By: Zoe Kaufman
Numbers, data, math, and information. Sounds like something a public relations professional would run from. But data analytics is quite a crucial aspect in running a successful campaign. At the end of the day, data analytics is just a different language.
Last Wednesday, PRSSA had the pleasure of listening to a fascinating presentation by Adrienne Wallace and Derek DeVries on data analytics. At first I thought, “oh no, math and data, I’m already dreading it.” However, I learned some of the most interesting and valuable information from any speaker we’ve hosted.
Now you may ask, “what is data analytics?” Well, it can’t be summed up into one specific category as we learned there are many components. However, the main idea is that data analytics uses numbers, graphs and information to chart out the various target markets in a country, area or target demographic. It basically acts as a “translator” for the public.
Take Facebook for example, which holds a monstrous amount of information about everyone. Within Facebook, there are many people with different interests, hobbies, and locations. It would be silly to target each person the same way, but it almost seems impossible to individually target every person and their specific interests. That is where data analytics comes in. Facebook can track where each user is surfing the web from, what pages they click on and other subsequent interests. From there, Facebook can target the ads and services specifically for that user. This all sounds pretty scary, and it can be if the regulations aren’t secure.
With the wealth of information that this single site knows about you, it’s enough to make a person want to log off forever. But it’s not all bad. As Adrienne Wallace said in reference to personally targeted ads, PR students should try to “flip that on its head. Try to learn from it, because at the end of the day, that targeting has in some way worked whether we know it or not.”
Data analytics can teach us a lot about a client base. Facebook Pixel is a sight specifically designed to optimize, measure and build your audience base. When you use a sight like this, it can improve your business by learning who your audience is and then targeting to that specific audience based on the data. We’ve only just scratched the surface with data, and there is much more to be learned as new information comes out everyday.
It’s important stay up-to-date on information not only in the PR world, but also in the world of business. It’s even easy to be certified in data analytics as there are online courses available to take on your own time. The advice to young professional looking to get a leg up in the field is to be dangerous, be a self-leader, and always be hungry for more knowledge.
Zoë Kaufman is a graduating senior studying Public Relations. Zoë is the president of the on-campus organization, Hillel. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, film, and shopping at IKEA.