What’s ‘Fast’ Data and Why Should You Leverage It?

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Not all data is created equally. “Big Data,” is so meaningful because it’s the most comprehensive, combining four characteristics: velocity (it’s fast), variety (it’s diverse), veracity (the trustworthiness of the data) and volume (there’s a lot of it).

Fast Data is the Next Step in the Evolution of Big Data

The way that big data gets big is through a constant stream of incoming data. In high-volume environments, that data arrives at incredible rates yet still needs to be analyzed and stored. Instead of simply storing that data to be analyzed later, perhaps we’ve reached the point where it can be analyzed as it’s ingested while still maintaining extremely high intake rates.

The buzzword, “fast data,” may be new, but the concept isn’t. Retail stores have long captured fast data about their shoppers throughout the day to ensure that daily goals are met. The same goes for record executives tracking radio spins by the day or Web editors checking page traffic throughout the day and reconfiguring the homepage accordingly.

Professionals in those industries are using a snapshot of data to make a quick decision, rather than waiting for more volume or more variety in that instance. When creating endurance events, you can do the same when appropriate.

Where to Find Fast Data

  • Find Fast Participant Data: Look to your registration software’s dashboard to find fast data on your participant and revenue numbers. Dig a bit deeper into your event analytics to see where participants are coming from, if they’re joining in groups, what demographics are trending or any other interesting data.
  • Monitor Social Media for Qualitative Fast Data: Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram along with review sites like Yelp! and BibRave are also easy sources of fast data about your endurance event.

Leverage Fast Data for Quick Decisions

Sometimes, it’s not prudent to wait. Fast Data trends can be indicators that something has gone wrong in your marketing or registration process. It can also help you stumble on an aspect of your event that you weren’t aware.

In these instances, using the data that you have now, rather than waiting for more volume or variety, is how you leverage fast data.

Utilize Fast Participant Data: Take a look back at your real-time participant and revenue numbers. Depending on the story they’re telling, you can maximize participation by making adjustments. Some examples:

  • Do you see lots of groups signing up? Think of creative ways to leverage the group leaders to expand their groups and get more participants. Or, if you’re noticing groups of co-workers from one employer, reach out to that employer for sponsorship and more promotional opportunities.
  • Geographic patterns are telling, too. If there’s an area where you have been marketing, but you’re not seeing the return, that could be a signal that your marketing isn’t being seen (and you might have a technical issue) or that your event isn’t appealing to that sector, so spend your money elsewhere.

Fast Social Media Data Tells a Story: Set up easy social media alerts with a free monitoring website like SocialMention.com. Google Alerts is another way to monitor blog and website mentions of your event.

  • Discover participant questions: Social media is an easy way for businesses to connect with an unlimited number of customers and prospects. Watch for any questions or difficulties that your registrants are documenting. Some examples:
    • Too many questions on the registration form
    • A confusing policy that you could explain
    • A prohibited item that’s stressing out registrants

These are all fast data metrics that you can ascertain from social media and quickly fix or explain for future registrants and participants.

  • Identify influencers: Are there registrants on social media with a good-sized following who love your event? Think of creative ways to engage those people to become an even more effective advocate for your event.

Fast Data isn’t a substitute for more comprehensive data insights, but certain metrics can help push your event to the next level, if you’re ready to leverage.