‘Discover and select the items of your interest to scope and graph the data’, this is the tagline of the Google Consumer Barometer. A excellent example of how to make sense of a whole lot of pieces of small data and the importance of visualisation. The Consumer Barometer is a global effort by IAB Europe in partnership with TNS Infratest and Google to quantify the role of online in the consumer journey from research to purchase. To better understand this journey, the Consumer Barometer provides insight into past purchase behaviors and brings a perspective on how consumers interact with the internet as a source of information for informing purchase decisions. The data available on this website originates from two different sources: the Consumer Barometer study and the Enumeration study. Here’s how Jacques from France who wants to sell shoes could use it: It feels like big data at your fingertips, especially for marketers. For example, I was wondering how many people in the Netherlands below forty perform research online before buying a mobile phone online. Turns out it’s 54%. Then I compared it to some other countries and eventually to all countries in Europe. So I learned that the 57% of the Czech people perform online research before buying a phone online, followed by the Dutch with 54%, Belgium is at the bottom of the list with only 6%. But if we rephrase the question into how many people below 40 perform research online before buying a mobile phone offline the barometer showed me that 63% of Belgians do online research before buying offline, in this case however only 30% of the Dutch perform a similar action. What’s striking about this exercise might not be the difference between Belgian and Dutch people (at least not for me), but the ease and speed of retrieving such data. All done within two minutes. The point is that the Google Barometer is an example of how companies should handle large datasets. It’s one thing to get the data, it’s another to find a way for people to get their hands dirty working with the data. In a perfect world a whole range of people is working with a company’s data, not only the data scientists. Visualizing data, creating an interface for the data that employees are able to operate and providing the speed to do so is also key to a big data strategy. After all, people like Jacques want to benefit from Big Data as well.