, honest, and unbiased information can be inferred from people's behavior on the Internet?

Friday, July 24, 2020

"... Traditionally, when teachers or business people needed data, they commissioned surveys. They obtained data in an orderly fashion, either in figures or in boxes marked on questionnaires. That is no longer the case. Structured, clean, simple, survey-based data has its days counted. In this new era, the messy footprints we leave behind are becoming the main data source."

The above sentence is taken from the book "Everybody lies: What the Internet and Big Data can tell us about ourselves", written by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. As the author points out, the data revolution is not only being experienced by large artificial intelligence companies, but is already beginning to be a daily routine in the business and academic world. More and more companies are seeking to measure and understand the impact their products and services have on the market by using Big Data management techniques to infer from consumer behavior what they really think of their products.

Why is the value of macro or Big Data increasing so quickly?

For one simple reason. Because as Stephens-Davidowitz explains, "... Macro data allows us to see what people really want and do, not what they say they want and do."

In this context, traditional surveys, in which one person asks another a series of directed and structured questions, with the purpose of obtaining information in a certain format and with a certain objective, begin to lose effectiveness, when compared to the possibility of extracting from the Internet, enormous amounts of honest, transparent and free of bias macrodata. With appropriate macrodata management techniques, manipulated by data scientists, it is possible to draw clear conclusions.

The following sentences from the book speak for themselves. Dear reader, please draw your own conclusions about the revolution that Big Data is bringing about in business.
"... The value of macrodata does not lie in its size, but in providing new ways to study information that has never been collected before."

"... Words are data. Clicks are data. Links are data. Typos are data. Bananas in dreams are data. The tone of voice in a data. Heartbeats are data... Searches are, in my opinion, the most revealing data."

"... Macrodata has an impressive ability to perform fast, controlled experiments. This allows us to test causal relationships, not just correlations. Today these tests are mainly performed by companies, but they will be a useful tool for social scientists.

Information about the book and the author:

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