Today I was sitting with a financial Advisor in Prince Albert.  Mr Theirman was explaining a fascinating strategy to me when I head my phone go beep.  So, I casually glance down at the screen on the desk, only to find that my Galaxy S7 Edge is listening to my financial advisor, and typing every word he says into a Google search.

I doubt this was a bug. I can never know for sure, but most likely, this is the dark side of Big Data. My phone is a machine which I have agreed to pay to use, and it’s reporting on me to Alphabet Inc (Google’s Parent Company).  I don’t say this because I’m a conspiracy theorist, i say this because it makes the most sense.  I’m not going to stop using my phone, I’m not going to start blogging about the devil in the device.  In the year 2017, It’s just business.  Human activity is a commodity and the violation of our collective privacy is standard.  One day, some company will almost probabnly use their knowledge of my privacy against me.  Until that day ….

You’d Might As Well Profit!

That’s right.  Your phone, my phone every phone is gathering data CONSTANTLY.  There are laws in Canada such as PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) which are meant to safeguard the public good against “lawful intrusion” but let’s be honest, no one s taking Google to court.   FINE.

If you can’t beat ’em join ’em.  You’d might as well profit.  “But G.R.”, you say, “How can I profit off the evil-doing of Big Data?”  To which I say, “Quite easily”.  Google in particular, has opened up a dozen (or more) channels which allow you access their billions of gigabytes of information about users.

The most popular of these channels is obviously Google Analytics.  Google Analytics allows you to ask a lot of really good information about the people visiting your site-  How old they are, what is their sex?  What did they ask Google for when they found your company website?  Where are they from?  Where were they when they searched for business?

How Does This Help Me?

One of my customers, The International Women of Saskatoon, recently wanted to know where their traffic comes from.  To answer this question we sat down with their website analytics.  Their website was turning out a ton of traffic from Women in England.  This surprised everyone, because England is not a country which the International Women of Saskatoon target.  They generally serve the needs of immigrant and refugee women.

But their website is full of text, images, programs and links which relate to “English Speaking”.   If we wanted to attract the right traffic, we had to change up our keywords.  “English Speaking” was getting us “English Speakers”.  Really not a big surprise, right?

So, I must thank Big Data for violating me and all those English women, so consistently and so vigorously.  They made it possible for me to identify a problem in my customer’s website content and even improve the customer’s website reach & performance.  If you think that your Prince Albert Business can profit from a little more analysis then …

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