Opening Cross: All About That Data

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This week, I had the pleasure of helping out on two of Inside Market Data’s stablemates at Incisive Media, ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, and realized that while we serve different markets and audiences, there’s a lot of crossover in terms of themes affecting the financial market data and digital marketing industries.

For example, on Oct. 30, ClickZ reported on a partnership between IBM and Twitter that sees IBM provide analytics on top of Twitter’s data firehose to capture and analyze tweets based on individuals’ location, publicly available biographical information and the sentiment expressed to better understand consumer purchasing habits, allowing Twitter to place better-targeted ads in front of its users.

Though this story is aimed at digital marketers to understand how companies can better market services at consumers, it also has plenty of crossover with IMD’s audience, which is ravenous for social and sentiment data to predict and take advantage of market movements.

ClickZ also reported on Facebook’s ambitions for better search capabilities for its platform, the volume of content on which is approaching that of the rest of the internet combined, making the ability to perform more targeted search ever more important—both in terms of retaining users, and in terms of attracting advertising revenues with more targeted ad placement. In fact, Facebook not only leads the way in volume of content generated—both original and re-posted—it’s also the largest source of referral traffic, according to Shareaholic’s Social Media Traffic Report, directing visitors to the original source of a re-posted item.

In the financial data industry, the sheer volume of data available from public and private sources has also led to the creation of financial search engines, such as 9W Search, Quandl and Wolfram Alpha, reflecting that more data and more sophisticated consumption styles and end-user requirements mean there is also a need for more sophisticated search tools to be able to (a) find the right data, (b) find it faster, and (c) present it to users in a way that delivers instant insight, which may mean correlating it with—or deriving new data from—other relevant datasets also discovered through more targeted search.

A similar shift is underway in Consumer search in China, according to a survey by Chinese market research agency iiMedia, which reveals that mobile users in China are moving away from generic web search towards industry-specific niche search apps that allow more targeted search results for specific consumer segments.

In the market data world, this trend is well established, and all but the largest vendors have long known that it’s better to serve one niche dataset or customer group well than to fail at trying to be all things to all people. For example, while priding itself on the latency of its data collection and distribution networks, Thomson Reuters has introduced the option for firms to employ their preferred network suppliers to provide “last mile” connectivity to its datacenters. And energy data provider GlobalView has enlisted S&P Capital IQ to provide data from sources that would prove prohibitively expensive for GlobalView to connect to directly. So, it’s not just about knowing your data and your customers’ needs, but also knowing your own limits.

And just as these comparisons demonstrate that data is data, whether you’re in the financial markets or digital marketing, the same principle applies wherever you are in the world, whether it’s New York, London or Hong Kong—where the IMD and Inside Reference Data teams will be on-site this coming week for our Asia-Pacific Financial Information Conference (in partnership with industry association FISD). Last year’s event highlighted the growing regulatory burden in Asia as firms struggle to comply with local jurisdictional rules as well as broad international regulations, and that these efforts are usually ultimately reduced to data exercises—and hence become the responsibility of market and reference data management staff. Though I won’t be there, I can’t wait to see what this year’s event yields.

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